Sunday, October 12, 2014

President Obama Doesn't Trust the Federal Government?

Rather than allow the foreign policy portions of our vast federal government carry out their foreign policy duties after being given an objective, the Obama administration has centralized that decision-making power in the White House--and then watched as that choke point retarded our decision-making and pushed tactical decisions all the way to the top. That's effed up.

Behold the Glory of Hope and Change!

The National Security Council staff, which coordinates U.S. defense, diplomatic and intelligence policy from inside the White House, has nearly doubled in size on his watch. It has gone from about 50 under George H.W. Bush to 100 under Bill Clinton, 200 under George W. Bush and about 370 under Obama.

Decisions small as well as large are made at the White House, often with scant influence from the Pentagon and State Department and their much larger teams of analysts and advisers. Senior Cabinet officials spend long hours in meetings debating tactics, not long-term strategy, the officials said. ...

In some ways, Obama’s closer control and the frequent marginalization of the State and Defense departments continues a trend begun under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

But under Obama, the centralization has gone further. It was the White House, not the Pentagon, that decided to send two additional Special Operations troops to Yemen.

And this centralization has choked our decision-making:

Sometimes, this more centralized White House system becomes overwhelmed.

“There’s a real choke point,” said Michele Flournoy, who served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the No. 3 Pentagon civilian, in Obama’s first term. “There’s only so much bandwidth and there’s only so much they can handle at one time. So, things start to slow down.”

Worse, this reason for making decisions at the White House is horrifying:

The White House, not the State Department, now oversees many details of U.S. embassy security - a reaction to Republican attacks over the lethal 2012 assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. A decision to extend $10 million in nonlethal aid to Ukraine also required White House vetting and approval.

Ponder that. The reason wasn't that protecting our diplomatic staff was so important that it could not be left to the State Department. The reason given was the reaction to that loss of life. That's disgusting.

But really ponder that the man who set out to restore Americans' faith in the competency of the federal government does not trust large portions of that federal government to do their jobs.

UPDATE: An update to the story corrects the staff number. The staff has gone to 270 under this president.