Faster, Please!

The State Department and the President

It’s become a standard theme:  the State Department makes its own foreign policy, whatever the president might desire.  And most people think this is something new.  It isn’t.  Take a look at this fascinating excerpt from Clark Clifford’s memories of his years in Washington.  It deals with President Harry Truman’s decision to recognize the State of Israel.  The State Department didn’t want to do it, and on at least one occasion took direct action to thwart Truman.  He was stunned and depressed, he said that State had made him look like a liar.  And we’re talking about sixty years ago.

As Max Weber once said, we are living in the age of bureaucracy, and only the strongest, toughest leaders can make the bureaucrats enforce the leaders’ decisions.