Paul Pillar at The National Interest on how the shutdown affects America's reputation overseas. Pillar, currently a professor at Georgetown after a 28-year-long career at the CIA, writes, "A concern that commentators already have expressed is that there will be increased reluctance of foreign states to negotiate agreements and commitments with a government whose own house is so out of order. The concern is valid." A "major ingredient" of America's soft power is having a liberal democracy that appeals to foreign citizens. Pillar cautions, "Totalitarian regimes have won admiration for making trains run on time. Now in Washington things are not only not running on time but not running at all." Anne Applebaum, a Washington Post columnist who focuses on the development of civil society, tweets, "Yet another person agrees with me: 'At stake is the image of the political system the US represents.'" Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, recommends the piece.
David Carr at The New York Times calculates the worth of one tweet. Carr asks, "How much could a single post on Twitter be worth? How about $1 billion? Or maybe $6 billion? If the post comes from the fingertips of Carl C. Icahn, the hyperactive hedge fund manager, an argument could be made that there’s gold in those 140 characters." Carr calculates that in three tweets about Apple, Icahn raised the company's stock value by $18 billion. Carr calls Icahn everyone's "crazy uncle" and insists, "Using business news outlets and now social media, Mr. Icahn is able to make corporate boards quake and chief executives tremble because they know he will say anything, and he often does." So "no wonder people are drooling over the Twitter I.P.O. Turns out that in the right hands, Twitter can be a magical wealth-creation machine powered mostly by hot air." Ken Thomas, a political reporter at the Associated Press, tweets, "Smart piece by @carr2n on how Twitter can move the financial markets."
Sen. John McCain at The Wall Street Journal memorializes Vietnam's Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap. Giap, who died last Friday, had a reputation of being the "Red Napoleon." McCain explains, "The U.S. never lost a battle against North Vietnam, but it lost the war. Countries, not just their armies, win wars. Giap understood that. We didn't. Americans tired of the dying and the killing before the Vietnamese did. It's hard to defend the morality of the strategy. But you can't deny its success." McCain met Giap twice — once after his capture in 1967, and once for an interview in the 1990s. Giap told McCain during their interview, "you were an honorable enemy." Benji Sarlin, a political reporter at MSNBC, tweets, "Amazing piece by @SenJohnMcCain on his experiences with Vo Nguyen Giap, top Vietnamese general who just died." Spencer Ackerman, the U.S. national security editor at The Guardian, concurs: "Excellent, honest & statesmanlike reflection by @SenJohnMcCain on General Giap. Can't have been easy to write."
Brian Beutler at Salon on the GOP's incoherent gameplan. In a post recommended by Democratic strategist and pundit Donna Brazile, Beutler explains, "Republicans are attempting, probably hopelessly, to reverse the optics of the government shutdown by attacking Democrats for not providing special treatment to its most conspicuous functions." But this strategy "is only about one inch deep." So "the GOP’s current position thus boils down to to the laughable idea that nothing’s more important than reopening federal monuments, funding clinical trials, and spending money on veterans services for two weeks, until we breach the debt limit and they have to be shut down again." For all this, they hold Obama accountable.
James Surowiecki at The New Yorker explains how Obamacare helps small businesses. Ted Cruz calls Obamacare the "No. 1 job killer," but "Obamacare may well be the best thing Washington has done for American small business in decades." The ACA will actually make it easier for people to start their own companies, "which has always been a risky proposition in the U.S., because you couldn’t be sure of finding affordable health insurance." And "even more important, Obamacare will help small businesses with health-care costs, which have long been a source of anxiety." Surowiecki concludes, "our small-business sector is among the smallest in the developed world, and has one of the lowest rates of self-employment. One reason is that we’ve never had anything like national health insurance. In a saner world, changing this would be a reform that the 'party of small business' would celebrate." Economist Mark Thoma recommends the piece.