James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

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

Posts by Author

Showing posts for "James M. Lindsay"

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Iowa Shrinks the Field

by James M. Lindsay
Buttons for visitors at the Greater Des Moines Partnership Iowa Caucus Consortium candidate forum. (Scott Morgan/Reuters) Buttons for visitors at the Greater Des Moines Partnership Iowa Caucus Consortium candidate forum. (Scott Morgan/Reuters)

And then there were eleven. Mike Huckabee, Martin O’Malley, Rick Santorum, and Rand Paul all opted to end their campaigns this week in the wake of their poor showings in the Iowa caucuses. It’s not surprising that Huckabee, O’Malley, and Santorum came up short in their presidential bids. Conventional wisdom always had them as longshots. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: The White Whale of American Politics

by James M. Lindsay
A polling station in Cleveland, Ohio. (Shannon Stapleton /Reuters) A polling station in Cleveland, Ohio. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Polls show that national security has shot up the list of concerns for voters, and especially for Republicans. That has spurred talk that 2016 could provide something we haven’t seen in a while, if ever, an election in which foreign policy proves decisive. The fact that more voters, though not necessarily a majority, have foreign policy—or more accurately, terrorism—on their minds certainly points in that direction. But as I have noted before, foreign policy can matter more to voters without necessarily changing who wins. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Foreign Policy and the 2016 Presidential Primaries

by James M. Lindsay
An election day morning in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2014). (Mark Makela/Reuters) Election day morning in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2014). (Mark Makela/Reuters)

Washington is bracing for what looks to be a historic snowstorm that could dump thirty inches of snow (or more) on the nation’s capital. Despite the grim forecast, Charlie Cook of The Cook Political Report and Sam Feist, CNN’s Washington bureau chief, came over to CFR’s Washington office to join me in discussing foreign policy and the 2016 presidential primaries. Bruce Stokes of the Pew Research Center moderated. Read more »

Five Foreign Policy Books the Next President Should Read

by James M. Lindsay
MacLeod's used bookstore in Vancouver, British Columbia . (Andy Clark/Courtesy Reuters) MacLeod's used bookstore in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Andy Clark/Courtesy Reuters)

Inauguration Day is now exactly one year away. In 366 days—2016 is a Leap Year—one of the candidates now barnstorming Iowa and New Hampshire will take the oath of office. Everything will change the moment he, or she, says the constitutionally mandated words, “I do solemnly swear….” Campaigning is about promises; governing is about choices. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: The Sixth Republican Presidential Debate

by James M. Lindsay
Republican U.S. presidential candidates gather before the start of the Republican debate on January 14, 2016. (Randall Hill/Courtesy Reuters) Republican U.S. presidential candidates gather before the start of the Republican debate on January 14, 2016. (Randall Hill/Courtesy Reuters)

Foreign policy figured prominently at last night’s debate, even though the event’s focus was supposed to be the economy. The tone was set at the start when Ted Cruz responded to the opening question about jobs by denouncing the administration for Iran’s seizure of ten American sailors who blundered into Iranian waters. Cruz and his GOP rivals continued in the same vein throughout the rest of the evening. So what did we learn? Read more »

Seven Facts About the State of the Union Address

by James M. Lindsay
President Barack Obama delivers his first State of the Union in 2010. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) President Barack Obama delivers his first State of the Union in 2010. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

President Barack Obama is set to deliver his final State of the Union address tomorrow night at 9 p.m. The White House says it will be a “non-traditional” speech that will take a “big-picture approach to some of the challenges and opportunities that we face” as a country. In doing so the president hopes to frame the public debate heading into an election year. His odds of succeeding are daunting, in large part because the power of the bully pulpit is greatly overrated. But as they say, you can’t win if you don’t play. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: The Public’s Mixed Message on Climate Change

by James M. Lindsay
A woman walks past a map showing the elevation of the sea in the last 22 years during the 2015 World Climate Change Conference. (Stephane Mahe/Courtesy Reuters) A map showing the elevation of the sea in the last 22 years during the 2015 world climate change conference. (Stephane Mahe/Courtesy Reuters)

President Obama is set to deliver his final State of the Union address Tuesday night at 9 p.m. Climate change will be one of the featured topics in what the White House says will be a “non-traditional” speech that discusses broad themes rather than offers a laundry list of topics. When the speech turns to climate change, odds are good that Obama will tout last month’s Paris Climate Accord as a major accomplishment on his watch. However important the Paris deal may be, Obama has accomplished far less on the climate front during his presidency than he likely expected seven years ago when in his first State of the Union address he called for comprehensive climate legislation. A poll out from Monmouth University this week provides insight into why that has been the case. Read more »

Five Big Foreign Policy Questions for 2016

by James M. Lindsay
The New Year's Eve "16" numerals arrive on a truck in Times Square New York. (Shannon Stapleton/Courtesy Reuters) The New Year's Eve "16" numerals arrive in Times Square. (Shannon Stapleton/Courtesy Reuters)

On Tuesday, CFR.org posted an interview I did previewing the year ahead. My take in a nutshell: 2016 is shaping up to be a tumultuous year. The list of problems is long: a resurgence in terrorism, chaos in the Middle East, tensions in Asia, and sluggish global economic growth. All of this will be happening amidst what promises to be a raucous American presidential campaign that will likely generate more heat than light on the foreign policy challenges facing the United States. Read more »

Ten World Figures Who Died in 2015

by James M. Lindsay
Sun sets over Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur (Zainal Abd Halim/Courtesy Reuters) The sun sets over the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. (Zainal Abd Halim/Courtesy Reuters)

I wrote yesterday about ten Americans who died in 2015 who helped shape U.S. foreign policy during their lifetimes. But Americans are not the only ones who influence world affairs. Below are ten world figures who died this year. Each made a mark on history. Some were heroes; some were villains. And for some, whether they were a hero or villain is your call to make. Read more »

Ten American Foreign Policy Influentials Who Died in 2015

by James M. Lindsay
American flags fly at half-staff in Washington, D.C. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters) American flags fly at half-staff in Washington, D.C. (Larry Downing/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 2015 who through their vision, service, intellect, or courage helped shape U.S. foreign policy. They will be missed. Read more »