In Westminster, the houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace—both structures of the Victorian era—and the Georgian and Regency offices along Whitehall are buildings for a seat of empire, not for the capital of a middle-ranking member of the European Community. The drab, modest government office blocks of Tokyo and Bonn seem equally ill-suited, given that they serve the second and third ranking powers of the economic world. None of these capitals vies with Vienna, where the magnificent Hofburg is the seat of government for a republic smaller than Indiana, but in all of them form and function seem mismatched. them form and function seem mismatched.
Before long, if not already, Washington, DC, may also seem a capital where form and function are not in kilter. A tour of today's action centers starts at the White House. One sees the West Wing and the Old Executive Office Building next door, the quarters of the president's National Security Council (NSC). The tour goes onto the squat, plain New State Department building on Twenty-firstStreet, where the building directory lists numerous bureaus andsubbureaus for politico-military affairs. It also lists the autonomousArms Control and Disarmament Agency. Across the Potomac, a visitor sees the Pentagon. With a daytimepopulation of twenty-five thousand, it is the crest of a mountainousdefense establishment, which employs almost two thirds of thenearly five million persons who work for the U.S. government.Farther out in Virginia, at Langley, the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) has more office acreage than the Pentagon. At Fort Meadein Maryland sits the even larger, more mysterious, and more ex-pensive National Security Agency, engaged in encrypting and decrypting signals.