Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Politics at the Water's Edge

1/28/2015—Too late perhaps, but newspaper reports indicate that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is suffering politically during the Israel election campaign for his decision to become part of a domestic political dispute in the United States. Specifically, some voters in Israel worry that Netanyahu's decision to speak to Congress without the approval of President Obama may redound to Israel's harm. That is undoubtedly the case.

The decision by John Boehner, Speaker of the House, to invite a representative of a foreign power to come to the United States in order to criticize the foreign-policy of the president of the United States, is shocking. It used to be said that politics stops at the water's edge. You could not imagine, for example, Congress inviting Winston Churchill to speak to Congress without the approval of FDR. But, that era is long gone. We no longer have that kind of political discipline.

What is almost comic about Boehner's decision, is that the notion of Congress having its own foreign policy is a direct violation of the separation of powers. It is far more of the violation of the separation of powers than anything done by President Obama in his executive order regarding immigration. Outside of spending and treaties, the president alone makes the foreign-policy of the United States. Basically, you change the foreign policy of the United States by electing a new president.

I'm only sorry that president Obama did not force Netanyahu to the public humiliation of canceling the speech. Since President Obama controls the veto at the United Nations, that would not have been hard to do.

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