The Influence of the War Powers Act of 1973
The United States of America holds the position in the world as a nation in which foreign policy is focused and debated as a matter of embittered public outrage and controversy. This is the reality not only among the party in office and their equivalent opponents but mainly within the very party themselves. It is much truer within the party that is controlling the executive branch. This criticism thrown at foreign policy is not that evil. It is a well meaning constructive criticism that tells the incoherence of policies passed by the executive branch. However, the fault is not likely coming from a flawed national character or among the attitudes of the leaders but the circumstances that surround it. Such circumstances comprise an increasing external challenge coupled with congressionally mandated restraints on the executive branch. The combination of both provides a dangerous whipsaw that can render American foreign policy as ineffective.
As such it can be seen that the President is bound by laws, amendments and continuing resolutions that place too much weight on the conduct of foreign policy complicated by the participation of military aspect (Cockburn, 1999). It is essential that the effect of these laws on foreign policy should be understood.
The War Powers Act of 1973 was a result of drastic response to the American participation in the Vietnam War. The act was passed over the veto of the President and apparently it seemed to many as a good idea at that time. Therefore, then President Johnson entered and tried to conduct a full scale and protracted war disguised as a police action. It can be said that Congress was complicit in this error but by the end of the war, there was an overwhelming reaction and outrage from the majority of Americans (Gallent, 1993). It was convincing without doubt that the conduct of war had been a serious mistake.
This is because the limitation of the Presidents ability...
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