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There's a wonderful article about the difference between diplomacy's domestic political setup versus the pentagon's: The Politics of National Security Budgets by Gordon Adams for The Stanley Foundation. The crux of which is exactly what you suggest, that the Pentagon has been highly organized and disciplined in its relations with Congress...and with congressional pressure as well (read the paper), security considerations get lots of play whichever way you turn.

Adams' paper is definitely worth a read.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Sat Jan 31st, 2009 at 01:16:15 PM EST
Having worked for both the Departments of Defense and State, I have heard this/Adams' arguments for years, and I agree that diplomacy will always lose the battle for resources.  The deck is stacked so many ways, but it's not the military's fault particularly.  It's the way the cards are dealt.  Dept of State has no constituency while the military has constituency in every State where there is a military base or tentacle of the military industrial complex.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Jan 31st, 2009 at 01:55:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More specifically, the diplomats do have a constituency. But that constituency doesn't vote in US elections, and for the most part does not bribe US congresscritters. On account of that constituency being mostly furriners who speak funny.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jan 31st, 2009 at 04:13:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
actually, State tries to make common cause with foreign nationals living in the US. But, I agree and have made this point myself. Other than AIPAC, Cuban-Americans in south Florida, and the Hispanic community in the southwest, there aren't any foreign policy constituencies in the US.

Leaving the field open for business, security types, etc.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Sat Jan 31st, 2009 at 06:21:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are a few powerful State Dept constituencies in the US, but most can be classified as big US/international business interests and their focus is very narrow, totally self centered and of no real benefit to State when it comes to budget time.

The other card dealt DoD is excessive staffing that can be devoted to selling the Defense cause. What do hundreds of senior military officers do when they arent somewhere fighting a war.  They sit at a desk in the Pentagon and perfect the DoD budget and its presentation to Congress, et al.  I'm told the annual DoD presentation is spit and polish spectacular, whereas State Dept sends up an a few egg heads in crumpled suits and they just scratch their heads when asked a question.  Exaggeration, probably, but there is likely more than a grain of truth in the comparison.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Jan 31st, 2009 at 10:10:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the 2010 budget cycle has begun. Or it will by the first week of Feb. Or it should, frankly I don't know how it works during a transition, and I can't imagine the Obama team having a proposal put together so quickly. Likewise, I can't imagine anyone taking a leftover Bush administration budget proposal seriously.

But SecDef Gates has repeatedly called for more diplomacy, and that should help this round.

Time for some research, I'll keep you posted.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Sun Feb 1st, 2009 at 01:33:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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