Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
It gives me great insight that the US does not know what it does and is staffed with near incompetent, ponderous people at the helm of affairs, if I have understood correctly.
While that is of course sometimes true, issue dependent, most often we know in three or four variations what should be done. Any one choice of a course of action would likely be quite successful. The problem arises when our political milieu which strives for compromise interjects itself and we end up picking feature of two or more of those COA and the combination, as is always true of compromise, will not be as good as any single would have been. When confronted with real -- and serious -- emergencies we can and do act decisively but under ordinary circumstance, i.e 98% or more of the time in our view, we tend to putter a bit. It's a design feature and, as I said, has worked fairly well in the past -- I (and others) are not sure it's going to be adequate for the future due to changes in the speed and ease of communication and travel.
It does leave me uncomfortable.
It leaves most of the world uncomfortable because what we do or do not do and how those things occur can have far reaching impacts.
Though I will confess that it was not the impression I got when I interacted with the US military personnel...I thought they knew their job and missions.
They did and do but they inhabit a closed circuit, demanding heirarchial society within the broader far more open and less 'disciplined' (for lack of a better word) American society, the one in which the government operates. *
But then since so many of you feel that the US policies are a huge sham and rudderless, so be it!
No one has said that, there is no sham (other than that practiced by politicians in every nation or that done deliberately by us to divert or disrupt...) and not rudderless, just with several steersmen.

Remember, that 'several steersman' bit is by design. Unlike Parliamentary democracies where the majority party(ies) ARE the government, here the parties most frequently split governance with all that implies. Many of us regret that check and balance thing intrudes on other nations but internally, we wouldn't change it.

As an aside, those aforementioned military folks { * ) really, really get frutrated with that competing steersmen bit -- not least due to the adverse impacts on organization and force structure, not to mention missions...
Maybe it is better for many nations in the world to change boats, while the going is still good!
I've been hearing that since 1947 when I was old enough to start paying attention. As I moved about the world in uniform and out over the next 50 years, I heard it again and again. Often from the same nations for a second or third time. I've heard that several times from Indians and IIRC the first time I heard something along that line from an Indian military person was from Major-General Indar Jit Rikhye in 1965 who was quite scathing about the US in general and its conduct in the Congo and Dominican Republic (both places he and I bumped into each other) in particular.

Of course, he later retired -- to the US -- and lived here until his death in 2007...