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: A U.S. Government Shutdown Looms, Netanyahu Visits Washington, and the Battle of Mogadishu Marks Its Twentieth Anniversary

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, September 26, 2013
The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters). The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the deadline for Congress to avert a government shutdown, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming meeting with President Obama, and the twentieth anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu. Read more »

The World Next Week: Syria Faces a Chemical Weapons Deadline, UN General Assembly Convenes for Its 68th Session, and Germans Vote for Chancellor

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, September 19, 2013
UN chemical weapons experts prepare to collect samples from an alleged site of a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Zamalka (Bassam Khabieh/Courtesy Reuters). UN chemical weapons experts prepare to collect samples from an alleged site of a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Zamalka (Bassam Khabieh/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will meet his commitments on chemical weapons, the start of another session of the United Nations General Assembly, and Germany’s national elections this weekend. Read more »

Americans Like Putin’s Plan, Not Putin

by James M. Lindsay Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Russian president Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on arms and military equipment (Michael Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Courtesy Reuters). Russian president Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on arms and military equipment (Michael Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Courtesy Reuters).

Gallup is out with one of the more interesting polls I have seen recently. The poll asked Americans whether or not they approved of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s plan to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. By a four-to-one margin (72 to 18 percent), they give it a thumbs-up. Read more »

The United States Air Force Celebrates Its 66th Birthday Today

by James M. Lindsay Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The Thunderbirds fly past as graduates celebrate at the Air Force Academy commencement ceremony in Colorado Springs (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). The Thunderbirds fly past as graduates celebrate at the Air Force Academy commencement ceremony in Colorado Springs (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

The United States Air Force (USAF) turns 66 years-old today. On September 18, 1947, Chief Justice Fred Vinson swore in Stuart Symington as the first secretary of the Air Force, officially founding a new branch of the U.S. military. Gen. Carl A. Spaatz became the USAF’s first chief of staff eight days later on September 26, 1947. Read more »

The World Next Week: Washington and Moscow Spar on Syria, Oslo Accords Twenty Years On, Lehman Brothers Collapse Five Years Later

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, September 12, 2013
Russian president Vladimir Putin walks past U.S. president Barack Obama during a group photo at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). Russian president Vladimir Putin walks past U.S. president Barack Obama during a group photo at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the continuing crisis in Syria, the twentieth anniversary of the Oslo Accords, and the state of the economy five years after the Lehman Brothers collapse. Read more »

Should the United States Mind Its Own Business Internationally?

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Syrian-American demonstrators protest in front of the White House (Jim Bourg/Courtesy Reuters). Syrian-American demonstrators protest in front of the White House (Jim Bourg/Courtesy Reuters).

Separate polls out today by the New York Times/CBS News and the Wall Street Journal/NBC News show considerable public opposition to President Obama’s call for military strikes against Syria.  Both polls show something else as well: Americans doubt the wisdom of U.S. activism overseas more broadly. Read more »

Can President Obama Persuade Americans to Support His Syria Policy?

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, September 10, 2013
President Barack Obama during the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). President Barack Obama during the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

President Obama hopes to use his nationwide address tonight to persuade Americans of the necessity to punish Syria for using chemical weapons. But two polls out this morning suggest that it is a daunting task, and not one he is likely to accomplish. Read more »

Americans Still Doubt the Need for Military Strikes Against Syria

by James M. Lindsay Friday, September 6, 2013
A protester holds up a sign against U.S. action in Syria as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin E. Dempsey, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Joshua Roberts/Courtesy Reuters). A protester holds up a sign against U.S. action in Syria as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin E. Dempsey, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Joshua Roberts/Courtesy Reuters).

Gallup is out with a new poll on what Americans think about military strikes against Syria.  Unlike the Pew Research Center and Washington Post/ABC News polls released on Tuesday, Gallup started questioning Americans after President Obama announced on Saturday that he was asking Congress to approve military action. But like the Pew and Post/ABC polls, Gallup found that far more Americans (51 percent) oppose military strikes than support them (36 percent). Read more »

The World Next Week: The United States Remembers September 11, Congress Votes on Syria, Australia Holds Elections

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, September 5, 2013
The Tribute in Light art installation illuminates the New York sky on the eleventh anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center (Eduardo Munoz/Courtesy Reuters). The Tribute in Light art installation illuminates the New York sky on the eleventh anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center (Eduardo Munoz/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the commemoration of September 11, the congressional vote on Syria, and the Australian general election.

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Americans Doubt the Need for Military Strikes Against Syria

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Opponents of U.S.-led intervention in Syria rally outside the White House (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters). Opponents of U.S.-led intervention in Syria rally outside the White House (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

Sometimes polls tell you what you already know. That’s the case with the polls that the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post and ABC News just released on Syria. Pew found that Americans oppose conducting military strikes against Syria by a margin of 48 percent to 29 percent. By a virtually identical margin (48 percent to 32 percent) they believe that President Obama has not explained clearly why the United States should attack Syria. Meanwhile, the Washington Post-ABC News poll found that Americans opposed military strikes by a margin of 59 percent to 36 percent. Read more »