They just simply can not have a major impact on making decisions. They don’t have enough time. Don’t have enough energy. There are so many questions (problems), each of which they need to think carefully (and also to understand the origins of each problem – it takes a lot of time to do research). May be one person can deal with 3, or 4 problems. But there are many more (and every day). They have a lot of activities in which they must be present and which occupy a large part of their time (I suppose that they can’t do carefully thinking during these activities). Sometimes they even don’t have time to sign all the documents (and of course do not have time to read these documents completely).
So I think that it’s just impossible for them to play a crucial role in the life of a nation.
From whom depend these decisions? I don’t know. May be their assistants (administration, etc.).
And there is another reason for this. There are a lot of people who are more powerful than the president/ministers. These people will not miss the opportunity to influence state questions (problems) important to them.
I think that you’re expecting the C-levels to be micromanagers.
The C-levels set the policies and the rules. Middle managers then go into the minutiae. Eventually, a lot of decisions are taken by minions who don’t have “manager” anywhere near their job title, but here’s the thing: deciding whether to plant a blue petunia or a white petunia on the corner of a square of polychromatic petunias is neither the job of the Minister of the Environment, nor that of the local Parks Manager, it’s the job of the gardener who’s there making little holes and planting petunias.
Even the big decisions are generally made by people who are unelected. Presidents tend to deal with whatever interests them unless there’s a crisis, and even in crisis situations a President may only take a lead role publicly while in private letting the important decisions be made by others who are more suited to it than he is. Even in war, a President generally just says, “sic 'em” and the brass decide how it’s done. Things generally don’t go well when the President does more than broadly define the mission.
While letting the people who actually know stuff make decisions is better for governing, it’s not very good for democracy when it goes too far. It’s interesting that we’ve changed how we view government’s responsibilities, but we haven’t changed our political system to adjust. We still elect one man President as if he’s supposed to manage all those agencies and make decisions for them all. And our Congress doesn’t understand most of what it legislates on, and often neither reads nor writes the bills they vote on! It’s an 18th century political system on top of an unelected supergovernment.
We also have layers of government, usually with clearly defined responsibilities. Federal government handles the common defense, States take care of the roads, Counties manage land use, Townships do something or another.
For sure, our local District Attorney will have a greater impact on my life than the new President.
I think you’re wrong. Some Presidents have the charisma to influence a nation with just their words, to influence the populace and/or influence the inner circle of top cabinet officials and advisers. Some leaders will have this power, some won’t.
In the case of the U.S. President, the presence on the world stage of the U.S. as World’s Policeman gives any given U.S. Pres. huge power. Obama ordered on operation on foreign soil to apprehend bin Laden. Leaders of 2nd-rate countries? — they couldn’t do that. Decisions like the 1991 and 2003 invasions of Iraq are finally taken by a single man — the Buck really does stop there. And not just Go-to-war decisions, but many high level decisions in diplomacy, trade agreements, military deployments, appointments, domestic attitudes, etc. are driven and directed by a single man, at least in the U.S.
(Only a few very top people in a country could start a war, and mostly they’d have little motive. There are only a very few Heads of Government with the prestige and power to start a war on another continent. By this measure — Obama, Putin and maybe half a dozen others have a lot more power and responsibility than almost all other world leaders.)
I want to ask you about the first sentence quoted above. Who are these more powerful people, Leonid Semyonov ?
The president and ministers are people not related with each other. Each by itself.
On the other hand there are wealthy powerful “clans” (“families”), owners of corporations (not just one or two, a lot more). They all have an influence on some of interesting them problems (using their people in administration, etc). In general, all together, these “clans” have an impact on the decisions. Not all decisions, of course. But on many of them.
The problem is that the president/ministers simply don’t have time to learn about problems (even just most important of them) and to make good decisions. Someone else does these decisions for them.
I think, even go-to-war decisions are made by other people. President just pronounces them.
Technically, the President needs congressional approval to do anything. I understand in practice this isn’t always the case. The President can engage in war for 60 days without Congress granting approval. Afghanistan and Iraq had this congressional approval and financing.
I think the OP is going the wrong way here, I agree that the President isn’t an all-powerful entity whose every whim is law upon his/her peoples, much of this power is delegated to his/her subordinates. Also the President doesn’t always get his/her way, we’ve recently had a Presidential veto overrode by Congress, the bill is now law despite Obama’s rejection.
The President is the single most powerful person in the world, his/her individual decisions effect the most number of people. However, his/her decisions don’t effect everyone to the same degree. I can sit here right now and honestly say not a single tiny bit of any aspect of my life is changed by anything the President has ever done. It’s Congress who sets the tax rates, it’s Congress who requires me to keep a mail box available to the Postal Service. The laws, regulations and rules that determine when I can mow my lawn, when I serve on jury duty, whether I have to serve the trans-gender community is all set at the State level. That said, I do understand I’m something of a special case. Many industries and activities do have some Federal oversight; trucking, commercial fishing, logging, and such.
World Government™ doesn’t stand apart and dictate to the President what he/she should do. Rather our strategy in infiltration, seats in the State legislatures, Congress, and in fact both Presidential candidates are card-carrying members of our organization. We’re not out to destroy anything, we’ve worked hard to get things the way they are now, and no one wants this delicate balance upset. Free food, free rent, free sex … yeah right, nothing like a pile of money to stop that stupid crap in a hurry.