posted by gut
Not entirely sure of the actual definition of "deep state", but I don't think there's any conspiracy that career staffers who have risen through the ranks have done so because they are very good at influencing and winning approval of department objectives.
It can be as simple as controlling information that virtually guarantees a policy you favor wins. And if the request is something non-nonsensical or stupid, then they'll find ways to shit on it and bury it and still get their preferred "alternative" approved.
I don't even think that's overly manipulative or wrong. The POTUS and his cabinet are rarely experts on any of this material, so it makes sense they'll take their cues from a career staffer that has spent 35 years studying nothing but Russia. And if something ends up in court, as many Trump policies did, who's to say the lawyers are actually making good and winning arguments for something they don't fully support?
Many people, it seems, believe & fear the POTUS might nuke a hurricane. I don't happen to think a POTUS could do that even if they wanted to.
Honestly, domestically the only impactful thing I can remember a POTUS doing in the past 20 years is Obama's DACA. And judges. Even the veto is largely irrelevant because of the Senate filibuster.
I think you are partially right. The elected officials still make the calls and Presidents have a good deal of influence on how their national security and policy process is set up. Some like a very business like structure, W, Trump, and some like a collegiate style, JFK, Clinton, Obama.
James Wilson Bureaucracy book is like the gold standard on the process.
Also, the President does has the ultimate power to launch nuclear weapons. It hasn't been tested, but no military commander can tell the President no or deny him the nuclear football to launch. If the President says to launch, we launch.