James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

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

Remembering America’s Entry into the Great War

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, April 6, 2017
D.C. War Memorial (REUTERS/Gary Cameron )

Today marks the one hundredth anniversary of Congress declaring war on Germany, thereby thrusting the United States into the Great War, or what we know today as World War I. The vote was a major turning point in U.S. history. For more than a century, Americans had steered clear of Europe’s political affairs. They had been good students of George Washington, who said “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world,” and of Thomas Jefferson, who recommended “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none.” Suddenly, however, American boys were headed “over there.” Read more »

U.S. Needs to Plan for Changes in the Arctic

by Guest Blogger for James M. Lindsay Wednesday, March 22, 2017
An ice-free Northwest Passage (Photo: Reuters/NASA)

The Arctic holds a grip on the public imagination as a frozen, remote, and inaccessible place – but the Arctic region is rapidly changing, and the United States would do well to take stock of the changing reality at the top of the world and plan for a very different future there. CFR is today releasing a new report on the Arctic. I asked my colleague Anya Schmemann to explain the stakes for the United States in the Arctic. Read more »

Facebook Live: Europe

by James M. Lindsay Friday, February 24, 2017
NATO flag during a ceremony in Germany. (Photo: Ints Kalnins/Reuters)

I sat down yesterday with my colleague Charlie Kupchan to discuss Europe. We talked about the future of U.S.-European relations, immigration issues, Europe’s commitment to NATO, tensions with Russia, and Europe’s upcoming elections, among other topics. Charlie wrapped up our chat sharing his experience at the White House. Read more »

TWE Celebrates Presidents’ Day

by James M. Lindsay Monday, February 20, 2017
The Presidential Seal on a lectern in the White House. (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Today is Presidents’ Day. It is a TWE tradition to recognize the forty-four men—and they have all been men—who have been president on Presidents’ Day with the following essay. If you are lucky enough to have today off, enjoy:

American kids often say they want to be president when they grow up. You have to wonder why. A few presidents have loved the job. Teddy Roosevelt said “No president has ever enjoyed himself as much as I have enjoyed myself.” Donald Trump is just four weeks into his presidency but says, “I’m having a good time.” Read more »

A Presidents’ Day Quiz

by James M. Lindsay Friday, February 17, 2017
President Donald Trump with First Lady Melania Trump and former President Barack Obama with Michelle Obama at the inauguration on January 20, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Pool New)

Monday is Presidents’ Day. To get you in the proper celebratory mood, TWE presents its sixth annual Presidents’ Day quiz. If you are feeling up to it, you can try the quizzes from 201220132014, 2015, and 2016 as well. Read more »

The Deep Partisan Split on Trump’s Immigration and Refugee Moves

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, February 2, 2017
President Donald Trump signs an executive order imposing tighter vetting on travelers entering the United States. (Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria)

Gallup put out a poll today that shows most Americans disapprove of President Trump’s recent moves on immigration and refugees. Here’s the chart: Read more »

Facebook Live: Trump’s Trade and Immigration Initiatives

by James M. Lindsay Saturday, January 28, 2017
Shipping containers at the Port Newark Container Terminal. (Photo: Mike Segar /Reuters)

I sat down yesterday with my colleague Ted Alden to discuss Donald Trump’s recent trade and immigration initiatives. We talked about U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, bilateral versus global trade agreements, the future of U.S. trade policy, U.S.-Mexican border tensions, and immigration restrictions, among other topics. Read more »

Trump Had A Busy First Week on Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay Friday, January 27, 2017
President Donald Trump signs an executive order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. (Photo: Reuters/ Kevin Lamarque)

Donald Trump said on the campaign trail that he would do things differently in foreign policy and do different things. Seven days into his presidency, he has been good to his word. Indeed, he has done so many different things differently that you may have had a hard time keeping up. So here is a brief synopsis of some of his initial foreign policy initiatives to help you get up to speed. Read more »

The Bid to Give Congress a Say on Any Move to Relax Sanctions on Russia

by James M. Lindsay Wednesday, January 25, 2017
The West front of the U.S. Capitol. (Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar)

I wrote on Monday that Donald Trump’s critics on Capitol Hill will have a hard time challenging his foreign policy choices. An early test of that claim could come in the form of a new bill that would require congressional approval before Trump could relax existing sanctions on Russia. Read more »

Congressional Critics Will Find It Hard to Trump Trump on Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay Monday, January 23, 2017
President Donald Trump celebrates after his inauguration on January 20, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria)

Donald Trump’s inaugural address showed that he intends to do things differently and to do different things. The biggest changes could come in foreign policy. His address shunned the usual talk about American global leadership. It instead described an America impoverished from bearing the burden for others. Trump’s America will tend to its narrow interests first: “Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration (and) on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families.” Read more »