Who’s in charge of the U.S. government?

Kevin Drum, writing for Mother Jones, defended President Obama against charges of being too supportive of the Saudi Arabian royal family.

Obama, like all US presidents, was heavily constrained by our foreign policy establishment, but in the end he did provide Saudi Arabia with less support than any previous president—and the Saudis made no secret of their intense dislike of Obama over this.  

I think [Glenn] Greenwald underrates just how hard this is in real life, and how much credit Obama deserves for taking even baby steps against the virtually unanimous opposition of the entire US government.

Notice what Drum is saying here.  The elected President of the United States is one thing.  The unelected actual government of the United States is another.  The first can influence, but not control, the second.

I think this is all too true, like Senator Schumer’s warning to Donald Trump to not mess with the intelligence agencies.  What does this say about American democracy?

LINKS

Trump’s Amoral Saudi Statement is a Pure Expression of Decades-Old “U.S. Values” and Foreign Policy Orthodoxies by Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept.

Donald Trump’s Statement on Saudi Arabia is a Lot Worse Than Just Removing a Mask by Kevin Drum for Mother Jones.

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2 Responses to “Who’s in charge of the U.S. government?”

  1. Fred Says:

    Realpolitik, anyone?

    Like

  2. whungerford Says:

    Push back from responsible government agencies against capricious acts of a US President may be a good thing. Suppose President Obama’s hostility toward SA had been irresponsible or self-serving? Should the Joint Chiefs passively accept decisions of a President who may be ignorant of military experience? Should DOJ passively agree to persecute the President’s political enemies? Institutional knowledge is even more important in government than for businesses and non-profits.

    Like

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