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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

POTUS in Afghanistan

Our chapter on the presidency discusses executive agreements.  An example came yesterday in Afghanistan, as a White House fact sheet explains:
In May 2010, in Washington, DC, President Obama and President Karzai committed our two countries to negotiate and conclude a strategic partnership that would provide a framework for our future relationship. On May 1, 2012, President Obama and President Karzai signed the Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United States of America.
The Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) is a legally binding executive agreement, undertaken between two sovereign nations. The President’s goal in negotiating such an agreement has been to define with the Afghan Government what's on the other side of Transition and the completed drawdown of U.S. forces. The agreement the President signed today will detail how the partnership between the United States and Afghanistan will be normalized as we look beyond a responsible end to the war. Through this Agreement, we seek to cement an enduring partnership with Afghanistan that strengthens Afghan sovereignty, stability and prosperity, and that contributes to our shared goal of defeating Al Qaeda and its extremist affiliates.
At The Washington Post, Dan Balz provides some political background:
Rarely has a president blended the role of commander in chief with that of campaigner in chief quite as vividly as President Obama has done in the days surrounding the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death.
Five days ago, his reelection campaign triggered a partisan debate over whether he had unduly politicized bin Laden’s killing by releasing an advertisement that not only trumpeted that achievement but also pointedly questioned whether presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romne ould have had the courage to make the same decision.
As that debate raged, the president, acting as commander in chief, landed in Afghanistan on Tuesday afternoon for an unannounced visit to the war zone. There, he signed a new security agreement with President Hamid Karzai that outlines a partnership between the two countries that will continue after U.S. combat forces end their mission in 2014.