La politique étrangère et le mur budgétaire des États-Unis

PRINCETON – Le monde a toutes les raisons d’être inquiet. Il est très possible que le président américain Barack Obama et les congressistes républicains ne parviennent pas à trouver un compromis avant la mise en oeuvre des coupes dans les dépenses publiques et la fin des allègements d'impôts qui entrent automatiquement en vigueur le 1er janvier. Les marchés mondiaux, nerveux et parfaitement conscients du fait que les Etats-Unis risquent de se heurter au « mur budgétaire », suivent de près la situation. Ils savent que cette éventualité pourrait bien replonger les Etats-Unis – et le reste du monde – dans la récession.

Les ministres des Affaires étrangères ailleurs dans le monde devraient également être nerveux. A moins que les Etats-Unis ne réussissent à mettre de l’ordre dans leurs finances publiques, ils seront contraints de renoncer à leur rôle de dirigeant pour un vaste éventail de questions mondiales cruciales.

A court terme, la Syrie et les pays voisins paient déjà le prix de l’incapacité américaine à se consacrer à toute autre question que la politique intérieure depuis la réélection d’Obama. A mon avis, la crise syrienne est à un point tournant : bien que la victoire de l’opposition et la chute du président Bachar el-Assad semblent aujourd’hui acquises, le temps que mettra la crise à se dénouer déterminera qui prendra le pouvoir et dans quelles conditions.

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