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: World Powers Talk Syria, Mexicans Vote, and Congress Recesses

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, June 28, 2012
Kofi Annan, the joint special envoy of the UN and the Arab League for Syria, speaks during a press conference in Geneva. (Denis Balibouse/courtesy Reuters) Kofi Annan, the joint special envoy of the UN and the Arab League for Syria, speaks during a press conference in Geneva. (Denis Balibouse/courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon was out this week, so Stewart Patrick kindly offered to fill in. Stewart and I discussed the world powers crisis meeting on Syria in Geneva; the Mexican presidential election; and the U.S. House and Senate rise for recess. Read more »

TWE Remembers: The War of 1812

by James M. Lindsay Monday, June 18, 2012
A depiction of the British attack on Washington, DC, during the War of 1812. (Library of Congress) A depiction of the British attack on Washington, DC, during the War of 1812. (Library of Congress)

Some dates in American history stand out. Mention April 12, 1861, December 7, 1941, or September 11, 2001 and most people know what historical event you have in mind. Ask what happened on June 18, 1812, however, and the most likely response is a blank stare. But on this date two hundred years ago, the United States, then a weak and fragile country on the fringes of the known world, declared war on Great Britain, then one of the world’s most powerful countries. Read more »

The World Next Week: Egypt Votes (Again), Iran Talks (Some More), and G20 Leaders Gather (in Mexico)

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, June 14, 2012
A campaign poster in Cairo depicts Egyptian presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi. (Ammar Awad/courtesy Reuters) A campaign poster in Cairo depicts Egyptian presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi. (Ammar Awad/courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the Egyptian presidential run-off election, the P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran, and the start of the G20 and Rio+20 summits. Read more »

TWE Remembers: Thich Quang Duc’s Self-Immolation

by James M. Lindsay Monday, June 11, 2012
President John F. Kennedy discusses the situation in Southeast Asia at a press conference in 1961. (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum) President John F. Kennedy discusses the situation in Southeast Asia at a press conference in 1961. (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum)

The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the BBC all ran stories last week about Tibetan monks who have set themselves on fire to protest against the Chinese government. The stories provoked little reaction in Washington. That was not the case nearly fifty years ago when a sixty-six year-old Buddhist monk named Thich Quang Duc set himself on fire on June 11, 1963 on the streets of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam. Read more »

The World Next Week: U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, U.S. House Recess, and Thomas Lubanga

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, June 7, 2012
Indian minister of external affairs S.M. Krishna in April. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/courtesy Reuters) Indian minister of external affairs S.M. Krishna in April. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the upcoming U.S.-India strategic dialogue; the U.S. House breaking for its Flag Day recess; and the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) impending sentencing of Congolese rebel leader Thomas Lubanga. Read more »

TWE Remembers: The Marshall Plan

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, June 5, 2012
The title page of Secretary of State George C. Marshall's remarks at Harvard University on June 5, 1947. (George C. Marshall Foundation) The title page of Secretary of State George C. Marshall's remarks at Harvard University on June 5, 1947. (George C. Marshall Foundation)

Most commencement addresses are forgettable. The speaker gives some advice on how to live a productive life, advice that typically means more to the wistful parents in the audience recalling the mistakes they made along the way than to the headstrong students convinced that they will conquer the world. A few commencement speeches resonate beyond the venue in which they are given because of the speaker’s unusual eloquence and urgency. Almost no commencement addresses change the world. But the commencement address that Secretary of State George C. Marshall gave on June 5, 1947 to Harvard’s graduating class did just that. Read more »