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To what extent is US national security policy determined by "bureaucratic tribal warfare"?

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  1. To what extent is US national security policy determined by bureaucratic tribal warfare?
  2. Battling bureaucracies
  3. Bureaucratic tribal warfare refined

In his book, 'The Power Game', Hedrick Smith speaks of the foreign policy game in the United States as a 'bureaucratic tribal warfare', using tribal as a metaphor to describe the fierce fights which take place in Washington DC. The notion of the bureaucracy emerged in the early 20th century, with the work of a German sociologist, Max Weber, who described the process of 'rationalization' in Western administrations. For Weber, the term was positive, but it now has created negative implications, for it evokes red tape, lengthy procedures and complexity. The machinery of the US national security policy is indeed bureaucratic, since it involves many agencies and governmental departments, and unlike other Western countries, where foreign policy is run by professional diplomats, political appointees shape the US diplomacy. Since 1945, the United States has asserted itself as the 'policeman' of the world and has generated a huge bureaucracy, along with an enormous military power. The National Security Act of 1947, under Truman, is a watershed date, from which the US never escaped its global responsibilities, even when it was willing to back out.

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