Monday, October 17, 2011

Domestic and Foreign Policy Don't Come Together Until the President

I have been reading The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation by Philip Shenon and posted on it initially and with a follow up.

I was reminded reading the book that the U.S. government has a fundamental divide between domestic and foreign affairs. In the case of the 9/11 intelligence the divide between the FBI's domestic charter and the CIA's foreign charter meant that information that might have been used to prevent the attack was never shared. Indeed, it appears that the National Security Council (the foreign policy advisory unit to the President) under President Bush didn't see that it had a charter that called for it to deal with foreign based terrorist attacks on the United States even after the terrorists arrived in the United States.

Even stranger, Shenon suggests that the Vice President, in the absence of the President, did not have the legitimate authority under the Constitution to order a plane attacking the White House (where he was at the time) to be shot down.

The separation of domestic and foreign policy might have made sense in 1789, but in our small world undergoing globalization seems to make little sense today. We need government in which all our agencies see both domestic and international aspects of their programs. Health, education, energy, intelligence and law enforcement all have both domestic and international aspects.

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