May 9, 2011
The Korean War ended in 1953, but its legacy still lingers in American war-making policy today.
At a recent conference on “The Unending Korean War” at New York University, the keynote speaker, Bruce Cumings, a history professor at the University of Chicago, explained that the UN provided the means for the then US President Harry S. Truman to bypass the US Congress in intervening in the Korean War.
Under Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution, the power to declare war is vested in the Congress. But in June 1950, Truman did not go to Congress for a declaration of war.
Instead, Cumings explained, “The UN was the legislature that the US knew they would get a majority vote in.” At the time, the Soviet Union was refusing to participate in the UN Security Council, and the Chinese seat was held by representatives from Taiwan.