House votes to revoke President’s war powers – to fight the Soviet Union


Top line

The United States House of Representatives voted decisively on Tuesday to pass a package of seven bills that included the revocation of certain military powers granted to the president, such as an authorization to use military force (AUMF) to ward off Soviet influence in the Middle East which has been in place since 1957.


the lodge voted 366-46 to pass the bills, with Republicans representing 46 “no” votes.

Two abrogations of the AUMF are enshrined in the legislation: one from 1991 authorizing the Gulf War and another from 1957 aimed at providing military support to the Middle East in order to fight against “international communism”.

The 1957 AUMF came in response to a speech President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave in January of that year, when he called on Congress to create a military and economic framework to combat what he warned was a Communist threat looming in the region, especially the Soviet Union.

The AUMF has allowed the White House to send the US military to intervene in any situation when a country has requested assistance in combating Communist forces, but historians widely agree that the Eisenhower Doctrine actually aimed at a different target.

Arab nationalism was on the rise in the 1950s, and Eisenhower feared that the departure of the United Kingdom and France from the Middle East would allow anti-imperialist movements, like that of Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, to prosper.

Crucial quote

“This decades-old AUMF is no longer of any use, but rather risks being abused by current and future administrations to launch an unwarranted military operation in the Middle East without congressional approval,” said Representative Peter Meijer. (R-Mich.), Who drafted the repeal bill.

Key context

The current Congress has generally decided to control the long-standing powers given to presidents in the past that allowed US military interventions. Most notable of these was the 2002 authorization for the use of military force in Iraq, which was a precursor to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The House voted 268-161 earlier this this month to repeal that AUMF, which President Donald Trump used to justify the 2020 murder of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani – almost 10 years after the withdrawal of a few thousand American troops from Iraq. The three abrogations of AUMF approved by the House have yet to be voted on by the Senate.

Further reading

House votes to restrict president’s war powers (Forbes)

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