I’m not a foreign policy expert, so perhaps I’m missing something, but a quick glance at the Constitution reveals that Congress has the power to declare war, as specified in Article I, Section VIII. Nobody else has that power, not even the President.
Notwithstanding this clear language, the United States may (or may not, depending on Obama’s mood) participate in military action against Libya merely because of a resolution at the United Nations.
This is rather troubling in the short run because it risks another messy entanglement in the Middle East – and it blatantly disregards the procedure created by our Founding Fathers for making such choices.
But it is equally troubling in the long run because it implicitly restricts the ability of the United States to unilaterally act if there is a time when America’s national security is genuinely threatened.
If we attack Libya because of a resolution from the U.N. Security Council, does that mean we can’t attack some terrorist stronghold in the future if we don’t get a resolution from the U.N.? Don’t kid yourself, the international bureaucrats and their multilateralist sympathizers all around the world think the answer to that question is yes, and they are delighted that the United States is acting in ways that strengthen their position.