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Foreign Affairs





Rolesand Powers of the President and the Congress Concerning ForeignPolicy

Theexisting laws have managed to properly illustrate the role of thehead of state and legislators in foreign policy implementation, butboth of them have integral roles to play. The president is involvedin foreign policy in different ways and has specific roles tofulfill. The president gives a response to international events, andis expected to give an official response should any event ofsignificance occur. He also gives proposals for legislation and isresponsible for ensuring that various proposals can be followed(Grimmett, 2012).He is responsible for handling negotiation forinternational agreements such as treaties, trade agreements, and therest. It means that he officially represents the nation in anyinternational conventions. The president is also responsible forgiving statements on various policies and reacting to the making ofnew policies within the international sphere. He is responsible forensuring implementation of these policies occurs at well, both atnational and international level.

Thepresident takes independent action in case of various occurrences andcan make decisions concerning the next step of action in case varioushappenings should occur. The Congress may choose to support thedecision taken by the president or may oppose it and attempt tochange it as well. However, in the majority of occurrences, theCongress does not directly oppose the stand of the president but maylook to modify it to the suitable level (Grimmett, 2012).The Congressmay itself influence foreign policy using resolutions as well aspolicy statements. It may have a look at various policies and uselegislative directives to change the policy. The Congress may alsoapply legislative pressure and use this as an influence on certainpolicies. The Congress may offer straightforward advice to variousstakeholders concerning some international decisions, with the motiveof directly influencing them. It may also use congressional oversightas a way of ensuring that different policies are implemented. In suchsituations, the executive may decide to either support the Congressor change the policies of the Congress. The making of foreign policyis, therefore, a complex affair and often needs a joint effort byboth of these parties for effectiveness.

BalancingBetween the Branches in Foreign Policy Implementation

Itis necessary for these two sides to coordinate in these processesfully, and both the president and the Congress should fully commit toplaying their roles in the implementation of foreign policy. Thoughthe Constitution clearly assigns different roles to the chairpersonand the Congress regarding foreign policy, these roles are notclearly defined and assigned. Therefore, it is not entirelyexplainable as to which of these organs has a decisive voice onforeign policy issues (Grimmett, 2012).The creation of foreign policyis a complex process that includes the combination of differentpolicies aimed at different countries, made to serve various regions,and aimed at solving different problems. Another issue of concern isthat the making of the policy is a complicated process and thereforeit is often difficult to determine who would deserve accreditationfor the creation of different policies.

Bothof these organs have the differing influence on the installation offoreign policy and these influences also change from time totime.However,the president is often the initiator of any policymaking processes and the Congress can after that respond eitherpositively or negatively to the initiative taken by the President inpolicy making (Saramet,2015).The executive may on other occasionsdecide to initiate a foreign policy program which may need variouslegislations and in such a case propose the legislation to theCongress. The approval of the Congress is vital to the realization ofsuch a policy, even though the Congress itself may play a minimalrole in the development of such legislation. The head of state isinstrumental in policymaking especially when he has to negotiatecertain international agreements. The Congress has a part to play inthese too when it may place certain legislative instructions whichmay make the agreement acceptable or not. However, in isolated cases,decision-making may be a private affair and the president alone mayhave a final decision. The head of state may also make foreignpolicies using unilateral agreements or joint statements with otherpresidents. Such measures are not binding, but they act as a pledgefrom the president to take a certain course of action. The Congressmay also decide to support certain policies by the president but lookto alter them and by this participate in the development of suchpolicies.

ConstitutionalPowers and Executive Power

TheConstitution confers president, but it is his duty to ensure that hedoes not overstep these boundaries concerning the making of foreignpolicy. The constitution has a precise definition of the powers ofboth parties in foreign affairs and assigns roles to each of them.Though it recognizes the authority of the president especially intreaty making, it gives the senate the power to consent and theCongress had the power to declare war and also to define variousbreaches of these foreign policies (Şaramet, 2015).Therefore, theconstitution clearly defines the allocation of authority between thecongress and the executives and expects these two parties to abide bythese restraints. Therefore, since the constitution has clearlydefined the roles of these two sides, they are scheduled to act inmoderation and fair judgment in various circumstances and consultwith each other in matters relating to foreign affairs. Theconstitution recognizes the power of the president and furthermoregives him the authority to act in the due measure in specific extremesituations. The constitution therefore successfully preserves theseparation of power and ensures that all the proper procedures arefollowed in foreign policy implementation and other issues that arerelated to international relations.

Debateover the Neutrality Proclamation and Understanding the MonroeDoctrine

TheNeutrality Proclamation argues that the executive is the only branchof government that can make a decision of neutrality because such adecision is an executive one. Another course of argument is the factthat the president is an authoritative figure between the US andother nations (Lentz, 2013).It recognizes that the Congress can callfor war, but the president can call for peace. It was aninterpretation of executive power that has been criticized by manyand it is believed that it fails to recognize the rights of thelegislative as well as the executive branch of government. However,it has an open view to the powers of the president in connection withinternational relations.

TheMonroe Doctrine was another remarkable assertion of the definition ofthe constitutional as well as the executive power of the US foreignpolicy. It wanted the European superpowers from interfering with theinternal affairs of the US and further threatened war if the law wasnot adhered to (&quotMilestones: 1914–1920 – Office of theHistorian&quot, 2016).The document was important in helping undernations realize that the US was a sovereign nation that adhered toits constitution and would not be coerced by other countries to makesuch important decisions. These two instances reveal the developmentof the United States as an independent nation that practices foreignpolicy as per its internal systems that all follow the constitution.

Wilsonand his efforts to form a League of Nations

PresidentWoodrow Wilson was responsible for the proposition that eventuallyresulted in the formation of the coalition, though USA was not amember of it.He spoke before the Congress and convinced them of thenecessity of forming an alliance with other countries that hadsimilar goals (&quotMilestones: 1914–1920 – Office of theHistorian&quot, 2016).However, though he clearly gave reasons tojoin the league of nations, the United States Congress did not agreewith him, and this meant that they could not accede to the league ofnations. It shows the role that the US congress has in foreign policymaking, and it is necessary for them to consent to the proposal ofthe president for any successful implementation of foreign policy tooccur.

TheUse of Executive Agreements versus Treaties

TheUS needs to undergo some processes under the constitution before itconforms to a treaty. It can only happen only after two-thirds of theSenate has given consent as enshrined in the constitution (Tower,2015). However, an executive agreement occurs in particularcircumstances when the Senate overlooks these and immediately comeinto effect by the executive. Therefore, in only these conditions canthe president affect an international policy without the assent ofthe Congress, as is the norm.

Commanderin Chief versus the War Powers Act

TheAct came into being with the intention of ensuring that the presidentwould duly notify the Congress before calling for any military actionand furthermore ensure that the army troops stay no more than twomonths without a war declaration. The bill allows the senate to makenecessary decisions especially when there is hostility or externalaggression. The law passed to ensure that the presidential powerswere limited to make sure that he cannot declare war without theauthorization of the Congress.

WhichBranch Should Take the Lead in Foreign Policy?

Thoughboth the executive and the legislature are of importance ininternational policymaking, it will be prudent to give the Congress aleading role in it (Smith &amp Mann, 2013).Though the Congress mayseem to have a minor role in decision-making, it does not mean thatit is irrelevant in the making of foreign policy. Even though theCongress may be dysfunctional at times, it still has a majorinfluence on international issues of the magnitude of foreign policy.

TheCongress is also always reluctant to deny the foreign policy requestsof a president or even pass alternative policies of their own. TheCongress continues to influence foreign policy in different ways suchas anticipated reactions, changing the decision-making the process ofthe executive and also making sound political decisions (Grimmett,2012).Therefore, the Congress continues to exercise considerableinfluence in the US foreign policy initiatives. As more and moreissues continue to occur in the international scene, the Congresscontinues to actively become involved in the international strategicinitiatives of the nation. Often, partisan issues, as well asinstitutional divisions, hinder the Congress from effectively makingforeign policy decisions, but there are marked improvements in itsprocesses.

Limitationsof Leadership on Foreign Policy Initiatives

Inmost cases, the executive and the Congress agree on foreign policyinitiatives and effectively perform their roles. However, sometimes,it may be difficult for these two organs to implement foreign policystrategies due to underlying factors effectively. The implementationof foreign policy often requires the collective agreement of thesetwo organs. Sometimes, the president`s personality and motives maydamage any foreign policy initiatives, and he may furthermore fail toagree with the Congress (Tower, 2015).In other instances, the localpolitical environment may distract both parties from making healthychoices in their foreign policy initiatives and therefore dent theseprocesses. The kind of political system that is in place may alsoinfluence the ability of these two institutions to make properforeign policy decisions. Therefore, such issues as politicalstability have a major role to play in foreign policy and should begiven much consideration.


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