Lack of Coordination of U.S. Foreign Policy: Magnifying International Crises

Feb 8, 2015

Speaker of the House John Boehner has invited the Israeli Prime Minister to address Congress. He’s entitled to invite anyone to speak, but when he does not coordinate these invitations with the executive branch of the U.S. government, the world grows infinitely more dangerous.

Countries around the world often look to the United States for its leadership and counsel on handling a variety of domestic and international crises. Through American embassies—and the diplomatic staff from the U.S. State Department—these countries rely on hearing what is the American point of view on solving these questions. When the Speaker of the House decides he is not even going to inform the White House of his activities, the world can only interpret this as a sign that it cannot trust whoever is staffing the embassies as a mouthpiece for U.S. foreign policy.

This is a situation which magnifies danger around the world. Leaders of other nations are left wondering who is speaking for U.S. foreign policy. And just as capital markets detest uncertainty and fluctuate wildly in response, international crises are more likely to flare into full conflagrations because of the doubt now growing among America’s friends and foes as to what is U.S. policy and who represents it. Speaker Boehner thinks of this as a “win” for him in showing up President Obama, but what it really demonstrates is that Washington’s dysfunction is not only frustrating American voters, but also making political instability and upheaval in the world more likely.