President Obama is busy negotiating with the Republican leadership in the US Congress. The issue at hand is that the American debt ceiling is fixed by law, and if not raised by August 2 the United States will default on its debts. In other words, Uncle Sam needs to borrow more money now.
The Republican leaders recognize the problem, but in an election year, they want to get something for their votes. Having promised to put the American fiscal house in order, the Tea Party followers are not going to let this moment pass even if it means taking the country to the brink of going under, or even going under.
In return for their votes on raising the debt ceiling, the Republicans are asking for major cuts in the US budget, particularly in favorite Democratic social programs such as Social Security and Medicare. (Heaven forbid they consider drastic reductions in military spending!) If the President is to win on raising the debt ceiling and eventually closing tax loopholes if not raising taxes for the wealthy and corporations, then he will have to bite the bullet on reducing certain favorite Democratic programs. That's what negotiations are all about. No side wins 100%, as in favorite American sports such as basketball, baseball and football. Each side must give a little. There should be no winners and losers in a true negotiation.
While we watch the playing out of the negotiations and the different tactics by both sides, it is helpful to remember that the basis of negotiations involves the ability to compromise and work toward the general good. Negotiating should be done in good faith, with both sides willing to compromise in the interest of all. Whether it be in the Middle East, Bern or Geneva, the ability to empathize and reach consensus is at the heart of all diplomacy and politics. This is not at all evident if one follows closely "negotiations" between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Nagorno Kharabak, Russia-Georgia on South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Algeria-Morocco on the Western Sahara, Turkey-Armenia on "genocide" or Moldova on Transnistria. A wise diplomat once told me that there are no frozen conflicts (the elegant term is protracted conflicts), there are only frozen solutions. Not to be negative, celebrations are taking place for the newly independent country of South Sudan after years of struggle and finally some form of compromise,
But still, I wonder how and if the members of the American government will compromise on the deficit and debt issues in the interests of all.