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 "History Lessons"

July 4th Trivia Quiz

by James M. Lindsay
The skyline of Manhattan is seen as spectators watch Macy's Fourth of July fireworks explode over the East River. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) The skyline of Manhattan is seen as spectators watch Macy's Fourth of July fireworks explode over the East River. (Reuters/Eric Thayer)

Monday is July 4—the best of all American holidays. To mark the occasion, here is the annual TWE July 4 trivia quiz to test your knowledge of all things related to this glorious day in American history. You can see the previous quizzes hereherehere, here, and here. Below are thirteen new questions in honor of the original thirteen colonies that threw off the yoke of British tyranny. You’ll find a link to the answers at the bottom of the post. Have a fun and safe Fourth of July! Read more »

TWE Celebrates Presidents’ Day

by James M. Lindsay
President George W. Bush meets with former presidents and President-elect Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, January 2009. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters) President George W. Bush meets with former presidents and President-elect Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, January 2009. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Today is Presidents’ Day. It is a TWE tradition to recognize the forty-three men—and they have all been men, though that may change next January 20—who have been president on Presidents’ Day by posting the following essay. If you are lucky enough to have today off, enjoy: Read more »

A Presidents’ Day Quiz

by James M. Lindsay
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk out to the presidential helicopter with former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura after President Obama’s inauguration in 2009. (Tannen Maury/Reuters) President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk out to the presidential helicopter with former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura after President Obama’s inauguration in 2009. (Tannen Maury/Reuters)

Monday is Presidents’ Day. To get you in the proper celebratory mood, TWE presents its fifth annual Presidents’ Day quiz.

If you have your own presidential trivia questions, please post them in the comments so everyone can take a crack at answering them. And if you are feeling up to it, you can try the quizzes from 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 as well. Read more »

Seven Facts About the State of the Union Address

by James M. Lindsay
President Barack Obama delivers his first State of the Union in 2010. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) President Barack Obama delivers his first State of the Union in 2010. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

President Barack Obama is set to deliver his final State of the Union address tomorrow night at 9 p.m. The White House says it will be a “non-traditional” speech that will take a “big-picture approach to some of the challenges and opportunities that we face” as a country. In doing so the president hopes to frame the public debate heading into an election year. His odds of succeeding are daunting, in large part because the power of the bully pulpit is greatly overrated. But as they say, you can’t win if you don’t play. Read more »

July 4th Trivia Quiz

by James M. Lindsay
Independence Day fireworks light the sky over Washington. Independence Day fireworks light the sky over the U.S. Capitol, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Tomorrow is July 4—the best of all American holidays. To mark the occasion, here is the annual TWE July 4 trivia quiz to test your knowledge of all things related to this glorious day in American history. You can see the previous quizzes herehere, here, and here. Below are thirteen new questions in honor of the original thirteen colonies that threw off the yoke of British tyranny. You’ll find a link to the answers at the bottom of the post. Have a fun and safe Fourth of July! Read more »

Birthday Wishes to the United States Army!

by James M. Lindsay
U.S. Army birthday celebration U.S. Amy soldiers walk the Army birthday cake down to be cut at the 2014 Army Ball at the National Harbor in Fort Washington, Maryland, June 21, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle)

Doughboy. GI. Grunt. Dogface. Warrior. Whatever term you prefer, if you see an active duty, former, or retired member of the United States Army today, wish their service Happy Birthday. The United States Army just turned 240 years old.

The Army website provides a short but thorough overview of its history. Here are five things worth knowing: Read more »

History Lessons: The Munich Agreement

by James M. Lindsay

A new installment of “History Lessons” is now out. This time I examine the signing of the Munich Agreement in the early morning hours of September 30, 1938. (The agreement itself is dated September 29, 1938.) In the video, I discuss the origins of the crisis over the Sudetenland, what British prime minister Neville Chamberlain thought he was accomplishing in his negotiations with Adolf Hitler, and why the Munich Agreement did not bring “peace for our time.”

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History Lessons: The Oslo Accords

by James M. Lindsay

A new installment of “History Lessons” is now out. This time I examine the signing of the Oslo Accords on September 13, 1993. In the video, I discuss the secret negotiations that produced the agreement, what its terms stipulated, and how it failed to produce the lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians that many hoped for when Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat shook hands on the South Lawn of the White House nearly two decades ago.

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History Lessons: The America First Committee Forms

by James M. Lindsay

A new installment of “History Lessons” (formerly “Lessons Learned”) is now out. This time I examine the formation of the America First Committee on September 4, 1940. (Yes, it would have been more fitting if the video and this post had gone up on Tuesday, the actual anniversary of the committee’s formation. Oh, well.) In the video, I discuss the committee’s meteoric rise, its claim that the war in Europe did not threaten American security, and its ultimate failure to prevent FDR from moving the United States closer to Great Britain through steps like the Lend-Lease Act.


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Lessons Learned: Bay of Pigs Invasion

by James M. Lindsay

A new installment of “Lessons Learned” is now out. This week I discuss the Bay of Pigs invasion, which began on April 17, 1961. In the video, I look at the mistakes made before and during the invasion and discuss the importance of anticipating failure and planning accordingly. Here’s a question to consider when thinking about these kinds of actions: What steps should presidents take to make sure that they are thinking how their policies might fail rather than simply engaging in wishful thinking about how they will succeed? I encourage you to weigh in with your answer in the comments section below.

I hope you enjoy the video.

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