How long will Congress remain a bystander on war?

first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionWASHINGTON — The first use of nuclear weapons occurred Aug. 6, 1945. The second occurred three days later.That there has not been a third is testimony to the skill and sobriety of 12 presidents and many other people, here and abroad.Today, however, North Korea’s nuclear bellicosity coincides with the incontinent tweeting, rhetorical taunts and other evidence of the frivolity and instability of the 13th president of the nuclear era. A long train of precedents tends to legitimate — although not justify — practices, and this nation has engaged in many wars since it last declared war on June 5, 1942 (when, to satisfy wartime legalities, it did so against Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania).Over many decades, Congress has become — has largely made itself — a bystander regarding war.Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., says, “If we have to go to war to stop this, we will.”By “this” does he means North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons, which it has had for 11 years? Or ICBMs, which it is rapidly developing?If so, Graham must think war is coming, because there is no reason to think that North Korea’s regime will relinquish weapons it deems essential to its single priority: survival.As Vladimir Putin says, North Korea would rather “eat grass.”U.S. actions have taught this regime the utility, indeed the indispensability, of such weapons. Would America have invaded Saddam Hussein’s Iraq if he had possessed them? Would America have participated in destroying Libya’s regime in 2011 if, soon after Saddam’s overthrow, Moammar Gadhafi had not agreed to abandon his nuclear weapons program?North Korea, says Trump, is a “situation we will handle” — “we will take care of it.”Does “we” denote deliberative and collaborative action by the legislative and executive branches?Or is “we” the royal plural from the man whose general approach to governance is, “I alone can fix it”?Trump’s foreign policy thinking (“In the old days, when you won a war, you won a war.You kept the country”; we should “bomb the shit out of [ISIS]”) is short on nuance but of Metternichian subtlety compared to his thoughts on nuclear matters: “I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.”A U.S. war of choice against North Korea would not be a pre-emptive war launched to forestall an imminent attack. His almost daily descents from the previous day’s unprecedentedly bad behavior are prompting urgent thinking about the constitutional allocation of war responsibilities, and especially about authority to use U.S. nuclear weapons.Last month, for the first time in 41 years, a congressional hearing examined the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 that gives presidents sole authority.There was serious discussion of whether a particular presidential order for their use might not be “legal” — necessary, proportionate.But even if, in a crisis, time permits consulting lawyers, compliant ones will be found: President Obama’s argued that the thousands of air strikes that killed thousands and demolished Libya’s regime did not constitute “hostilities.”The exigencies of crisis management in an age of ICBMs require speed of consultations, if any, and of decisions.And the credibility of deterrence requires that adversaries know that presidents can act in minutes. Furthermore, the authority to employ nuclear weapons is, as was said at the congressional hearing, “intertwined” with the authority “to take the country to war.”So, as a practical matter, President Trump can unleash on North Korea “fire and fury” without seeking the consent of, or even consulting, Congress. This, even if North Korea has neither attacked nor seems about to attack America. Rather, it would be a preventive war supposedly justified by the fact that, given sophisticated weapons and delivery systems, imminence might be impossible to detect.The long war on the primitivism of terrorists has encouraged such thinking. A leaked 2011 memo from the Obama administration’s Justice Department argued that using force to prevent an “imminent” threat “does not require … clear evidence that a specific attack … will take place in the immediate future.”So, regarding al-Qaida, the memo said that because the government might not know of all plots and thus “cannot be confident that none is about to occur,” any leader of al-Qaida or “associated forces” can be lawfully targeted at any time, without specific knowledge of planned attacks.It would be interesting to hear the president distinguish a preventive war against North Korea from a war of aggression.The first two counts in the indictments at the 1946 Nuremberg trials concerned waging “aggressive war.”George Will is a nationally syndicated columnist for The Washington Post who writes from a conservative perspective.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

Investment

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Cheshire industrial Stepping out of the shadows

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Give PPPs a chance

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Out-of-town’s final round

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Analysts predict Canary Wharf buyout

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The law in disorder

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Knight Frank signs HOK alliance

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Top hopefuls Buttigieg, Sanders under fire in Democratic debate

first_img“How much is it going to cost?” Biden asked about Sanders’s Medicare for All bill which estimates the project would cost tens of trillions of dollars. “Who do you think is going get that passed” in Congress? Biden performed more aggressively than in previous showings, seizing a chance to argue that today’s global tensions required an experienced statesman to guide the nation out of a dark period.Despite the Iowa setback he also made plain he still views himself as best placed to mount a centrist challenge to the Republican Trump, who this week survived an impeachment trial that did little to dent his electoral support. A national unknown one year ago, Buttigieg has run an ambitious campaign that resonated with voters who appreciate his articulate explanations of policy.But rivals including Senator Amy Klobuchar argued Buttigieg is an untested novice on the world stage.”We have a newcomer in the White House, and look where it got us,” she said in a gibe at both Buttigieg and Trump.Buttigieg draws on his experience as a military veteran to cast himself as a credible commander-in-chief.And he advanced his central argument for generational change as the best way to take on the nation’s tests. “The biggest risk we could take at a time like this would be to go up against the fundamentally new challenge by trying to fall back on the familiar,” Buttigieg said.- ‘Trump’s worst nightmare’ -Also onstage in New Hampshire were Senator Elizabeth Warren, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and billionaire activist Tom Steyer.Klobuchar, a pragmatist from Minnesota, put in a forceful performance as she voiced her opposition to Sanders and Warren, arguing their liberal plans would only divide voters.”Truthfully, Donald Trump’s worst nightmare is a candidate that will bring people in from the middle,” she said.While Biden held his own, he acknowledged he was fighting an uphill battle in the first two voting states.”I took the hit in Iowa and I’ll probably take it here,” he said, in apparent recognition that Sanders is likely to win New Hampshire, which borders his home state of Vermont.Democratic tensions have simmered as the party struggles to decide whether to take incremental progressive steps or a more radical turn as proposed by self-declared democratic socialist Sanders.At one point candidates were asked whether they would be concerned should a democratic socialist win the nomination. Klobuchar and others raised their hands. As the seven debaters clashed, another candidate loomed in the background.Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg chose to ignore the early nominating contests and has spent heavily on advertising, hoping to make a splash on “Super Tuesday” on March 3, when 14 states vote.Warren, who calls for an end to the “corruption” of Washington, lashed out against Bloomberg — but also Buttigieg — who has raised large sums from wealthy donors.”I don’t think anyone ought to be able to buy their way into a nomination or being president,” she said. “I don’t think any billionaire ought to be able to do it and I don’t think people who suck up to billionaires in order to fund their campaigns ought to be able to do it.”After New Hampshire, the candidates turn to Nevada on February 22, South Carolina on February 29 and then Super Tuesday.Topics : “I don’t have 40 billionaires, Pete, contributing to my campaign,” Sanders said.Buttigieg and Sanders finished atop the pack earlier this week in Iowa’s chaotic caucuses, and both hope to renew the performance Tuesday in New Hampshire, as the Democratic Party seeks to pick a challenger to Trump in November.But Sanders, a veteran senator calling for “political revolution,” was in the firing line from several rivals, including former vice president and fellow septuagenarian Joe Biden who branded his policies too radical to unite Americans.The 77-year-old Biden, fighting to keep his White House hopes alive after finishing an unnerving fourth in Iowa, insisted liberal policies like Sanders’s flagship universal health care plan would be too divisive, expensive and difficult to get through Congress.  White House hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg — riding neck-and-neck in the polls ahead of the next Democratic primary contest — come under sustained attack on the debate stage from rivals seeking to challenge Donald Trump in November.Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana who at 38 is a fresh face on the national stage, defended himself against charges of inexperience and, in a dig at Sanders, urged Americans to elevate a nominee who will “leave the politics of the past in the past.”The 78-year-old leftist Sanders, eyeing the moderate Buttigieg as his possible chief adversary, aimed his own shots at his far younger rival in the Manchester, New Hampshire debate — casting him as the candidate of Wall Street.last_img read more

PREMIUMCan Indonesia lead global war against religious intolerance? Scholars discuss

first_imgGoogle Facebook LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Log in with your social account Linkedin Indonesia may be active on the international stage in promoting interfaith dialogue, but current conditions at home raise questions whether the country can take the lead in the global fight against growing religious intolerance.The aspirations and the confidence exist that the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, and with a functioning democracy, has what it takes to lead the global campaign for religious moderation to fight against radicalism and extremism.Scholars in a discussion last week agreed that Indonesia was well positioned to take a leadership role, but they tempered their expectations factoring in Indonesia’s domestic situation, where intolerance has been on the rise, and where radicalism and extremism always lurk amid poverty and growing wealth inequality.Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, a Muslim scholar, joined the chorus of scholars i… Topics : Forgot Password ? #Islam Islam #religiousintolerance Indonesia #Indonesia radicalism #radicalismlast_img read more