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: 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 »

Campaign 2016: Senator Lindsey Graham, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay
Graham Foreign Policy U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. (Christopher Aluka Berry/Reuters)

Can you win the presidency by running on foreign policy? Lindsey Graham is seeking to find out. The South Carolina senator announced yesterday that he is running for the GOP presidential nomination. His stated his reason for joining the race: “I want to be president to protect our nation that we all love so much from all threats foreign and domestic.” Graham is the ninth candidate to join the GOP race. He won’t be the last. If Graham wins, he’ll be the first bachelor president since Grover Cleveland. Read more »

Campaign 2016: Martin O’Malley, Democratic Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay
O'Malley Foreign Policy Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley announces his intention to seek the Democratic presidential nomination. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

When Bill Clinton wrote to a rising Democratic political star back in 2002 that “I won’t be surprised if you go all the way” to the White House, he had no way of knowing that Martin O’Malley would end up throwing his hat into the presidential ring against Hillary Clinton. That’s just what he did on Saturday. Although O’Malley has long been friendly with the Clintons and even endorsed Secretary Clinton’s presidential bid back in 2008 over Barack Obama, he now thinks he’s the man for the job. O’Malley certainly harbors no illusions about his chances. On the eve of his announcement, he told a reporter, “I’m drawn to tough challenges, and this one is certainly a tough challenge.” Relations between O’Malley and Secretary Clinton remain cordial—at least for now. She welcomed him to the race via Twitter, and he tweeted back that he was “eager to engage in a healthy debate about our visions for America.Read more »