James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

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

Hello (Welcome Back), Shinzo Abe: Prime Minister of Japan

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe addresses cadets during a graduation ceremony at the National Defense Academy of Japan (Kiyoshi Ota/Courtesy Reuters). Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe addresses cadets during a graduation ceremony at the National Defense Academy of Japan (Kiyoshi Ota/Courtesy Reuters).

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That old saying could be the motto of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who today marks the end of his third month in office. You see, he had this job once before. On September 26, 2006, he was sworn in as Japan’s ninetieth prime minister, the youngest ever and the first born after the end of World War II. Abe’s initial tenure was mired in missteps and scandals, however, and just 351 days after taking the oath of office he resigned. He remained active in politics, though, as Japan ran through five more prime ministers in five years. Last September he launched his comeback. He first won control of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in a hotly contested battle. Then in December, he led the LDP to a landslide victory over the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which three years earlier had broken the LDP’s stranglehold on Japanese politics. Abe certainly doesn’t lack for challenges the second time around, what with Japan’s economy continuing to stagnate and China seeking to establish itself as the dominant power in Asia. Whether he can master these challenges will determine whether he redeems his reputation—or confirms it. Read more »

The World Next Week: Pakistan Celebrates Republic Day, BRICS Meet in South Africa, and the Arab League Convenes in Qatar

by James M. Lindsay Friday, March 22, 2013
A boy walks past a Pakistani flag in Rawalpindi (Faisal Mahmood/Courtesy Reuters). A boy walks past a Pakistani flag in Rawalpindi (Faisal Mahmood/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed Pakistan’s Republic Day, the BRICS summit in Durban, South Africa, and the Arab League summit in Doha.

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Hello, Xi Jinping: President of China

by James M. Lindsay Friday, March 15, 2013
Xi Jinping at a meeting in Beijing on December 27, 2012 (Wang Zhao/Courtesy Reuters). Xi Jinping at a meeting in Beijing on December 27, 2012 (Wang Zhao/Courtesy Reuters).

Good news comes in threes. Just ask Xi Jinping. Back in November he was named Secretary General of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission. Yesterday he picked up his third impressive title, president of China, when the National People’s Congress voted 2,955 to one with three abstentions to give him the job. (No word yet on who the delegate was who marched to the beat of his, or her, own drummer.) Xi now heads up China’s three major power centers: the party, the military, and the government. In short, he is a man to be reckoned with. Read more »

The World Next Week: Obama Visits Israel, Khamenei Gives New Year’s Address, the Iraq War’s 10th Anniversary Is Marked, and Xi Visits Russia

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, March 14, 2013
An Israeli family holds welcome signs in Hebrew and English during an event organized by the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv on March 1, 2013 (Nir Elias/Courtesy Reuters). An Israeli family holds welcome signs in Hebrew and English during an event organized by the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv on March 1, 2013 (Nir Elias/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed President Obama’s visit to Israel, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s New Year’s speech, the tenth anniversary of the start of Iraq War, and Chinese president Xi Jinping’s trip to Russia. Read more »

Which Countries Do Americans Like? Do Other Countries Like Us?

by James M. Lindsay Friday, March 8, 2013
Media workers walk past a screen showing flags of the participating countries during the G20 summit in Seoul, South Korea (Jo Yon-Hak/Courtesy Reuters). Media workers walk past a screen showing flags of the participating countries during the G20 summit in Seoul, South Korea (Jo Yon-Hak/Courtesy Reuters).

Gallup is out with the results of a poll it did last month asking Americans whether they have favorable or unfavorable views about twenty-two other countries. Gallup has been asking this question every February for a dozen years, and the overall results have been consistent. Americans have a soft spot for fellow English-speaking countries, and they take a dim view of Middle Eastern countries. Read more »

The World Next Week: Chavez Dies, Strategic and Cyber Commands Testify, Russia Tries Magnitsky, and Tibetans Observe Uprising Day

by James M. Lindsay Friday, March 8, 2013
A supporter of the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez views his coffin in Caracas (Miraflores Palace Handout/Courtesy Reuters). A supporter of the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez views his coffin in Caracas (Miraflores Palace Handout/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed Hugo Chavez’s death, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s upcoming hearing on Strategic Command and Cyber Command, Russia’s decision to try Sergei Magnitsky even though he is dead, and Tibetan Uprising Day. Read more »

A Bipartisan Strategy for U.S. Global Leadership

by Guest Blogger for James M. Lindsay Thursday, March 7, 2013
President Barack Obama shakes hands with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) before Obama's 2012 State of the Union address (Larry Downing/ Courtesy Reuters). President Barack Obama shakes hands with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) before Obama's 2012 State of the Union address (Larry Downing/ Courtesy Reuters).

A bipartisan task force calling itself the Project for a United and Strong America (PUSA) released a report today, entitled “Setting Priorities for American Leadership,” outlining its ideas for a national security strategy to guide the Obama administration’s second term. PUSA is co-chaired by Kurt Volker, who served as ambassador to NATO under George W. Bush and is now executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership, and James Goldgeier, a member of the National Security Council staff under Bill Clinton and now dean of the School of International Service at American University. [Full disclosure: Jim and I have co-authored one or two things over the years.] My colleague, Mark Lagon, helped write the report. I asked him to explain the strategy that the report is advocating.  Read more »

Public College Costs Up, State and Local Support Down

by James M. Lindsay Wednesday, March 6, 2013
President Barack Obama speaks about college affordability at the University of Michigan in January 2012 (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters). President Barack Obama speaks about college affordability at the University of Michigan in January 2012 (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

Yesterday I posted some good news on the higher education front: The just-released Times Higher Education (THE) 2013 World Reputation Rankings show that no country can match the United States when it comes to great research universities. We are number one by a country mile. Today, however, brings some bad news: the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association released a report showing that America’s public universities face stiff challenges in staying on top of the global higher education pile. Read more »

U.S. Universities Dominate Reputation Rankings

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Harvard University t-shirts on display in Harvard Square in Cambridge (Jessica Rinaldi/ Courtesy Reuters). Harvard University t-shirts on display in Harvard Square in Cambridge (Jessica Rinaldi/ Courtesy Reuters).

The latest rankings are out! No, not the ones claiming that Gonzaga has the best men’s basketball team in the land. Rather, the Times Higher Education (THE) 2013 World Reputation Rankings for colleges and universities. They came out this week. As was the case with the THE World University Rankings that came out last October, the reputational rankings make it clear that when it comes to post-secondary education, “America rocks!” Read more »