When the President unilaterally decides that America will start killing people in foreign countries, the least we can expect is a sound justification for that action under domestic and international law. Yet Trump has yet to offer one.
If Congress does nothing now to further delineate the scope of presidential authority to deploy military force, it will effectively be forfeiting, now and forever, its constitutional authority to check presidential moves short of all-out state-to-state war.
A document seeking to justify the use of force in Syria has begun circulating outside the government that is said to have been developed within the Administration. But there are significant flaws in this justification as a matter of domestic and international law.
The Trump Administration’s actions thus far are not just an attack on human rights norms. And they’re not merely a rejection of international law. They’re also an assault on our national security and foreign policy.
Trump has promised a foreign policy of America First. His conduct thus far suggests that he will follow through on that promise, but in ways that risk violating domestic and international law. Here are some useful analyses of the story thus far.