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 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Democrats and Republicans Have Different Priorities

by James M. Lindsay
The flag over the White House is lowered to half staff to honor the victims of the San Bernardino, California shootings. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) The flag over the White House is lowered to half staff to honor the victims of the San Bernardino, California shootings. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

In a post last week, I noted that polls showed that terrorism has jumped up the priority list for voters and wondered whether it troubled Democrats and Republicans equally. The poll I looked at last week didn’t provide the answer, but a poll out this week from Monmouth University does. In what probably won’t come as a surprise, Democrats and Republicans see things differently. Read more »

Ten Most Significant World Events in 2015

by James M. Lindsay
Syrian refugees wait to cross into Turkey, June 15, 2015. (Umit Bektas/Courtesy Reuters) Syrian refugees wait to cross into Turkey, June 15, 2015. (Umit Bektas/Courtesy Reuters)

Every year has its share of significant events. Two thousand fifteen is no exception. Here is my list of the ten most significant events of the year. You may want to read what follows closely. Several of these stories could continue to dominate the headlines in 2016. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: More Terrorism Polls

by James M. Lindsay
Mementos adorn a shrine to the victims of the San Bernardino attack. (Sandy Huffaker/Courtesy Reuters) Mementos adorn a shrine to the victims of the San Bernardino attack. (Sandy Huffaker/Courtesy Reuters)

The New York Times and CBS released a new poll this morning showing that terrorism tops the public’s list of the most important issues facing the country. Fourteen percent of Americans point to terrorism in general and another 5 percent mention Islamic extremists. So does this mean foreign policy rather than domestic policy now is foremost in the public’s mind? Read more »

Ten Elections to Watch in 2016

by James M. Lindsay
Opposition supporter holds a poster of Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega during a protest demanding fairer presidential elections next year, in Managua, Nicaragua. (Oswaldo Rivas/Courtesy Reuters) Opposition supporter holds a poster of Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega during a protest demanding fairer presidential elections next year, in Managua, Nicaragua. (Oswaldo Rivas/Courtesy Reuters)

Millions of people around the world went to the polls this year. Nigerians voted out their incumbent president and elected a former military dictator in his place. British voters surprised the experts predicting another hung parliament by giving the Conservative Party a majority in the House of Commons. Turks got to vote twice, denying the Justice and Development Party a parliamentary majority in June elections but giving it one in November elections. These are just a few of the elections that made news in 2015. The world will have plenty of important elections in 2016. Here are ten to watch. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Terrorism Concerns Grow

by James M. Lindsay
American flags fly at half-staff to honor the victims of the Paris attacks. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) American flags fly at half-staff to honor the victims of the Paris attacks. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

Last month I wrote that domestic policy issues were trumping foreign policy ones in the minds of the American voters. In one poll, eight in ten Americans said that domestic issues would have the biggest impact on their choice for president; slightly less than two in ten named a foreign policy issue. But I noted at the time that events could scramble those priorities. So have the horrific Paris attacks changed voter priorities? Read more »

Ten Historical Anniversaries of Note in 2016

by James M. Lindsay
Pearl Harbor survivor at the "Remembrance Wall" at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Hugh Gentry/Courtesy Reuters) Pearl Harbor survivor at the "Remembrance Wall" at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Hugh Gentry/Courtesy Reuters)

Anniversaries are how we mark the passage time of time, celebrate our triumphs, and honor our losses. Two thousand and fifteen witnessed several significant historical anniversaries: the octocentennial of the Magna Carta, the bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo, and the twenty-fifth anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison to name a few. Two thousand and sixteen will also see anniversaries of many significant events in world history. Here are ten of note: Read more »

Campaign 2016 Foreign Policy Roundup: Reactions to the Paris Attacks

by James M. Lindsay
French military patrol near the Eiffel Tower the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris.(REUTERS/Yves Herman) French military patrol near the Eiffel Tower the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris.(REUTERS/Yves Herman)

The horrifying terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday have pushed foreign policy to the forefront of the campaign debate—at least for now. Republicans and Democrats split on the wisdom of accepting Syrian refugees. But when it comes to how to deal with self-proclaimed Islamic State, the fault lines aren’t so sharp. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Foreign Policy Roundup: World’s Leader or World’s Policeman?

by James M. Lindsay
Republican U.S. presidential candidates pose for a photo opportunity before the debate on November 10, 2015. (REUTERS/Darren Hauck) Republican U.S. presidential candidates pose for a photo opportunity before the debate on November 10, 2015. (REUTERS/Darren Hauck)

Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate featured a heavy dose of foreign policy. Sometimes the candidates got their facts wrong, and none of them staked out new positions on the issues. But the back-and-forth was illuminating nonetheless. It highlighted a split in Republican ranks over whether the United States should try to be the world’s leader or is making the mistake of becoming the world’s policeman. Read more »

Where the Candidates Stand on TPP

by James M. Lindsay
Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman participate in a press conference in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii July 31, 2015. (REUTERS/Marco Garcia) Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman participate in a press conference in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii July 31, 2015. (REUTERS/Marco Garcia)

President Obama is testing one of the hard-and-fast rules of Washington politics: don’t try to pass a trade deal during a presidential election year. The White House would be helped in defying the conventional wisdom if some of the current crop of presidential candidates came out in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But so far it looks as if candidates are rallying against TPP rather than for it. Read more »

Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps!

by James M. Lindsay
U.S. Marines, currently stationed in Cuba, stand at the ready for the raising of the U.S. flag over the newly reopened embassy in Havana, Cuba, August 14, 2015. (REUTERS/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Pool) U.S. Marines, currently stationed in Cuba, stand at the ready for the raising of the U.S. flag over the newly reopened embassy in Havana, Cuba, August 14, 2015. (REUTERS/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Pool)

The Marine Corps turns 240 years-old today. On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution to create a Marine force composed of two battalions. Since then, the Marines have been “from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli” and many other places as well. Read more »