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The Authority to ‘Declare War’: A Power Obama Does Not Have

The prime minister of the United Kingdom, armed with the Royal Prerogative, does not need Parliament’s assent to lead Britain into war. The president of the United States, holder of an office designed to keep “prerogative” powers in check, assuredly does.

Yet history will apparently write that, in the late summer of 2013, the prime minister sought permission and, when Parliament denied it, receded from the field — and that a president scorned to ask, and went ahead with an act of war. 

This paradox shows that American intervention in Syria is fraught with legal, as well as military, danger — and that constitutionally, as well as in foreign-policy terms, it may be a problem with no good solution.

Read more. [Image: Larry Downing/Reuters]

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