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Custom War and the American Presidency essay paper sample
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According to the constitution, the United States president is in charge of foreign affairs and relations. The president gets assistance from the state’s secretary to manage official agreements and matters of security. The president is also accountable for the security of all American citizens within the country and abroad. Furthermore, he decides on countries to and those not to transact business with the United States. The president also has the power to declare a status of emergency in case of a crisis and the provision of aid. For example, during Hurricane Katrina, the president declared a status of emergency and the government gave aid (25). The president is charged with many responsibilities; thus, checks and balances are important to ensure that an imposing presidency is not established. This is by limiting the powers of a president while ensuring that he remains very important. Even with all the checks and balances put in place, the president is fully responsible for foreign policies. These policies offer tools to assist in the implementation of procedures in the event of a security threat or during wars.
In America, the president has absolute control over foreign policies even when the people’s support is lacking. In order for America to fight against threats of war and terrorism, President George W Bush had to expand his views on foreign policies. He stressed that it was very important for the United States to support democratic countries around the globe. Foreign policies are guidelines that governments use to assist in tackling of international matters such as threats to security. A country may handle issues facing them alone or through cooperating with other countries. When it comes to security threats America, under the leadership of President Bush, has often employed unilateralism instead of seeking corporative solutions. Unilateralism is an approach taken by a country when it chooses to support only one party and ignores all other parties (34). Schlesinger observes that this trend in the end will strain America’s relationship with other countries. Many people differ with the unilateralism approach while arguing that one person should not have the responsibility to decide when a country can go to war. During President’s Bush administration, he had excessive powers over government and foreign policy formulation; the Congress was a passive institution. The most complex subject in a foreign policy is when it comes to making a decision on using military might. A country should use military enforcement only when a nation’s interest is at risk; however, it is very difficult to convince people on what national interests entails (50).
A country engages in preemptive war in order to fend off any invasion and to prevent threats. A country engages in preemptive wars when it expects attacks from their enemies. The United Nations strongly opposes the use of preemptive attacks unless the Security Council grants authorization. The United States and its allies all face security threats from their enemies who plan terrorist attacks to harm civilians. These occur when enemies use technology to construct weapons that cause mass damage like nuclear bombs. After the attacks that were carried out on 9/11, President Bush decided to formulate the doctrine of preemptive attacks by the military. The administration claimed that this was the best way to prevent similar attacks (56). Enemies are acquiring technologies and weapons with so much ease and at a very quick rate; furthermore, terrorist choose to use weapons that cause mass damage even before using any other form of weapons. America justifies such actions as a means of self-defense, which is legitimate. Intelligence that is highly accurate, and a proper forecast of future events are the base for preemptive war. Therefore, before any implementation security persons should do a lot of careful investigation.
Schlesinger suggests that this preemptive doctrine cannot be a replacement for wisdom that is important before plunging into war. He continues to emphasize that maintaining peace within a country is the only way to combat war. He explains that this doctrine did not follow the strategies that were put in place to ensure that a situation is properly contained. In his opinion, he stresses that wars like those in Iraq and against Al Qaeda have reduced America’s popularity across the globe. Although preemptive action protects American citizens from any form threat, it is also important to remember that citizens in the countries that they attack are at risk (62).
Many people consider preemptive wars very irresponsible because once other countries employ the same doctrine hostility will be on the rise. This doctrine will also increase instability as far as security issues are concerned. Other countries may also adopt this preemptive doctrine as a means to settle scores with countries that are enemies. President Bush’s administration tried to caution other countries against the use of preemptive wars as an excuse for violent behavior. Meanwhile, the administration continued use force whenever they considered it necessary (78). This makes it very difficult for other countries to differentiate situations that allow and those that do not allow preemptive war. Another big problem faced while using this doctrine is the difficulty faced in determining the right time to launch a preemptive attack (78).
Furthermore, it is difficult to determine if the target country is producing genuine products that pose a threat to security; a good example, is the attack on an institution in Sudan by the United States in 1998. Furthermore, preemptive strikes pose a disadvantage when the attacked country reacts and causing extensive damages that are costly. For example, the instance when the United States attacked North Korea due to the presence of nuclear weapons and the leaders led a war that killed very many Koreans in the process. Furthermore, the United States attacked Iraq, yet Saddam Hussein had adequate resources to prevent the army from destroying the weapons he had; thus, the war was a failure. Many people disagree with the preemptive attack doctrine since disagreements with countries that are observers are very likely to occur. These could hamper the provision of important commodities into the country; a good example is oil. Effects of a preemptive strike may not felt immediately in a country. A country may experience them in the future; for example, extensive conflicts in an unstable region.
Over the years, there has been a concern over the leadership of the American presidency, which is slowly becoming imperial. Schlesinger observes that imperialism in the Bush administration began in order to have a stronghold over the government. He emphasizes the administration violated the powers agreed on in the constitution. He offers a good example where the administration put pressure on the CIA to offer unprocessed intelligence. The administration was to use this intelligence to fabricate reasons to attack Iraq. White House kept providing different statements each time; this could explain that the war was started based on false reasons. President Nixon was the very last president to practice imperial presidency with the foreign policy resolutions that he established. Osama Bin Laden led to the rise of imperialism by the Bush administration that vowed to fight terrorism by any means necessary.
America should embrace democracy and leaders should exercise their powers as stipulated by the constitution. America is a country that takes pride in their democracy but leaders should take time to reexamine their actions and offer democratic leadership. Despite the rising insecurity levels globally, The United States should try to minimize their interests globally and reduce the expenses spent on military activities. In case a need to go to war rises, the president should offer congress credible and transparent reasons to do so. The government should also offer continuous reports on progress and the state of the military (119). There should also be provision for congress with good reasons to end any conflict at any time. Before a president declares, a status of emergency congress should offer approval within a span of thirty days. Congress should also to stop or end a status of emergency imposed by the president. The president can only make a decision concerning the status of emergency only when the country in plunged in the civil war. The president should formulate foreign policies that are acceptable by congress and civilians. Secrecy is an important aspect of national security; however, the government should maintain a balance between secrecy and lies (120).
The government should be fully responsible for any form of communication made to congress and the public. For democracy to rein as proposed by the North Carolina Senator, Sam Ervin, Congress should be able to reject any international agreements made by the president. A president should remember that democracy requires joint decision-making. This may be a difficult process; however, it is the cost for democracy. The president should be in agreement with congress, the public, and the press. Presidents make huge mistakes when they abuse the power given to them. For this to be avoided, presidents should be ready to uphold and conduct their activities in line with the constitution. A government should also try to reinstate multilateralism that ensures that a country has access to more resources in terms of finances and military support. Multilateralism also reinforces the bonds that different nations form. The United States should work hard to minimize the instances where unilateralism is applied. This is because United States would work more effectively once it agrees to share the responsibility of leadership with other countries. It is also important for presidents to remember that isolating themselves from the rest of the world when it comes to security threats is not beneficial.
In conclusion, America is a great nation that offers a secure place for a huge number of people. America faces both major and minor security threats just like any other country. The government should ensure that they put in place, effective policies, and measures to ensure the security of its civilians at home and abroad. The United States government should be ready to work in cooperation with other countries in order to ensure successful results. Therefore, preemptive war should not be the option to take, since there are many difficulties faced. The president should ensure that he exhausts all options are before taking up preemptive strike. It is true that one of the major responsibilities that the president works to uphold is to provide citizens with adequate security. However, this should not overlook the nation’s overall interests. This is because preemptive wars could cause the government to incur extensive expenses and loss of military lives. The president of the United States should also work very closely with congress especially when it comes to decision making. This is important in order to enhance harmony and democracy. The president should be ready to offer foreign policies and terms that the congress, press, and public have consented. This is important in order to ensure that the country shares accountability for actions taken. Preemptive war should not be an event that the United States rushes to engage in; instead, the country should focus on peaceful talks to combat war.
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