The challenge playing out before our Republic regarding the so called Islamic ban of visa bearing individuals from Muslim nation states is the separation of powers doctrine and its consequences in derailing institutionalized comity in U.S. civil-military relations. We’ve been here before, and the story never gets better. Like Nixon and Reagan, Trump remains a perfect candidate, a fortress besieged by unelected government officials tethered to unions and other arcana, not subject to his authority. And like Nixon and Reagan, team Trump will begin to feel an impersonal vice on his governing hand, his agenda cut off, his voice din and reach small, IF he and his team don’t start learning Washington politics.
The federal courts in the state of Washington & Minnesota are challenging the Presidents executive order for a 90 day stay of visas from Islamic nation states, identical states procured for the Obama administration. By subjecting the separation of powers doctrine and the plenary power enumerated into federal supremacy regarding immigration and war, the agencies have set themselves up as final unelected arbiters of our Constitutional Republic.
This begs the question: what is the Constitutional status of federal agencies. Because they remain creations of the executive branch and remain funded by Congress, it isn’t clear of their place in our Constitutional structure relative to the separation of powers. Just who does the EPA work for?
The founders invited or left deliberately vague the actual demarcated division between the branches, even though all reserved power is enumerated. Why is this the case? Because the founders knew that they were dealing with a relation, not an object. Constitutionally speaking, the status of federal agencies is that they aren’t Constitutional, yet they retain their authority from the Executive and from Congress, even though Congress cannot ever delegate enumerated power reserved to itself.
The fact isn’t difficult to discern, the State department has long been a completely dysfunctional arm of the Executive. It operates as a monolithic fiefdom. For Presidents and others to be effective they’ve resorted to transferring operational authority to the National Security Council, to individual members of the vaunted policy planning staff at State; even Defense department combatant commanders have elaborate staff, this says nothing about the intelligence community.
Where does team Trump begin.
He begins by fighting to remove the union membership status of federal agencies. Trump and his team have got to do politics “on the Hill” if their going to win. Why? Because the opposition will seek impeachment if they sense a disoriented executive.
While Trump sets his sights on Republican majorities in the House for legislation removing union status of federal workers, National Security advisor Flynn must place the day to day operational staff of State within the interagency process. After four years, this is what State should have achieved in strengthening the President.
A Russia that openly seeks cooperation with American interests in counter-terror operations globally.
A China that ends its threatening behavior in the South China Sea while engaging a constructive role in the world economy and policing of the commons.
A North Korea demilitarized.
An Iran that no longer openly seeks confrontation of U.S. assets in international waters. An openly threatened nuclear proliferation network beginning with Iran and its encirclement of North America by Quods agents throughout South/Central America.
A liberalized Saudi political economy that leads in the reformation of Islam.
A reformed foreign assistance program that focuses on political reform of economies too weak or foreign to the mores of a market based economy.
After four years, State could begin to retake its previous leadership role as the authority of U.S. foreign policy. That would mean truly creative policy making that is not only diplomatic but joint-interagency with defense civilian leadership.
For team Trump to succeed he’ll need to ask or demand of State that it seek to field new regional alliances, to condition foreign assistance with regimes like Pakistan, and the expansion of covert operations globally.
It would mean ending career officials who see their job outside the parameters of our Constitutional Republic.
It means fixing the broken instrument of diplomacy that has become the U.S. Department of State.