World welcomes US budget deal but fears remain

LONDON – The world’s disbelief at the political impasse in the U.S. turned to cautious relief Thursday as the country stepped back from the brink of default. But fears remain about another possible shutdown – and, even worse, a possible default – early next year.

At the same time, experts and foreign officials warned that Washington’s credibility had been damaged – a point President Barack Obama echoed.

The deal may assure only a few months of financial order, and the prospect of another possible crisis early in January when the agreement lapses leaves many wondering about U.S. government stability. The short-term nature of the deal makes many uneasy.

“It’s a huge threat to the leadership of an indispensable power,” Klaus Scharioth, Germany’s ambassador to Washington from 2006 until 2011, told The Associated Press. “That’s bad news for all of us. It’s bad news for Europeans because we’re the closest partners of the U.S., but it’s bad news for the rest of the world too if they don’t exercise the power that they have.”

He expressed the hope that American democracy can right itself in time to prevent another disaster once the current deal expires in January.

“The answer has to come from within,” he said. “I hope the current situation is bad enough that people realize it cannot continue.”