James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

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

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Top Ten Most Significant World Events in 2014

by James M. Lindsay
Russia Annex Crimea Passport Two Crimean men examine their new Russian passports on April 3, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Every year has its share of significant world events. Two thousand fourteen is no exception. Here is my list of the top ten most significant events of the year. You may want to read what follows closely. Several of these stories could continue to dominate the headlines in 2015. Read more »

Ten Elections to Watch in 2015

by James M. Lindsay
Goodluck Jonathan Election Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan casts his ballot in his home village of Otuoke, Bayelsa state during the 2011 presidential election. (Joseph Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

Millions of people around the world went to the polls this year. Indians and Indonesians elected new leaders, while Brazilians and South Africans voted to keep the ones they had. Turks elevated their prime minister to the presidency. Afghans cast votes in a disputed presidential election that took months to settle. Here in the United States, voters gave Republicans control of the Senate, and with it, control of Congress as a whole. The U.S. news media has already turned its sights to the 2016 presidential election, speculating on who is running and who might win. But before Americans decide who will square off in November 2016, the world will have plenty of important elections in 2015. Here are ten to watch. Read more »

Ten Historical Anniversaries of Note in 2015

by James M. Lindsay
Nelson Mandela Anniversary A statue of Nelson Mandela stands outside the gates of Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison), near Paarl in Western Cape province, South Africa. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters)

Anniversaries are how we mark the passage time of time, celebrate our triumphs, and honor our losses. Two thousand and fourteen witnessed several significant historical anniversaries: the centennial of the start of World War I, the bicentennial of the British sack of Washington, DC, and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, to name a few. Two thousand and fifteen will also see anniversaries of many significant events in world history. Here are ten of note: Read more »

TWE Remembers: Nikita Khrushchev’s Visit to the United States

by James M. Lindsay
Nikita Khrushchev and Eleanor Roosevelt Nina and Nikita Khrushchev with Eleanor Roosevelt (center) at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park on September 18, 1959. (Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration)

In a post I wrote earlier this month about the best Cold War memoirs, I noted that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was one of that era’s more blustery figures, telling the West that “we will bury you” and banging his shoe at the United Nations. What I didn’t mention was his mesmerizing, almost surreal twelve-day visit to the United States in September 1959. That visit is the topic of what looks to be a fascinating new documentary called Cold War Roadshow that premieres tonight on PBS. Read more »

Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps!

by James M. Lindsay
Marine Corps Birthday Marine Lieutenant General Ronald S. Coleman cuts a cake to celebrate the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in 2006. (Keith Bedford/Courtesy Reuters)

The Marine Corps turns 239 years-old today. On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution to create a Marine force composed of two battalions. Since then, the Marines have been “from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli” and many other places as well. Read more »

The History of the Cold War in 40 Quotes

by James M. Lindsay
Churchill and Truman Winston Churchill and Harry Truman aboard a train to Fulton, Missouri, where Churchill would deliver his Iron Curtain speech. (Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration/Abbie Rowe)

On Monday, I posted my nominees for ten Cold War histories worth reading. But many people don’t have the time or patience to plow through comprehensive histories. So for TWE readers looking to save time, here is a short course on the history of the Cold War using forty of the most memorable quotations from that era. Read more »

Ten Cold War Films Worth Watching

by James M. Lindsay
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy British actor Gary Oldman, Swedish director Tomas Alfredson, and British writer John Le Carre at the premiere of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in London. (Suzanne Plunkett/Courtesy Reuters)

The Cold War has provided the grist for rich histories, enlightening memoirs, and terrific novels. It has also provided source material for some great movies. Here in alphabetical order are my ten favorite English-language films about the Cold War: Read more »

What the New Republican Congress Means for Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay
McConnell Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) addresses supporters at his victory rally in Louisville, Kentucky. (Shannon Stapleton/Courtesy Reuters)

Electoral math is unforgiving. The Democrats had twenty-one seats up for election yesterday. Seven of them were in states that Mitt Romney won in 2012. Midterm elections typically attract fewer voters, and those who go to the polls are older, whiter, and less congenial to Democrats. The president’s approval ratings are hovering around 40 percent. Add all that up, and you get a convincing GOP win in the 2014 elections. Here are three quick thoughts on what it all means. Read more »

Ten Cold War Novels Worth Reading

by James M. Lindsay
Orwelly 1984 Toby Melville/Courtesy Reuters

If you want to know the facts about the Cold War, you should read histories and memoirs. If you want to know how the Cold War felt, you should read novels. Why? Because “fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.” So in that spirit, here are my ten favorite English-language Cold War novels—plus my favorite Cold War play as a bonus pick: Read more »