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When drafting the Constitution of the United States the founding fathers took great precautions in ensuring that no one branch of government became too powerful.  By dividing the power of each branch the fathers hoped to ensure that the United States would not become subject to abuse by one branch that could ultimately lead to an authoritarian regime.  In order to do this, the drafters of the Constitution implemented a system of checks and balances in nearly all aspects of the new republic’s government. One of these checks and balances was the distribution of foreign policy power between Congress and the President.  This balance of power would be an important deterrent to one branch of the government abusing its power which could result in catastrophic decisions such as dragging the nation into unnecessary or unwanted foreign entanglements or creating an authoritarian form of government.  This friction was created by design not only to ward off tyrannical rule but also fix many of the problems that the previous Articles of Confederation created. When supporting  the ratification of the Constitution, James Madison wrote: “If there is a principle in our Constitution, indeed in any free Constitution, more sacred than any other, it is that which separates the legislative, executive, and judicial powers.”  Due to the complex wording of the Constitution, it can be difficult to understand the differences between the Legislative branch and Congress and the intrinsic divisions between them. This opacity of power is also bolstered due to the fact that the third branch, the Judicial arm of government, does not typically become involved regarding foreign disputes.  As a result, this creates a constant power struggle between the Legislative and Executive branches.  In order to understand how the foreign policy responsibilities of each branch one must examine the complex, dynamic working relationship within the government of the United States.   Observers must first look towards to the foreign policy authority of Congress. Second the foreign policy authority provided to the President of the United States, and third how these powers work together by comparing and using historical precedent and examples.In order to understand the powers of Congress, one first must look at Article I of the Constitution that enumerates several of Congress’s foreign affairs powers. This includes the many different powers like the ability to regulate commerce with foreign nations, declare war with foreign nations, raise money for and support the many branches of the military like the army navy and airforce as well as maintaining these military organizations.  The Constitution also allows for Congress to check two of the President’s foreign affairs powers, make treaties and appointing diplomats.  The act of both making treaties and appointing diplomats are however dependent on Senate approval.  Congress’s general powers also allow the collection of taxes to draw money from the Treasury, and to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper that allow the legislative branch to control many foreign policy decisions. For example, the last session of Congress during the Obama administration was able to pass a variety of laws that affect America’s foreign policy that ranged from electronic surveillance to North Korean sanctions, to border security to wildlife trafficking. Congress can likewise assume an oversight position on foreign policy issues that enables them increase their power. The yearly appointments process enables Congressional Committees to survey, in detail, the financial plans and projects of the huge military and strategic administrations. Legislators must approve more than a trillion dollars in government spending each year, of which the greater part is allotted to military spending to secure domestic safety. Administrators may likewise control how that cash is to be spent on foreign aid, diplomatic missions and other aspects of foreign policy which require a large amount of spending. Congress has expansive power to direct examinations concerning specific outside approach or national security concerns. As of late they have utilized this power in a few prominent requests and have concentrated on a few prominent issues like the 9/11 assaults, and the 2012 assault on U.S. political offices in Benghazi Libya or the Central Intelligence Agency’s detainment and cross examination programs. Congress also has the power to create, eliminate, or restructure executive branch agencies that deal with foreign policy. This has often been done after major conflicts or crises which has allowed them to control many aspects of the foreign policy to better fit their ideal response to the situation. Case in point, Congress made the National Security Act of 1947, which set up the CIA and National Security Council amid WWII. Be that as it may, in later occasions such as the fallout of the 9/11 assaults, Congress made the Department of Homeland Security to manage dangers from abroad that threatened citizens of the Unified States. These cases show the considerable power that Congress has in deciding the foreign policy of the United States.Another key aspect of Congressional  power over foreign policy is their ability to approve treaties. Since the Senate has existed over 1,600 treaties with foreign nations have been ratified by them but they have also  rejected or refused to consider many more agreements and treaties presented to them. After the great war,  many US senators rejected the infamous Treaty of Versailles, which had been negotiated by President Woodrow Wilson in France after WWI. More recently however, a small group in the Senate has blocked ratification of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea despite the support of both Republican and Democratic administrations. Political hurdles have always plagued treaties which have led Presidents to create many major multinational agreements without Senate consent. Treaties require the approval of two-thirds of Senators present which also acts as another check on the executive branch. Appointments require the approval of a simple majority which is just over 5 percent. One modern example is the Paris Agreement to address climate Change or the Iran Nuclear Agreement to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Both of these agreements were negotiated by the Executive branch without the consent of the Legislative branch. Both of these were not approved by Congress yet both treaties were of significant importance on the global scene and dictated the attention of the President of the United States. However because only the Executive branch approved these treaties legal analysts have said that future Presidents could likely withdraw from these treaties without Congressional consent.  As a result, in the instance of these treaties the President has complete power over the agreement and any follow-through is also controlled by the predecessors in the Executive branch.. The Constitution does not clearly say whether the Presidents needs the consent of the Legislative branch to end treaties such as these, so as of now the current President appears to have all of the power as it relates to treaties negotiated without the consent of Congress.   There are many ways in which foreign policy authority is granted the the Executive branch  One important authority the Executive branch maintains power in foreign policy is by controlling the appoint of  Foreign Ambassadors. The President’s authority in foreign affairs, just like the rest of his/her authority, is rooted in Article II of the Constitution. The Constitution grants the executive the power to make treaties and appoint Ambassadors with the consent of the Senate. While the President is able to appoint Ambassadors, and many other positions, the Senate can check his power through an approval process.  In some instances, the two branches cooperate with appointments, for example when the Congress approves the President’s appointment.  In other cases, such as many recent examples in the Obama administration, Congress would not approve the President’s appointments. The ability to appoint and host Ambassadors is another clear example of the power that the Executive branch holds. This allows the Executive branch to control how they interact with foreign nations and who will be representing each  nation. Typically this means that the Ambassadors that the President appoints will be loyal to them and will reflect the President’s ideas on foreign policy, not necessarily the ideas of Congress. Recognizing a foreign government and conducting diplomacy gives the Executive branch broad power however, Congress must confirm the Ambassadors chosen by the Executive branch. This is another example of Congress checking the power of the Executive.  If Congress does not approve of the President’s choice of an Ambassador, for example,  the Executive branch cannot appoint the selected candidates. Hence another check on the Executive authority.In the past Presidents also have fought with Congress over which foreign nations will receive foreign aid and how much they should receive. Generally the President decides which nations receive foreign aid and Congress decides how much foreign aid will be allocated in the budget.  Furthermore, there is often conflict between the Legislative and the Executive branch when it comes to deciding if foreign aid should be pulled from certain nations at a given time due to violations such as Human Rights. One example relating to economic foreign policy is the creation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 that allows the President to impose economic sanctions on foreign entities without the need for Congress to vote on the issue. This made it easier for the Executive branch to flex its foreign policy muscles while removing some power of the Legislative branch. Another way the Executive branch has power over foreign policy is their ability to regulate foreign commerce. The Constitution clearly grants the Legislative branch authority to regulate foreign commerce, however lawmakers for decades granted the President’s authority to negotiate trade deals within established parameters. This follows a clear pattern of Congress in recent times granting the Executive branch more power of foreign affairs. Presidents are also constitutionally bound to execute federal immigration laws, but it is still unclear how much power the President has in the area of immigration.  Many Republican lawmakers as recently as in the Obama Administration have stated that Obama ignored the law when it established programs that shielded undocumented immigrants from deportation (DOCA). The administration at the time however, stated that it had broad discretion to decide how to spend the government’s scarce resources on enforcement rather than on deportations and therefore did not violate the law as Republican lawmakers in Congress claimed . In recent times, several Democratic lawmakers stated that the current President Donald J. Trump had overstepped his constitutional authority when he attempted to issue a travel ban from several Muslim majority countries from entering the United States.  These are examples of the Executive branch exercising power and the Congress attempt to roll back the power by labeling action an “overreach”.  Military Operations often creates conflict between Congress and the Executive Branch.. War and defense powers are once again divided between the two branches.  While only Congress can declare war, many Presidents have ordered U.S. forces into warlike operations without congressional authorization. While Presidents can use military force to repel an attack, it is unclear when they may actually the use of military force on their own authority. Presidents also rely on other clauses to support their foreign policy actions, especially those that allow Executive power and the role of Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy.   From the Commander-in-Chief clause in the constitution, the powers to use military force and collect foreign intelligence is given to the Executive branch. Toward the end of the Vietnam War, Congress sought to regulate the use of military force by enacting the War Powers Resolution over President Richard Nixon’s veto. Executive branch attorneys have questioned parts of the resolution’s constitutionality ever since, and many Presidents have flouted it. In 2001, Congress authorized President George W. Bush to use military force against those responsible for the 9/11 attacks; and in 2002 Congress approved U.S. military action against Iraq. Another case of Congress conflicting with the Executive branch is during the last session  when Congress opposed the Obama Administration attempts to expel prisoners from military jail at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. It should be noted that balance of power is being constantly tested.  Recently legal experts from both parties have said the President should have obtained additional authorities to use military force in the recent conflicts of Libya, Iraq, and Syria. Congress can also use its “power of the purse” to rein in the President’s military ambitions by restricting the funding to the military, but historically legislators do not typically take action until near the end of a conflict. In modern times however, military spending has only increased and shows no sign of slowing down no matter who is in power. Another deterrent to restricting military spending by lawmakers is the fact that they are often seen by their constituents as holding back funding for U.S. forces fighting abroad and therefore are labeled as “not patriotic” or unconcerned for our military veterans. In the past during the Vietnam War, lawmakers passed several amendments prohibiting the use of funds for combat operations in Vietnam and neighboring countries in order to limit the President’s ability to continue that war. Congress took similar measures in the 1980s with regard to Nicaragua, and in the 1990s with Somalia. One particular case where the Executive branch conflicted with the Legislative branch happened recently when President Barack Obama vetoed the bill to authorize a law permitting casualties of victims of terrorist attacks to sue foreign entities.  This demonstrates the unmistakable division of power and struggle that Congress and the President have when attempting to control foreign policy. As America enters the modern age and political parties become more and more polarized observers tend to notice the decreasing of bipartisan work.  As a result, there is now a sharp increase in members of same party working together while excluding members of the other party.. This divide in American politics is one of the primary reasons that we see much more cooperation between the Legislative and Executive branch rather than conflict. In today’s political atmosphere if a political party controls both the Legislative and Executive branches they often work together on everything rather than addressing each issue individually. This is much different than the founding fathers intended when they created the checks and balance system. The founders intended both the Legislative and Executive branches to check each other’s power and to ensure that no one branch would become too influential in foreign policy. According to James Fallows, A political analyst from the Atlantic,  “Partisanship has reached an all-time high ever since 2010 and the minority parties have consistently done well to discipline their ranks and act as a complete opposition force to the ruling party. however, now that the ruling party controls all branches of government it is clear that the conflict the founding fathers intended to act as a balance between the branches is no longer present.” After extensive research I believe the Legislative branch of the government should be more dominant with regard to foreign policy as opposed to the Executive branch. I believe it is simply too dangerous to have one person be more dominant than any other branch of government when it comes to foreign policy due to the severity and importance of the types of issues that are characteristic of foreign affairs.  While there are already many checks on the authority of the Executive branch’s foreign policy in America, mainly it does not represent the majority of Americans, which makes the Executive a poor choice for dominant foreign policy authority. Typically Congress is an more equal representation of the American people due to the fact that it does not use the Electoral College which is an outdated system that does not reflect the political ideals of the American people. Therefore when it comes to extremely important issues such as foreign policy the more dominant branch should be the Legislative branch due to the fact that it more accurately represents the American people and is held more accountable to the American people.  Congressional elections are not dictated by the electoral college and although gerrymandering is rampant they are more representative than the electoral college outcomes.  Also, since there are a multitude of people within the legislative branch the risk of a poor decision from the Executive branch should be less of a factor  The fact that there are many people in the Legislative branch creates its own realm of conflict and checks and balances that ensures that a simple surge of emotion or ideas does not overwhelm all of those in Congress and lead to any rash or dangerous decisions when it comes to foreign policy.  Therefore it is clear that the Legislative branch should be the more dominant force when it comes to foreign policy.  The Legislature more accurately represents the American people and it is made up of many different individuals which ensures a significant level of debate when acting policies.

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