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Anyone who cares about the stability of the global financial system — and that should be all of us, given recent history — deserves to be very uncomfortable with the timing of this month’s government shutdown.

So far, the dispute has already prevented President Barack Obama from attending a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders this past weekend in Bali, Indonesia. And at the end of this week, it will be an overwhelming distraction for American officials and their foreign counterparts as central bankers and finance ministers gather in Washington, the epicenter of the U.S. budget standoff, for the annual meetings of the...

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