Only time will tell whether it was prudent for President Trump to authorize the killing of Qassim Soleimani. But we don’t need to wait to recognize that the constitutional design for the executive branch has failed us. As I have observed before before, no person should possess the sole power to make these kinds of decisions.
While the constitutional framers believed that the country would be better served by a single executive, they misjudged the differences between single decision makers and multiple decision makers. There is much truth to the maxim that two heads are better than one. Over the past two hundred years, our understanding of decision making has evolved. Studies by economists, psychologists, and other researchers demonstrate that shared decision making works well and indeed better than unilateral decision making. As the example of George W. Bush waging war against Iraq illustrates, a single decision maker can make very poor choices.
We have never been able to solve the problem of presidential power by changing our presidents. Even the best presidents make mistakes that reflect the inevitable limitations of seeing issues from one’s own perspective. We will only fix the presidency by redesigning it. Switzerland provides an impressive model with its executive branch. The Swiss require the major parties to share the executive power and make decisions by consensus. That ensures better decisions. It also provides fairer representation for the public in its government.