James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

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

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Donald Trump Champions America First

by James M. Lindsay Friday, April 29, 2016
Donald Trump delivers a foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel Donald Trump delivers a foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, April 27, 2016. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

I have been skeptical that 2016 will be a foreign-policy election. But Donald Trump seems determined to prove me wrong. In a major speech on Wednesday, he launched a frontal assault on the fundamental premises of U.S. foreign policy. His critique may be harder for Hillary Clinton to rebut than you might think given the outpouring of criticism of his remarks. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Trump to Give a Major Foreign Policy Address

by James M. Lindsay Friday, April 22, 2016
Donald Trump speaks in Buffalo Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Buffalo, New York, on April 18, 2016. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters).

Foreign policy didn’t make much news on the campaign trail this week. That’s about to change. Next Wednesday, Donald Trump is scheduled to deliver his first foreign policy address. The setting is a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The Center for the National Interest is the host. Expect a torrent of analyses on whether Trump has changed either the tone or substance of what he has had to say so far about America’s role in the world. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Democratic Debate Highlights Three Critical Foreign Policy Lessons

by James M. Lindsay Friday, April 15, 2016
Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders speak simultaneously during a Democratic debate in New York on April 14, 2016. Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders speak at the Democratic debate in New York on April 14, 2016. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Foreign policy came up a fair bit in last night’s Democratic debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. We have seen the general thrust of their exchanges many times before. Clinton touted her extensive foreign policy credentials and questioned Sanders’s. He in turn touted his foreign policy judgment and questioned hers. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Donald Trump’s “America First” Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay Friday, April 1, 2016
Paratroopers from the U.S. Army's 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team participate in training exercises with the Polish 6 Airborne Brigade soldiers at the Land Forces Training Centre in Oleszno near Drawsko Pomorskie, north west Poland on May 1, 2014. Paratroopers from the U.S. Army's 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team participate in training exercises with the Polish 6 Airborne Brigade in northwestern Poland in May 2014. American ground troops took part in military exercises with Polish parachuters as a part of NATO cooperation. (Kacper Pempel/Reuters)

Donald Trump made foreign policy news a hot topic on the campaign trail this week. In interviews with the Washington Post and the New York Times and in various campaign appearances he suggested that NATO is obsolete, the United States is too poor to afford its current foreign policy, Japan and South Korea perhaps should get nuclear weapons, the Geneva Conventions are “the problem…so the soldiers are afraid to fight,” and presidents should be much more unpredictable. To say this collection of policies runs counter to the bedrock assumptions of seven decades of American foreign policy is an understatement. Trump gladly embraced the term “America First” to describe his views, though he gave no indication that he knew the origins of the phrase or its place in American history. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Free Trade Takes a Beating

by James M. Lindsay Friday, March 18, 2016
Opponents of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement protest outside of the White House in Washington February 3, 2016. Opponents of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement protest outside of the White House in Washington February 3, 2016. (Gary Cameron/Reuters)

Trade has surged to the forefront of the campaign debate in recent weeks as nominating events have moved to the industrial Midwest. Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have been hammering the inadequacies of America’s existing trade agreements, arguing that they enrich corporations at the expense of American workers. Books can and have been written on the effects of trade, so I won’t reprise all those arguments and counter-arguments here. But given that presidential campaigns often generate more heat than light, three things are worth keeping in mind about trade: Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Closing Guantanamo Bay and Walling Off Canada

by James M. Lindsay Friday, February 26, 2016
An activist holds a sign at a rally calling for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, May 23, 2014. (Larry Downing/Reuters) An activist holds a sign at a rally calling for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, May 23, 2014. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

President Obama announced a plan this week to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The reaction on the campaign trail split along predictable lines. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Tough Talk in South Carolina

by James M. Lindsay Friday, February 19, 2016
Marco Rubio supporters before a campaign town hall at Easley High School in Easley, South Carolina on February 14, 2016. (Chris Keane/Reuters) Marco Rubio supporters saying the pledge of allegiance before a campaign town hall in Easley, South Carolina on February 14, 2016. (Chris Keane/Reuters)

South Carolina looks to be living up to its reputation as a rough-and-tumble place for politics. The GOP candidates have been going after each other with a vengeance in the hopes of gaining an advantage in advance of Saturday’s primary vote. Amidst all the sniping, they have been touting their defense and foreign policy credentials. The overarching theme has been “toughness.” The candidates are no doubt hoping to sway South Carolina’s many active-duty and retired military personnel to their side. Read more »

TWE Celebrates Presidents’ Day

by James M. Lindsay Monday, February 15, 2016
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/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/Reuters)

Today is Presidents’ Day. It is a TWE tradition to recognize the forty-three men—and they have all been men, though that may change next January 20—who have been president on Presidents’ Day by posting the following essay. If you are lucky enough to have today off, enjoy: Read more »