Soft power, as they say, is the capacity to attract or influence merely through respect for who you are and what you do.
In British eyes at least, it looks like the US government shutdown might be taking its toll on American soft power. Congressional Republicans have refused to approve a budget unless the White House delays part of its healthcare reforms. Both sides are holding out but America's international reputation is clearly suffering in the meantime.
We asked a sample of British respondents to describe the US government shutdown in one word. Responses were near unanimously scathing, with ‘stupid’ as the most popular choice, followed by ‘ridiculous’, 'pathetic', ‘shambles’ and ‘farce’.
This is before we've even reached the stage of significant economic fall-out. As Director of America's National Economic Council, Gene Sperling has warned the global economy will see "an extraodinarily negative event" if the shutdown stops the US government from passing a bill to increase the debt ceiling in order to pay its way on 17th October.
The American economic model has taken substantial knocks in recent years. As the US Council on Foreign Relations warns today, the current shutdown threatens a similar knock to its political model and helps authoritarian societies to argue their way is better. Analysts have warned the consequences for America's economy could be felt for years. So too, it seems, for its international reputation