Monday, July 12, 2010

The Senate's Destructive Foreign Policy

There's a lot of attention paid to the fact that the Senate needs 60 votes in order to overcome a filibuster. But when it comes to ratifying treaties, the Senate needs 67 votes.

I suppose it ought to be obvious that if our broken Senate can scarcely manage to find 60 Senators to agree on anything, finding 67 is a near impossibility, even on an issue that seems to have attracted as much centrist support as this one. This is doubly true if not just unelected posturers like Romney or Sarah Palin, but also elected Republican leaders, decide to politicize this issue.

A situation where it is impossible for the United States to enter into formally binding international agreements is one where the president has one hand tied behind his back anytime he seeks to engage with another country, friend or foe -- how can any president assert U.S. leadership abroad if world leaders realize that there is no way his political opponents at home will allow him or her to make a deal? While the president's unfettered authority to act destructively in foreign affairs merits a rethinking of the executive's legal authorities, the reverse situation -- the inability of the president to act constructively abroad -- is just as worrisome.

We desperately need Senate reform. Repeal the 17th Amendment and limit the partisanship in foreign policy.

1 comment:

danq said...

Thank you for stating an important reason for our efforts conveniently ignored by Media 1.0 - the reason the ratification of treaties was assigned to the Senate is obvious.