Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, said that Donald Trump’s behavior is childish, which is why the White House acts as an “adult daycare center.” With Trump in power, the risk of conflict in the world is on the rise, and it is up to Congress to balance out his questionable decisions and prevent the United State President from doing something that would harm the country.
So far, Trump’s foreign policy has been without clear guidance, and he is inclined towards making some dangerous decisions. For starters, he wants to pull out of a deal which prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. The relationships between North Korea and the United States have worsened whereas he has attempted to prevent Muslims from coming into the US and get away from the war which has torn their countries apart. Moreover, he has become friendly with authoritarian leaders of China and Russia, countries which have represented everything opposite to the United States.
Despite that, one man can have a great influence on America’s foreign policy and the constitution allows him to have that power. Instead of countering the president in some of his decision, Congress has given him even more authority, which is a foolish thing to do. The president can engage in a war anywhere in the world without anyone’s consent, and he can launch nuclear missiles asking no one at all.
Arthur Schlesinger, historian and writer of The Imperial Presidency, wrote: “What began as emergency powers temporarily confided to presidents soon hardened into authority claimed by presidents as constitutionally inherent in the presidential office: thus the imperial presidency.”
The Imperial Presidency motivated the US Congress to re-establish its authority and relevance through the War Powers Act, which limits the US presidents in sending the US Troops to fight abroad. With this Act, some requirements need to be fulfilled first in order for the president to act. The position of the Congress has changed over the years, and its influence has grown and decreased until 9/11 when the President’s power has gone through the roof, and he could wage war and conduct foreign policy according to his own will.
After more than 15 years since the devastating terrorist attacks, we have Donald Trump sitting in the office threatening wars on Twitter without even checking it with his closest confidants. What goes in Trump’s favor is the Republican Congress which is not eager to limit POTUS in his intentions as the Democratic Congress would be.
However, there were several occasions when Congress stepped up and prevented Trump from making foolish decisions. For instance, they forced the president to approve new sanctions on Russia, and they rejected his attempts to reduce the budget of the state Department and USAID. Furthermore, Congress is handling the situation with Iran well despite the fact that Trump wants out of the deal.
This is the chance for Congress to become relevant in foreign policy and they must not give up on the notion. First of all, it has the power to pursue the president and his administration to adopt reasonable policies, and it should use it more often. Moreover, it is up to Congress to bring the investigation to a conclusion regarding Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia’s involvement in the election. High-profile hearings on the threats which the United States are facing the need to be held on a regular basis and the administration officials need to provide updates on the matter. To cut the story short, Congress needs to balance out Trump’s urges in everything that is currently going on in the foreign policy – Syria, Russia, North Korea, and so much more.
Last but not least, Congress needs to have a say in matters of war and peace. The latest attacks on Syria didn’t have congressional approval, and that says a lot about the current position of this institution and presidential authority. The US has conflicts all over the world, in countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, and Iraq. Congress needs to vote on every military intervention.