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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Campaign 2016: Jim Gilmore, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay
Former Governor Jim Gilmore of Virginia speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Former Governor Jim Gilmore of Virginia speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo Courtesy Gage Skidmore)

The state of Virginia fashions itself as the “Birthplace of Presidents.” Eight American presidents, and four of the first five, were born in Virginia. But the Commonwealth has been suffering a dry spell since Woodrow Wilson was re-elected nearly a century ago. Jim Gilmore hopes to change that. The former Virginia governor announced late last month that he is running for president. He is the seventeenth prominent Republican to join the 2016 presidential race and the ninth governor. He is very likely to be the last on both scores. Read more »

Campaign 2016: John Kasich, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay
Ohio Governor John Kasich formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination Ohio Governor John Kasich formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during a kickoff rally in Columbus, Ohio July 21, 2015. (Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Ohio holds the title of “Mother of Presidents.” Eight of them were born, raised, or lived in Ohio at the time of their election. But the last president to hail from Ohio was Warren G. Harding, who was elected nearly a century ago. Current Ohio Governor John Kasich hopes to change that. Last month he declared that he was running for president, making him the sixteenth prominent Republican and the eighth current or former governor to join the race. If Kasich wins next November, he would be just the second graduate of a Big Ten university to become president. (A graduate of the University of Michigan beat him to the punch). But Kasich would have the distinction of being the first Big Ten grad to be elected president. Read more »

Campaign 2016: Governor Scott Walker, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during a kickoff rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, July 13, 2015. (Darren Hauck/Reuters)

Twelve Americans have become president without having earned a college degree. (Two of them are on Mount Rushmore.) Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who studied at Marquette University but left before graduating, hopes to make that number thirteen—and the first since Harry Truman. Walker announced on Monday what has been long expected: he is running for president. He is the fifteenth prominent Republican to declare for the White House and the seventh governor. He won’t be the last one on either score. Read more »

Campaign 2016: Governor Chris Christie, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination New Jersey Governor Chris Christie formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during a kickoff rally at Livingston High School in Livingston, New Jersey, June 30, 2015. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

One hundred and three years have passed since the last time a sitting New Jersey governor was elected president. Current New Jersey Governor Chris Christie hopes to break that streak. He announced two weeks ago that he is a candidate for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. Christie became the fourteenth prominent Republican to throw his hat into the ring and the sixth current or former governor. He wasn’t the last. Read more »

July 4th Trivia Quiz

by James M. Lindsay
Independence Day fireworks light the sky over Washington. Independence Day fireworks light the sky over the U.S. Capitol, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Tomorrow is July 4—the best of all American holidays. To mark the occasion, here is the annual TWE July 4 trivia quiz to test your knowledge of all things related to this glorious day in American history. You can see the previous quizzes herehere, here, and here. Below are thirteen new questions in honor of the original thirteen colonies that threw off the yoke of British tyranny. You’ll find a link to the answers at the bottom of the post. Have a fun and safe Fourth of July! Read more »

Campaign 2016: Bobby Jindal, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in Kenner, Louisiana on June 24, 2015. (Reuters/Jonathan Bachman)

The state of Louisiana has produced more than its share of great athletes, authors, chefs, and musicians. But it has never produced a U.S. president. Current Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal hopes to change that. He announced last week that he is running for president. Jindal is the thirteenth prominent Republican and the fifth former or current governor to toss his hat in the ring. He won’t be the last one, though, on either score. If Jindal makes it to the Oval Office, he will be the first Indian-American president. Read more »

What’s Worth Reading This Summer?

by James M. Lindsay
Mobile library by the beach in Tel Aviv People check books at a new mobile library for beach visitors initiated by the Tel Aviv municipality on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in Tel Aviv July 9, 2013. (Nir Elias/Reuters)

CFR.org editor Bob McMahon and I sat down yesterday to record the annual summer reading episode of CFR’s “The World Next Week” podcast. Our good friend and colleague, Janine Davidson, joined us for the conversation. The discussion was mostly, but not entirely, about books: what we have read, what we plan to read, and what we will take to the beach to read. Read more »

Campaign 2016: Governor Jeb Bush, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay
Jeb Bush Kickoff rally Republican U.S. presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during a kickoff rally in Miami, Florida June 15, 2015 (Joe Skipper/Reuters)

We have had two presidents who were the fathers of presidents. We have had a president who was the grandfather of a president. We have even had presidents who were fifth cousins. But we have never had a president who is the brother of a president. John Ellis “Jeb” Bush hopes to be the first. He announced yesterday what has been expected for months: he is running for the GOP presidential nomination. If Jeb Bush does become the first brother of a president elected to the White House, he will likely do so by beating a Democrat in the general election who is seeking to be not just the first woman elected president, but also the first First Lady elected president: Hillary Clinton. So if you like “firsts,” 2016 could be the election for you. Read more »

Birthday Wishes to the United States Army!

by James M. Lindsay
U.S. Army birthday celebration U.S. Amy soldiers walk the Army birthday cake down to be cut at the 2014 Army Ball at the National Harbor in Fort Washington, Maryland, June 21, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle)

Doughboy. GI. Grunt. Dogface. Warrior. Whatever term you prefer, if you see an active duty, former, or retired member of the United States Army today, wish their service Happy Birthday. The United States Army just turned 240 years old.

The Army website provides a short but thorough overview of its history. Here are five things worth knowing: Read more »

Campaign 2016: Rick Perry, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay
Perry Foreign Policy Republican presidential candidate and former Texas Governor Rick Perry (C) acknowledges supporters after formally announcing his candidacy for the 2016 Republican nomination for president at an event in Addison, Texas, June 4, 2015. (Mike Stone, Reuters)

Can you get a second chance to make a first impression? Rick Perry hopes so. When the former Texas governor threw his hat into the presidential ring back in 2011, he was a favorite to grab the nomination. But his campaign faltered badly, most famously after a televised GOP primary debate in which he couldn’t remember the name of one of the three federal agencies he had promised to close. The experience didn’t diminish Perry’s confidence in his political skills or his presidential chances. Yesterday he announced that he is again running for the White House. If he is to succeed, he will need to triumph over a GOP field that stands at ten official candidates and counting. With Ted Cruz and Rand Paul already in the race, Perry is the third Republican presidential candidate with ties to the Lone Star State—with one more candidate with Texas ties waiting in the wings. Read more »