As the U.S. government creaked toward a shutdown Monday, the world looked on with a little anxiety and a lot of dismay, and some people had trouble suppressing smirks.

"To be honest, people are making a lot of jokes," said Justice Malala, a political commentator in South Africa.

Over the years, Malala said, South Africa often has been lectured about good governance by the U.S. as well as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which are heavily influenced by Washington.