The whole world looked on as the United States embarrassed itself for three weeks with its government shutdown. China, the only other superpower, profited from the domestic dispute -- but as Washington's largest creditor, it also has cause for concern.
A little before 11 a.m. last Wednesday, a newly crowned Miss America announced her presence at the White House via Twitter. At the time, most US politicians had nothing on their minds except their country's budget conflict, with Democrats and Republicans in Congress unable to agree on a new national debt limit for nearly three weeks.
Then, on Wednesday, Congress was set to begin a decisive round of voting to save the country and the global economy. Even as television commentators feverishly awaited the results of the Congressional vote, this year's Miss America, 24-year-old Nina Davuluri, tweeted: "Had the pleasure of having a conversation with President @BarackObama in the Oval Office today!"