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  • Author: Jacques Singer-Emery
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: This is the second of a three-part essay series on the different paths the U.S. Congress might take to limit Washington’s support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. As explained in Part 1 of this series, the Trump administration’s continued support for the Saudi coalition’s war in Yemen has triggered a range of Congressional responses. Although Congress faces challenges in passing new legislation to denounce Saudi Arabia’s actions in Yemen and its killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the White House’s Saudi policy implicates at least four pieces of existing legislation: the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), the War Powers Resolution, the Foreign Assistance Control Act (FAA), and the Leahy Laws. These laws were all passed during the Cold War to curtail the executive’s increasing ability to unilaterally sell arms, supply military aid, and order U.S. troops to assist allies in a theater of war. The executive must abide by these laws. If the President refuses or cuts corners, Congress can bring him to heel directly via impeachment, or indirectly through court orders that force executive branch agencies to halt the restricted activity.
  • Topic: Government, War, Law, Courts, Legislation
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Saudi Arabia, North America, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Jacques Singer-Emery
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: This is the third of a three-part essay series on the different paths the U.S. Congress might take to limit Washington’s support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Credible allegations of Saudi war crimes and human rights abuses in Yemen should trigger the FAA and Leahy Laws to prevent U.S. aid from reaching the Saudi-led coalition, as discussed in part 2 of this series. However, the U.S. Constitution forbids Congress from unilaterally issuing orders to any executive agency, including the Defense and State Departments. Accordingly, both the Foreign Assistance Control Act (FAA) and the Leahy laws place the onus on the executive to identify and respond to gross violations of human rights. Thus far, the executive has turned a blind eye to the Saudi coalition’s actions. Congress could independently find that Saudi Arabia has engaged in a “consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” by commissioning its own investigations. But if the executive remains unconvinced, Congress only has two options to enforce the FAA and the Leahy laws: impeach the President, or obtain a court order requiring the executive withhold aid and arms pursuant to these laws. The first action is unlikely to occur here, but the second is a viable option. To secure a court order, Congress must show that the executive’s refusal to follow the FAA and the Leahy laws uniquely injures the legislative branch in a way that only the courts can remedy.
  • Topic: Government, International Law, Law, War Crimes, Weapons , Courts, Legislation
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Saudi Arabia, North America, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Jacques Singer-Emery
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: This is the first of a three-part essay series on the different paths the U.S. Congress might take to limit Washington’s support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Congress is considering a range of options to express its displeasure with Riyadh after Saudi agents murdered prominent Saudi journalist and critic Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in September 2018, and journalists and NGOs around the world continue to highlight human rights abuses perpetrated by Saudi-led coalition forces in Yemen. Of these options, the most notable is the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2019. Congress has already voted to condemn President Donald Trump’s unequivocal support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: the Senate voted March 13th to end US support for the war in Yemen, echoing a measure that passed the House in mid-February. But, the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act would go further still, sanctioning those in the Saudi government responsible for Khashoggi’s death and curtailing U.S. arms sales and military aid critical to the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen. The White House vehemently opposes the bill. If it passes, President Trump is expected to veto it, just as he is expected to veto the Senate’s March and House’s February resolutions.
  • Topic: Government, Law, Military Affairs, Legislation
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, North America, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Anthony C. E. Quainton
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: These days Generals are thick on the ground in Washington. Not only is the Secretary of Defense a general, but so too are the current and former National Security Advisors to the President and so is the White House Chief of Staff. Military discipline would seem to be the order of the day. Their culture of discipline may seem particularly ironic in one of the most disorganized administrations that we Americans have ever seen. It is nonetheless real.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Government, National Security, Military Affairs, Trump
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America, Washington, D.C.
  • Author: Beatrice Camp
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Celebrating the bicentennial birthday of our 16th president seemed like a fairly safe event for our Shanghai consulate to undertake, considering that Abraham Lincoln was popular in China and former President Jiang Zemin was well known for quoting from the Gettysburg Address. And, of course, Lincoln provided us an opening to talk about “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. Sometime after we decided on the program, the State Department announced that Hillary Clinton would travel to Beijing on her first trip as Secretary of State to highlight the importance of the U.S.-China relationship for the new administration. Shanghai wasn’t on her itinerary and yet, somehow, our consulate preparations to hold a 200th birthday party for Abraham Lincoln in February 2009 almost threw a wrench into this important SecState visit.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Government, Memoir
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dick Virden
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Just a few years ago Brazil was a feel good story. Its economy was soaring at a rate to rival China’s. Its charismatic president, Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, was among the most popular leaders anywhere, a rags-to-riches phenomenon. In 2014, when the Council on Foreign Relations chose its “Great Decisions” topics for the next year, one was “Brazil in Metamorphosis.” Unfortunately, the country has slipped back into its cocoon. The Samba music has stopped. Instead of being on a roll, Brazil is mired in an awful slump. Or as Frank Sinatra put it, riding high in April, shot down in May. What sort of country is this anyway?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Corruption, Government, Economy, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, North America, United States of America
  • Author: John R. Murnane
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: In a series of interviews with Jefferey Goldberg in the April 2016 Atlantic, President Barack Obama provided a much-needed and sober reappraisal of the limits of American power and a realistic view of U.S. foreign policy based on a careful assessment of priorities, or what Goldberg calls the “Obama Doctrine.” The heart of the president’s approach is the rejection of the “Washington Playbook.” Obama told Goldberg, “there’s a playbook in Washington that presidents are supposed to follow. It’s a playbook that comes out of the foreign-policy establishment. And the playbook prescribes responses to different events, and these responses tend to be militarized responses.”1 According to the Playbook, military power and the “creditability” it provides is the principle instrument of American foreign policy; it has been accepted wisdom at think tanks and among foreign policy experts since the end of World War II; Obama has challenged this dictum.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, United Nations, Syria, North America, United States of America