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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The World Next Week: President Obama Attends the North American Leaders Summit, Iran Nuclear Negotiations Resume, and Kosovo Marks the Sixth Anniversary of Its Independence

by James M. Lindsay
U.S. president Barack Obama and his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto shake hands in Mexico City in May 2013. (Mexico Presidency Handout/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. president Barack Obama and his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto shake hands in Mexico City in May 2013. (Mexico Presidency Handout/Courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed President Obama’s trip to the North American Leaders’ Summit in Toluca, Mexico, the continuing negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, and the sixth anniversary of Kosovo’s independence. Read more »

The World Next Week: Francois Hollande Visits Washington, Egypt Marks the Anniversary of Mubarak’s Ouster, and the Chicago Auto Show Opens

by James M. Lindsay
U.S. president Barack Obama shakes hands with French president Francois Hollande after a meeting in the Oval Office in 2012. (Eric Feferberg/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. president Barack Obama shakes hands with French president Francois Hollande after a meeting in the Oval Office in 2012. (Eric Feferberg/Courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed French president Francois Hollande’s upcoming visit to Washington, the third anniversary of Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in Egypt, and the Chicago Auto Show. Read more »

The World Next Week: Security Concerns Plague the Sochi Winter Olympics, Thailand Holds Parliamentary Elections, and Ukrainian Protests Continue

by James M. Lindsay
An Olympic volunteer takes pictures of people posing under the Olympic rings in Sochi. (Phil Noble/Courtesy Reuters). An Olympic volunteer takes pictures of people posing under the Olympic rings in Sochi. (Phil Noble/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. CFR distinguished visiting fellow and former New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly joined Bob McMahon and I on the podcast this week to discuss security challenges at the Sochi Winter Olympics.  Bob and I also discussed upcoming parliamentary elections in Thailand and ongoing protests in Ukraine. Read more »

The World Next Week: Previewing Obama’s State of the Union Address

by James M. Lindsay
U.S. president Barack Obama delivers his 2013 State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. president Barack Obama delivers his 2013 State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed President Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address.

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The World Next Week: Al Qaeda Resurfaces in Iraq, Egyptians Vote on a Constitution, and Thais Protest Ahead of Elections

by James M. Lindsay
Sunni gunmen protest against Iraq's Shiite-led government in Fallujah on January 7, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Sunni gunmen protest against Iraq's Shiite-led government in Fallujah on January 7, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed ongoing violence in Iraq’s Anbar province, Egypt’s constitutional referendum, and anti-government protests in Thailand. Read more »

TWE Remembers: FDR’s “Four Freedoms” State of the Union Address

by James M. Lindsay
A page from the fifth draft of Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1941 annual message to Congress. (Franklin D. Roosevelt Papers as President, Master Speech File; Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum) A page from the fifth draft of Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1941 annual message to Congress. (Franklin D. Roosevelt Papers as President, Master Speech File; Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum)

Barack Obama is set to give his State of the Union address on January 28. If it is like most such speeches, it will be hotly debated for a moment and then forgotten. (Quick, name the major theme of last year’s State of the Union address. I didn’t think so.) But a few State of the Union addresses do make a lasting impression. One such speech was President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s State of the Union address on January 6, 1941, better known today as the Four Freedoms speech. Read more »

Remembering Ten World Figures Who Died in 2013

by James M. Lindsay
The sun sets over Clifton Beach in Cape Town, South Africa. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) The sun sets over Clifton Beach in Cape Town, South Africa. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

Last Thursday, I wrote about ten Americans who died in 2013 who helped shape U.S. foreign policy through their vision, service, intellect, or courage. Below are ten world figures who died in 2013. Each made a mark on history. Some were heroes; some were villains. Which were which may depend on whom you ask. Read more »

Ten Americans Who Died in 2013 Who Shaped U.S. Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay
American flags fly at half mast. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters) American flags fly at half mast. (Jonathan Ernst/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 2013 who through their vision, service, intellect, or courage helped shape U.S. foreign policy. They will be missed. Read more »

The World Next Year: 2014 Edition

by James M. Lindsay
Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, unveils part of the "2014" sign that will light up Times Square at midnight on New Year's Eve. (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters) Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, unveils part of the "2014" sign that will light up Times Square at midnight on New Year's Eve. (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters)

Bob McMahon and I typically use our weekly podcast to discuss major foreign policy issues likely to be in the news in the coming week. In honor of the approaching New Year, we changed things up for this podcast and examined the issues likely to dominate world politics in 2014. We discussed budget battles in the United States; the Iran nuclear talks; domestic discontent bubbling up in countries around the world; fracking and energy security; tensions in the East China Sea; and the race for economic opportunities in the Arctic. Paul Stares, director of CFR’s Center for Preventive Action (CPA), joined our conversation to talk about CPA’s newly released Preventive Priorities Survey, which assesses the likelihood and consequences of potential conflicts in 2014. Read more »

Ten Historical Anniversaries of Note in 2014

by James M. Lindsay
Pictures of victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide on display at the Gisozi memorial in Kigali. (Radu Sigheti Pictures of the Year 2004/Courtesy Reuters) Pictures of victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide on display at the Gisozi memorial in Kigali. (Radu Sigheti Pictures of the Year 2004/Courtesy Reuters)

Anniversaries are how we mark the passage time of time, celebrate our triumphs, and honor our losses. Two thousand and thirteen had its share of historical anniversaries of note: the five hundredth anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon’s discovery of Florida, the two-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the end of the French and Indian (or Seven Years’) War, the one-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and the twentieth anniversary of the Oslo Accords, to name a few. Two thousand and fourteen will also see anniversaries of many significant events in world history. Here are ten of note: Read more »