I had the pleasure to participate in a Federalist Society podcast on the Korean peninsula on Monday. Of particular interest to me were some of the legal discussions on the authority the US president may or may not have to initiate an attack on North Korea, a topic I took up here. Ku argued that some of the legal theories suggesting wide presidential discretion, appealing to his Article II powers as commander-in-chief, overreach. In fact, the president has typically sought to stretch existing authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF)—those granted following the 9/11 terrorist attack and in advance of the invasion of Iraq—rather than test the legal waters by relying on his discretion. That the Senate is interrogating presidential powers with respect to the use of nuclear weapons is telling, a sign that checks and balances are under active consideration.
Listen to the podcast "North Korea Conundrum: Sanctions, Leverage, Balancing Power and Rumors of War" on the Federalist Papers website.
Moderator: Bruce Klingner, Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia, The Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center
Mr. Daniel Blumenthal, Director of Asian Studies and Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Professor Stephan Haggard, Lawrence and Sallye Krause Professor of Korea-Pacific Studies, School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California, San Diego
Professor Julian Ku, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Faculty Director of International Programs, and Maurice A. Deane Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law, Hofstra University School of Law