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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Showing posts for "Diplomacy"

The World Next Week: Global Economic Risks After the Fiscal Cliff, Hugo Chavez’s Inauguration, and U.S.-Russian Talks on Syria

by James M. Lindsay
A man walks past a mural depicting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Courtesy Reuters). A man walks past a mural depicting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed global economic risks, Hugo Chavez’s presidential inauguration in Venezuela, and upcoming U.S.-Russian talks on Syria with UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. Read more »

The World Next Year: 2013 Edition

by James M. Lindsay
(Jorge Adorno/Courtesy Reuters). The Copa Libertadores trophy is seen during the draw for the 2013 edition of the competition at the South American Football Confederation headquarters (Jorge Adorno/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 decided to change things up and examine the issues likely to dominate world politics in 2013. We discussed a sluggish global economy; the fiscal crisis in the United States; power struggles in the Middle East; the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan; sovereignty disputes in east Asia; and the battle over Internet freedom. 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 2013. Read more »

The World Next Week: North Korean Rocket Launch, the IAEA Iran Talk, and Another EU Summit

by James M. Lindsay
Anti-North Korean activists from conservative and right wing civic groups attend a rally in Seoul denouncing the North's plan for a rocket launch (Lee Jae-Won/Courtesy Reuters). Anti-North Korean activists from conservative and right wing civic groups attend a rally in Seoul denouncing the North's plan for a rocket launch (Lee Jae-Won/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed North Korea’s impending rocket launch; the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) discussion on Iran’s nuclear program; and the year-end EU summit. Read more »

An Embrace and a Slap: Congress Votes to Normalize Trade With Russia—and Slap It on the Wrist

by Guest Blogger for James M. Lindsay
Russian president Vladimir Putin shakes hands with U.S. president Barack Obama during the G20 summit in June 2012 (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters). Russian president Vladimir Putin shakes hands with U.S. president Barack Obama during the G20 summit in June 2012 (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

The U.S. Senate today approved a bill to normalize trade relations with Russia. The House voted overwhelmingly for it last month, and President Obama is expected to sign it into law. The move will allow U.S. companies to benefit from Russia’s recent entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, the bill also includes a provision that penalizes Russian human rights violators—a move that infuriates Moscow, which has promised to strike back. I asked my colleague Anya Schmemann, who follows Russian issues, to explain the double-edged bill. Here’s what she had to say: Read more »

What Foreign Policy Challenges Will the Next President Face?

by James M. Lindsay
A U.S. Army soldier high-fives with an Afghan boy during a patrol in eastern Afghanistan (Umit Bektas/ Courtesy Reuters). A U.S. Army soldier high-fives with an Afghan boy during a patrol in eastern Afghanistan (Umit Bektas/ Courtesy Reuters).

Former New York Times correspondent and current CFR.org consulting editor Bernard Gwertzman interviewed me the other day about the foreign policy challenges awaiting whoever wins next Tuesday’s election. The interview is now up on CFR.org. Read more »

TWE Remembers: Secret Soviet Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Cuba (Cuban Missile Crisis, a Coda)

by James M. Lindsay
President John F. Kennedy speaks with Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara during an ExCom meeting. (Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston) President John F. Kennedy speaks with Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara during an ExCom meeting. (Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)

Washington and the world breathed a sigh of relief on Monday, October 29, 1962.  The day before President John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had struck a deal to end the Cuban missile crisis. But the deal took several weeks to implement, and it came with a plot twist that the world wouldn’t learn about for thirty years. Read more »

TWE Remembers: Kennedy and Khrushchev Agree to a Deal (Cuban Missile Crisis, Day Thirteen)

by James M. Lindsay
Members of the ExCom outside the Oval Office during the Cuban Missile Crisis. From left to right: Special Assistant to the President for National Security McGeorge Bundy, President John F. Kennedy, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Paul Nitze, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Maxwell D. Taylor, and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. (Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston). Members of the ExCom outside the Oval Office during the Cuban Missile Crisis. From left to right: Special Assistant to the President for National Security McGeorge Bundy, President John F. Kennedy, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Paul Nitze, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Maxwell D. Taylor, and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. (Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston).

Sunday, October 28, 1962 was a beautiful fall day in Washington, DC. After a cold start, the mercury hit 71 degrees, six degrees above normal. The sun shone brightly, and the breeze was mild. The weather was in many ways a metaphor for the mood in the White House. After twelve stress-filled days, the thirteenth day of the Cuban missile crisis brought a deal between President John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. The world pulled back from the brink of nuclear war. Read more »

TWE Remembers: Black Saturday—Near Calamities Abound as JFK Offers Khrushchev a Deal (Cuban Missile Crisis, Day Twelve)

by James M. Lindsay
A U-2 plane used during the Cuban Missile Crisis (Dino A. Brugioni Collection, The National Security Archive, Washington, DC). A U-2 plane used during the Cuban Missile Crisis (Dino A. Brugioni Collection, The National Security Archive, Washington, DC).

Murphy’s Law holds that if anything can go wrong, it will. On Saturday October 27, 1962, the twelfth day of the Cuban missile crisis, President John F. Kennedy might have been thinking about that famous law’s corollary: Murphy was an optimist. JFK had gone to bed the night before thinking that a solution to the crisis was in sight. But he awoke on what later was dubbed “Black Saturday” to a series of events that he had not anticipated and that threatened to plunge the world into a nuclear abyss. Read more »

TWE Remembers: John Scali Has Lunch, Khrushchev Writes Kennedy, Castro Writes Khrushchev (Cuban Missile Crisis, Day Eleven)

by James M. Lindsay
The U.S. destroyer Joseph P. Kennedy stops, boards, and inspects the Marucla, a dry-cargo ship of Lebanese registry under Soviet charter to Cuba. (Dino A. Brugioni Collection, The National Security Archive, Washington, DC) The U.S. destroyer Joseph P. Kennedy stops, boards, and inspects the Marucla, a dry-cargo ship of Lebanese registry under Soviet charter to Cuba. (Dino A. Brugioni Collection, The National Security Archive, Washington, DC)

Journalists live for scoops. Being the first to break major news is the ticket to journalistic fame and fortune. But what if you are a journalist covering the biggest story of your lifetime and suddenly you become a participant? Do you tell the world what you have learned, or do you sit on it? ABC News diplomatic correspondent John Scali found himself in just such a predicament on Friday, October 26, 1962, the eleventh day of the Cuban missile crisis. Read more »

TWE Remembers: Adlai Stevenson Dresses Down the Soviet Ambassador to the UN (Cuban Missile Crisis, Day Ten)

by James M. Lindsay
U.S. ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson presents evidence of Soviet missiles in Cuba at the UN Security Council on October 25, 1962. (UN Photo/MH) U.S. ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson presents evidence of Soviet missiles in Cuba at the UN Security Council on October 25, 1962. (UN Photo/MH)

U.S. ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson had a reputation for preferring to concede than to confront. In the first days of the Cuban missile crisis, President John F. Kennedy worried that his man in New York didn’t have what it took to present the U.S. position on Cuba forcefully to the world body. On Thursday, October 25, the tenth day of the crisis, Stevenson showed that he was in fact made of sterner stuff than JFK thought. The former two-time presidential candidate dressed down Valerian Zorin, the Soviet ambassador, in a UN Security Council meeting as Americans watched on television. Read more »