Policy Studies Cybersecurity Policy

How Congress can grow its foreign policy capacity

Key Points

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 government.

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.

 President Donald Trump has seemingly upended the U.S. national security establishment in ways perhaps unprecedented in American history. The past 24 months have witnessed the United States withdrawing from the great power agreement over Iran’s nuclear program, the public questioning of continued American participation in NATO,1 the abandonment of the Paris Accords,2 the move of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,3 an extended détente with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un,4 and the president’s dissent from the U.S. intelligence community’s recent global terrorism threat assessment. Within his first two years in office, President Trump also fired his original secretaries of state and defense, as well as two national security advisors for good measure.

Press release: R Street Shorts No. 69: How Congress Can Grow Its Foreign Policy Capacity

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