David Frum, National Review Online (US: New York)
If a president is to be an effective leader against terrorism, he (or she) must do more than express that hostility Ramesh talks about.
- He (or she) must decide that fighting terrorism really is his or her top foreign-policy priority - even when it conflicts with other things the government wants to do.
- He (or she) must appoint (and support) people who will enforce that decision on the bureaucracy.
- He (or she) must institute mechanisms to ascertain and confirm that the bureaucracy is following his decision.
- He (or she) must hold government accountable when it fails to follow.
Sounds easy, right? But incredibly difficult to do. The internal bureaucratic obstacles to effective war-fighting are severe, and they have repeatedly defeated President Bush. There are bureaucracies that will say, yes we must fight terror - but of course we must also support and sustain our allies in Saudi Arabia. There are secret bureaucracies that insist that unless you follow exactly our advice, we will leak against you and inflict horrible political damage. There are bureaucracies that will say, right behind you Mr. President, but of course we must also consider important oil leasing contracts. And there are bureaucracies that say, certainly, certainly - but we must engage the states that support terror, not confront them. It will take more than declared "hostility" to terror to manage such bureaucracies effectively. It will take skill and cunning in the management of refractory government agencies.