US Congress

In the wake of the revelations about the National Security Agency, some commentators borrowed from Turkey the idea of a “deep state” – an extensive, shadowy and anti-democratic coalition of interests – to explain the condition of US government. The parallel was typically used to depict a furtive, unaccountable security apparatus. But the idea may also have relevance for trying to understand the origins of the government shutdown. Read more

I never thought I would say this but Barack Obama could have learnt something from George Osborne. When the chancellor pursued Mark Carney to be the next Bank of England governor he did so in a way that was persistent, obsequious and stealthy. In contrast, the White House’s approach to perhaps its most important economic decision of its second term has been marked by a lack of conviction and political nous. Not for the first time, an introverted White House ran aground on an extroverted Capitol Hill. Read more

In the UK, the House of Commons vote to reject action revealed these gaps through a baroque display of incompetence. In the US, the House of Representatives could be set to affirm these divisions. And given that the House is inherently more attuned to US public opinion, it might show us something about American society, too. That is unless Mr Obama can persuade Congress otherwise. Read more