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Washington stuck in political paralysis

(People's Daily Online)

16:18, August 06, 2012

The United States needs political reform, which will be a long and difficult process for sure. It is not easier to deal with a disunited U.S. government than with a government where Republicans and Democrats work as a team.

It would be naive to expect that a presidential election can break the bipartisan deadlock and establish a united and effective government. Is Wall Street Journal's comment of “no anticipation of breaking Washington deadlock” a warning to us that a less strong Washington will exist for a long time?

The U.S. presidential election has been heating up lately. Never in U.S. history had a president win re-election when the country’s unemployment rate is above 8 percent and economic growth rate is below 2 percent. Can Barack Obama make history again?

At present, apart from 10 swing states, the rest 40 U.S. states are either “red” or “blue”. Thus some scholars warn that the United States is facing the risk of being split apart again.

As to the relations between Democratic and Republican parties, reduction of complementary and antagonism on major issues lead to that a series of government policies are difficult to pass.

In terms of the relations between federal and state governments, state governments often refuse to implement major policies of the federal government. The severe antagonism between two parties gives rise to that U.S. government is unable to make decisions.

The serious social and economic problems in the United States are fundamentally caused by the national political system.

The United States has long been proud of its political system featuring two-party system, separation of powers and the federal system. However, the most serious trouble at present is that the so-called political polarization has gone to extremes, which is quite disruptive especially in economic downturn.

Fundamentally speaking, the United States is facing the institutional problems of capitalism, which results from its grabbing benefits from Cold War, active engagement in strategic expansion and lack of institutional reform. It is impossible to bridge political differences, unite the two parties and revive the economy simply through an election or a strong president.

Another possibility is that Washington will remain polarized and less strong for a long time. The period of late 20th century dominated by the United States has ended and it may take the world some time to get used to a new Washington.

We need to ponder over not only whether Washington can regain its strength but also why it is not as strong as it used to be. What do these changes mean to the United States and even the world?

Read the Chinese version: “政治瘫痪”何以成为美国热词, source: People's Daily, author: Zhong Sheng

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