By Tirthankar Mitra
Without going into the veracity of the statement that whether America sneezes, the world catches cold holds good now, the existing affairs indicate that all is not well in the US Senate. It finds itself immobilised in an internal dissension.
The resulting dysfunction could not have come at a worst time when an unexpected conflicts rage in West Asia and not to forget Ukraine. The source of the turmoil can be traced to that point of time when to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy eight of the 221 House Republicans joined Democrats.
When decisive action was needed, it left a power vacuum. The House of Representatives have drifted leaderless for nearly two weeks. Its fallout is felt across the world. The endeavour to oust McCarthy which is to all intents and purposes a power struggle has held up vital legislative action.
The sweep of the consequences of this situation encompasses declaring stronger support for Israel, an ally , in its ongoing battle with Hamas. It does not leave out the issue of extending more aid for an embattled Ukraine.
The impact of the dysfunction presents a challenge to America too. For it eroded the confidence of the Americans in their elected representatives. It is indeed a matter of concern for the entire democratic structure of the country. The facts speak for themselves.
Two thirds of the respondents of a recent survey do not believe that the men/women representing their interests in the Senate can set aside their political differences for public good. Half of respondents are in doubt whether the Congress can pass laws, its most fundamental function.
Jim Jordan ‘s nomination as a Speaker is a pointer to the deep divisions within the Republican Party. He is a hardliner; the uncertainty surrounding his support pops up the question, about whether in these troubled times he can lead the House.
Over the past one year, the US Congress has been in the throes of a series of self-created crisis. McCarthy’s removal is the latest among them.
The list includes bringing the federal government near the brink of defaulting on its 31.4 trillion US dollar debt and narrowly averting the fourth partial government shutdown in a decade. The situation has not in any way burnished American reputation the world over.
Law makers from Republicans and Democrats have expressed their support for Israel. But the actions or lack of it on the part of the leaderless House is yet display anything worth writing home about.
On the other hand, it is fuelling a perception of American indecision. There were men and women in Washington helming the Cold War who were cock-a-hoop at the disintegration of erstwhile Soviet Union and their country’s triumphant emergence.
In the existing state of affairs, they do not glorify themselves or their country. Their actions bely their claim about their country’s status as the leader of an unipolar world. Some of the decision makers in Washington are aware of the indecisive course of action. And they are aware of the smirks too.
In the apt words of the Republican House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Michael McCaul “The world is on fire. Our adversaries are watching what we do and quite frankly they like it “. If the nail had been needed to be hit on the head, this is it. McCaul seems to voice the feelings of Hamas leadership. No prizes for guessing how his thinking aloud would resonate in camp of the embattled Israelis, an US ally.
Russian invasion to Ukraine is nearing 20 months. The dysfunction in American policy which is marked by the absence of a clear and unified voice for quite sometime now sends a wrong signal to Ukraine too. (IPA Service)