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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New term enters our lexicon: 'Post-Congressional foreign policy'

A new term has entered our lexicon: The 'post-Congressional foreign policy.' It refers to Czar Barack's circumvention of Congressional approval of his termination of sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran by calling it a suspension. And he's betting that Congress cannot or will not do anything about it (Hat Tip: Memeorandum). Or about several other breaches of Congressional oversight authority.
Only Congress can permanently lift the sanctions--which it’s unlikely to do even if Democrats hold on to the Senate—but the deal could be structured in such a way that this wouldn’t happen until Iran meets certain internationally verified benchmarks. In other words, it could be years.
It’s not unusual for presidents to look abroad in search of monsters to destroy late in their terms, as they have more authority to conduct foreign as opposed to domestic policy independently of Congress. But even by historical standards, the Obama administration seems to be particularly interested in freezing Congress out.
Given that it’s virtually impossible to get any multilateral treaty ratified by the Senate—some obscure fishing regulations are the exception that proves the rule—the administration’s plan for a long-awaited climate change deal will involve “politically binding” commitments rather than legally binding ones, which Congress would have to approve.
In the case of what’s been dubbed “Operation Inherent Resolve,” the campaign of airstrikes to counter ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the administration never sought congressional approval. The 60-day deadline, after which Congress must authorize military action under the War Powers Resolution, has long passed. (Obama did issue a letter to Congress in September informing them of the operation and noting, somewhat vaguely, “I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.”)
Yale Law professor and constitutional scholar Bruce Ackerman has described the operation against ISIS as “a decisive break in the American constitutional tradition” that outdoes anything attempted by the Bush administration. But interestingly, congressional Republicans who normally jump on any chance to accuse the administration of imperial overreach, have been fairly blasé about these strikes. House Speaker John Boehner says that Congress should debate the use of military force against ISIS but only after the newly elected legislative body convenes in January—a lifetime in terms of a fast-moving military operation like this one.
Read the whole thing.  As Israelis say, maybe there are things that Obama (who was opposed to unilateral Presidential actions in the foreign policy field under Bush) didn't see from there that he sees from here. On the other hand, I am very opposed to any weakening of the Iran sanctions regime....

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