In the seat of American power, power spends most of its time on its seat. That's because, as Henry Kissinger once observed, the greatest force at work in America's capital is inertia.
It handily trumps partisanship and also leaves the more positive drivers of action that one might hope for in a government -- such as leadership, creativity, or moral courage -- coughing and wheezing in the dust.
One clear, compelling illustration of this is on display in this issue ofForeign Policy. Shawn Brimley and Paul Scharre's thoughtful and thought-provoking visual feature, "Ctrl+Alt+Delete: Resetting the U.S. Military," asks the sensible question: What would the military look like if we were to design it today from scratch? Certainly, the piece observes, the military would not include the breathtaking redundancies, efficiency-killing bureaucracy, and obsolete systems of today's bloated defense apparatus. You might disagree with the feature's conclusions about what a right-sized, technologically up-to-date, doctrinally sound military, conceived and prepared to ensure America's safety and worldwide interests, might look like. That's perfectly reasonable. But it is impossible not to conclude that the feature's call to debate what the military should look like and then implement the agreed-upon changes makes sense.
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