Originally published in The American Interest.
TO: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Advisor Steve Hadley
Since 9/11, Congress has exerted little to no influence on major foreign policy initiatives and defense spending requests. But those days seem to be over, and you need to develop strategies for confronting this unwelcome development, not least with regard to the new "global partnership" with India.
Announced on July 18, 2005 in a joint statement by President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the partnership calls for enhanced bilateral cooperation on issues ranging from security to energy to development. Fortunately, the prospect of improving U.S. ties with India has been well received. However, there is widespread concern about one provision: the lifting of restrictions on the export of civilian nuclear technology to India, which would all but end India’s "nuclear pariah" status despite its ongoing refusal to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). There are three steps the Administration should take to secure support for this controversial move.
First, persuade an irritated Congress that you are now prepared to work constructively and in good faith with it. No administration appreciates congressional meddling in foreign policy, particularly when both houses are controlled by the President’s party. Ignoring Congress carries great risks, however. Even the most meticulously constructed agreement can be unceremoniously upended at the last moment by a single, well-aimed congressional amendment.
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Date Created: 12/19/2005 3:02:12 PM