Was Putin Supporting Obama on the Shutdown or Trolling Him?

The World
How It Works
Oct. 7 2013 4:16 PM

Is the Shutdown Making Democracy Look Bad?

183562673
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) listens to US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) shortly before a family photo ahead of the gala dinner hosted for the leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on October 7, 2013.

Photo by mast irham/AFP/Getty Images

Asked about President Obama’s absence from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bali today, Vladimir Putin of Russia expressed his sympathy:

Putin told a CEO conference Monday on the summit’s sidelines, “If I were him I would not have come as well. Any leader of a state would have done the same.”

Advertisement

Of course, Putin would never be in this situation, partially because this is a uniquely American form of dysfunction, but mostly because the Russian legislature is controlled by his allies and the government periodically takes steps to make sure it stays that way.

Writing in the National Interest, Paul Pillar goes as far as to make the case that the shutdown will undermine the case for liberal democracy around the world. That probably goes a bit far, but when the secretary of state, filling in for the president, is reassuring allies at a major international forum where the heads of state of nearly every other participating country including China and Russia are present, that the United States “will move beyond this, and we will move beyond it with strength and determination," it’s clear we’re not at a high point for American soft power. 

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Is It Offensive When Kids Use Bad Words for Good Causes?

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data

Culturebox

The Real Secret of Serial

What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 23 2014 1:51 PM Is This the ISIS Backlash We've Been Waiting For?
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 23 2014 2:36 PM Take a Rare Peek Inside the Massive Data Centers That Power Google
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 23 2014 1:46 PM The Real Secret of Serial Has Sarah Koenig made up her mind yet? 
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.