Clark Terrell wrote:
An additional point that hasn't been addressed: it's unlikely Kirk had any authority over Reliant's assignment to the Genesis project because if he had, it seems to me he'd have contacted Reliant after getting Carol's message rather than contacting Starfleet Command. But not only did he not do that, he also didn't seem to make the connection between Genesis and Reliant's sudden appearance in the Enterprise's path hours later. It's only after Khan asks about Genesis that he realizes something's up.
The reality is that TWOK could
have been subtitled 'Kirk has a really bad day'.
I mean, it's like the way he ignores basic regulations when Saavik tries to quote them at him, resulting in deaths onboard the Enterprise. Kirk could
just be taking his eye off the ball in a number of the areas you describe. He's lost some of his sharpness.
I'm not saying Jim Kirk is a bad commander. But he's clearly a little out-of-touch with what it means to sit in that chair, and it isn't until his double-bluff with Khan late in the movie that he really starts to get his shit back together in any kind of meaningful way. The whole thing was just meant to be a fun-ride for Kirk's birthday anyway, so chances are that when the Regula situation kicks off and he's forced to take the reigns, he's having to adapt to starship command again on the fly after a decade of being behind a desk, and he just isn't coping very well.