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: Kenyans Vote, Italy Awaits a Government, and the Sixtieth Anniversary of Stalin’s Death Is Marked

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, February 28, 2013
Eight Kenyan presidential candidates participate in the second presidential debate at Brookhouse School in Nairobi (Joan Pereruan/Nation Media Group/Courtesy Reuters). Eight Kenyan presidential candidates participate in the second presidential debate at Brookhouse School in Nairobi (Joan Pereruan/Nation Media Group/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed Kenyan elections, the scramble to assemble a new government in Italy, and the sixtieth anniversary of Stalin’s death. Read more »

Hello, Park Geun-hye: President of South Korea

by James M. Lindsay Monday, February 25, 2013
South Korea's new president Park Geun-hye salutes the national flag during her inauguration (Lee Jae-Won/Courtesy Reuters). South Korea's new president Park Geun-hye salutes the national flag during her inauguration (Lee Jae-Won/Courtesy Reuters).

Glass ceilings are made to be broken. And today Park Geun-hye smashed one when she became the first woman to be sworn in as president of South Korea. Park defeated her left-of-center opponent, Moon Jae-in of the Democratic United Party (DUP), back in December with nearly 52 percent of the vote. To put that accomplishment in perspective, less than 16 percent of the seats in South Korea’s National Assembly are held by women, which places it 105th among legislatures worldwide, while 97 percent of senior government positions are held by men. Park’s ride into the Blue House was helped by the fact that she is the daughter of Park Chung-hee, the economic modernizer and military dictator who dominated South Korean politics from the time he took power in a coup in 1961 until his assassination in 1979. Many older South Koreans remember him fondly for lifting the country out of poverty, but liberal politicians and many younger South Koreans despise him for cruelly repressing his political opponents. Unlike her father, Park Guen-hye will have just a single five-year term to put her mark on South Korea. Read more »

The World Next Week: The Sequester Looms, Pope Benedict XVI Steps Down, and the Academy Awards Does Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay Friday, February 22, 2013
Barack Obama discusses the budget cuts scheduled to take effect next week (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters). Barack Obama discusses the budget cuts scheduled to take effect next week (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the sequester, Pope Benedict XVI’s farewell, and the foreign policy-themed films nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture. Read more »

A Presidents’ Day Quiz

by James M. Lindsay Monday, February 18, 2013
Oval-Office-Quiz-2012-02-16 The Oval Office in the White House in Washington (Jonathan Ernst/courtesy Reuters).

Happy Presidents’ Day. To get you in the proper celebratory mood, TWE presents its second Presidents’ Day quiz. You can find the answers at the bottom of the post. By all means, if you have your own presidential trivia questions, please post them in the comments section so everyone can take a crack at answering them. And if you are feeling up to it, you can try last year’s presidential trivia quiz.
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TWE Celebrates Presidents’ Day

by James M. Lindsay Friday, February 15, 2013
President George W. Bush meets with former Presidents and President-elect Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, January 2009. (Kevin Lamarque/courtesy Reuters) President George W. Bush meets with former presidents and President-elect Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, January 2009. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

Monday is Presidents’ Day. It is a TWE tradition to recognize the forty-three men—and they have all been men—who have been president on Presidents’ Day with the following essay. Enjoy the three-day weekend:

A few presidents have loved the job. Teddy Roosevelt said “No president has ever enjoyed himself as much as I have enjoyed myself.” Most other presidents, though, have found the job demanding, perhaps too demanding. James K. Polk pretty much worked himself to exhaustion. Zachary Taylor, the hero of the Mexican-American War, found being president harder than leading men into battle. Dwight Eisenhower had a heart attack from the stress of leading the Free World.Many presidents express relief once they can be called “former president.” This trend started early. John Adams told his wife Abigail that George Washington looked too happy watching him take the oath of office. “Me–thought I heard him say, ‘Ay, I am fairly out and you fairly in! See which of us will be happiest!” Read more »

The World Next Week: Italy Votes, NATO Defense Ministers Meet, and the UN Security Council Discusses North Korea

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, February 14, 2013
A woman walks past election posters in Rome (Tony Gentile/Courtesy Reuters). A woman walks past election posters in Rome (Tony Gentile/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed Italy’s upcoming elections, the NATO defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels, and the UN Security Council discussion on North Korea. Read more »

The World Next Week: Obama Gives the State of the Union Address, Mario Draghi Visits Spain, and Bahrain’s Monarchy Talks to the Opposition

by James M. Lindsay Friday, February 8, 2013
President Barack Obama delivers the 2012 State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). President Barack Obama delivers the 2012 State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed President Obama’s State of the Union address, European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi’s speech to the Spanish parliament, and reconciliation talks in Bahrain. Read more »