November 18, 2014

Time to govern

By Richard Fontaine, and Elbridge Colby

The midterm election handed control of Congress to the party whose traditional strength is national security. In developing its foreign policy agenda, the incoming Republican majority will face an American public newly focused on an array of international challenges, ranging from ISIS in Iraq and Syria to Russians in Ukraine and the spread of Ebola.  But Americans’ new focus on international affairs also represents an opportunity for the new Senate and House. 

Despite the limitations of divided government, Congress can employ legislation, the power of the purse, the nominations process and the bully pulpit to press a foreign policy agenda.  Leaders in both parties may shy from such activism: some Democrats will want to stymie Congressional action in order to campaign in 2016 against a “do nothing” legislature; some Republicans will wish to focus on the national security shortcomings of a Democratic president rather than seek ways to improve matters. But to allow such sentiments to trump active Congressional leadership on foreign policy would be a mistake.  Now is the time to take major steps to put the country on the right international footing.  

Read the full piece in The Hill.