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Why the President (Almost) Always Wins in Foreign Affairs: Lessons of the Iran-Contra Affair, 97 Yale L.J. 1255 (1988)

Abstract

The Iran-Contra Affair, the latest in a line of disturbing American foreign policy imbroglios, has forced national reexamination of the process by which the United States conducts its foreign affairs. In this Article, Professor Koh suggests that, contrary to popular perception, the Iran-Contra Affair was not simply an historical aberration. Rather, he argues, the Affair is symptomatic of a chronic dysfunction in the current foreign policy process. After tracing the Affair's historical roots, Professor Koh suggests that the flaws in the current decisionmaking system stem from a growing trend of executive initiative, abetted by congressional acquiescence and judicial tolerance. He further asserts that this dramatic accretion of presidential power contravenes the constitutional and policy visions of foreign polic)making set down more than forty years ago. This diagnosis leads Professor Koh to call for a reform of the foreign policy process to restore and reinvigorate the constitutional roles properly envisioned for Congress and the federal judiciary.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1988

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