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 Quick Takes: No Oscar for “Killing in the Name”

by James M. Lindsay
Ashraf Al-Khaled (L) and Carie Lemack of the film nominated for best short documentary, "Killing in the Name", arrive at the 83rd Academy Awards

Ashraf Al-Khaled (L) and Carie Lemack of the film nominated for best short documentary, "Killing in the Name," arrive at the 83rd Academy Awards. (Lucy Nicholson/courtesy Reuters)

I forced myself to watch the Oscars last night. My reward for sitting through an hour-plus of forced banter and lame jokes—please bring back Billy Crystal–was disappointment. Killing in the Name did not win the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject. Everyone at CFR remains nonetheless proud of what Carie Lemack accomplished. We hope she enjoyed the awards ceremony despite the outcome and despite the grueling schedule that the Academy puts its nominees through. Most important, I hope that the Oscar ceremony helps get the message of Killing in the Name out to a wider audience.

In other news, the White House announced that President Obama will hold a surprise summit meeting later this week with Mexican President Felipe Caldéron. U.S.-Mexican relations are going through a tough patch. As my colleague Shannon O’Neil writes, the murder of one U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent and the wounding of another in an attack on the road from Monterrey to Mexico City has brought the tensions to a head. I hope that Presidents Obama and Caldéron succeed in getting U.S.-Mexican relations back on track. The high and growing level of drug-related violence in Mexico—more than 30,000 Mexicans have died in drug-related violence over the past five years—is worrying. I am not optimistic, however, that we will see any major breakthroughs. A big part of Mexico’s drug violence problem resides north of the border. Americans buy illicit drugs, and we ship guns back across the border. Washington doesn’t look to be getting serious about either issue. Indeed, legislation working its way through Congress would make it harder for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to disrupt the trafficking of guns to Mexico.

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The World Next Year

by James M. Lindsay

Bob McMahon and I sat down for our usual weekly podcast session but with a twist. Rather than discussing what’s on the horizon for next week, we talked about how things look to be shaping up for 2011. We discussed a range of issues, including the continued weakness of the U.S. economy; China’s role in the world; efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear program; the outlook for Iraq and Afghanistan; escalating violence in Mexico; and the pending secession referendum in Sudan.

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