Politics

Government Shutdown Aiding Iran, China

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There are those who believe that the government shutdown is actually a good thing, because of the problem of “wasteful” spending. Fox News Host John Stossel is one of them, citing programs such as the State Department’s funding of a comedy tour that promotes religious harmony in India, who may be close to reaching a peace agreement with Pakistan that could allay fears of a conflict between the two nuclear powers. He also pans investment in scientific studies and the Departments of Commerce and Education.

The shutdown has created problems for those seeking the aid of federally-funded cancer treatment trials and domestic violence programs (during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, no less). The shuttering of federal offices has also affected local blood drives, threatening to make a D.C. blood shortage even worse. Still, these negative effects are all within our borders, but is the shutdown causing problems for America abroad? It seems they are.

Last week, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified at a Senate hearing and warned that U.S. spies could exploit the shutdown by targeting furloughed workers for recruitment and “could be tempted to switch national loyalties.” Also, along with limiting US intelligence resources, the shutdown has also adversely affected workers’ morale.

Yet, according to Businessweek the shutdown is also causing the US to lose ground in some crucial foreign policy efforts. Lack of intelligence assets and with little staff left to monitor what they do receive that it is impossible to effectively enforce sanctions in places like Iran, where the “economic bite” of sanctions is what brings them to the negotiating table.

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In Asia, China is gaining ground in trade negotiations, only multiplied by the President canceling his trip to a major Asian economic conference in light of the shutdown. Also, “Chinese President Xi Jinping became the first foreign leader to address Indonesia’s parliament,” which, along with his appearance at the conference, means he is “winning hearts and minds in the right places.”