James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

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

What Do Muslims Think of al-Qaeda on the Anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s Death?

by James M. Lindsay Monday, April 30, 2012
Osama-Killed-20120430 A demonstrator gestures in front of a portrait of Osama bin Laden during a pro-U.S. rally in Noida in May 2011. (Parivartan Sharma/courtesy Reuters)

Wednesday marks one year since Navy Seal Team 6 killed Osama bin Laden. He won’t be missed here in the United States. And according to the latest poll conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, he won’t be missed much in Muslim-majority countries either.

Pew asked Muslims in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Turkey whether they had a “favorable” or “unfavorable” view of al-Qaeda. Read more »

The World Next Week: The bin Laden Anniversary, U.S.-China Dialogue, Ban Ki Moon in Myanmar, and Vietnam’s Liberation Day

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, April 26, 2012
Abbottabad-Osama-bin-Laden-20120406 The partially demolished compound where al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. special forces last May in Abbottabad. (Faisal Mahmood/courtesy Rueters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden; the upcoming U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing; UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s visit to Myanmar; and Liberation Day in Vietnam. Read more »

Biden Touts Obama’s Foreign Policy, Bashes Romney’s

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, April 26, 2012
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at New York University on April 26, 2012. (Lucas Jackson/courtesy Reuters) Vice President Joe Biden speaks at New York University on April 26, 2012. (Lucas Jackson/courtesy Reuters)

Joe Biden gets ribbed for being long-winded. But in a speech this morning at New York University he offered a pithy summary of what looks to be the Obama campaign’s “sales pitch” on foreign policy. Read more »

Guest Post: Anya Schmemann on Putting the Squeeze on Belarus

by Guest Blogger for James M. Lindsay Monday, April 23, 2012
Lukashenko-20120423 Belarus's President Lukashenko takes part in the Eurasian Union Summit in Moscow in March 2012. (Reuters Staff/courtesy Reuters)

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko earlier this month released a prominent political opponent and his aide from prison. The move looks to have been in response to tough travel bans and asset freezes that the European Union (EU) has imposed on Belarus. My colleague, Anya Schmemann, keeps a close eye on events in the former Soviet Union, so I asked for her assessment. She had this to say: Read more »

The World Next Week: France Votes, Malawi Mourns, and the Chernobyl Anniversary Follow Earth Day

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, April 19, 2012
Hollande-Sarkozy-20120419 Official campaign posters for Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy for the French presidential election are displayed on a wall in Paris. (Philippe Wojazer/courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the presidential elections in France; Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika’s funeral; the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster; and Earth Day. Read more »

TWE Remembers: General Douglas MacArthur’s Speech to Congress

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, April 19, 2012
A copy of General Douglas MacArthur's speech to a joint session of Congress on April 19, 1951. (Library of Congress) A copy of General Douglas MacArthur's speech to a joint session of Congress on April 19, 1951. (Library of Congress)

Americans love generals. We have elected twelve of them president. But for a president, generals can be an enormous pain—and a political threat. James K. Polk worried (rightly) that Winfield Scott was hankering after his job. Abraham Lincoln couldn’t get George B. McClellan to fight, finally relieved him of command of the Army of the Potomac, and then beat him decisively in the 1864 election. Read more »

Is Afghanistan a Problem for Mitt Romney?

by James M. Lindsay Wednesday, April 18, 2012
A protester affiliated with the anti-war group Code Pink looks into U.S. President Barack Obama's campaign headquarters. (Stephen Lam/courtesy Reuters) A protester affiliated with the anti-war group Code Pink looks into U.S. President Barack Obama's campaign headquarters. (Stephen Lam/courtesy Reuters)

I noted in a post this morning that Americans have less confidence in Mitt Romney than Barack Obama when it comes to foreign policy. Moments after that post went up the Pew Research Center released a new poll.  It shows the challenge Romney faces in closing the gap with the president on foreign policy. Read more »

Do Americans Prefer Romney’s Foreign Policy to Obama’s?

by James M. Lindsay Wednesday, April 18, 2012
U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Governor of Massachusetts Romney speaks during a campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware. (Tim Shaffer/courtesy Reuters) U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Governor of Massachusetts Romney speaks during a campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware. (Tim Shaffer/courtesy Reuters)

I’ve spent most of my time the past two weeks discharging my administrative responsibilities rather than following the news. With the stack of papers piled in my inbox now looking to be just daunting rather than terrifying, I decided to catch up on the news. So far most of what I have read has been unsurprising. The Syrian government agreed to a cease-fire and then broke it. North Korea promised not to launch a long-range missile and then did just that. Iran offered to talk about a nuclear deal while continuing to intimidate its neighbors.  People behaved badly when they went abroad or visited Las Vegas.  All are essentially dog-bites-man stories. Read more »

Lessons Learned: Bay of Pigs Invasion

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A new installment of “Lessons Learned” is now out. This week I discuss the Bay of Pigs invasion, which began on April 17, 1961. In the video, I look at the mistakes made before and during the invasion and discuss the importance of anticipating failure and planning accordingly. Here’s a question to consider when thinking about these kinds of actions: What steps should presidents take to make sure that they are thinking how their policies might fail rather than simply engaging in wishful thinking about how they will succeed? I encourage you to weigh in with your answer in the comments section below.

I hope you enjoy the video.

Read more »

TWE Remembers: NSC-68

by James M. Lindsay Saturday, April 14, 2012
The cover of NSC-68. (Harry S. Truman Library and Museum) The cover of NSC-68. (Harry S. Truman Library and Museum)

“United States Objectives and Programs for National Security” is a rather bland title for a report. Especially one that turns out to help drive history. But that’s the formal name given to NSC-68, the foundational document for America’s Cold War strategy. It was issued by President Harry Truman’s National Security Council for review on April 14, 1950.* Read more »