The recent news about the Iran nuclear deal and the decentralization of power

If we want the US to continue to be a great place where our leaders aren’t all-powerful, we have to be satisfied with a federal government that moves more slowly. Under our current system, you can’t have both.

One of the most crucial design decisions of our federal government was its gridlock. It was designed such that things that were worth doing required sustained effort to overcome this gridlock. This was a guard against too much power centralized in one place.

In modern times, the executive office has wiggled around this check/balance via executive orders. And, the executive branch as a whole has grown in size significantly.

This is often frustrating for citizens, because it means the things we want accomplished often get done slowly, or not at all. But we have to remember the source of our frustration — it’s the decentralization of power at work.

The latest example is Trump pulling us out of the Iran nuclear deal. This is widely considered to be a bad move. Entering into it was widely considered to be a good move when Obama was President.

I want to point out that this progress as well as its revocation is possible because the executive office wasn’t checked by either of the other two branches [0].

It’s a great example of the downside of centralization of power. The fact that a president can enter into such an agreement without a check or balance of power also means it’s just as easy for another president to undo that progress.

Projects that require congressional approval will of course be much more difficult, but they’ll also be much more difficult to undo.

To restate: if we want the US to continue to be a great place where our leaders aren’t all-powerful, we have to be satisfied with a federal government that moves more slowly. Under our current system, you can’t have both.

[0]: Under U.S. law, the JCPOA is a non-binding political commitment. According to the U.S. State Department, it specifically is not an executive agreement or a treaty. There are widespread incorrect reports that it is an executive agreement. In contrast to treaties, which require two-thirds of the Senate to consent to ratification, political commitments require no congressional approval, and are not legally binding as a matter of domestic law (although in some cases they may be binding on the U.S. as a matter of international law). Source