The president of the United States comes with powers that are conferred by the Constitution and the Senate.
Certain responsibilities of the president need to be verified and supported by the Congress as and when they arise in the doctrine of separation of powers. The president has constitutional powers that are granted expressly by the Constitution in Article II. Moreover, he has executive powers to manage and plan for national and international interactions. Johnson and Crisp (2003) mention that the president has also soft powers – powers to attract and inspire certain actions in the country as opposed to coercing arms of the government to undertake the same actions.
Furthermore, the president undertakes activities such as lobbying and backchanneling to interact with political and non-political organizations, thus influencing public and foreign policies. This paper examines the powers of the Congress and the president in relation to the management and issues of foreign affairs. Finally, this paper analyzes the powers provided by the Constitution, various laws, and responsibilities, as well as the relationship they imply between the president and the Congress.
The powers of the president are enshrined in Article II of the Constitution, which establishes that the primary aim of the executive branch is to enforce laws in the federal government. The article also outlines the powers and responsibilities of the president alongside presenting the guidelines for the election and removal of the older of the office of the president. The presidential powers in Article II are laid out in Section 2, which include the command of the military and pardon powers, except in instances of impeachment. However, while the president is the commander in chief of all armed forces of the country, he cannot declare war without the consent of the Congress.
A major difference has been drawn between declaring war and making war. That is, the president cannot declare a war without the consent of Congress, but once the war has started, he does not need the Congress’ consent to continue in the war (Sullivan, 2004). The Congress has an additional check that it places on the military, by regulating the military spending through the annual budget and budgetary allocations. The president also bears the powers to periodically call on the National Guard of different states to act in times of emergency or war.
The executive powers of the president refer to the ability and authorization to not only make legally binding orders and instructions on the federal government but also to bypass the Congress. The Constitution requires that the president undertakes to make laws and regulations that the Congress has to vote on and support. However, with executive orders, the Congress is bypassed and ignored (Bolton & Thrower, 2016). The executive powers are used in the creation of rules, instructions, and regulations that can be directed at specific government agencies.
Regardless of the inability of the Congress to arrest the executive orders, the judiciary is allowed to review the orders and subsequently present an interpretation aligning them to the laws of the land. In relation to the foreign affairs of the country, the president can only undertake to influence the budgetary allocation that is presented to the Congress for confirmation. In this budgetary allocation, the president can include the programs and ideas that he would want to be carried out by the United States in and with other countries.
Proclamation of Neutrality
The Proclamation of Neutrality is a central part of the international and foreign relations between the United States and the world. In many instances, when countries and nations in the world are in conflict, the United States steps in and undertakes to mediate in the conflict. In other instances, the United States can take a side and offer their support as necessary. However, in certain cases, the countries that conflict can be both allies to the United States, in which case mediation and supporting one side become impossible. In such scenario, the president of the United States can announce a Proclamation of Neutrality.
The Proclamation of Neutrality is an announcement to the country and the world to inform the people of the neutral position of the United States in the conflict between two countries (Young, 2011). President George Washington announced one such proclamation in reference to a conflict between the allies Britain and France in 1793. In the neutrality proclamation, the assistance of the conflicting countries by any individual or organization of the United States is prohibited, and any opposition to this proclamation is prosecuted by law. Thus, it is possible to find interactions between the United States and other countries heavily affected by the announcement of neutrality by the president (Agius & Devine, 2011). All interactions and associations would end upon the announcement of such a proclamation by the president of the United States.
The Monroe Doctrine
The Monroe Doctrine is a declaration that outlines the position of the United States in relation to other countries. The Monroe Doctrine was a policy effected by President James Monroe. In this policy, the United States outlined the idea that they would not allow the colonization or interruption of the governments of any state within its boundaries in the North and South America by any European country (Lewis, 2011). It mentioned that any interaction and attempt that would be aimed at colonizing these states are considered acts of aggression and unfriendly disposition against the United States. Furthermore, the Monroe Doctrine mentioned that the United States would not interfere with any interactions between European countries and their existing colonies. In the application of this foreign policy, the interaction between the United States and other countries is affected immediately.
Wilson and the League of Nations
A major part of the foreign policy of a country lies in the need to interact and form associations with other countries. For instance, a country can enter into certain associations for trade and business. However, other associations are a part of a larger group that can impact the individual nation’s policies. For example, the United Nations incorporates many countries, thus affecting their foreign policies (Pedersen, 2007). In the United States, one of the most important associations is the League of Nations. Although it did not join the association, the United States played a major part in the formation of the League of Nations by starting its process and bringing parties together.
The League influenced the foreign policies of other countries, thus indirectly affecting the interactions between these countries and the United States. The League of Nations aimed to undertake collective disarmament and security in dispute settlement, human and drug trafficking, prisoners of war, treatment of native inhabitants, and labor and employment conditions in the region. The importance of the League of Nations in the management of a country’s foreign policy can be seen in the probability of the formation of a new league of nations as presented by Goodrich (1947). The countries with different and diverse foreign policies can be brought together and thus have to redesign their foreign policies and positions to fit the desired league. Only the president of the country will be allowed to make such a pronouncement that will allow the nation to enter into any league of nations.
Executive Agreements versus Treaties
Treaties and agreements are approaches through which the United States becomes a part of another group with other countries. However, these approaches undergo different processes. A treaty is an agreement that the president takes to the Congress for ratification. In the United States, the suggestion of entering into a treaty must first pass through the Congress and undergo a debate (Martin, 2005).
By contrast, an executive agreement in the United States can be entered into by the president without going through the Congress. The executive agreement is undertaken by the president in association with other countries as part of an earlier treaty that Congress had been approved, a legislation that had been passed, or authority that the Constitution allocates him. The only condition that the law provides is that the executive agreement should not be in opposition and contrary to any previous legislation that the country has passed.
Commander in Chief versus the War Powers Act
The president is the commander in chief of all militaries of the country. As commander in chief, the president can issue orders to any of the branches of the military. However, the War Powers Act, which is a law aimed at the federal government, attempts to limit the power of the president to initiate an armed conflict (Silverstein & Fisher, 1995). Only the Congress can allow the president to declare war. Furthermore, the president will need the authorization of the Congress to send the country’s armed forces to armed conflicts and actions in case of emergencies that have seen the United States or any of its interests attacked.
If the president has a limited time to consider the deployment of the United States military to manage any conflicts and interactions, then the War Powers Act allows him to issue such an instruction. However, the president should report to the Congress within 48 hours of such deployment and ensure that the armed forces do not stay in deployment for more than 60 days (Reeves, 2011). This law has limited the United States’ foreign interaction in terms of military action and has helped the country become aware of the military conflict that it has been engaged in.
Roles and Powers of the President and the Congress in Foreign Policy
It is fundamental to understand the impacts of the roles of the Congress and president on foreign policy and interactions. For instance, the law allows the president to make executive actions and agreements with other countries. However, other interactions are required to pass through the Congress for ratification and support. The need for the Congress’ intervention is to ensure the separation of powers and checks and balances of the doctrine (De Mesquita & Smith, 2007). Therefore, the president frequently needs to be checked and regulated to ensure that he acts and is acting in the best interest of the nations and people of the country.
Regardless, there is a limitation on the presidency that sees the president strictly act on the matter of emergency and still involve the Congress in such actions. However, the limitations are ambiguous as executive orders and instructions can override them. The president can invoke to announce and create executive orders and instructions that can bypass the Congress. The Congress is burdened by long processes and debates which are not appropriate in times of emergency. Given that the Congress is the representative of the people, it becomes the automatic choice for the country that should lead in matters dealing with the country’s foreign policy.
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