Global Politics

Pentagon takes the lead on diplomacy

KD says the Pentagon overshadows the State Dept in part because it's just bigger: The Pentagon is larger, it can react quickly, it has resources, so whenever there's a conflict they're the easiest people to get in there. and the threat we perceive from a vague, non-governmental source is something that requires all kinds of weapons, military, diplomatic, economic. And the fact is the military can move in most quickly and with the most resources. What's happening is that a lot of people would like to institutionalize that role and give the military and equal if not greater role and that makes a lot of people nervous because they believe and under the law it is the State Dept's responsibility. (Who is for and against codifying this?) Well you have the Foreign Assistance Act from the early 60s which says the State Dept is the lead agency in carrying out foreign diplomacy and that includes military assistance programs. The rationale is that military assistance is part of our foreign diplomacy so it ought to be the diplomats who decide when and where we want to use that instrument of foreign policy. (So is Secretary Rice in favor of transferring these responsibilities?) She hasn't said that. The administration and the State Dept has acquiesced in is to have piles of money and let the military commanders decide how that money is spent�some of it may be for training, for humanitarian projects, for economic projects, things formerly under the jurisdiction of the State Dept. (And is that so dangerous?) It depends on who you think should be the lead actor in formulating our foreign policy. The question is, do we want to present a more military face to our foreign policy?