Courtesy Reuters

The United States is faced with a critical problem today. How can Congress and the President work together most effectively to formulate and implement a foreign policy that is attuned to our national interests, consistent in all its facets, well understood at home and respected abroad?

Three decades ago, President Harry Truman could boast that he alone was the overriding force in American foreign affairs. A mere 15 years ago Secretary of State Dean Rusk could express the same categorical point of view in five simple words: The President makes foreign policy. For nearly 20 years, from 1950 to the mid-1960s, there was a national consensus on the main lines of foreign policy associated with the cold war; with strong executive leadership there developed a mystique of the President and State Department being absolutely in control, and of Congress, with rare exceptions, going along.

The national trauma over Vietnam ended this phase,

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  • Lee H. Hamilton is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East of the House International Relations Committee. Michael H. Van Dusen is Staff Director of the Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East of the House International Relations Committee.
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