Commentators across Asia and in the US are busy writing obituaries for Barack Obama's potentially short-lived "pivot to Asia", which he announced just two years ago in Canberra.
The confrontation in Washington is crunching the economy just as it had begun to recover, and on the eve of the most important regular round of meetings on the world stage.
Because of the congressional stand-off about government funding, the President cancelled long-planned visits to Malaysia and The Philippines. Then yesterday he announced he would not attend the annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum in Bali or the East Asia Summit in Brunei.
So Obama's week in Asia has been transformed into another tortuous week in Washington.
Meanwhile, China's leader of just a year, President Xi Jinping, is filling the vacuum, with state visits to Indonesia and Malaysia, and attendance as the star turn at the APEC summit, while Premier Li Keqiang will make his debut appearance at the East Asia Summit.
The US will be represented at the meetings by Secretary of State John Kerry. Hillary Clinton might have made a half-acceptable stand-in for Obama, who lived in Indonesia from the ages of six to 10. But Kerry is widely perceived in Asia to have had a charisma bypass and to have dropped the Asia-pivot ball in preference for a return to hopeful Middle East shuttle diplomacy.
Leading Singaporean academic Simon Tay, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, warned yesterday that this week's events "could signal the unravelling of the US pivot to Asia".
"If they can furlough jobs, cease government services and risk a downgrade in the country's credit rating, American politicians may start finding it tough to be consistent in their political reassurances about US commitment towards faraway Asia," he said.
Lin Chong-pin, strategic studies professor at Taiwan's Tamkang University, said Asian countries - which were relieved when the US gave assurances that its attention and its military, diplomatic and economic resources were being refocused towards the region - will have to recalibrate their relationships with each other and with the US.
The US had seized the leadership of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement negotiations, in which Australia is also involved. This was already proving a big challenge because Washington wanted it completed by the end of the year, and because the conditions rule out China from participation.
The APEC summit was to have provided the key platform to summon the political will to push the TPP over the line, since the leaders of most of its would-be members will be in Bali.
Wang Yuzhu, director of the APEC Research Centre at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, lamented that "the US's aggressive promotion of TPP negotiations within the framework of APEC has to a large extent affected APEC's development direction". But promotion of the TPP appears unlikely to happen in Bali.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry and media are making hay this weekend while the sun is shining on their President's tour of Southeast Asia.
Xi addressed the parliament in Jakarta during his state visit to Indonesia, opening his speech by disarmingly asking the MPs "how are you?" in Indonesian. He then flew to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday for a state visit to Malaysia and will fly late today to Bali for the APEC summit, which Tony Abbott will also attend.
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has visited South Korea and Japan this week, but without any significant "announceables" and thus without attracting much public attention.
Chinese commentators, meanwhile, have been pouring out copy about China's burgeoning regional relationships, for their own and for Southeast Asian media.
China Daily's Luo Yongkun vaunted the strategic co-operation between China and Malaysia, which he said "is expected to boost the overall China-ASEAN strategic partnership", while Xi and Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono issued a pledge that they would work towards boosting trade to $85 billion by 2015.