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Debt deal as a cry for US modesty

Both the debt deal and the raucous caucus way it came into being calls for a new modesty about the US role in the world.

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The wrenching, hand-wringing way that Washington reached a debt deal – as well as the deal’s details – may have one good effect: It could force the United States to become more modest about its role as a leader.

Modesty is certainly in order after the circuslike way that Congress and the White House finally raised the debt ceiling and avoided a historic US default. In fact, the political catharsis could be America’s “Suez moment” – a realization that it isn’t the power it once was. (During a 1956 crisis over the Suez Canal, Britain and France had to admit they were no longer imperial powers that could easily dictate events.)

Even President Obama, a leader who prefers to “lead from behind,” threw up his hands at this example of “dysfunctional government.”

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