Talk of World War 3 is increasing every day, as tensions between the United States and North Korea show obvious signs of increasing. As Russia and Japan both urge the United States to ease off of any harsh or impulsive actions, Donald Trump is instead warning there is major conflict ahead with North Korea. But Congress, which must approve any military conflict, is also cautioning Donald Trump today that approval from Congress is required before any action can occur, and that anything else would be a violation of the Constitution.
Donald Trump has already made military moves in his first 100 days without going to Congress first. After Syria was attacked with chemical weapons in early April, Donald Trump engaged in military strikes on a Syrian air base, leaving nine dead in neighboring villages, including four children. That strike on April 6, has prompted a letter from the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, addressed to the president, dated April 24.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) April 25, 2017
In a letter co-signed by Tim Kaine, running mate to Hillary Clinton, Adam Schiff reminded Donald Trump of his Constitutional responsibilities when it comes to war, and also of the Constitutional responsibilities of Congress.
“We share your horror on the chemical weapons attack on civilians carried out by the Syrian regime in Idlib…It has now been over two weeks since you ordered the strike on the airfield and your Administration has yet to put forward any detailed legal analysis or justification for that action under domestic and international law….”
Rep. Adam Schiff also noted that Trump’s move against Syria came without congressional approval, saying this is difficult on Congress and also on the American people.
“These assertions of authority do not provide Congress with the information it needs to exercise our constitutional responsibilities. Nor do they provide comfort to a public that fears deeper involvement in a horrific civil war at a time when the U.S. troop presence in the region is already increasing…The legal justification for an attack on the Syrian government is not an afterthought but rather a first order consideration and something that is vital for the American people to understand at the outset.”
Rep. Adam Schiff with Senator Tim Kaine also noted the seriousness of who is in charge when it comes to declaring World War 3.
“It is precisely because the decision to go to war is such a momentous one for any nation that the Constitution provides Congress alone with the power to declare war.”
This letter came after Donald Trump made very serious comments regarding the situation in North Korea. After Kim Jong-un held a ballistic fire drill, simulating the explosion of a United States aircraft carrier, Donald Trump called a surprise Senate meeting on the subject.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence then issued a statement saying diplomatic responses to North Korea had failed. This chain of events are hallmarks of all of the ingredients required for war. With Japan, Russia, and China chiming in on the subject, it could possibly escalate to a World War 3 situation.
The Daily Star reports that the statement by Rex Tillerson and Mike Pence asserted the United States was prepared to defend themselves.
“Past efforts have failed to halt North Korea’s unlawful weapons programs and nuclear ballistic missile tests. With each provocation, North Korea jeopardizes stability in northeast Asia and poses a growing threat to our allies and the US homeland….the president’s approach aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile…however we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies.”
But many high-ranking members of Congress are urging the president to remain cautious, and to remember the rules of war. In the United States, the first rule of war is, go to Congress first.
Under the Constitution, the President does not have the authority to start a war that could kill millions. Congress has to first approve. https://t.co/xGfMI5pWSL
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 28, 2017
Only Congress gets to declare war.
The President directs the military AFTER Congress decides.
Congress must put the brakes on this WH. pic.twitter.com/X0tc1VIfAf
— Tokyo Sand (@DHStokyo) April 28, 2017
Russia has gone on the record to say that the situation in the Korean Peninsula has “deteriorated seriously,” according to Live Trading News. Russia is hoping to broker a six-party negotiation that would include North Korea, South Korea, the United States, China, Japan, and Russia. Vladimir Putin has asked all leaders to “refrain from military rhetoric and seek a calm and constructive dialogue.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is hoping there aren’t any more unilateral actions from the United States “like we recently saw in Syria” and he is hoping Donald Trump sticks to the promises made during the election. What those promises are that Russia is referring to are unclear at this time.
“Our position is well known and consistent. We call on all sides to avoid any actions which might be perceived as a provocation. And we stand for the continuation of coordinated international efforts in existing formats to resolve the North Korea problem.”
Americans concerned about how their Congress member may respond to the current potential World War 3 crisis on the horizon can contact their own representatives. A group known as the Loyal Opposition has made a script for the topic, if Americans wish to contact their representatives directly. Americans can also find the contact information for their Congress member on the Congress Rep Finder section of the Loyal Opposition website.
4/28 #CallToAction: Call & tell Congress to reassert that *45 can't go to war w/o approval!
— The Loyal Opposition (@TheLoyalO) April 28, 2017
Although China and Russia are both cautioning the United States to move cautiously, it does not appear that Donald Trump and his team are ready to do so. Reuters reported that today, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that if North Korea’s nuclear and missile development was not curbed, “catastrophic consequences” would follow.
But issues at home first must be considered. Congress is saying, if Donald Trump starts World War 3, or any war action at all, without their approval, that is a violation of the Constitution and could lead to catastrophic consequences on the domestic front as well.
[Feature Image by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]