Law, Politics and Current Events, Reviews

Review: Yoo, The Powers of War and Peace

jacket imageThe Claremont Review of Books recently reviewed John Yoo’s The Powers of War and Peace. Joseph M. Bessette praised the book in a lengthy review, in which he concluded that "[John Yoo] makes a compelling case that Congress need not formally authorize many, perhaps most, military commitments abroad, for which the president possesses ample constitutional authority. It is rare that one scholar fundamentally recasts the debate on a constutional issue of pressing public importance. In The Powers of War and Peace, John Yoo has done exactly that."
John Yoo, formerly a lawyer in the Department of Justice, here makes the case for a completely new approach to understanding what the Constitution says about foreign affairs, particularly the powers of war and peace. Looking to American history, Yoo points out that from Truman and Korea to Clinton’s intervention in Kosovo, American presidents have had to act decisively on the world stage without a declaration of war. They are able to do so, Yoo argues, because the Constitution grants the president, Congress, and the courts very different powers, requiring them to negotiate the country’s foreign policy. Yoo roots his controversial analysis in a brilliant reconstruction of the original understanding of the foreign affairs power and supplements it with arguments based on constitutional text, structure, and history.
Read an interview with John Yoo.