The ongoing government shutdown is causing the rest of the world to view the United States as a joke or even worse, political observers both domestically and abroad are saying.
Reaction abroad to the seemingly inexplicable cutoff of funds needed to operate the federal government has been almost uniformly derisive.
"To be honest, people are making a lot of jokes," said Justice Malala, a South African pundit.
Photojournalist Lynsey Addario said on Twitter that people she has met in that country are not taking the shutdown seriously.
“My driver and translator are laughing at U.S. govt shutdown. So much for world's great superpower. It's closed,” she tweeted.
The web site Russia Today assembled an entire page of internet memes devoted to making fun of the shutdown. highlighting in particular the “No Budget, No Pants” meme which features a picture of Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston in his underwear, holding a gun (taken from the show’s first season). The tongue-in-cheek campaign encourages people to go without trousers in protest of the budget impasse.
The site points out that while one popular joke, told in many variations, asks, “Will the NSA quit spying on us now?” the reality is, the National Security Agency is unaffected by the shutdown. Nonetheless, the shutdown has put an estimated 800,000 government employees out of a job, at least temporarily. But there is no end in sight to the shutdown so far.
On CNN, interviewer Piers Morgan, who is British, told Republican Congressman Sean Duffy that his party had “made the whole world laugh at you.”
In the respected journal Foreign Policy, the publication’s CEO David Rothkopf called the shutdown impasse “ridiculous.” Recalling the days when America was perceived worldwide alternately as a global savior and global villain, today it is nothing but, “a laughingstock, a subject of scorn, and the inspiration not for hopes as before, but for such doubts as have never existed before.”
SOURCES: Russia Today, MediaIte, Awani, Al-Jazeera, Foreign Policy, ABC News