• D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG
rotating globe
  • D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
Semafor Logo
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG


Updated Oct 5, 2023, 11:34am EDT
politicsNorth America
icon

Semafor Signals

Supported by

Microsoft logo

What the world thinks of Washington’s political turmoil

Matt Gaetz
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
PostEmailWhatsapp
Title icon

The News

Internal Republican chaos is shaking global confidence in American democracy.

As the GOP attempts to clean up its own mess in the now-leaderless House of Representatives after ousting Speaker Kevin McCarthy, U.S. allies are worried about what the discord means for upholding international commitments.

But global adversaries are also carefully eyeing Washington to see how new GOP leadership could further flame rivalries.

icon

SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

“Is democracy in the USA, a role model for many democracies around the world, still viable?” Roland Nelles asks in Germany’s Der Spiegel. The potential election of Donald Trump could mean a further backsliding of democratic norms, but the ousting of McCarthy — which Nelles describes as a “coup” — shows the system is ”rotting from the inside." Checks and balances are essentially non-existent, he opines, suggesting that the very idea of cooperation and compromise rooted in modern-day liberal parliamentarism is also at risk. Nelles warns that a system in which the balancing of different interests is seen as treason is no longer a true democracy. “What hubris or stupidity lies behind the assumption that one’s own opinion alone can bring salvation?” Nelles writes of Republicans who voted to boot McCarthy.

McCarthy’s ousting will not drastically change current U.S.-Sino relations, writes China academic Li Dahua. The leading candidates to replace McCarthy are all ”perfect China hawks," Li writes, but they do not hold any more radical anti-China views than McCarthy. But some in China believe that internal political discord in the U.S. could incite more conflict with Beijing. “The more chaotic and disordered the United States is, the more likely it is that the United States will unleash its mania in the direction of China,” writes Hu Xijin, the former editor-in-chief of Chinese state tabloid, the Global Times.

U.S. Congress consensus on Ukrainian issues can still be reached despite political instability, writes Oleksandr Khara, the former director of Ukrainian NGO Maidan of Foreign Affairs. That’s because House Republicans need to rely on Senate Republicans to propel any agenda, and support for Ukraine still remains strong in the upper chamber. What is more unpredictable for Kyiv is a potential Trump presidency, given his outspoken criticism of U.S. funding for the war, Khara writes. While Kyiv might not be able to influence pro-Trump lawmakers, it should aim to win over their voters through advocacy and activism to prevent a reduction or stoppage of aid to Ukraine.

Semafor Logo
AD