US Presidents and the Making of Foreign Policy

Tim Clancey asks whether American Presidents have exceeded their legitimate powers.

An Imperial President?

What do you think of George W. Bush? The British government’s decision to follow the USA into Iraq in 2003 has in Britain led to a heightened level of interest in how the US President conducts his foreign policy. You will hardly find a stronger critique than Arthur Schlesinger Jnr’s War and the American Presidency (2004). Schlesinger, former adviser to John F. Kennedy in the 1960s and author of the classic study The Imperial Presidency in the 1970s, presents the Bush regime as the Imperial Presidency reborn, arguing that Bush more than any other US President (even Johnson or Nixon) has exceeded the powers intended for the presidency by the US Constitution, instead governing in the style of an emperor, launching wars at will, unrestrained by Congress or public opinion.

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