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Re-Exploring The Most Important Roles Of US President – Analysis


When it comes to national security powers, most presidential mandates come from statute, creating an avalanche of queries regarding the parameters of these powers delegated to the President by Congress. As a result, the U.S. president assumes various roles, what is known as presidential power. The means to attaining equal power balance may lie in respecting the constraints put in place to maintain power equilibrium. There are three types of presidential power:

  1. Constitutional powers, the Constitution certainly bestows this power.
  2. Delegated powers: Congress grants this power to the presidents to facilitate them perform their duties.
  3. Inherent powers: historically, as an equal branch of the government, the chief of the executive branch, the President inherits the power that comes with the President’s office.

Also, their powers are summarized and manifested in three roles of the President, Commander-in-Chief, Chief Executive, and Head of State. Finally, it should be known that both constitutional and delegated powers are expressly delineated in the Constitution. Others were established by acts of Congress or by way of tradition. As for the inherited powers, most U.S. presidents have construed them otherwise in the manners that bestow great authority to the President.

Article II of the Constitution grants the President of the U.S. the title of Commander-in-Chief. Although this is distinctively outlined in Article II, section 2 clause 1goes as follows:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

The Constitutional Power makes the elected President Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces. The President has the overall authority to command our Armed Forces during peace and war times in this capacity. However, only Congress has the absolute power to declare war, decide the civilian, and allocate the military budget. However, war powers provide a crucial course of action for presidents to attack the enemy when they perceive an imminent threat and act in foreign policy.

Also, only the President has the constitutional power to order American soldiers into war. For instance, subsequent to the attacks of September 11, President Bush’s White House Counsel Team argued that as Commander-in-Chief, he could do what was required of him to use necessary forces to defend American territories and its citizens (Johnsen, 2008). History tells us that a few U.S. presidents have asked Congress to declare war since World War II. Nevertheless, most presidents never requested permission from Congress to initiate a war. Instead, they believe in open-ended or implied congressional authorizations to use military force and consulted with the United Nations and NATO. 


As outlined in Article II of the Constitution, the President as the Chief Executive branch of a government oversees the overall operation of the executive branch. They make decisions grounded on information collected by division heads and use the resources obtainable to achieve their agenda. He or she carries out laws passed by Congress. Every so often, they recommend new laws. And Congress debates and passes or rejects them. They can try to persuade them to pursue or not pursue a particular policy. Notably, to accomplish the administration’s plan, a president must establish a good-faith partnership and working relationship with Congress, the support of the American people, and must be willing to give and take known as compromising. They often preside over a cabinet, prepares an executive budget for submission to Congress. The President appoints and removes executive officials. The President puts forth the lawmaking agenda for Congress. Also, one of the President’s most powerful tools for making changes to advance the administration’s plan is the power to issue executive orders.

As a Head of State, the President is the central figure and representative of American foreign policy. He or she negotiates treaties and makes deals with foreign nations, and the Senate ratifies all the treaties. Sometimes presidents on behalf of the country make an executive agreement. This type of agreement is negotiated with foreign nations and does not require Senate approval. The downside of this agreement is that they are short-lived because they are not binding on future administrations. For example, on April 15, 2015, in Vienna, the Obama administration and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council) the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China reached a nuclear deal with Iran known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Joyner, 2016). 

When the Trump administration came into power in 2017, they knew that the executive agreement was not a congressional approval; thus, on May 8, 2018, Trump announced the United States withdrawal from JCPOA. And in November 2018, Trump’s administration reimposed sanctions on Iran and melodramatically changed its policies regarding the previous deal made by Obama’s administration (Landler, 2018). Trump’s position has bolstered Iran’s ambition to openly resume enriching uranium and reinforced the notion that the U.S. cannot be trusted.

In brief, Trump’s decision was not an evidence-based procedural objection to the accord or its applicability. His purely politically driven decision built on long harbored disdain against Obama, the first U.S. black president, and Iran. However, he framed the Iranian nuclear deal as a failure and a promise of lies. President Trump driving force behind his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal had no substantive reason other than fulfilling an election campaign promise he made. From the perspective of this article, as well as many security experts concur that the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the JCPOA deal risks eroding trust and confidence on the global stage (Mulligan, 2018). Moreover, Trump’s action was not made in the best interest of American national security; instead acted to appease Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Israeli Prime Minister.  


 [1] J.  M.  Smith  and  A.  B.  Jones. Book Title.   Publisher,  7thedition, 2012.

[2] A. B. Jones and J. M. Smith.  Article Title. Journal title, 13(52):123–456, March 2013

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Trump pulls U.S. out of Iran deal”. BBC News. May 8, 2018. Archived from the original on December 31, 2019. 

Mulligan, Stephen P. (May 4, 2018). Withdrawal from International Agreements: Legal Framework, the Paris Agreement, and the Iran Nuclear Agreement (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service.

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“U.S. targets arms program with strongest sanctions since scrapping Iran deal.” ABC News. November 3, 2018.

Harold Hongju Koh, Why the President (Almost) Always Wins in Foreign Affairs: Lessons of the Iran-Contra Affair, 97 YALE L.J. 1255, 1263–64 (1988)

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Johnsen, Dawn E., “What’s a President to Do? Interpreting the Constitution in the Wake of Bush Administration Abuses” (2008). Articles by Maurer Faculty. 140.

Dr. Mustapha Kulungu

Dr. Mustapha Kulungu is the Principal Researcher at the ILM Foundation Institute of Los Angeles, California. He graduated from Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, California.

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