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

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

Donald Trump’s Low Favorability Rating Means Less Than You Might Think

by James M. Lindsay
President-Elect Donald Trump arrives at Andrews Air Force Base on January 19, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst) President-Elect Donald Trump arrives at Andrews Air Force Base on January 19, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Donald Trump is set to become president tomorrow with the lowest favorability ratings of any recent U.S. president. Does that mean he will have trouble enacting his agenda for making America great again? Hardly. Read more »

Ten Things You Probably Don’t Know About Presidential Inaugurations

by James M. Lindsay
The U.S. Capitol in preparation for the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump. (Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria) The U.S. Capitol in preparation for the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump. (Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria)

To get you ready for Inauguration Day, here are ten lesser known facts about presidential inaugurations.

  1. Donald Trump will be sworn in as the forty-fifth U.S. president, but he will be only the thirty-ninth person to give an inaugural address. John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, and Gerald Ford were all vice presidents who ascended to the presidency after the death or resignation of a president. They never won election on their own, so they never gave an inaugural address. Grover Cleveland held two nonconsecutive terms as president, and as a result, he is counted as the twenty-second and twenty-fourth president of the United States.
  2. Read more »

Remembering the Best (and Worst) Inaugural Addresses

by James M. Lindsay
The view from the podium on which Donald Trump will deliver his inaugural address on January 20, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Jim Bourg) The view from the podium on which Donald Trump will deliver his inaugural address on January 20, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Jim Bourg)

In three days, Donald J. Trump gets to do what only thirty-eight other Americans have ever done: deliver an inaugural address. He can expect a large audience for his remarks. Nearly 38 million Americans watched Barack Obama’s first inaugural address. Read more »

Ten World Figures Who Died in 2016

by James M. Lindsay
REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

I wrote yesterday about ten Americans who died in 2016 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, which they were is your call to make. Read more »

Ten American Foreign Policy Influentials Who Died in 2016

by James M. Lindsay
A bugler plays "Taps" at Arlington National Cemetery (Photo:  Reuters/Gary Cameron). A bugler plays "Taps" at Arlington National Cemetery (Photo: Reuters/Gary Cameron).

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 2016 who through their vision, service, intellect, or courage helped shape U.S. foreign policy. They will be missed. Read more »

Facebook Live: Japan’s Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay
U.S. President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Abe attend a ceremony at the Atomic Bomb Dome at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima on May 27, 2016. (Photo: Toru Hanai/Reuters) U.S. President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Abe attend a ceremony at the Atomic Bomb Dome at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima on May 27, 2016. (Photo: Toru Hanai/Reuters)

I sat down yesterday with my colleague Sheila Smith to discuss Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s historic visit to Pearl Harbor next week. We also discussed President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, disputes in the South China Sea, the future of U.S.-Japanese relations, and Japan’s relations with its neighbors as well as with Russia, among other topics. Read more »

Ten Most Significant World Events in 2016

by James M. Lindsay
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque). U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque).

Stories began appearing midway through 2016 asking whether it was the worst year ever. It wasn’t. It’s not even the worst year in the last half century. (Try 1968. Or 1974. Or 1979.) But 2016 certainly had its share of significant world events. Here are my top ten. You may want to read what follows closely. Several of these stories will continue into 2017. Read more »

Ten Elections to Watch in 2017

by James M. Lindsay
An Iranian woman holds her daughter while casting her ballot for the parliament and Assembly of Experts in 2016. An Iranian woman holds her daughter while casting her ballot for the parliament and Assembly of Experts in 2016.

Millions of people around the world went to the polls this year. The results provided plenty of surprises. British voters defied the pollsters and voted to leave the European Union. Colombians did much the same in rejecting their government’s peace deal with FARC, though Colombia’s president found a way to complete the deal a few months later without a vote. The biggest electoral surprise of all might have been in the United States, where Donald Trump defied the political experts and defeated Hillary Clinton. Perhaps 2017 will produce similarly surprising results. Here are ten elections to watch. Read more »

Ten Historical Anniversaries of Note in 2017

by James M. Lindsay
The body of Army Corporal Frank Buckles lies in repose at Arlington National Cemetery's memorial amphitheater in 2011. Buckles was the last surviving U.S. World War I veteran. The body of Army Corporal Frank Buckles lies in repose at Arlington National Cemetery's memorial amphitheater in 2011. Buckles was the last surviving U.S. World War I veteran.

Anniversaries mark the passage of time, recall our triumphs, and honor our losses. Two thousand and sixteen witnessed many significant historical anniversaries: the seventy-fifth anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the fiftieth anniversary of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Gulf War, to name a few. Two thousand and seventeen will also see anniversaries of many significant events in world history. Here are ten of note: Read more »