In that context, it is not improper to ask whether the United States today has political leaders who grasp the big picture and who are willing and able to address the nation's big challenges. An absence of strategy--where the nation wants to go and preparation for contingengies-- and their lurching from near self-inflicted crisis to near self-inflicted crisis is not an indication that American policy makers understand the big picture, much less the consequences of their choices. Needlessly frittering away time, engaging in petty rhetoric for partisan advantage, and threatening to push the nation into partial default is not an indication that they are willing and able to address the nation's big challenges in any kind of effective manner.
In August, 2011 courtesy of suboptimal political leadership, the nation had a near-miss with a partial default. In December 2012, again on account of ineffective leadership, it had a near-miss with the fiscal cliff, averted only after the Vice President and Senate Minority leader filled the leadership vacuum and came up with a hasty solution to avoid the worst of the fiscal cliff. Now, the nation has reached its statutory debt limit and is steaming steadily toward the proverbial iceberg where its borrowing authority will be exhausted. It is doing so, even as some in the House are politicizing the debt ceiling issue as a substitute for their repeated failure to demonstrate fiscal responsibility and the President is trying to demonstrate toughness. That's not leadership.
Obama Clears Out The Bushes And Restores America's Global PopularityBarack Obama ran for president in 2008 based in part on the promise that he would restore America’s standing in the world, and a new Gallup poll released today shows that he has done just that. Respondents in 100 countries were surveying and the United States was the most popular world power at 47%. This is a roughly 14% increase in America’s global standing since the Bush administration.
Gallup found that Obama has managed to turn the US from the power that trailed Japan, Germany, France, Russia, and even China from 2007-2008 into the most popular of the world’s global powers. US leadership is now approved of by 47% of the world and only 25% disapprove. Germany is second with a 40%/17% approval to disapproval ratio. France was third with a 39% approval rating followed by Japan (37%), the UK (35%), China (31%), and Russia (27%).
It would be good to know history before trying to use it against people.
Transcript President Clinton explains Iraq strike - CNN
Tom Brokaw: President Clinton Thought Saddam Hussein Had WMD | NewsBusters
Iraq Liberation Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A partial default would very likely be a different matter. It would demonstrate that a commitment to honor the nation's obligations is no longer a binding constraint on its policy makers. Once they cross the threshold of partially defaulting, they will have established a precedent that the U.S. can default. Once the U.S. is no longer viewed as "exceptional" in the area of finance, there will be a risk premium. I suspect it would be modest, but over the long-term, even a 10 or 20 basis point premium can have a large impact.
Also, it should be noted that absent a self-inflicted partial default, the U.S. does not face an imminent debt crisis. In no way am I suggesting such an outcome is likely absent a fiscal consolidation agreement. That's where the deficit hawks get things wrong. The risk is medium-term and beyond. A timely and credible fiscal consolidation agreement gives the nation a transitional period in which it can stabilize and then reduce its debt relative to GDP. The absence of such a program will, in the medium-term and beyond, reduce the nation's flexibility and reduce the transitional period in which it can act to address its fiscal imbalances.