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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the allocation of authority between executive and legislative branch officials with respect to three areas: general foreign relations powers such as reception of ambassadors and recognition of foreign governments; treaty negotiation, ratification, and implementation; and war powers. Overall, it appears that most modern constitutions contemplate the sharing of foreign relations authority between the executive and legislative branches, with the precise boundaries of power more often determined by practicalities, politics, and particular circumstances than abstract theories. In particular, constitutional design choices are often influenced by the history and political context of a particular country and region, and provide a lens into what a given society views as important, dangerous, or problematic. The variations in design choices refute the notion that most foreign relations powers are inherently “executive” or “legislative” in nature, and instead highlight the ways in which design choices are embedded in broader social and political contexts.

Keywords: foreign relations, separation of powers, executive power, legislative power, treaty powers, war powers, foreign affairs powers

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