By Anjan Roy
This is all about what a super is. An internal politicking in the American capital —Washington— results in the overthrow of the US House Speaker and it puts countries across the world in a flutter.
US House speaker, Rep Kevin McCarthy, was thrown out of his position as House speaker by a thin margin of just two votes and that resulted in a freeze of the US legislature. This is unprecedented and apparently there is no one who knows what to do in this situation.
For outsiders it was an incomprehensible political event. Rep Kevin McCarthy was defeated and ousted from his post by fellow members of his own party, the Republican Party, which is more commonly referred to as the “Grand Old Party” or GOP. What a grand show of internal strife was the lead up to the ouster of its speaker.
In the history of the United States there has never been a constitutional crisis of this kind when the House is virtually headless without a speaker. While leaving after announcing his defeat in the vote, Rep McCarthy did not even adjourn the House and a Protem speaker had to adjourn it later.
But after that no one knows how to do get over the situation, according to reports appearing in leading US media. While some names are cropping up, there is little agreement for the next speaker. As a result, no legislative functions could be undertaken. This has resulted in multiple uncertainties.
The former speaker, Kevin McCarthy had to leave because of an agreement he had concluded in his tenure about continuing of the US government. He had agreed to a funding of the US government for another 45 days with the Democrats.
This had infuriated the Republicans because Rep McCarthy co-operated with the Democrats without insisting on deep cuts in government expenditure that is staple demand of the Republicans. But the agreement had one clause: that any of the representatives could bring in proposal for ousting the speaker.
Admittedly that is only on the surface. There are fierce subterranean clashes happening in the American polity ever since the phenomenon of Donald Trump appeared on the scene. This is really a clash of culture of Right-wing extremism with the moderate centralism of the mainstream.
Another crisis for the American is set to break open in November when the current agreement for funding would expire. But before that American polity must fill up the vacant seat of the speaker so that normal legislative functions could be resumed.
Without a speaker, another extension of funding the US government could not be worked out as the House cannot function without a speaker. Thus, the US government might be forced to shut down with consequences all over. The eventuality of something like this happening could lead to crash a of the financial markets.
Actually, it need to come to that. Only the uncertainty of a crisis could be enough to depress sentiments of the markets to torment the markets.
When the world economy is facing uncertainties, such an event could result in a crisis spreading quickly. The worst sufferers would be the poorer countries, already burdened with debts and shortages of food. The turmoil in financial markets could quickly spill over into large scale funds movements and gyrations in the exchange rates of currencies, which bring in the worst kind of disruptions.
But if one single person is elated with these developments, it is the beleaguered Russian President, Vladimir Putin. He is hoping the crisis in US constitutional functioning continue, with funding of the Ukrainian government from United States thrown out of gear.
Sensing this crisis, US President, Joe Biden, has already assured the Ukrainians of continuing support. However, that holds little water. When his government itself is facing a crisis of unprecedented dimensions about its funding, such comforting words do not give much of support. He has still given some funding out of US defence budget to tide over short term straits.
Seeing his opportunity at long last, Putin is heightening his aggression against Ukraine. He has stepped up pressure on Ukraine by mounting more fierce and unforgiving attacks on Ukraine. On Thursday, Putin’s war machine made some of the worst attacks on Ukrainian civilians.
The possibility of wavering support from America is bringing far greater pressure on the European Union to maintain its united front. Already, an extreme right wing candidate has been voted the next prime minister of Poland who had promised to “send not a single more bullet to Ukraine”. Poland has been one of the first to give full support to Ukraine against Russian aggression.
A topless US legislature, protracted foot-dragging by USA and fractures among the democratic front in Europe would embolden Russia which is pursuing its plan for reviving the old Soviet empire. That would also egg on China to pursue its professed games of pushing its boundaries out.
It is this last possibility that could also touch India and put fresh obstacles to the path being followed by the country. A Chinese push to unsettle the borders could drain away funds from more urgent work programmes like stepping up outlays for education and health care.
These issues could then act as a drag on the country’s growth and overall development. What will happen to India going more than a $5 trillion economy before 2030? All uncertain, because of the petty fogging games being played by narrow politicians inside Washington Beltway. (IPA Service)