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James Dennin, Kapitall: Obama has missed two major trips abroad as a result of the shutdown. Is it good news for China?
As debate swirls about the impact of the government shutdown – there's one country not adding much to the chorus of international leaders criticizing the impasse. In fact, despite the world's interconnectedness, some people are suggesting one country is actually benefitting from Washington dysfunction.
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One of the byproducts of the shutdown is that President Obama isn't traveling as much. He cancelled a trip to Belgium to meet with economic leaders in the Eurozone, and he recently cancelled a trip to Indonesia to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APECS).
Now, while no one is saying that Obama has his priorities out of whack (it's safe to say most people want him here until the budget crisis is resolved), there could be some long-term consequences from missing out on these obligations.
For instance, the trip to Brussels was meant to finish hammering out a trade deal – generating jobs and revenue on both sides of the Atlantic. The EU's ambassador to the US even tweeted, "The EU is ready when you are!" Officials in the Obama administration insist that the deal will go forward once the furlough ends and the government can afford to staff a full team of negotiators.
However, today Obama is missing another important trip, which will be harder to reschedule. The APECS is continuing without him, with China enjoying a much larger seat at the table. Part of America's strategy in the East has been to counter the growing influence of China – which is harder for America to do without it's President in the room.