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Congress Versus the President: The Formulation and Implementation of American Foreign Policy

Courtesy Reuters

The President is the sole organ of the nation in its external relations, and its sole representative with foreign nations.

-John Marshall

March 7, 1800

6th Congress

One of the oldest conflicts in the American system of government is that between Congress and the President over the right to formulate and implement foreign policy. Is the President solely responsible for the conduct of external relations? Is the Congress an equal partner? Or does Congress have the right to shape U.S. policy by enacting legislation which proscribes a President's flexibility? These are not just debating points for historians and constitutional lawyers, but critical issues which need to be addressed if we are to see the successful exercise of American diplomacy in the 1980s. Our effectiveness in dealing with the problems ahead, especially U.S.-Soviet competition in the Third World, will depend to a significant degree on our ability to resolve the

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