James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

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

The World Next Week: Syrian Massacre, Iran’s Nuclear Program, Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, May 31, 2012
People gather around a mass burial for victims purportedly killed at the massacre in the Syrian village of Houla on May 25. (Courtesy Reuters) People gather around a mass burial for victims purportedly killed at the massacre in the Syrian village of Houla on May 25. (Courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the UN Human Rights Council’s special session on Syria; the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors meeting in Vienna; and the start of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit. Read more »

TWE Remembers: Memorial Day

by James M. Lindsay Monday, May 28, 2012
A U.S. Army Medal of Honor from the 1940s. (Library of Congress) A U.S. Army Medal of Honor from the 1940s. (Library of Congress)

The United States has fought twelve major wars and a countless number of smaller skirmishes. Memorial Day is our way of honoring the soldiers, sailors, airmen, airwomen, and marines who did not return home. The holiday dates back to the months immediately following the Civil War when a few towns and cities began honoring their dead. In 1868, General John A. Logan designated May 30 as “Decoration Day,” the purpose of which would be “strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” The holiday was renamed Memorial Day after World War I, and its purpose became to honor all Americans who have died fighting the nation’s wars. Read more »

TWE Celebrates Memorial Day

by James M. Lindsay Friday, May 25, 2012
The African American Civil War Memorial in Washington, DC. (Courtesy Reuters) The African American Civil War Memorial in Washington, DC. (Courtesy Reuters)

Monday marks Memorial Day here in the United States. Cities and towns across the country will hold parades and ceremonies to honor the men and women who served and died in the U.S. armed forces. If you happen to be in Washington, DC, you can choose from dozens of monuments and memorials to visit. Some of them are well-known: the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the Marine Corps War Memorial, and Arlington National Read more »

The World Next Week: Ireland’s Referendum, the UN’s Debate on Yemen, North Atlantic Hurricanes, and Memorial Day

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, May 24, 2012
A worker in Lisbon, Portugal passes by some graffiti. (Rafael Marchante/courtesy Reuters) A worker in Lisbon, Portugal passes by some graffiti. (Rafael Marchante/courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed Ireland’s referendum on the EU’s fiscal treaty; the UN Security Council’s debate on Yemen; the beginning of hurricane season in the North Atlantic; and Memorial Day in the United States.

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The highlights: Read more »

Is NATO Becoming a Relic?

by James M. Lindsay Monday, May 21, 2012
NATO-Summit-20120521 Leaders take part in the meeting on Afghanistan at the NATO Summit meeting in Chicago on May 21, 2012 (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters).

NATO’s twenty-eight member counties wrap up their annual summit today in Chicago. The parting sound bites no doubt will tout this year’s summit for being especially productive—even with a few breaks to throw a football around and to watch a soccer game. And the final communiqué will almost certainly point to progress on critical issues such as Afghanistan, missile defense, and alliance modernization. Read more »

The World Next Week: Egyptians Pick a President, NATO Meets in Chicago, and Baghdad Hosts Iran Talks

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, May 17, 2012
Egypt-Election-20120517 A boy selling sweets walks past posters for Egyptian presidential candidate Amr Moussa in Alexandria. (Asmaa Waguih/courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the presidential election in Egypt; the NATO summit in Chicago; and the P5+1′s talks with Iran in Baghdad.

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The highlights:

Is the Soaring Cost of College a Problem?

by James M. Lindsay Monday, May 14, 2012
College-Tuition-20120514 Political science major Paul Fabsik wears a price tag hanging from his mortarboard. (Brian Snyder/courtesy Reuters)

The New York Times ran a fascinating article yesterday on soaring student college debt. To make a long story short—and at 4,500+ words it was a long story—students are taking on a lot more debt to get themselves through college and finding it harder to pay back what they borrowed. That trend is worrying. Because if the system for financing American higher education breaks down, one of the country’s primary mechanisms for Read more »

TWE Remembers: The Battle of Attu

by James M. Lindsay Friday, May 11, 2012
U.S. soldiers unload landing craft during the Battle of Attu. (Naval Historical Center) U.S. soldiers unload landing craft during the Battle of Attu. (Naval Historical Center)

Ask Americans to name World War II battles in the Pacific and you will likely to hear places such as Pearl Harbor, Midway, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. You aren’t likely to hear anyone mention Attu. But it was the only land battle fought on U.S. soil during World War II. And in proportional terms, it also was one of the bloodiest battles of the entire Pacific theater. Read more »

The World Next Week: Iran-IAEA Talks, G8 Summit, President Hollande, and the Cannes Film Festival

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, May 10, 2012
IAEA-Iran20120510 Iran's International Atomic Energy Agency ambassador Soltanieh briefs the media during an IAEA board of governors meeting in Vienna on March 8, 2012. (Herwig Prammer/courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed next week’s talks in Vienna between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran; the Group of Eight (G8) summit at Camp David; François Hollande’s inauguration as president of France; and the Cannes Film Festival.

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The highlights: Read more »

Do Egyptians Dislike the United States?

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Egypt-Flags-Americans-20120508 Supporters of Mursi, the Brotherhood's presidential candidate, wave the flags during a campaigning conference near Amr ibn al-Asin Mosque in Old Cairo. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/courtesy Reuters)

The Pew Global Attitudes Project is out with a new poll on what Egyptians think about politics a few weeks ahead of their historical presidential elections. Some of the results are interesting:

  • Egyptians like the idea of democracy. Two-thirds say it is preferable to other forms of government, and six-in-ten Egyptians say democracy is the form of government best suited to solving their problems. Read more »