America's self-inflicted debt limit crisis is over for now

The US has avoided a potential default on its debts after Congress approved a debt deal Photo: Reuters

It cost America $48 Billion. It involved closing down the US government for 16 days.

We witnessed an outbreak of insanity in Washington and politically suicidal instincts by Republicans.

It achieved nothing.

At least this self-inflicted crisis is over. The Senate voted overwhelming for a deal.

The House of Representatives was more reluctant but went along. But only for now.

Republicans are like an army in disarray but with every intention of regrouping and fighting another day, at a time and place of their choosing.

The agreement approved overnight on Capitol Hill, and signed by the President, kicks the can down the road. It actually solves nothing.

So it is entirely possible this dysfunctional American political system will produce another spasm of poisonous partisanship in January.

In Washington the politicians are already playing a game of winners and losers.

It's clear the winner is President Obama. He held his nerve. He vowed not to negotiate with a Republican gun to his head.

His second term, that looked so imperiled by his indecision over Syria, suddenly has new possibilities.

With Republicans on the ropes, maybe he can next secure a victory on immigration reform.

Then Obama can make a heck of a claim to an historic Presidency: ending the Afghan and Iraq wars, overseeing an economic recovery, introducing far-reaching health care reforms, and forging a new deal for immigrants.

So after the paralysis and ineptitude in Congress the focus returns to President Obama. He has three years left in the White House.

It's an old saying at the White House that no crisis should be allowed to go to waste. The Republicans over-played their hand disastrously.

Let's now see if this President can gain some fresh momentum and show a ruthless drive for a meaningful legacy.