R Street Shorts No. 69: How Congress Can Grow Its Foreign Policy Capacity
WASHINGTON (April 8) – President Donald Trump has upended the U.S.
national security establishment in ways perhaps unprecedented in American
history. In particular, Trump
has shifted political attention to China, but the move has been roughshod and disorienting.
This might be to his tastes, but such methods are unsustainable after his
presidency ends. The good news is that there is a better way.
In a new policy
paper, R Street Energy Policy Manager William Murray, examines how an advisory board structure, which is much
used within the executive branch, can be imported to Congress in order to
correct this imbalance of power.
Over the years, Congress has abdicated its
responsibilities in a number of areas, namely foreign policy. Shifting power back
to Congress will strengthen,
incentivize and stabilize legislative engagement in foreign policy, thereby
making it a more enduring, cooperative enterprise between the two branches of
The author argues that the establishment of a
National Security Council advisory board made up of congressmen and senators
would create a deeper commitment to Congress’ construction of long-term
strategic foreign policy missions and goals. The challenge will be to create a
foreign policy “constituency” for lawmakers to “represent,” where there
currently is none.
The author adds, “Reengaging Congress, then, will require
helping legislators feel a sense of individual and collective accountability
regarding longer-term strategic foreign policy missions and goals.”