“For some time now,” writes Sen. Rand Paul for The American Conservative, “Congress has abdicated its responsibility to declare war.”
Kentucky’s junior senator knows how unconstitutional this is. “The Founders left the power to make war in the legislature on purpose and with good reason,” Rand Paul explains — correctly. “They recognized that the executive branch is most prone to war.”
So, Washington Senators Bob Corker and Tim Kaine are here to help?
This bipartisan pair has retrieved — from deep within the bowels of congressional R & D — a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). This would, explains Paul, give “nearly unlimited power to this or any other president to be at war whenever he or she wants, with minimal justification and no prior specific authority.”
The wording of the new AUMF “would forever allow the executive unlimited latitude in determining war, and would leave Congress debating such action after forces have already been committed” — allowing Congress only carping rights.
Shades of the Roman Republic, in which the Senate appointed dictators in tough times.*
These days, all times are tough times.
Meanwhile, Bob Corker is in the news for having just received the “George Washington University Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication’s first annual Walter Roberts Award for Congressional Leadership in Public Diplomacy.”
And Kaine just a few weeks ago made a big deal about his no vote for Trump’s Secretary of State nominee: “We have a president who is anti-diplomacy and I worry that Mike Pompeo has shown the same tendency to oppose diplomacy.”
How does making a foreign policy dictator out of Trump (or any future president) advance diplomacy?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* Arguably Congress’s open-ended AUMF’s are much worse than ancient Roman practice, since today’s crises are not specified and the dictator is not forced to step down after the problem is solved — or a term limit of six months reached.