The Power to Govern: Assessing Reform in the United States

By Richard M. Pious | Go to book overview

Formulating Foreign Policy

EDWARD A. KOLODZIEJ

Congressional-presidential relations in foreign policy changed dramatically in the 1970s. 1 One result was a significant increase in Congress's influence on foreign affairs. In several areas, like the War Powers Act of 1973 and oversight over intelligence, Congress has clearly departed from past practice. Legislators want more than just "the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn," as Samuel P. Huntington approvingly characterized Congress's role in the 1960s. 2 They also want to determine policy before and during implementation.

Some have welcomed increased congressional checks on an imperial president. 3 Others are satisfied that on key issues like the Vietnam war the system has worked. 4 Presidents and their advisers have been less complimentary. President Ford condemned congressional trespass on what he felt was the president's proper domain in foreign affairs: "Frankly, I believe that Congress has gone too far in trying to take over the powers that belong to the President and the executive branch.... As a member of Congress for twenty-five years, I clearly understand the powers and obligations of the Senate and House under our Consitution. But as President for eighteen months, I also understand that Congress is trying to go too far in some areas." 5 Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger added that Congress limits the development of a "coherent and purposeful" foreign policy. 6 Still others lament what they view as the stalemate system in Congress that precludes timely and thoughtful decisions. 7 Some even

____________________
1
Thomas M. Franck and Edward Weisband, Foreign Policy by Congress (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979).
2
Samuel P. Huntington, "Strategic Planning and the Political Process," Foreign Affairs 38 (January 1960): 287.
3
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Imperial Presidency (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1973).
4
Leslie H. Gelb and Richard K. Betts, The Irony of Vietnam: The System Worked (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1979).
5
Quoted in Philip Shabecoff, "Appraising Presidential Power," in The Presidency Reappraised, 2d ed., ed. Thomas E. Cronin and Rexford G. Tugwell (New York: Praeger, 1977), p. 37.
6
U.S., Department of State Bulletin, no. 1860 (February 17, 1975), p. 203.
7
See Lloyd N. Cutler, 'To Form a Government," Foreign Affairs 59 (Fall 1980): 126-43, and C. Fred Bergsten, "Congress's Stalemate System," New York Times, January 30, 1981.

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The Power to Govern: Assessing Reform in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Power to Govern: Assessing Reform in the United States *
  • Contents *
  • Preface *
  • Contributors *
  • Prospects for Reform *
  • The Evolving Federal System *
  • The Intergovernmental System *
  • Reassessing the "Imperial Presidency" *
  • Congressional Power *
  • Developing Fiscal Responsibility *
  • Legislative Delegation to Regulatory Agencies *
  • The Changing Federal Courts *
  • Women in Politics *
  • Direct Participation in Politics *
  • The Presidency in the Age of Television *
  • The Impact of Government Employee Unions *
  • New Elites and Pluralism *
  • Formulating Foreign Policy *
  • The Revolution in Communications and Diplomacy *
  • Defining the National Interest *
  • The Impact of Population Shifts *
  • Cities of the Future *
  • The Politics of Scarcity *
  • The Power to Govern *
  • Index *
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