Europe wonders and worries about America

President Obama’s and Speaker Boehner’s television speeches last night were not what we generally had expected or hoped for. There was no news and their speeches did not in any way contribute to a solution of the debt ceiling and budget crisis.

They did not leave us with even a glimmer of hope that the politicians in Washington can, and will, resolve this issue before the country defaults next Tuesday.

Already before last night, the wonderment and worry abroad about where America is heading was noticeable. “Washington is drowning America” is a recent headline on a Financial Times column by Clive Crook. He writes that when he came to America six years ago he had no patience for the view that the country was entering the twilight years, but now he is having second thoughts.

For those of you who know some Scandinavian, I would like to refer you to my old paper, the Stockholm daily Dagens Nyheter, whose recent headline to its main editorial about the debt ceiling crisis was “Fools’ paradise,” and in which “Republican fanatics” get the main blame. And in the Danish daily Politiken, one can read the Republicans, now run by the “almost anarchistic” Tea Party-movement, have “lost their senses.”

It is likely that after last night’s speeches the wonderment and worry will increase. It’s imp0ortant to point out that these are not radical voices but middle-of-the-road European newspapers commenting on the state of our union, and for everyone who cares about America’s reputation abroad, this is sad, and worrisome.

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