NeoCons against Neoconservatism ?

In Bush/Cheney Administration, Chattering classes/punditry, legal issues/law/courts, neoconservatives on January 6, 2009 by Editor Z

Get your ice skates out cause hell has officially frozen over. Former Bush/Cheney administration Justice Department legal advisor and staunch proponent of executive power and harsh interrogations John Yoo and John Bolton,ex-U.S Ambassador to the United Nations and a guy so eager to go to war he makes Paul Wolfowitz look like Mohandas Gandhi. But now that the Bush/Cheney administration is about to cede power in two weeks, they are suddenly calling for a return to treaties being approved by the U.S Senate as required by the Constitution.

Over the years Bush/Cheney have unilaterally decided to enter agreements with foreign countries such as the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq, that allowed a U.S presence of troops in Iraq after the United Nation’s Resolution expired on December 31,2008. That agreement had to approved by the Iraqi Parliament and government, but the Bush/Cheney administration went around that and didn’t think that the U.S Senate should have a say in the agreement.

Bolton and Yoo have both been aggressive neocons in the past who have stood strongly against most checks on Executive power as it relates to National Security. One could wonder whether or not these two have realized the lack of logic and the inherent corruption and authoritarianism that the policies they have previously pushed have created as well as the lives it has taken. But given Bolton’s comments as recently as months ago craving war, I doubt he has decided to heed the call of John Lennon and give peace a chance.

So from the vantage point of an outsider and citizen such as myself, this all seems to be about two things. Partisanship and the fact that these two know that their voices and those of other neocons have been discredited and hopefully no longer have a credible voice in the Foreign and Executive policies of the coming Obama Administration.

Are they advocating the right, lawful, just, and logical thing here that is consistent with the U.S Constitution and can make government work most effectively? Yes, but their motives it seems are likely to be less than altruistic.


Like past presidents, Mr. Obama will likely be tempted to avoid the requirement that treaties must be approved by two-thirds of the Senate. The usual methods around this constitutional constraint are executive agreements or a majority vote in the House and Senate to pass a treaty as a simple law (known as a Congressional-executive agreement).

Executive agreements have an acknowledged but limited place in our foreign affairs. Congressional-executive agreements are far more troubling. They have evoked scathing attacks by constitutional experts and have been strongly resisted in the Senate, at least so far.

The framers of the Constitution designed the treaty process with a bias against “entangling alliances,” as Thomas Jefferson described them in his first inaugural address. They designated the Senate as the body responsible to protect the interests of the states from being bargained away by the president in deals with foreign nations. The framers required a supermajority to ensure that treaties would reflect a broad consensus and careful, mature decision-making.

America needs to maintain its sovereignty and autonomy, not to subordinate its policies, foreign or domestic, to international control. On a broad variety of issues — many of which sound more like domestic rather than foreign policy — the re-emergence of the benignly labeled “global governance” movement is well under way in the Obama transition.



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