James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

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

TWE Remembers: FDR’s “Shoot-on-Sight” Fireside Chat

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, September 11, 2012

When most Americans think of World War II, the story starts on December 7, 1941, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But in fact the United States had been edging toward war with Germany for several months before Japanese Zeros screamed over the Hawaiian Islands, as President Franklin Roosevelt made clear with his “shoot-on-sight” Fireside Chat to the nation on September 11, 1941.

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TWE Remembers: Charles Lindbergh’s Des Moines Speech

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11 is a black day in American history. But six decades before the planes flew into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and crashed in a field in central Pennsylvania, it stood out as a shameful day. September 11, 1941 witnessed one of the vilest foreign policy speeches ever given by a prominent American: Col. Charles Lindbergh’s Des Moines Speech.

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What Americans Think About Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay Monday, September 10, 2012
U.S. Army soldiers roll up a national flag after their headquarters' change of command ceremony in Afghanistan in 2010. (Shamil Zhumatov/ courtesy Reuters) U.S. Army soldiers roll up a national flag after their headquarters' change of command ceremony in Afghanistan in 2010. (Shamil Zhumatov/ courtesy Reuters)

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs came out today with its new (and lengthy) survey on what Americans think about the world and America’s place in it. The Chicago Council has been conducting foreign policy surveys periodically since 1974, and they have been the gold standard in the field for about as long. I have only had time to read the executive summary and glance at a few charts, but here are some of the survey’s findings: Read more »

Foreign Policy and Campaign 2012

by James M. Lindsay Friday, September 7, 2012
President Obama waves as he arrives to address delegates at the Democratic National Convention. (Jason Reed/ courtesy Reuters) President Obama waves as he arrives to address delegates at the Democratic National Convention. (Jason Reed/ courtesy Reuters)

CFR.org just posted an interview I did with former New York Times correspondent Bernard Gwertzman looking at the role foreign policy will likely play in the remaining two months of the presidential campaign. Along the way we discussed President Obama’s acceptance speech last night, reviewed where the candidates stand on major issues like Iran’s nuclear program, and recalled how another tight presidential race was tipped in part by a candidate’s misstep in a critical foreign policy debate. Read more »

The World Next Week: September 11, the November Election, and Ben Bernanke

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, September 6, 2012
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, former president George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush walk beside the north pool of the World Trade Center Memorial during ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on September 11, 2011. (Larry Downing/ courtesy Reuters) President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, former president George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush walk beside the north pool of the World Trade Center Memorial during ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on September 11, 2011. (Larry Downing/ courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks; the home stretch of the presidential campaign; and what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will decide at next week’s meeting of the Fed’s policymaking committee. Read more »

History Lessons: The America First Committee Forms

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, September 6, 2012

A new installment of “History Lessons” (formerly “Lessons Learned”) is now out. This time I examine the formation of the America First Committee on September 4, 1940. (Yes, it would have been more fitting if the video and this post had gone up on Tuesday, the actual anniversary of the committee’s formation. Oh, well.) In the video, I discuss the committee’s meteoric rise, its claim that the war in Europe did not threaten American security, and its ultimate failure to prevent FDR from moving the United States closer to Great Britain through steps like the Lend-Lease Act.

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