Government Shutdown Has Potential To Damage US Security, Credibility

Traveling in Asia, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the United States would be “able to fulfill our mission of keeping” the nation secure and to “”fulfill our mission of maintaining the alliances we have and our troops in South Korea [and] Japan, and other treaty obligations.”

However, he also cautioned that the government shutdown is harming both the credibility of the United States and our ability to protect our security.

Hagel, a former US senator, said the “dark cloud of uncertainty” was impacting “our missions around the world. It affects our allies questioning our commitment” and casts “a very significant pall over America’s credibility to our allies.”

Other members of the national security team offered a darker picture. Appearing before Congress, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said the longer the shutdown continued the more difficult it would be to ensure the nation’s safety.

“I think this, on top of the sequestration cuts that we’re already taken …  seriously damages our ability to protect the safety and security of this nation  and its citizens,” Clapper said.

The inability of the Congress and the Administration to reach agreement on the budget also holds the potential to harm US credibility abroad some assert.

The Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum says the current government shutdown is not occurring in a vacuum, but is being watched closely by allies and foes worldwide. The shutdown may show the global community how disagreements can occur without violence, but only fools would hold the view that the damage being done to our credibility is not serious.

“But because Americans, even irrational Americans, no longer use violence to achieve their goals, and because this process is still — just barely — taking place within the boundaries of those institutions and because the protagonists still observe the language — if not always the spirit — of the law, the result is peaceful. That is indeed impressive. But it is a narrow achievement.

“Americans are paying a high price for this week’s events. The cost of shutting down the federal government, for a few days or even a few weeks, pales in comparison to the damage done to the credibility of the United States abroad — and the credibility of democracy itself,” Applebaum writes from Warsaw, Poland.

Fears were also growing on Wall Street about a protracted shutdown and the possibility that neither Congress, nor the White House would compromise and agree to raising the debt limit, which will be necessary on October 17.

“The political wrangling came as Eric Rosengren, the Boston Federal Reserve  president, said that a possible disruption in the collection of reliable  government statistics due to the shutdown could further delay a “taper” of the Fed’s monthly $85bn bond-buying programme,” according to The Financial Times.

“It could ‘put out further into the future the time when we can get a real assessment’ on the state of the economy,’ he said. ‘It would make me less willing to remove accommodation until we had good data.'”






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