James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "The White House"

TWE Celebrates Presidents’ Day

by James M. Lindsay
The Presidential Seal on a lectern in the White House. (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Today is Presidents’ Day. It is a TWE tradition to recognize the forty-four men—and they have all been men—who have been president on Presidents’ Day with the following essay. If you are lucky enough to have today off, enjoy:

American kids often say they want to be president when they grow up. You have to wonder why. A few presidents have loved the job. Teddy Roosevelt said “No president has ever enjoyed himself as much as I have enjoyed myself.” Donald Trump is just four weeks into his presidency but says, “I’m having a good time.” Read more »

A Presidents’ Day Quiz

by James M. Lindsay
President Donald Trump with First Lady Melania Trump and former President Barack Obama with Michelle Obama at the inauguration on January 20, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Pool New)

Monday is Presidents’ Day. To get you in the proper celebratory mood, TWE presents its sixth annual Presidents’ Day quiz. If you are feeling up to it, you can try the quizzes from 201220132014, 2015, and 2016 as well. Read more »

The Deep Partisan Split on Trump’s Immigration and Refugee Moves

by James M. Lindsay
President Donald Trump signs an executive order imposing tighter vetting on travelers entering the United States. (Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria)

Gallup put out a poll today that shows most Americans disapprove of President Trump’s recent moves on immigration and refugees. Here’s the chart: Read more »

Trump Had A Busy First Week on Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay
President Donald Trump signs an executive order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. (Photo: Reuters/ Kevin Lamarque)

Donald Trump said on the campaign trail that he would do things differently in foreign policy and do different things. Seven days into his presidency, he has been good to his word. Indeed, he has done so many different things differently that you may have had a hard time keeping up. So here is a brief synopsis of some of his initial foreign policy initiatives to help you get up to speed. Read more »

The Bid to Give Congress a Say on Any Move to Relax Sanctions on Russia

by James M. Lindsay
The West front of the U.S. Capitol. (Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar)

I wrote on Monday that Donald Trump’s critics on Capitol Hill will have a hard time challenging his foreign policy choices. An early test of that claim could come in the form of a new bill that would require congressional approval before Trump could relax existing sanctions on Russia. Read more »

Congressional Critics Will Find It Hard to Trump Trump on Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay
President Donald Trump celebrates after his inauguration on January 20, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria)

Donald Trump’s inaugural address showed that he intends to do things differently and to do different things. The biggest changes could come in foreign policy. His address shunned the usual talk about American global leadership. It instead described an America impoverished from bearing the burden for others. Trump’s America will tend to its narrow interests first: “Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration (and) on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families.” Read more »

Donald Trump’s Low Favorability Rating Means Less Than You Might Think

by James M. Lindsay
President-Elect Donald Trump arrives at Andrews Air Force Base on January 19, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Donald Trump is set to become president tomorrow with the lowest favorability ratings of any recent U.S. president. Does that mean he will have trouble enacting his agenda for making America great again? Hardly. Read more »

Remembering the Best (and Worst) Inaugural Addresses

by James M. Lindsay
The view from the podium on which Donald Trump will deliver his inaugural address on January 20, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Jim Bourg)

In three days, Donald J. Trump gets to do what only thirty-eight other Americans have ever done: deliver an inaugural address. He can expect a large audience for his remarks. Nearly 38 million Americans watched Barack Obama’s first inaugural address. 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 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 »

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 »