James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

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

Remembering Ten World Figures Who Died in 2013

by James M. Lindsay Monday, December 30, 2013
The sun sets over Clifton Beach in Cape Town, South Africa. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) The sun sets over Clifton Beach in Cape Town, South Africa. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

Last Thursday, I wrote about ten Americans who died in 2013 who helped shape U.S. foreign policy through their vision, service, intellect, or courage. Below are ten world figures who died in 2013. Each made a mark on history. Some were heroes; some were villains. Which were which may depend on whom you ask. Read more »

Ten Americans Who Died in 2013 Who Shaped U.S. Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, December 26, 2013
American flags fly at half mast. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters) American flags fly at half mast. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters)

Year’s end is a time for taking stock, counting successes, and assessing failures. It is also a time for remembering those who are no longer with us. Here are ten Americans who died in 2013 who through their vision, service, intellect, or courage helped shape U.S. foreign policy. They will be missed. Read more »

The World Next Year: 2014 Edition

by James M. Lindsay Friday, December 20, 2013
Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, unveils part of the "2014" sign that will light up Times Square at midnight on New Year's Eve. (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters) Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, unveils part of the "2014" sign that will light up Times Square at midnight on New Year's Eve. (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters)

Bob McMahon and I typically use our weekly podcast to discuss major foreign policy issues likely to be in the news in the coming week. In honor of the approaching New Year, we changed things up for this podcast and examined the issues likely to dominate world politics in 2014. We discussed budget battles in the United States; the Iran nuclear talks; domestic discontent bubbling up in countries around the world; fracking and energy security; tensions in the East China Sea; and the race for economic opportunities in the Arctic. Paul Stares, director of CFR’s Center for Preventive Action (CPA), joined our conversation to talk about CPA’s newly released Preventive Priorities Survey, which assesses the likelihood and consequences of potential conflicts in 2014. Read more »

Ten Historical Anniversaries of Note in 2014

by James M. Lindsay Monday, December 16, 2013
Pictures of victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide on display at the Gisozi memorial in Kigali. (Radu Sigheti Pictures of the Year 2004/Courtesy Reuters) Pictures of victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide on display at the Gisozi memorial in Kigali. (Radu Sigheti Pictures of the Year 2004/Courtesy Reuters)

Anniversaries are how we mark the passage time of time, celebrate our triumphs, and honor our losses. Two thousand and thirteen had its share of historical anniversaries of note: the five hundredth anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon’s discovery of Florida, the two-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the end of the French and Indian (or Seven Years’) War, the one-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and the twentieth anniversary of the Oslo Accords, to name a few. Two thousand and fourteen will also see anniversaries of many significant events in world history. Here are ten of note: Read more »

The World Next Week: TTIP Talks Resume, Congress Votes on a Budget Deal, and U.S.-Afghan Security Negotiations Continue

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, December 12, 2013
U.S. and European Union flags on display at negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Brussels in November. (Francois Lenoir/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. and European Union flags on display at negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Brussels in November. (Francois Lenoir/Courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks in Washington, a possible U.S. budget deal, and U.S.-Afghan security negotiations. Read more »

Ten Elections to Watch in 2014

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Voters line up outside a polling booth during the state assembly election last week in New Delhi, India. (Ahmad Masood/Courtesy Reuters) Voters line up outside a polling booth during the state assembly election last week in New Delhi, India. (Ahmad Masood/Courtesy Reuters)

Two thousand and thirteen won’t go down in the history books as a banner year for globally significant elections. True, the election of Hassan Rouhani changed the tone in Tehran and possibly opened the door to a lasting diplomatic solution to the confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program. But the outcome of most of the elections held in 2013—and there were a lot of them—mattered primarily to the people who cast the ballots. In contrast, 2014 is shaping up as a year in which the choices voters make could reverberate well beyond their country’s borders. So for those of you eager to peer ahead, here are ten elections to watch for in 2014. Read more »

The World Next Week: IAEA Inspectors Visit Iran, Protests Continue in Ukraine, and Biden Wraps Up His Asia Trip

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, December 5, 2013
The heavy-water reactor site in Arak, Iran in 2011 (ISNA/Hamid Forootan/Courtesy Reuters) The heavy-water reactor site in Arak, Iran in 2011 (ISNA/Hamid Forootan/Courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of the heavy water research reactor in Arak, Iran, surging protests in Ukraine, and Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Asia. Read more »

Do Americans Like President Obama’s Handling of Foreign Policy?

by James M. Lindsay Wednesday, December 4, 2013
President Barack Obama speaks at a Democratic Party fundraiser in San Francisco. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters) President Barack Obama speaks at a Democratic Party fundraiser in San Francisco. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

The Pew Research-CFR poll released yesterday found that the American public’s skepticism about foreign policy activism has hit record levels. That skepticism is good news for President Obama given his reluctance to put U.S. prestige and resources on the line in messy disputes like Syria. The public isn’t itching to intervene overseas, and neither is the president. Read more »