The Interlude: The deeper conversation for liberal society within Rand Paul’s recent filibuster amounts to yelling: “The Drone Policy (DP) is solo-declaration of War! not simply one wo/man’s chance–Fortuna–of a Presidential Drone Death Strike (PDDS)–that concerns us! The President now really has the authority to start a war against foreign nations!”
The Point: The President now says that the Office of the President has the power to target anyone via PDDS [except Americans in America not in battle]–without trial, without charges, without habeas corpus, without a jury… without liberalism. Indeed, with authoritarianism. Let’s respect that specter of truth. And that should be concerning to congress, the courts, and the median voter; since authoritarianism is not supposed to be available to public institutions.
The Political Science (via Political Pipeline):
Researching republicanism is useful because it illuminates ways to increase republican virtue (think rational choice). Prima facie, the republic of the United States cannot contain its own executive from warring. The president has the power to preemptively strike without consenting congress. There are no auxiliary precautions anymore (Paper 51), some clearly state (e.g., Ron Paul’s Farewell Address). Hamilton’s “dissimilitude” has thus vanished regarding the war power. Since republican thought is always present via the constitution, institutions and culture, therefore; today we may suspect a renewal of republican ideas to be regulated into law in order to increase our republican tradition (yes, that last statement might be contentious to liberal tradition scholars).
The literature on republicanism and culture predict that there would be a “dissimilitude” between the war powers of the President and the United States and the idea of an absolute king. However, history clearly reveals that President Polk crossed many of Hamilton’s “dissimilitude” and assumed the power to initiate acts of war. Whereas declaring war is the art of announcing to the public that you intend to deploy lethal force in a land upon a people–before you do it; no one needs to be told that war has been declared once bombs are destroying innocent civilians–or one person that the President has determined to be at war with the United States in company of others.
In the first place, there is either collusion between the congress and the president whereas congress appears to be acquiescing, or affirming the president’s authority; or the president has usurped power and quieted the congress. In the second place, either the people’s’ representatives are to be restrained in foreign policy, or the president has become perceived as the peoples’ sole representative of foreign policy. Both of these lines of possible research; however, ignore republican ideas and the constitution, which Federalist 69 explicitly and profoundly resembles.
For example, republican theory predicts that the executive needs to be restrained through formal structures and institutions. Specifically, Federalist 69 culturally and institutionally creates our republic’s disposition regarding the president and his/her right to initiate war powers. Accordingly, the president has no right to war without a declaration of war from the congress.
Auxiliary precautions may abound, but perhaps a few are most useful. A republican response to the evidence of unconstitutional presidential war powers these days may be exogenous or endogenous by nature. The rule of law must handcuff the President from meddling in the affairs of other nations without a declared war or specific instruction from Congress, even though a strong president is often necessary to the success of a republican nation. Republicanism could create a new path—one that would increase transparency and accountability of the most première public office in America.
External actions that would provide a check on undesirable anti-republicanism and anti-liberalism (i.e. authoritarianism) would include joining the International Criminal Court, withdrawing permanent troops from foreign countries to which the United States does not oppose in a declared war, and promoting non-domination worldwide in the global public sphere—particularly for property rights. Evidently, republicanism in this sense may appear remote to researchers, yet wasn’t the Civil Rights Acts and the Voting Rights Act ubiquitously republicanism and remote before their public debut? Did not those reforms seem unlikely just a decade or two prior to their enactment?
In a republican manner, internal actions which should provide a check upon the president’s PDDS capabilities could arise from the congress and/or the courts. Republican examples would include a congressional agreement to declare war within thirty days of a PDDS attack on foreign soil. If the vote fails, then the impeachment of the president will automatically commence. If this vote fails, then the people will be provided with the votes of their representatives, and may affirm their decision or vote for a different representative. If the vote for impeachment succeeds, then constitutional removal processes must be enforced. As Madison explained, a republic must protect itself from its own government (#51).
To be sure, republicanism first and foremost increases transparency and accountability in an attempt to remove domination within the public sphere for the people. Thus, in the coming years, we should expect many political acts of contestation, not just Rand Paul’s filibuster, as well as political science development–considering what sure seems to be illiberal actions within America’s liberal-consensus (i.e. Katznelson and Milner 2002, State of the Discipline, 722-730ish).