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War PowersThe Politics of Constitutional Authority$
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Mariah Zeisberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157221

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157221.001.0001

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Defensive War

Defensive War

The Cuban Missile Crisis and Cambodian Incursion

Chapter:
(p.146) Chapter 4 Defensive War
Source:
War Powers
Author(s):

Mariah Zeisberg

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691157221.003.0004

This chapter analyzes presidential conduct by showing how presidents can augment their authority to engage in independent acts of war. Specifically, it assesses Kennedy's behavior in the Cuban Missile Crisis and Nixon's in the Cambodian bombing and incursion. It argues that the relational conception accommodates and explains the common intuition that the acts can be constitutionally distinguished. While both were responses to threats specified through a Cold War security order, the identification and management of threat in Kennedy's case was more deeply connected to the terms of that order than was Nixon's. The acts can also be distinguished on processual grounds. Kennedy's exercise of war power was more deeply connected to his skillful use of executive branch governance capacities.

Keywords:   American presidents, presidential acts, war power, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Cuban Missile Crisis, Cambodia, bombing, relational conception, Cold War

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