IN MATTERS of foreign policy, Congress, and especially the Senate,
was designed as a hedge against the abuses exhibited by overeager
European monarchs who for centuries had whimsically entangled their
countries in misguided adventures. America would not be such a place.
The Constitution would protect our governmental process from the
overreach of a single executive who might otherwise succumb to the
impulsive temptation to unilaterally risk our country’s blood, treasure
and international prestige. Congress was given the power to declare war
and appropriate funds, thus eliminating any resemblance to
European-style monarchies when it came to the presidential war power.
Importantly and often forgotten these days, Article I, Section 8 of
the Constitution was also carefully drawn to give Congress, not the
president, certain powers over the structure and use of the military.
True, the president would act as commander in chief, but only in the
sense that he would be executing policies shepherded within the
boundaries of legislative powers.
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