Congress And The Presidency

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The president is the foreign policy leader for the United States with an important political, military and economic role in the international arena. If there is collision between the president and congress, can congress restrain the president in foreign policy making? The era of globalization has witnessed the growing influence of a number of unconventional international actors, from non-governmental organizations, to multi-national corporations, to global political movements. Traditional, state-centric definitions of foreign policy as "the policy of a sovereign state in its interaction with other sovereign states is no longer sufficient. Several alternative definitions are more helpful at highlighting aspects of foreign policy traditionally neglected. The first views foreign policy as "those external goals for which the nation is prepared to commit its resources". By focusing on what a country does rather than what it says, this pragmatic definition usefully separates a country's rhetoric from its true intent and its material capabilities. However, lack of action can also constitute a policy-the policy of an isolationist state is defined by its very unwillingness to commit resources. A second conceptualization of foreign policy is as "the range of actions taken by varying sections of the government of a state in its relations with other bodies similarly acting on the international stage...in order to advance the national interest". Notable here is the recognition that governments do not act as monolithic, static entities, and that non-state actors may at times be as influential as states. However, the assumption that governments always know what is in the "national interest" and always rationally work towards its realiza... ... middle of paper ... ... President's interests. The number of Vice Presidents who have later become President suggests that this concern may not be entirely incomprehensible. The enormous amount of infighting and politics between (and within) departments should not be underestimated. Factions are formed, rumors spread, information leaked, and consensuses forged. When making decisions, each department "will tend to concentrate on acquiring information that protects and advances its own interests or its view of the national interest". This inevitably leads to oversimplification and a favoring of men and women of action rather than deep, strategic thinkers, whose voices tend to get lost in the fray. One of the attributes of a good President is the ability to recognize and rectify imbalances in his administration. Failure to do so can lead to an unrepresentative and irresponsible foreign policy.
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