Small Wars Journal

Civilians Reassert Themselves in US Foreign Policy

Civilians Reassert Themselves in US Foreign - Dexter Filkens, New York Times

... The reassertion by civilian leaders is being led by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has promised to restore the State Department's centrality in the making of foreign policy. In the first six years of the Bush presidency, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld dominated the administration's interactions with the world, pushing aside Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. Likewise, in places like the Balkans and Iraq, the military began undertaking activities once reserved for diplomats, like overseeing reconstruction and development projects. Mrs. Clinton says she not only wants to take back those former responsibilities, but to restore diplomacy's primary role in resolving crises. One of the centerpieces of that effort would be Iran, which the West fears is rapidly developing the capacity to build nuclear weapons.

She has a long way to go. According to an article in the January-February issue of Foreign Affairs by J. Anthony Holmes, there are more musicians playing in military bands than there are diplomats working around the globe. The Pentagon's budget is 24 times larger than the State Department's and Usaid combined, Mr. Holmes found. For the recent trip to the subcontinent, Mr. Holbrooke flew on a Pentagon jet...

More at The New York Times.