Michael J. Glennon: National Security and Double Government
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As a senator running for the office of president, Barack Obama was a harsh critic of the national security policies of President George W. Bush. Yet, once elected president, Obama continued, and expanded, the security policies of his predecessor. Understanding this puzzle is the motivation behind Michael Glennon’s important book, National Security and Double Government.
To resolve this puzzle, Glennon turns to a framework provided by William Bagehot, a nineteenth century British businessman and journalist, in his analysis of the evolution of the English Constitution. Bagehot noted that a dual set of institutions had emerged in Britain. One set consisted of the “dignified institutions,” which included the monarchy and House of Lords. These institutions were “dignified in the sense that they provide a link to the past and excite the public imagination” (p. 5) through a range of public rituals and the associated pomp and circumstance. The second set were the “efficient institutions,”...
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