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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TWE Remembers: Memorial Day

by James M. Lindsay
A soldier places flags in front of the graves at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC. 
(Joshua Roberts/Reuters) A soldier places flags in front of the graves at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The United States has fought twelve major wars and a countless number of smaller skirmishes in its history. Memorial Day is our way of honoring the soldiers, sailors, airmen, airwomen, and marines who did not return home. The holiday dates back to the months immediately following the Civil War when a few towns and cities began honoring their dead. In 1868, General John A. Logan designated May 30 as “Decoration Day,” the purpose of which would be “strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” The holiday was renamed Memorial Day after World War I, and its purpose became to honor all Americans who have died fighting the nation’s wars. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Donald Trump Talks Energy

by James M. Lindsay
Donald Trump addresses supporters in Bismarck, North Dakota. Donald Trump addresses supporters in Bismarck, North Dakota. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Donald Trump laid out his “America First Energy Plan” yesterday at the annual Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota. As with his America First foreign policy address last month, Trump made big promises and got a lot of facts wrong. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: It’s the Economy, Stupid

by James M. Lindsay
A flag flies in front of the blast furnaces at the now-closed Bethlehem Steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. A flag flies in front of the now-closed Bethlehem Steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

A Gallup poll out this week found that the economy remains the country’s top concern. Eighteen percent of Americans flag the “economy in general” as the most important problem facing the nation, while smaller percentages flag jobs (9 percent), poverty (4 percent), and the gap between rich and poor (4 percent). Foreign policy issues fall farther down the list, with 4 percent of Americans pointing to terrorism and another 4 percent pointing to national security as the most important problem. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Americans Remain Open to U.S. Commitments Overseas

by James M. Lindsay
Boxes of relief items from the U.S. Agency for International Development are seen stacked at Villamor Air Base in Manila, the Philippines.  (Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters) Boxes of relief items from the U.S. Agency for International Development are seen stacked at Villamor Air Base in Manila, the Philippines. (Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters)

What candidates say on the campaign trail matters for how elections turn out. But so too does what the public is thinking. On that score, two things stand out in the Pew Research Center’s recent poll on what Americans think about the U.S. role in the world. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Trump’s Foreign Policy Message Resonates With Many Americans

by James M. Lindsay
Donald Trump speaks during a campaign victory party Donald Trump speaks during a campaign victory party after Ted Cruz dropped out of the race following the Indiana primary. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

And then there was one. Despite all the naysayers, Donald Trump emerged from the field of seventeen Republican candidates to become the presumptive GOP nominee. He’s made it clear that he will put what he sees as the epic, bipartisan failings of U.S. foreign policy at the center of his general election campaign. His alternative will be nationalist, unilateralist, and mercantilist. This isn’t the foreign policy message that Republicans traditionally run on. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Donald Trump Champions America First

by James M. Lindsay
Donald Trump delivers a foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel Donald Trump delivers a foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, April 27, 2016. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

I have been skeptical that 2016 will be a foreign-policy election. But Donald Trump seems determined to prove me wrong. In a major speech on Wednesday, he launched a frontal assault on the fundamental premises of U.S. foreign policy. His critique may be harder for Hillary Clinton to rebut than you might think given the outpouring of criticism of his remarks. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Trump to Give a Major Foreign Policy Address

by James M. Lindsay
Donald Trump speaks in Buffalo Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Buffalo, New York, on April 18, 2016. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters).

Foreign policy didn’t make much news on the campaign trail this week. That’s about to change. Next Wednesday, Donald Trump is scheduled to deliver his first foreign policy address. The setting is a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The Center for the National Interest is the host. Expect a torrent of analyses on whether Trump has changed either the tone or substance of what he has had to say so far about America’s role in the world. Read more »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Democratic Debate Highlights Three Critical Foreign Policy Lessons

by James M. Lindsay
Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders speak simultaneously during a Democratic debate in New York on April 14, 2016. Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders speak at the Democratic debate in New York on April 14, 2016. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Foreign policy came up a fair bit in last night’s Democratic debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. We have seen the general thrust of their exchanges many times before. Clinton touted her extensive foreign policy credentials and questioned Sanders’s. He in turn touted his foreign policy judgment and questioned hers. Read more »