The federal shutdown has caused the United States to standout as an international embarrassment at the gathering of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
President Barack Obama was to have attended, providing a Western outreach to Southeast Asian nations. Secretary of State John Kerry is sitting in for the president, who has his hands full attending to the federal shutdown because of Republicans’ unwillingness to vote on a continuing resolution to keep the government running.
Obama also has to attend to the little matter of getting Congress to raise the $16.7 trillion federal debt ceiling or see the high-flying U.S. economy sink like a lead balloon and take the rest of the world with it. Convincing Republicans that this is a major, global concern is part of the embarrassment that anyone representing U.S. interests abroad has to explain and live with.