Constant Struggle in U.S. Foreign Policy Confuses World / Says William A. Rusher

Article excerpt

The constant struggle between the president and Congress over the shape, form and content of America's foreign policy is confusing the world and causing tensions abroad, according to William A. Rusher, editor of the Washington, D.C.-based National Review.

In a speech Thursday given to the Oklahoma County Bar Association, Rusher suggested that U.S. voters should give the next president a Congress of the same party, to avoid having "535 secretaries of state in the Persian Gulf," as President Reagan once described Congress and its actions regarding his policies concerning that troubled part of the world.

Rusher was the substitute speaker Thursday for the association's annual luncheon honoring Law Day. During the luncheon, the Journal Record Award for outstanding legal service to the community and the Liberty Bell Award, for a lay person contributing to the legal community, were also awarded.

Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh was to have been the speaker, but litigation concerning the Iran/Contra scandal forced him to cancel his appearance.

Rusher, however, provided the audience with a few laughs and a few serious notes as he recounted America's long struggle to shape a coherent foreign policy.

The U.S. Constitution is "very clear" on the formation and development of domestic laws, the well-known conservative said, but when it comes to foreign policy, it is very unclear or, more accurately, almost silent in most respects as to who or what shapes foreign policy.

In the past, presidents have more or less assumed or taken the power to shape foreign policy through their constitutionally-mandated powers to appoint ambassadors and negotiate with foreign governments, but most of the time that was with the help of a Congress comprised of the same political party as the chief executive.

In this modern age, however, Congress is often comprised of the opposition party and "there have been a whole slew of attempts" by the 535 members of the legislative branch "from Nixon forward, to have their oar in the foreign policy waters," Rusher said.

Some of those attempts include the War Powers Act, designed to prevent the president from committing U. …

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