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State Department and Global Affairs

The debate over government budget allocations continues. Steve Torok compares the arguments and accompanying resentment with what goes on in the UN. General Michael Sullivan sent a long and detailed rebuttal of Paul Simon's budgetary argument, saying it was to be forwarded to him. Indeed, WAISers in general would have been overwhelmed by it. Michael took slight umbrage at my use of the word "Pentagonese". By that I simply meant the use of initials and abbreviations with which outsiders are unfamiliar. I tried to clarify by expanding some of them. At first I thought "Bil" was a misspelling for "bill", but then I concluded that it meant billion. I gather that Paul must have replied to Michael, since i have two love-letters; one from Paul saying how much he loves the Marines and one from Michael declaring his love for foreign service officers. I will post at least extracts from these touching documents.

Enter a third actor on the stage (or a fourth, if you count the UN): the CIA, played by Miles Seeley:

"Maybe I've got it all wrong, but while I sympathize with Mr. Brown and son and the other State people for the budget crunch they go through, it is my understanding that the President sets foreign policy. He has various departments and advisors to carry out the economic, military, and diplomatic portions that make a whole policy. State is supposed to be his diplomatic instrument, I thought, but does not have responsibility for all the other parts.

Of course, in reality the Government is so huge and there are so many departments and councils and committees involved, that a certain amount of chaos reigns. There are the usual competing interests, for ideas and money, and the usual bureaucratic sludge that slows policy initiatives to a crawl or destroys them altogether (JFK used to rant and rave about this.) In my days in the CIA, there was never any doubt that we were an Executive Branch agency and the President made our policy and was kept informed on how we did or did not carry it out- something most critics conveniently overlooked. The Director of Central Intelligence was supposed to oversee all intel activities, but of course he did not: the Pentagon's DIA and NSA were mostly independent.

I could cite more examples, but my point is that almost every department and agency had complaints about the system and how the money was allocated. I doubt that will ever change. And finally, poor Gov. Ridge. He is supposed to coordinate and control the efforts of many wildly different agencies, all protecting their turf. Lots of luck".

My comment: There seems to be a chorus: "We all need more money". I hope the debate will include someone speaking for the taxpayer, frustrated by all this expensive confusion. The rise and fall of empires is an important subject. Rudyard Kipling. viewed as the great poet of British imperialism, wrote his beautiful "Recessional", which foresaw the sunset of the that empire. I will look into the circumstances in which he wrote it.

We should not forget the precedent of Philip II of Spain, who ruled over the greatest empire the world has seen. The Grand Armada sailing against little dissident England failed. Philip was the arch-bureaucrat, His paperwork was that of the Washington DC of his day. I will look for studies of the efficiency or inefficiency of his administration.

Ronald Hilton - 10/30/01