The executive and legislative branches both play important roles regarding foreign policy that are different but that often overlap. The Constitution divides the powers between the President and Congress so that they both share the making of foreign policy. Both branches have opportunities to make and change foreign policy, and the interaction between them continues throughout the life of a policy. Making foreign policy is a complex process, and the support of both branches is required for a strong and effective U.S. foreign policy.
One of the formal constitutional powers that both the president and congress are granted, in making foreign policy, deals with treaties. The president is granted the sole powers to create treaties however, the Senate is granted “advice and consent” in regard to treaties and they must approve all treaties with a 2/3 majority vote before it can be ratified.
Also the president is in charge of the military, so he is the Commander in Chief. The president can set policy, while others have even set military timetables and targets. However, Congress controls the distribution of resources: in order to fight a war, the president must receive funding to pay for the war and this must be done by Congress (This power is also known as the “power of the purse” (Teacher’s Web).
Conducting foreign policy is the job of the President and the executive branch. As head of the government, the President creates the foreign policy, supervises it and tries to obtain the resources needed to support it. He also organizes and directs the departments that play a part in the process. The President also has the power to receive foreign ambassadors and recognize foreign governments. Along with the Vice President, he is the only government official elected nationally. This places him in a higher position where he is able to identify, and express the “national interests” of the U.S.
The President has two additional informal powers in foreign affairs. One of these is the ability to determine the national agenda by bringing issues to the public’s attention and concern. With the public on his side, the president is more likely to win their side on foreign policies. The power of negotiation gives the executive branch a dominant role when making foreign policy through international agreements, but the President must take congressional opinion into account because often...