Congressional power has been dramatically bolstered since the Vietnam War, Watergate, Iran Gate and globalization, which have enhanced the involvement of most legislators in international issues, upgraded the oversight capabilities of Congress, dramatically elevated the quality and quantity of some 15,000(!) Capitol Hill staffers and have restrained the presidency. However, Congress has often abdicated its constitutional power in the area of foreign policy, failing to fully leverage the power of the purse: funding, defunding and "fencing."
The non-omnipotent US presidency
By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger (7:58 PM 4/21/2015 Beijing Time)
Two independent, co-equal and co-determining branches of government
The assertion that US foreign policy and national security are shaped by presidential omnipotence is refuted by recent precedents and the US Constitution. The latter was created by the Founding Fathers, who were determined to limit the power of government and preclude the possibility of executive dictatorship. They were apprehensive of potential presidential excesses and encroachment, and therefore assigned the formulation of domestic and foreign policy and national security policy to both Congress and the president. Obviously, the coalescing of congressional policy among 535 legislators constitutes a severe disadvantage for the legislature.
According to the Congressional Quarterly, the US Constitution rectified the mistakes of its predecessor, the Articles of Confederation, upgrading the role of Congress to the primary branch of the US government. "Hence, the first article of the Constitution is dedicated to Congress. The powers, structure, and procedures of the national legislature are outlined in considerable detail in the Constitution, unlike those of the presidency and the judiciary...."
Unlike all other Western democracies -- where the executive branch of government dominates the legislature, especially in the area of international relations and defense - the US Constitution laid the foundation for the world's most powerful legislature, and for an inherent power struggle over the making of foreign policy between the legislature and the executive, two independent, co-equal and co-determining branches of government. Moreover, while the president is the commander-in-chief, presidential clout depends largely on congressional authorization and appropriation in a system of separation of powers and checks and balances, especially in the areas of sanctions, foreign aid, military assistance, trade agreements, treaty ratification, appointment confirmation and all spending.
Congressional power has been dramatically bolstered since the Vietnam War, Watergate, Iran Gate and globalization, which have enhanced the involvement of most legislators in international issues, upgraded the oversight capabilities of Congress, dramatically elevated the quality and quantity of some 15,000(!) Capitol Hill staffers and have restrained the presidency.
However, Congress has often abdicated its constitutional power in the area of foreign policy, failing to fully leverage the power of the purse: funding, defunding and "fencing." Thus, legislators prefer to be preoccupied with domestic issues, which are the primary concerns of their constituents and, therefore, decide their re-electability. Therefore, they usually allow the president to take the lead in the initiation and implementation of foreign and national security policies, unless the president abuses their trust, outrageously usurping power, violating the law, assuming an overly imperial posture, pursuing strikingly failed policies, or dramatically departing from national consensus. Then, Congress reveals impressive muscle as befits a legislature, which is the most authentic reflection of the American people, unrestrained by design, deriving its power from the constituent and not from party leadership or the president, true to the notion that "the president proposes, but Congress disposes."
*On August 1, 2014, Democratic senators forced President Obama to de-link the $225mn funding of Iron Dome batteries from the highly controversial $2.7bn immigration and border security bill.
*Since 1982 and 1999, the Senate has repeatedly refused to ratify the Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
*The January 2013 defense authorization bill tightened restrictions on the transfer of terrorists from Guantanamo to the US. In May 2009, Majority Leader Harry Reid foiled President Obama's attempt to close down the detention camp.
*On February 17, 2011, President Obama reluctantly vetoed a UN Security Council condemnation of Israel's settlement policy, due to bi-partisan Congressional pressure.
*In September 2012, a $450 million cash transfer to the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt was blocked by Congress.
*The 2012 budget cut into Obama's foreign aid spending request by more than $8bn.
*In 2009, bi-partisan congressional opposition prevented the appointment of Chas Freeman to chair the National Intelligence Council.
*In 1990-92, Congress approved a series of amendments, unprecedentedly expanding US-Israel strategic cooperation, despite presidential opposition.
*In 1990, President Bush failed in his attempt to cut Israel's foreign aid by 5% due to Congressional opposition.
*In January, 1975, the Jackson-Vanik Amendment was signed into law, in defiance of the president.
*Congress ended US military involvement in Vietnam (the 1973 Eagleton, Cooper and Church amendments), Angola (the 1976 Clark Amendment) and Nicaragua (the 1982-1984 Boland Amendments).
In 1991, Senator Daniel Inouye, who was the chairman of the Intelligence Committee and surged to the chairmanship of the full Appropriations Committee, fended off Administration pressure to withdraw an amendment to upgrade the port of Haifa facilities for the Sixth Fleet: "According to the US Constitution, the legislature supervises the executive, not vice versa...."
Will Congress follow in Senator Inouye's footsteps, or will it abdicate its constitutional responsibilities?
According to a November 15, 2001 Department of Justice memo to the White House National Security Council, irrespective of international law and consistent with the US Constitution, the President has the constitutional, discretionary authority to terminate, or suspend, unilaterally, fully or partly, the 1972 USA-USSR ABM Treaty – the limitation of anti-ballistic missile systems – without seeking coordination with Congress, and certainly not with the USSR, whenever the President determines that it is in the national interest to do so.
Israel is a rising power with a growing impact on world affairs. The American Interest, stated on January 24: “This is there is a new name on our list of The Eight Greats, Israel.." Never has Egypt-Israel security cooperation been as close as it is today…. The rise of Iran has made Israel critical to the survival of the Sunni Arabs, including the Gulf States…. Israel begins 2017 as the keystone of a regional anti-Iran alliance
“The effectiveness of a guarantee depends upon the willingness of the guarantor to react to a threat, and upon his ability to react with sufficient force…. [For instance,] fear of disrupting American relations with Arab states was a factor in the 1967 US decision not to force open the Red Sea Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships [contrary to the US commitment in 1957, in return for a full Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula]..
Since 2004 he has been writing academic articles, social commentaries and photographic 'Stories from China' both here at KingsCalendar, and formerly as a contributing columnist at Magic City Morning Star News (Maine USA) where from 2009 to 2015 he was Stand-in Editor. He currently has a column at iPatriot.com and teaches English to Business English and Flight Attendant College Students in Suzhou City Jiangsu Province People's Republic of China.)
BenDedek originally created the site to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran.' Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah. Check the Chapter Precis Page to see details of each chapter and to gain access to the Four Free to Air Chapters
(The Download book does not contain a section on Seder Olam)
Definition: King's Calendar Chronological Research
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix 5. to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]