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: The EU Meets on Mali, Egypt Hosts the OIC Summit, and Cubans Vote on a National Assembly

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, January 31, 2013
French soldiers carry their equipment after arriving in Bamako, Mali on a U.S. transport plane (Eric Gaillard/Courtesy Reuters). French soldiers carry their equipment after arriving in Bamako, Mali on a U.S. transport plane (Eric Gaillard/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the upcoming EU meeting to discuss the situation in Mali, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Cairo, and elections for Cuba’s National Assembly. Read more »

The World Next Week: Confirmation Hearings Begin for Obama’s Cabinet Nominees, Biden Visits Europe, and the WTO Searches for Its Next Director-General

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, January 24, 2013
U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) testifies at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination to be secretary of state (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) testifies at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination to be secretary of state (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the confirmation hearings for President Obama’s cabinet nominees, Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Europe, and the World Trade Organization’s search for its next director-general. Read more »

How Do Obama’s First Term Job Approval Ratings Compare to Past Presidents?

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, January 22, 2013
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wave to supporters during the inaugural parade in Washington on January 21, 2013 (Doug Mills/Courtesy Reuters). President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wave to supporters during the inaugural parade in Washington on January 21, 2013 (Doug Mills/Courtesy Reuters).

Gallup released a report yesterday showing that Barack Obama averaged a 49.1 percent job approval rating over his first term. How does that compare with other post-World War II presidents? Not terribly well.  As the chart below shows, only Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter fared worse. Obama’s immediate predecessor, George W. Bush, averaged a 62.2 percent job approval rating over his first term. (That thirteen-point advantage compared to Obama owes in good part to the historic rally-‘round-the-flag bump that Bush enjoyed after September 11). Read more »

What Did Obama’s Inaugural Address Say About Foreign Policy?

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, January 22, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his inaugural address in Washington on January 21, 2013 (Brian Snyder/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his inaugural address in Washington on January 21, 2013 (Brian Snyder/Courtesy Reuters).

Conventional wisdom has it that second-term presidents inevitably concentrate on foreign policy because they can’t get much done on domestic policy. To judge by President Obama’s inaugural address yesterday, he’s not convinced that the pundits have it right. Read more »

The Best (and Worst) Inaugural Addresses

by James M. Lindsay Friday, January 18, 2013
A convoy of vehicles stages a parade rehearsal for Monday's inauguration ceremonies to mark the start of President Barack Obama's second term (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters). A convoy of vehicles stages a parade rehearsal for Monday's inauguration ceremonies to mark the start of President Barack Obama's second term (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters).

On Monday Barack Obama gets to do what only sixteen presidents have done—give a second inaugural address. His first inaugural address was, like most inaugural addresses, unremarkable. Perhaps the problem was that expectations were too high given his well-earned reputation for being a great public speaker. His audience was expecting soaring oratory, and he delivered a solid tour of major issues facing the United States that even some of his supporters found to be a “hodgepodge.” Read more »

The World Next Week: Barack Obama Is Inaugurated, Shinzo Abe Visits Southeast Asia, and Israel and Jordan Vote

by James M. Lindsay Friday, January 18, 2013
The U.S. Capitol prepares for President Obama's second inauguration with a dress rehearsal on January 13, 2013 (Mike Theiler/Courtesy Reuters). The U.S. Capitol prepared for President Obama's second inauguration with a dress rehearsal on January 13, 2013 (Mike Theiler/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed Obama’s second inauguration; Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s tour of Southeast Asia; and next week’s elections in Israel and Jordan Read more »

The World Next Week: Future U.S. Troop Levels in Afghanistan, Colombia and FARC Peace Talks, and the North American International Auto Show

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, January 10, 2013
U.S. president Barack Obama and Afghan president Hamid Karzai meet in Kabul in May 2012 (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. president Barack Obama and Afghan president Hamid Karzai meet in Kabul in May 2012 (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the debate over future U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, the resumption of peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC rebels next week in Havana, and the start of the North American International Auto Show. Read more »

The World Next Week: Global Economic Risks After the Fiscal Cliff, Hugo Chavez’s Inauguration, and U.S.-Russian Talks on Syria

by James M. Lindsay Friday, January 4, 2013
A man walks past a mural depicting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Courtesy Reuters). A man walks past a mural depicting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed global economic risks, Hugo Chavez’s presidential inauguration in Venezuela, and upcoming U.S.-Russian talks on Syria with UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. Read more »