In The Imperial Presidency, the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. warned that the habit of “indiscriminate global intervention, far from strengthening American security, seemed rather to weaken it by involving the United States in remote, costly and mysterious wars, fought in ways that shamed the nation before the world and, even when thus fought, demonstrating only the inability of the most powerful nation on earth to subdue bands of guerrillas in black pajamas. When the grandiose policy did not promote national security and could not succeed in its own terms, would it not be better to pursue policies that did not deform and disable the Constitution?”
These many years later, America is complicit in a mysterious war in Yemen that is waged by Saudi Arabia in ways that shame both of our allied nations. These famine-ravaged youngsters are what that war looks like. As Nicholas Kristof aptly put it, “Your tax dollars help starve children.”
Though the Constitution assigns the war power to Congress, our ongoing role in the conflict is due less to the endorsement of the people or their representatives than to the prerogative of our imperial president. As if to underscore the folly of leaving such decisions to one man, he happens to be a crass buffoon with a broken moral compass, no foreign-policy experience, and a family business that benefits from Saudi-government money even as he sits in the White House.