Amerika na de shutdown

WASHINTON, DC – Na zestien dagen van gesloten musea, half lege federale gebouwen, onnatuurlijk stille straten en tienduizenden werknemers achtergelaten in existentiële onzekerheid, brandt het licht weer in Washington. Maar nu de shutdown van de Amerikaanse overheid, geïnitieerd door radicale republikeinse congresleden die de implementatie van president Barack Obama’s gezondheidszorgwetgeving wilden blokkeren, voorbij is (tenminste voor nu) zijn er drie lessen te leren.

Ten eerste: de volgende keer dat de crisis in de eurozone oplaait zal de VS zijn mond moeten houden; tenslotte onthulde het spektakel van de shutdown ziekteverschijnselen die niet minder ernstig zijn dan degene die de economische en politieke onderhandelingen binnen de EU de laatste vijf jaar karakteriseerden. Onverantwoordelijk gedrag dat de gezondheid van de wereldeconomie bedreigt ? Check. Politieke standpunten en bizarre claims die elk compromis van te voren uitsluiten? Check. Adembenemende va-banque politiek en beslissingen te elfder ure die de omstanders doen afvragen of de wagen deze keer misschien echt over de klif zal storten? Check.

Maar weinig landen is de laatste jaren de pijn bespaard gebleven dat hun binnenlandse politieke vertoningen de wereld over gingen. Groot-Brittannië had nog maar twee jaar geleden haar massale rellen, stakingen en demonstraties hebben Parijs regelmatig verlamd, Griekenland heeft een groeiende fascistische partij, Mexico City werd praktisch afgesloten door leraren die het centrale plein bezetten en de Turkse premier Recep Tayyip Erdoğan greep in juni naar geweld om protesten tegen zijn steeds autocratischer bewind de kop in te drukken. China had het Bo Xilai schandaal (waar je een thriller over kunt schrijven), met geheime affaires, welig tierende corruptie, moord en de zoektocht van een hoge politieambtenaar naar asiel in een consulaat van de VS.

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