Let's Make a Deal

Reversing Bush's Treaty Policy

Barack Obama's presidency is supposed to be a sign of a new American attitude toward the world—that's what that Nobel Prize was for—but skepticism in the Senate, shared by Republicans and Democrats alike, may make it extremely difficult for the White House to gain approval for important international treaties. The Obama administration would like to see the ratification of pacts on reducing nuclear weapons and a new global treaty on climate change, among other treaties that were seen as restrictive to American sovereignty by the Bush White House. Under the Constitution, a treaty must receive the support of two-thirds of the Senate, making any kind of agreement unlikely. “The foreign-policy consensus in this country has disappeared on many issues,’’ one treaty expert told the Boston Globe.