What Congressional Approval Won’t Do: Trim Obama’s...
One of the most misleading metaphors in the discussion of President Obama’s Syria policy is that the president has “boxed himself in” or has “painted himself into a corner.” These metaphors treat a president’s available actions as if they were physical spaces and limits on action as if they were physical walls. Such metaphors would make sense only if we also stipulated that Obama has the power to snap his fingers and create a door or window wherever he likes. The Syria crisis has not created a new precedent for limiting presidential power. To the contrary, it has offered multiple opportunities for increasing it.
If Congress says no to Obama, it will not significantly restrain future presidents from using military force. At best, it will preserve current understandings about presidential power. If Congress says yes, it may bestow significant new powers on future presidents — and it will also commit the United States to violating international law. For Obama plans to violate the United Nations Charter, and he wants Congress to give him its blessing.
Read more. [Image: Mike Theiler/Reuters]