Calamus Translations

blog, but only for posting/list

An Arab Perspective on the American Federal Government’s Partial Shutdown

 

“[Obama] is completely convinced that the Islamic Republic in Tehran is more sensible and more interested in finding solutions than the Republican Party.”

Inspired by a very interesting NPR story on Chinese reactions to America's partial federal government shutdown, I thought English readers might be interested in seeing what the Arab press has to say about the issue. Here is Jihad Al-Khazen on the shutdown and American-Iranian diplomacy.


The first thing that is interesting from an American perspective is that he writes with a very accurate understanding of American government structures:

“The most recent steps in the budget dispute between the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans, and the Senate, which contains a Democratic majority, were the House of Representatives submitting a budget including a one-year delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act and the Senate rejecting that budget in under an hour and with no debate.”
 
الخلاف على الموازنة بين مجلس النواب الذي يسيطر عليه الجمهوريون ومجلس الشيوخ الذي يضم غالبية ديموقراطية انتهى بتقديم النواب موازنة تنص على تأخير تنفيذ قانون الرعاية الصحية الممكنة (بمعنى التي يستطيع المواطن تحمل نفقاتها) سنة، ورفض الشيوخ الموازنة هذه في أقل من ساعة، ومن دون مناقشة.

 

The most interesting point in the article for me is his comparison between Obama’s intransigence against the Republicans compared with his studied receptiveness to Rouhani’s recent overtures:

“And so American politics is in a place right now where President Obama is negotiating with the Ayatollah’s regime in Iran but not with the Republican Party. It appears that he is completely convinced that the Islamic Republic in Tehran is more sensible and more interested in finding solutions than the Republican Party.”
 
وهكذا فالسياسة الاميركية في وضع الآن خلاصته أن الرئيس اوباما يفاوض نظام آيات الله في ايران ولا يفاوض الحزب الجمهوري، إذ يبدو أنه على قناعة كاملة بأن الجمهورية الاسلامية في طهران أكثر تعقلاً ورغبة في إيجاد حلول من الحزب الجمهوري.

 

However, his real point is about politics in Arab countries:

“In the end, I can only offer a comparison: the Federal Government shut its doors and interest in the matter has exceeded interest in all other world news combined. Yet in some of our countries (some of them not all of them) governments have had their doors and minds shut for years and even decades and yet no one says anything about it, perhaps because those governments do less harm by not working than they do by working.”
 
لا أملك في النهاية سوى المقارنة، فقد أغلقت الحكومة الفيديرالية أبوابها، ففاق الاهتمام بالحدث أخبار العالم الأخرى مجتمعة. وفي بعض بلادنا (بعضها لا كلها) حكومات مغلقة الأبواب والعقول منذ سنوات وعقود ولا أحد يسأل، ربما لأن عدم عملها أقل ضرراً من أن تعمل.
 
Olivia Barrett