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Word Count: 385
Congress has important powers in the areas of foreign policy and national defense Chief among these are the power to declare war to create and maintain an army and navy to make rules governing land and naval forces such as the draft and registering for selective service and to regulate foreign commerce Article II Section 2 of the Constitution gives the President certain powers concerning foreign affairs Two such powers are the power to appoint diplomatic positions like ambassadors and the power to make treaties However the Senate has a unique check on the Presidents power concerning these foreign affairs The Constitution gives the Senate the power of advice and consent on all treaties The President may make treaties with foreign governments but a two-thirds vote of the Senate must ratify them The Senate must also confirm presidential appointments to diplomatic posts This power was intended to give the Senate an opportunity to screen applicants for foreign-policy positions and thus help determine foreign policy Usually the Senate is willing to accept the persons the President appoints to diplomatic posts I think that the power Congress has over foreign policy to check the President in times of a foreign policy crisis is insufficient For example during the Persian Gulf War Bush had used his authority as commander in chief to build up American forces in the Persian Gulf without asking for congressional approval Congress offered little resistance and had little to say because many lawmakers were busy running for reelection Many members feared that challenging the Presidents actions would be a huge political risk If Bush chose war and was successful lawmakers who opposed the President would become unpopular These actions taken by Congress demonstrates how insufficient they really are Congress is lazy and slow when it comes to dealing with its responsibilities At the time they were more concerned with getting reelected than they were about exercising their power granted to it by the War
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