Diplomacy is the science and art of negotiating between representatives of organizations or nations. It is often used to allude to international diplomacy, which is the management of international relations via the intervention of professional diplomats on matters of peacemaking, commerce, conflict, economy, culture, the environment, and civil rights. Diplomats often negotiate international conventions prior to their approval by national governments. Diplomacy is the use of tact to achieve a strategic advantage or to discover mutually accepted solutions to a shared problem. One instrument is the wording of comments in a non-confrontational or courteous way (Kardelen). The president of the United States (US) is empowered under the Constitution to acknowledge foreign governments, establish foreign policies, enter into treaties with the Senate’s recommendation and permission, and nominate US ambassadors.
Since the Constitution does not specifically provide presidents with the capacity to recognize other governments, it is widely understood that they have this privilege due to their constitutional authority to send and receive ambassadors. Thus, this is sometimes referred to as the president’s appointment authority (Kardelen). The Constitution empowers the American president to designate ambassadors, who need to be approved by the United States Senate (Jonathan). Since the act of deploying an ambassador to a nation and receiving its representation implies acceptance of the validity of the foreign government, presidents have claimed sole power over which foreign countries recognize the US. As a result, they are authorized to discontinue ties with other countries. In addition to appointing judges and ambassadors, presidents can nominate executive officers, who Congress must approve. When Congress is not in session, presidents may appoint temporary officials termed recess appointments without Senate confirmation (Hogue 1). These positions are valid until the conclusion of the next legislative session of Congress.
As a Chief Diplomat, the US president has the authority to negotiate treaties and agreements with other nations, which the Senate of the United States must pass before becoming effective. However, while the president is intended to follow the recommendations of Congress when exercising diplomacy, the incumbent officeholder may engage in informal diplomacy with heads of other nations while still in office (Cox and Doug 77). According to historians, informal diplomacy has widely been used to interact between powers for hundreds of years (Cox and Doug 77). The majority of diplomats are concerned with recruiting personalities in other countries who may be able to provide informal influence to a country’s leadership informally.
Presidents sometimes use executive agreements in international affairs, despite the Constitution not explicitly approving this. These agreements commonly deal with administrative policy choices that are relevant to executive power, such as the level to which either country maintains an armed existence in a particular region. Furthermore, the agreements deal with how each nation will enact copyright pacts or how every country will operate foreign mail from one country to another. Although the usage of executive agreements has increased dramatically in the twentieth century, some opponents have argued that the level to which they have been used has replaced the treaty process (Jonathan). Consequently, this has led to the removal of constitutionally mandated checks and balances over the administration in international affairs. Supporters of the agreements argue that they provide a practical answer when the necessity for rapid, secret, and coordinated action emerges.
The president has the authority to enter into treaties with the agreement and guidance of the Senate, among other things. A more specific duty for the Senate was not specified by the Constitution-writing Convention when it created the document that would eventually become the United States Constitution. The majority of evidence suggests that the Senate assisted in the formulation of guidelines for negotiators and served as a committee of counselors to the president throughout the agreements (Hogue 1). The Senate’s role was to safeguard the sovereignty of the state and operate as a check on the president’s ability to take excessive or undesired measures via treaties (Hogue 3). On the other hand, the Presidential role was to ensure that treaties were negotiated in a united and efficient manner and to represent the interests of the whole country.
When the Constitution was being formed, the acceptance of a treaty was typically regarded as mandatory by the countries that entered into it if the mediators followed the rules. The Senate’s involvement at the negotiation stage looked crucial, provided the Senate assumed a significant constitutional role in the process. Similarly, direct participation by the Senate was plausible at the time, given that it was not anticipated that the number of agreements would be enormous and that the first Senate consisted of just 26 members.
Within a few years, however, difficulties were encountered in the process of negotiating treaties, and Presidents discarded the practice of routinely seeking the Senate’s opinion and assent on specific concerns before entering into talks. Instead, after the completion of the conference, Presidents started submitting the finalized treaty. Since the Senate needed to be allowed to recommend amendments or reject consent entirely, the idea of mandatory ratification was, for actual purposes, renounced in favor of the doctrine of informed consent.
Despite the fact that Senators occasionally participate in the initiation or advancement of treaties, the Senate’s primary function now is to determine whether the United States should approve finalized treaties. It is necessary to obtain the Senate’s guidance and consent on the inquiry of presidential approval. When the Senate recognizes a treaty, it has the option of approving it as written, approving it with conditions, rejecting it, or withholding approval in order to prevent the treaty from entering into force (Jonathan). Historically, the Senate has provided its advice and support to the significant number of treaties presented to it without stipulations. In a number of instances, the Senate has certified treaties on the condition that certain standards are met. On most occasions, the president has agreed to the Senate’s conditions and fulfilled the ratification process. However, on some occasions, treaties have been endorsed with reservations that were inappropriate to either the president or the other partner, and the pacts have never been brought into force.
In addition, the president serves as the nation’s main diplomat, establishing foreign policies. Furthermore, presidents depend on several clauses to back their foreign policy decisions, notably those that vest executive authority. The president works both independently and together with the United States Congress to set foreign policy and devise solutions to international crises and conflicts (Jonathan). For instance, the president has the authority to enact policies, issue policy pronouncements, and introduce legislation. The Rogers Act in 1924 laid the groundwork for the development of a professional Foreign Service department in the United States (Jonathan). Later, during the break of World War II and the passage of the Foreign Service Act of 1946, the country achieved a fully professionalized diplomatic corps (Jonathan). Given the high implications of foreign policies and the president’s obvious accountability for achievement or failure, most presidents are hesitant to commit significant tasks to Diplomats. In 2008, presidential candidates from both parties condemned the Bush administration’s failures in the field of foreign diplomacy (Jonathan). Additionally, the president of the US addresses the country during their inauguration speech and often contains remarks regarding international affairs and foreign policy.
Occasionally, a former official holder of a position may continue to engage in informal diplomatic action, which is the use of non-political means in achieving foreign policy objectives, after leaving their offices. Sometimes such conduct is supported by governments, such as when it is used to make early contact with an opposing state or organization without committing to an official military response. On the other hand, such informal diplomats may seek to advance a political agenda that is in opposition to that of the present government in power. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Yossi Beilin, a past Israeli diplomat and Minister, are examples of informal diplomacy used in the past.
Ideally, the president is authorized under the Constitution to recognize foreign governments, engage in treaties with the Senate’s approval or recommendation, and designate US ambassadors to other countries. The United States Constitution grants the president the authority to appoint ambassadors, which the United States Senate must confirm. The president of the United States has the ability to negotiate treaties and agreements with other countries, which the Senate must approve of the United States before they may become legally binding.
Cox, Michael, and Doug Stokes, eds. US foreign Policy. Oxford University Press, 2018.
Hogue Henry. “Temporarily Filling Presidentially Appointed, Senate Confirmed Positions.” Congressional Research Service, 2017, Web.
Jonathan Masters. “US Foreign Policy Powers: Congress and the President.” Council on Foreign Relations, 2017, Web.
Kardelen Koldas. “The President as Diplomat in Chief.” Colby News, 2022, Web.