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 "Politics"

Campaign 2016: Senator Marco Rubio, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay
Marco Rubio Announcement U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) announces his bid for the Republican nomination in the 2016 U.S. presidential election during a speech in Miami, Florida. (Joe Skipper/Courtesy Reuters)

Long shots sometimes pay off. Just ask Senator Marco Rubio. He won his first race for political office at age 26 by beating an incumbent county commissioner. A year later he won a seat in Florida’s state house by upsetting a local media celebrity. And in 2010 he won his Senate seat by beating a popular governor who was expected to coast to victory. So it’s no surprise that yesterday Rubio declared his presidential candidacy even though he trails badly in the early polls. If he wins the presidency, he would be the second youngest person ever elected president and the third youngest ever inaugurated. If he loses, he will likely forfeit his Senate seat. As they say, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Read more »

Campaign 2016: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Democratic Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay
Hillary Clinton Campaign Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference at the United Nations in New York. (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters)

Pakistan has had one. So have Great Britain, Indonesia, Poland, Ukraine, and four dozen other countries. Argentina, Brazil, and Germany have one right now. But the United States has never had a woman head of government. That will change at noon on January 20, 2017 if Hillary Clinton gets her way. The former first lady, U.S. senator, and secretary of state made it official yesterday: she is a candidate for president. This is, of course, her second shot at the White House. She was the prohibitive favorite back in 2008 to win the Democratic nomination, but she lost to long-shot candidate Barack Obama. Clinton is once again the prohibitive favorite. Time will tell whether she can capitalize on the opportunity. Read more »

Campaign 2016: Senator Rand Paul, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay
Rand Paul Announcement U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) formally announces his candidacy for president during an event in Louisville, Kentucky. (John Sommers II/Courtesy Reuters)

Is America ready for a “Libertarian-ish” president? We are about to find out. Today Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) formally announced his presidential campaign, making him the second Republican candidate, after Ted Cruz, to officially throw his hat into the ring. On many issues, Paul sounds a lot like his Republican rivals. He is running as an outsider on the slogan of: “Defeat the Washington Machine, Unleash the American Dream.” He wants lower taxes, less regulation, and more school choice. But on foreign policy Paul offers GOP primary voters a choice rather than an echo. He is decidedly less hawkish than his rivals for the nomination. For that he will get a lot of criticism from his fellow Republicans. But in his short political career Paul has shown that he gives as good as he gets. So expect a Republican primary with some fireworks–and a test of the claim that Americans are souring on internationalism. Read more »

Campaign 2016: Senator Ted Cruz, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay
Ted Cruz U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) confirms his candidacy for the 2016 U.S. presidential election during a speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. (Chris Keane/Courtesy Reuters)

Someone had to be first. When it comes to the 2016 presidential campaign, that person is Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). Yesterday, he formally announced that he is running for president. Cruz’s rise to national prominence has been meteoric. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2012 after never having held statewide elected office in his home state of Texas. If Cruz makes it to the White House, he would match President Barack Obama in taking just four years to go from senator to president. Cruz would also accomplish something unprecedented in American political history: he would be the first person born in Canada to become president. Read more »

Top Ten Most Significant World Events in 2014

by James M. Lindsay
Russia Annex Crimea Passport Two Crimean men examine their new Russian passports on April 3, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Every year has its share of significant world events. Two thousand fourteen is no exception. Here is my list of the top 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 2015. Read more »

Ten Elections to Watch in 2015

by James M. Lindsay
Goodluck Jonathan Election Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan casts his ballot in his home village of Otuoke, Bayelsa state during the 2011 presidential election. (Joseph Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

Millions of people around the world went to the polls this year. Indians and Indonesians elected new leaders, while Brazilians and South Africans voted to keep the ones they had. Turks elevated their prime minister to the presidency. Afghans cast votes in a disputed presidential election that took months to settle. Here in the United States, voters gave Republicans control of the Senate, and with it, control of Congress as a whole. The U.S. news media has already turned its sights to the 2016 presidential election, speculating on who is running and who might win. But before Americans decide who will square off in November 2016, the world will have plenty of important elections in 2015. Here are ten to watch. Read more »

What the New Republican Congress Means for Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay
McConnell Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) addresses supporters at his victory rally in Louisville, Kentucky. (Shannon Stapleton/Courtesy Reuters)

Electoral math is unforgiving. The Democrats had twenty-one seats up for election yesterday. Seven of them were in states that Mitt Romney won in 2012. Midterm elections typically attract fewer voters, and those who go to the polls are older, whiter, and less congenial to Democrats. The president’s approval ratings are hovering around 40 percent. Add all that up, and you get a convincing GOP win in the 2014 elections. Here are three quick thoughts on what it all means. Read more »

Better Together It Is: The Scots Choose Union Over Independence

by James M. Lindsay
Scotland Votes No A "No" campaign placard and Union flag are displayed on the Isle of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. (Cathal McNaughton/Courtesy Reuters)

The United Kingdom has survived its near-death experience. Scots voted 55 percent to 45 percent yesterday in a record turnout to remain within the union. The sighs of relief this morning in London are audible. Yet even though the Scots stepped back from the brink—and the pandemonium that would have ensued—some tough decisions and rough politics are yet to come. Read more »

Americans Support Air Strikes But Remain Leery About an Activist Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay
Iraq Airstrikes Public Opinion A U.S. F/A-18F Super Hornet refuels mid-air after launching from the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier in the Arabian Gulf on August 10. (U.S. Navy Handout/Courtesy Reuters)

The Wall Street Journal and NBC News are out with a new poll this morning on American public attitudes on using military force against ISIS. Like the Washington Post/ABC News poll released yesterday, it finds strong public support for air strikes and skepticism of President Obama’s handling of foreign policy. Beyond that, however, Americans remain cool toward a deeper military commitment in the Middle East and toward an activist U.S. foreign policy more broadly. Read more »

American Public Support for Air Strikes Against ISIS Grows

by James M. Lindsay
Obama Air Strikes Iraq President Obama speaks on the air strikes in Iraq from the South Lawn of the White House on August 9. (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters)

With President Obama set to address to the nation tomorrow night on his strategy for dealing with the Islamic State, the Washington Post and ABC News released a poll this morning showing substantial (and growing) public support for his policy of air strikes against the Islamic State. Ironically, however, that support isn’t translating into approval for how Obama has handled the ISIS threat. Read more »