Evolution of Presidential War Powers

Slate has a very intriguing article up of a newly found thesis written by Elizabeth Cheney (Dick Cheney's older daughter who later served in the State Department).  The thesis reportedly gives a normative endorsement of an unconstrained executive during war time:

 From beginning to end, it's clear that Cheney looks upon the model of
the powerful executive approvingly.     Her most forceful conclusion is
that the Founders "certainly did not intend, nor does history
substantiate,  the idea that Congress should legislate specific limits
on the President's power." To ensure American  security, it needs to
recognize that the "nature of military and foreign policy demand the
'unity of a  singular Executive.' "

The article posits this as the thinking for the entire Bush administration, but I am not sure I would credit a senior thesis in college as having that much power.  

Regardless of Cheney's connection to her old thesis, I am sure people have a few interesting stories to posit from their own undergraduate work (whether in shame or in triumph). What was your college thesis (if you had one and, yes, post in the comments).  Here was the introduction to my 37 pages in all of its undergraduate glory:

When evaluating the world situation in terms of
hegemonic stability, the most immediate and fundamental politico-economic rival
for the Bush administration is the People’s Republic of China
(PRC).  Given its rapid economic growth,
international entanglement into regional economies, and continual modernization
of its military and space programs, the threat of the PRC becoming a regional
hegemon, or a global player, is real.  In
accordance, the grand strategy for the Bush administration has been an ambiguous
policy of promoting China’s economic integration into the world capitalist
system in an attempt to assure Chinese dependence on the current international
system combined with an aggressive East Asian strategy ensuring military and
political containment of the PRC.  This
dual-track policy, also referred to as “congagement,”allows China to be an economic power early into the 21st century, but limits the
possibility of the regime becoming a significant rival via traditional
conceptions of hard power.

Michael A. Allen

About Michael A. Allen

Michael is an Assistant Professor in Political Science at Boise State University with a focus in International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Methodology (quantitative and formal). His work includes issues related to military basing abroad, asymmetric relations, cooperation, and conflict. He received his Ph.D from Binghamton University in 2011.

One Reply to “Evolution of Presidential War Powers”

  1. My undergraduate thesis was an examination of U.S. intervention in Chile – 1958 – 1976. Documents since released suggested that I underestimated the violation of international and domestic norms. I haven’t looked at it in years, and don’t have a copy at hand.
    But my conclusion that we did ourselves more harm than good hasn’t led me to be embarassed – yet. On the other hand, I certainly said more than my share of stupid things in other papers and other contexts.
    The Cheney thesis, however, as a single piece of evidence seems, while small quantitatively, is another small piece of evidence consistent with many other pieces of evidence.

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