James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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The World Next Week: NATO Debates, Patriots’ Day Awaits

by James M. Lindsay
April 14, 2011

The minute-men of the Revolution. (Currier & Ives/courtesy the Library of Congress)

The minute-men of the Revolution. (Currier & Ives/courtesy the Library of Congress)

The World Next Week podcast is up.  Bob McMahon and I talked about the NATO foreign ministers’ talks on Libya; the meeting of Cuba’s Communist Party; the fiftieth anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion; President Obama’s live town hall meeting on Facebook; and Patriots’ Day, which is next Monday.

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The highlights:

  • Bickering among NATO nations over Operation Odyssey Dawn is growing. Only Britain, France, Norway, Denmark, and Canada are attacking Libyan targets on the ground. Other NATO members, including the United States, either are making much more limited contributions or are sitting on the sidelines. Meanwhile, neither the United States nor NATO has generated a strategy for removing Qaddafi from power or bringing the fighting to a halt.
  • Raul Castro is to expected use next week’s Communist Party Congress to propose major reforms to energize the Cuban economy. Many of these changes would loosen state control of the economy. Timing the reform announcement to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Cuba’s defeat of the Bay of Pigs invasion is no accident. Castro wants to protect his political flanks from attacks by party hardliners by tying his moves to one of the Castro family’s great successes.
  • Presidential candidates are using social media more and more to get their Campaign 2012 messages out to the public. This competition will perversely make social media less influential than it was in 2012 as the torrent of messages cancel themselves out.
  • Monday is Patriots’ Day, a holiday celebrated only in Massachusetts and Maine. A pity for the rest of the country that it does not commemorate “the shot heard round the world.” Having grown up in eastern Massachusetts less than ten miles from the battlefields of Lexington and Concord, Patriots’ Day is hands down my favorite holiday.  It’s an occasion to celebrate liberty, cheer on runners at the Boston Marathon, and watch a day game in Fenway Park. I can remember watching the Red Sox play the Tigers on April 19, 1966 as if it were yesterday. Thanks for taking me, Dad.

Bob and I aren’t the only commentators discussing these issues. The New York Times covers the work of the contact group on Libya and the Economist discusses continued unrest in Syria. Reuters previews the Cuban Communist Party meeting this weekend, and the Miami Herald casts a backwards glance at the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. The New York Times’ tech blog covers Obama’s upcoming Facebook Live town hall, and the Wall Street Journal discusses the broader context of Obama’s reelection campaign. For a refresher on the first shots of the Revolutionary War, check out PBS’s timeline and other educational materials or just wait until Midnight Riders, a movie about Paul Revere, is released. The Boston Athletic Association has the latest on the Boston Marathon. And for the latest grousing on the Red Sox’s awful start to the 2011 baseball season—a disaster no doubt caused by my rash prediction that they will win the World Series this year—check out Boston.com.

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