The foreign policy debate has been dominated by the reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its effect on our relations with the rest of the world. As I mentioned here, TR’s heart, soul, and perhaps body would have been with the Ukrainians as they defended their independence against Vladimir Putin’s brutal onslaught. However, a realistic foreign policy would recognize that the US and the world have other important interests as well (see this previous post). It is not appeasement to keep the door open to the possibility of negotiations for a peaceful end to war, if only because that is how most wars end. Meanwhile, the stability challenge of China and Central America potentially impacts the American future as much, if not more, than the outcome of the war in Ukraine.
However, the most important foreign policy question arises here at home. TR was a staunch defender of presidential power, but the abuse of war power by recent presidents has led us to endless wars far from our core interests. Our continued involvement in Iraq is a classic example. The House has considered a resolution to finally revoke the Bush Administration’s 2003 Authorization for the use of Military Force under the War Powers Resolution. The only record vote occurred in the House of Representatives and can be found here
The resolve needs to be strengthened to prevent further abuse (see here), but cleaning up past excesses is at least a start.
Not much further from home is instability in Central America, which has fueled the migration crisis. Congress approved a bill to address one aspect of the crisis by strengthening the fight against corruption in Nicaragua, which former Sandinista guerrilla leader Daniel Ortega has turned into a family dictatorship. Those votes can be found at
S 1064 – Strengthen monitoring of corruption and human rights in Nicaragua
The oppression of China’s Uyghur minority is just one example of the increasingly dictatorial rule of Chinese President Xi Jin-Peng. In fact, it is not only a symbol of the brutality of the regime, but also of its cynical mercantilist economic policy to monopolize the solar energy and clean energy industries (see my previous post on the subject here). HR 6256 places limits on the importation of goods produced by forced labor in China, especially in the Xinjiang Uyghur region, and imposes penalties related to such forced labor. It was approved by unanimous vote in both the Senate and the House and has been signed by the President. It’s one of the few examples of when politics stopped at the water’s edge, allowing Congress to act across party lines to defend both human rights and our own economic strength.