SHANK FOREIGN POLICY STUDY GUIDE (4)                                                                                            




A.     Constitutional Division of War Powers


When the framers wrote the Constitution they gave Congress the power to declare war in Article I.  Article II grants authority to the President to be commander in chief of the armed forces.  This is part of what the separation of powers principal to avoid concentration of power in one person’s hands.  They felt that this separation of powers would provide a check and balance of the power of both the President and Congress.  It was designed this way so the President would have to ask Congress to declare war.  In our history, the President has only asked Congress to declare war five times.  However, Presidents have initiated small and large scale military actions without first going to Congress.  These have included police actions such as sending troops into hostile foreign territories during the Cold War.  One example was President Truman’s sending US air, naval and ground forces to South Korea to resist military action from Communist North Korea without asking Congress.  A second example was when President Kennedy ordered military action against Cuba without letting Congress know.


A1.  What is separation of powers?

A2.  Separation of powers provides a check and balance for whom?

A3.  Why did the Constitutional framers create separation of powers?

A4.  What article gives Congress the power to declare war?

A5.  What article authorizes the President to be commander in chief of the armed


A6.  Does the president have the power to declare war?

A7.  Which president sent US troops to South Korea?

A8.  Which president ordered military action against Cuba?


B. Congress approved the War Powers Act in 1973 in response to President Nixon’s action to bomb Cambodia during the Vietnam War. The purpose of this act was for the president to consult Congress before sending US troops to hostile territories.  This act gives Congress a position to negotiate with the president regarding how long troops will remain and when they will be returned from military action.  The War Powers Act required the president to return troops within sixty days.  If the president does not act accordingly to this, he must ask and explain to Congress the purpose for the extension.  President Nixon and president Clinton have opposed the War Powers Act because they believe it is an intrusion on their constitutional power to act as commander in chief.


B1.  What is the War Powers Act?

B2.  When did Congress approve the War Powers Act?

B3.  What country did President Nixon bomb?

B4.  During what war did President Nixon order to bomb Cambodia? 

B5.  What is the required time for the president to return U.S. troops?

B6.   If the president does not return troops within the required length of time, what must

         he do?

B7.  What presidents opposed the War Powers Act?

B8.  Why did they oppose it?



C.      Evolution of Presidential War Powers:  President Truman


The Constitution gives the president authority to act as chief of the armed forces.  US presidents believed that it is their inherent power to send troops overseas if they believe that the US national security interest is threatened.  Communist North Korea invaded anti-Communist South Korea in hope to unite all of Korea under communist rule.  President Truman in 1950 did not ask Congress to declare war against North Korea.  As authorized by the United Nations, he sent U.S. Air, Naval and ground forces to aid South Korea against North Korea’s invasion.  Truman wanted to contain the spread of communism. Truman told Congress that his actions were in the interests of US foreign policy.


C1.  What gives the president authority to act as chief of the armed forces? 

C2.  What authority does the Constitution give to the president?

C3.  What part of Korea is under Communist rule?

C4.  What part of Korea is anti-Communist?

C5.  Who sent U.S. military forces to assist South Korea?

C6.  What country invaded South Korea?

C7.  What organization authorized the use of U.S. air, naval and ground forces in Korea?

C8.  What was the goal of Communist North Korea when it invaded South Korea?

C9.  Which president was attempting to contain communism in Korea?


D.    Evolution of Presidential War Powers:  Eisenhower


President Eisenhower sought approval from Congress to support US military involvement in the Middle East.  Congress approved the Eisenhower Doctrine, which authorized the president to use U.S. troops to assist Middle East nations that were requesting help against communist threats.  President Eisenhower used his authority to send U.S. troops to Lebanon in 1957 during the Cold War.


D1.  Which president sought approval from Congress to involve U.S. troops in Middle


D2.  What doctrine did Congress approve?

D3.  Which American President sent troops to the Middle East in 1957?

D4.  Why did the Middle East nation request help from U.S.?

D5.  President Eisenhower sent U.S. troops to what country?


E.     Evolution of Presidential War Powers:  President Kennedy


President Kennedy ordered a naval blockade around Cuba in 1962 to prevent Soviet ships from bringing missiles to Cuba.  He ordered military action without notifying Congress.  The Cuban missile crisis brought U.S. and the Soviet Union to the brink of World War III.  President Kennedy felt that secrecy and quick decisiveness was needed to convince the Soviets to stop arming Cuba with nuclear missiles.


E1.  Which American president ordered a naval blockade around Cuba?

E2.  What country did the president prevent from bringing missiles to Cuba?

E3.  What event almost brought U.S. and Soviet Union to the verge of World War III?

E4.  What was President Kennedy’s purpose for not informing Congress about the naval

        blockage in Cuba?


F. Evolution of Presidential War Powers:  Presidents Johnson and Nixon


In 1964, Congress approved Johnson’s Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.  Because of this resolution, Johnson sent a massive number of US troops and materials to support anti-Communist South Vietnam in its warfare against Communist North Vietnam.  President Nixon took office in 1969, he promised to reduce U.S. involvement in Vietnam.  However, he secretly bombed Cambodia. The Communist North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam to unite under communist rule.  In 1971, Congress approved legislation to end the Vietnam War and to withdraw U.S. military forces from Vietnam.  After their removal by President Nixon, South Vietnam fell to Communist North.  South Vietnam and North Vietnam was united under Communist rule.


F1.  What resolution did Congress approve?

F2.  Under which American president was the resolution approved?

F3.  What part of Vietnam was anti-communist?

F4.  What part of Vietnam is Communist?

F5.  What country did President Nixon secretly bomb?

F6.  Why did Congress approve legislation in 1971?

F7.  The anti-communist South Vietnam fell to what country?

F8.  North and South Vietnam is united under what party?


G.     Evolution of Presidential War Powers:  Presidents Carter, Ford, Reagan


In 1975, during the Cold War Communist invaded Cambodia and captured an American ship, the Mayaguez.  President Ford ordered an attack and sent U.S. troops to rescue the Mayaguez and its crewmembers.  President Jimmy Carter sent a team in 1980 to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran however, failed because the aircraft crashed.  In 1982, before the Cold War ended in 1989, President Reagan sent marines to Lebanon as a peacekeeping force.


G1.  Communist invaded what country during what period?

G2.  What American ship was captured by the Communist in Cambodia?

G3.  What president sent troops to rescue the American ship and its crewmembers?

G4.  What president sent a rescue team to Iran?

G5.  What did President Carter attempt to do with U.S. hostages in Iran?

G6.  Which U.S. president sent marines to Lebanon?

G7.  What year did the Cold War end?


H.  Evolution of Presidential War Powers:  President Bush


In 1980, before the end of the Cold War, Iraq invaded Iran.  During the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, the U.S favored Iraq.  “The main goal of the U.S. and other regions, was to prevent Iran from becoming the dominant force in the Gulf and spreading its radical Islamic theology” (Shank, p.225).  Saddam Hussein was the military dictator of Iraq.  Ayatollah Khomeini was the religious ruler of Iran.  On August 20, 1988, the Iran-Iraq war ended before the end of the Cold War. Saddam began threatening and invaded Kuwait in 1990. Congress gave Bush authority for use of ground troops to aid Kuwait in the invasion of Iraq (U.S. Persian Gulf War). President Bush forced Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.  The war against Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait (Persian Gulf War) was the largest U.S. military action after the Vietnam War.  President Bush ended the war at 100 hours.


H1.  Iraq invaded Iran during what war?

H2.  What was the main goal of U.S. to prevent Iran from becoming the dominant force

        in the Gulf?

H3.  Who was the religious ruler of Iran?

H4.  Who was the military dictator of Iraq?

H5.  What year did the Iran-Iraq war end?

H6.  What country did Saddam invade in 1990?

H7.  Who served as U.S. President during the Persian Gulf War?

H8.  What war had the largest military action since the Vietnam War?


Praise for President Bush for ending the U.S. Persian Gulf War at 100 hours. 

·        “The United Nations achieved its goal of forcing Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.”

·        “Fulfilling the major UN goal of liberating Kuwait.” 

·        “Humaneness in not killing fleeing, defenseless Iraqi troops.”

·        “Decisive leadership at home and abroad.”

·        “Protecting vital U.S. oil interests” (Shank, p.234).


Criticism of President Bush for ending the U.S. Persian Gulf War at 100 hours

·        “Leaving Saddam in power and his WMD (weapons of mass destruction) intact.”

·        “Not destroying the Republican Guard.”

·        “Urging the Kurds and Shiites to topple the Iraqi dictator without giving them

·          support.”

·        “Ending the war at 100 hours left many loose ends” (Shank, p.234).



J.  Evolution of Presidential War Powers:  President Clinton


In 1993, Congress demanded withdrawal of U.S. peacekeeping force in Somalia following rebel attacks on U.S. troops and the downing of two U.S. helicopters.  After eighteen U.S. Army Rangers were killed, Congress approved a deadline to return the troops.  Clinton returned U.S. troops within six months and in 1994 the presence of U.S. military in Somalia ended.  In 1994, Clinton ordered military planes to transport troops to Haiti to restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to office.  U.S. troops arrived as peacekeeping rather than military force.  Clinton deployed armed forces in the U.S. led NATO to intervene military in Kosovo.  In April 1999, the House voted to require President Clinton to obtain Congressional approval before sending troops, but refused to support NATO air strikes.  The House also rejected the resolution to declare war against Yugoslavia.  The Senate had earlier approved NATO air strikes, but postponed action on resolution to give Clinton all authority to win the war against Serbian repression in Kosovo.


J1.  In 1993, where was U.S. troops sent to keep peace?

J2.  Why did Congress demand the withdrawal of U.S. peacekeeping force?

J3.  Which American president sent troops to Somalia and Haiti?

J4.  What country did Clinton deploy armed forces as military intervention?

J5.  What did the House refuse to support President Clinton?

J6.  The House refused to declare war against what country?