November 8, 2018

Wait Just a Minute: Michael Beschloss

Our web series, Wait Just a Minute, asks experts to answer complex questions about global affairs in 60 seconds. In this episode, historian and author Michael Beschloss answers questions on presidential history, the system of checks and balances, and offers advice for President Trump and congress.

Wait Just a Minute: Michael Beschloss


Why study past presidents?

It's impossible to understand current events unless you know what other presidents have done, and if you're a president, the only user's guide you've got is where earlier presidents succeeded and where they failed.

How has history shaped the way presidents wage war?

Any great war president knows what earlier war presidents have done. Harry Truman said he couldn't function if he did not know what his predecessors had done, and it was comforting to him and illuminating for him to know how Abraham Lincoln operated, or how James Polk operated.

Are checks and balances broken?

The last 60 years or so, presidents stopped asking for a war declaration from Congress before they went to war. And as a result, you have Korea, and Vietnam, and later wars that the people turned against, and Congress could say, these were presidential wars, we were never asked for a war declaration, you don't like the war, it's the president's fault.

Do you have any advice for President Trump and congress?

You never want any president to become a war president, and if that happens to President Trump, what I would say is that the best war presidents had a lot of criticism from Congress.

About

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. We convene leading global voices and conduct independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization. All statements of fact and expressions of opinion in blog posts are the sole responsibility of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Council.

Archive








| By Ian Klaus

Did the UNSG Say “Revolution”?

While there is nothing convenient about 2020, the upcoming Pritzker Forum on Global Cities has been helpfully anticipated by a series of publications that speak to the high stakes currently in play in cities around the world and the urgent need - from the perspective of both efficacy and equity - to adapt governance practices.








| By Laurence Ralph, Thomas Abt, Brian Hanson

Deep Dish: Police Reform Lessons from Around the World

Princeton University’s Laurence Ralph and the Council on Criminal Justice’s Thomas Abt join Deep Dish to explain why police brutality is not a uniquely American phenomenon and argue the strongest examples of successful police reform come from outside the United States.