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Does or should actions of the United Nations supersede our agreement process with other countries?

Updated on March 20, 2015

The United Nations is a world organization and serves a purpose to those countries who are members but having a purpose does not grant the organization to finalize acceptance of any agreement between countries such as the United States. Our political process which involves our Constitution requires that agreements between us and another country or countries must be accepted by the Senate. Any agreement in which Congress is not involved in the content as agreed upon by the executive department is basically not worth the paper on which it is printed.

It is understandable that there needs to be some behind the scenes negotiations as some of these executive agreements may involve sensitive issues such as the current activity with regards to Iran. In section 2 of article 2 of the Constitution the President has the authority to make treaties but with limitations. The following content of this section is provided below:

“He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.”

Clearly the President cannot make any agreements without them being finalized through the Senate. This requirement in the Constitution cannot be superseded by any action of the United Nations. Some negative comments have surfaced about getting the U.N. involved with any deal involving Iran but getting comments or at least a review of such an agreement is not necessarily a bad option to undertake.

As previously stated agreements between countries are just that agreements and each country has a process to negotiate agreements and to finalize their acceptance. Other than getting parties together the political process for any country concerning agreements must be kept in place. While there have been some negative comments about the letter sent to Iran it was well within the rights and authority of the Senate to inform Iran that any agreement must be accepted by the Senate of the United States.

In the past agreements by any President has undergone a review and concurrence by the Senate to validate the acceptability of the terms and conditions of agreements made by the executive department. It is engrained within the Constitution and has been standard practice that such actions take place. Each legislative body has responsibilities within the Constitution and it is inappropriate that input from the United Nations be sought thinking if they bless any agreement it becomes final. Nothing can be farther from the truth. The President has the responsibility to seek the advice and consent of the Senate for any agreements made. It is a requirement of our Constitution and cannot be legally ignored.

The information in this article is not meant to be a slam against the United Nations as it is a great organization especially for communication between countries that may not otherwise have an opportunity to talk to each other face to face. This organization does have limitations as discussed above and these limitations need to be recognized for what they are and actions between countries need to understand them and act accordingly concerning any agreements.

To answer the question about actions of the United Nations concerning agreements they can be involved but with negotiations but any decision made by the not supersede political processes of countries involved in negotiating agreements.


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