Context in Which the Legislation was Passed: LBJ and Vietnam
The Tokin Gulf Resolution is the resolution, which was passed by the Congress of the United States of America in response to a sea war, which was ongoing between the Vietnam and American warships. The resolutions of Congress were very significant, since they gave the President, who at that time was Lyndon Johnson, the power to declare war on Vietnam without seeking the formal declarations of the Congress. The Tokin resolution in particular allowed the President to act or do whatever was in his capacity to help the members of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, of which the United States was a member.
At first, there was opposition by some senators due to the power these resolutions gave the President; however, after the American ships were attacked, President Lyndon Johnson believed that America had no other choice left than to commit her forces to Vietnam. Without the assistance of the US, the government of South Vietnam would collapse. The defeat in itself would amount to the defeat of the US goals of encouraging capitalism in a region, where communism was embraced by many. The President could not think of any other alternative. Johnson also believed that once the US troops were deployed in the war, they would surely succeed winning over all the communism insurgencies in the region (Dougherty & McKenna, 2006). He, therefore, following the Tokin resolution, declared war on Vietnam without seeking formal declaration from the Congress.
Summary of Main Points of the Acts:
The Tokin Gulf Resolution resulted from joint resolving by both the Senate and the House of Representatives when they assembled. With the passing of the resolution, the Congress declared, approved, and supported all the determinations by the President as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces in taking, when necessary, all the possible measures, which can assist or help in repelling any armed attack, which might be targeting the forces of the United States of America.
The other section of the Tokin resolution, which followed, stated that the United States regarded as very critical and important its own national peace as well as the security of the Southeast Asia region. Following strictly its supreme Constitution, the United Nations Charter and also the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, the United States was, therefore, determined to take any action necessary, even if it meant using its military force in assisting any member of the protocol. In this case, it was the Southeast Collective Defense Treaty requesting for maintenance of its peace and defending its freedom and sovereignty.
Lastly, the resolution had a termination clause, which indicated that it would expire only when the President determined and assessed the situation in terms of peace and security of the area being defended as completely secure and assured that by the international standards created by the United Nations. The resolution can also be terminated earlier than that period, if the Congress passes such a resolution (Sammis, 2000).
Discuss at least two conflicts since its enactment that the U.S. has sent troops without a Congressional declaration. What were the elements that the President was able to send troops?
At least two conflicts in the United States, in which the President has sent the troops without formal declarations by the Congress, include the recent attacks on Libya. The President relying on a UN Security Council resolution legitimized the US bomb attacks on Libya, primarily based on international law, while ignoring the US Constitution. This led to complains with many people arguing that it should be noted that the UN charter does not substitute the supreme US Constitution, which gives the power to declare war on other country to the Congress, but not the US President. The illegality of the war was because the Libyan forces never attacked the American forces and thus, without an armed attack, there was no compelling reason or force, which made the US President to surpass the Congress and send the troops to Libya. However, the President can argue that as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, he has been given the powers by the same Constitution to wage war on a country without the Congress approval, despite the Constitution insisting the contrary (Ackerman, 2011).
Another conflict occurred in the year 1990 after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait; the then US President Bush Sr. ordered the US troops into the region to protect Kuwait civilians. He also informed them to prepare for a counter attack, even before the Congress had approved or ratified the declaration. He only sought the approval from the Congress after pressure from the lawmakers who wanted their voice to be heard, especially of issues relating to military action and global security. This forced Bush Sr. to send a letter to the Congress seeking its permission to allow the troops to act militarily if necessary to enforce the UN resolutions. The resolution was not a declaration of war but only an authorization of the military force to protect civilians and aid humanitarian actions.