The War Powers Resolution will most likely die this Friday. Who will kill it? Barack Obama, probably the only president who could get away with it.
“Only Nixon Could Go to China” has become a catch-phrase that means only someone from one extreme of the political spectrum could get away with taking up the cause espoused by other extreme. Richard Nixon was one of America’s most virulent anti-communists in the 1950’s and 60’s when he was Senator and Vice President. But when he became president in the 1970s, he reopened relations with Communist China, and was the first president to visit the country. Instead of being called a traitor, Nixon was hailed as a visionary.
President Obama is about to do the same thing with the War Powers Resolution, and it will likely happen without a peep.
The president hails from the far left of the Democrat Party – the wing that has historically been virulently anti-war. His political godfathers were the folks who passed the War Powers Resolution in 1973, and then overrode President Nixon’s veto. Its purpose: to restrict a president’s ability to make war without the consent of Congress.
The War Powers Resolution requires the president to get Congressional approval for putting U.S. forces into combat within 60 days, or bring the troops home within the next 30 days. The constitutionality of the Resolution has never been tested in the Supreme Court, but both Republican and Democrat presidents have treated it as law.
Until President Obama, that is.
The clock on the Libyan war runs out this Friday, and the Obama administration apparently has no intention of seeking Congressional approval.
How can he get away with it? On a technicality. The president’s legal team is likely to announce that the War Powers Resolution doesn’t apply in this case, because the United States turned over leadership of the war to NATO on April 1.
But it’s a distinction without a difference, since we are NATO. There would be no NATO without the United States supporting it and leading it. The Supreme Allied Commander of NATO is an American admiral. American planes and drones are still bombing Libya, American tanker planes are still refueling combat aircraft.
The irony is that President Obama was a constitutional law professor, and someone who campaigned for the presidency as an anti-war candidate. His secretary of state was an anti-Vietnam war protestor in the 1970s. This is hardly the team you'd expect to push for undeclared and open ended war.
Only Nixon could go to China. Only Obama could kill the War Powers Resolution. Looks like we’ve finally put the Vietnam War behind us, but not in the way you’d expect.
Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland is a Fox News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com Live's DEFCON3. She served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations and wrote Secretary of Defense Weinberger's November 1984 "Principles of War Speech", which laid out the Weinberger Doctrine. Be sure to watch "K.T." every Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET on FoxNews.com's "DEFCON3 already one of the Web's most watched national security programs. For more, visit ktmcfarland.com.