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 "TWE Remembers"

TWE Remembers: Austria-Hungary Issues an Ultimatum to Serbia

by James M. Lindsay
Austrian Ultimatum Serbia Weapons Austrian soldiers stand with captured Serbian weapons during World War I. (Courtesy Library of Congress, George Grantham Bain Collection)

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. That adage applies to governments as well as to people. A case in point is the ultimatum that Austria gave Serbia on July 23, 1914. Austrian officials were counting on Serbia to reject their demands, which would give Vienna the opportunity it was seeking to wage a swift and victorious war against its upstart neighbor. The Austrians were right on the first count, but horrifically wrong on the second. The result would be the Great War that changed the course of the twentieth century. Read more »

July 4th Trivia Quiz

by James M. Lindsay
July 4 Independence Day Soldiers Statue of Liberty The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment ("The Old Guard") performs during a ceremony to reopen the Statue of Liberty in New York on July 4, 2013. (Eduardo Munoz/Courtesy Reuters)

Tomorrow is July 4—the best of all American holidays. To mark the occasion, I am offering up the annual TWE July 4 trivia quiz. You can see the previous quizzes here, 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 Remembers: The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

by James M. Lindsay
Franz Ferdinand Sophie Sarajevo A room at the Franz Ferdinand hostel in Sarajevo, Bosnia, which features a photo taken of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie on the day they were assassinated. (Dado Ruvic/Courtesy Reuters)

A loving couple. An heir to the throne. A wife shunned by her husband’s family. Two countries bitterly at odds. A shadowy secret organization. Security officials indifferent to their responsibilities. Young men willing to die for a cause. Warnings of imminent danger that go unheeded or are never passed along. Bravery that in retrospect looks like recklessness. Bombs, guns, and cyanide. A chance mistake that puts a victim in the crosshairs of an assassin. Two gunshots. Read more »

TWE Remembers: Memorial Day

by James M. Lindsay
Arlington Cemetery Soldiers Memorial Day Members of the Third U.S. Infantry Regiment take part in a "Flags-In" ceremony ahead of Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

The United States has fought twelve major wars and numerous smaller skirmishes in its history. Memorial Day is our way of honoring the soldiers, sailors, airmen, airwomen, and marines who did not return home. The holiday dates back to the months immediately after the Civil War when a few towns and cities began honoring their dead. In 1868, General John A. Logan designated May 30 as “Decoration Day,” the purpose of which would be “strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” The holiday was renamed Memorial Day after World War I, and its purpose became to honor all Americans who have died fighting the nation’s wars. Read more »

TWE Remembers: The U.S. Invasion of Veracruz, Mexico

by James M. Lindsay
Veracruz US Occupation 1914 U.S. troops occupy Veracruz, Mexico in April 1914. (Flickr Commons Project, 2010/Courtesy Library of Congress)

When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. That advice is easier given than followed. The temptation to “double down” on bad ideas can be overpowering, especially in foreign policy where the political and diplomatic costs of admitting error can be substantial. But sometimes presidents recognize they have dug a hole for themselves and stop digging.  The U.S. invasion of Veracruz on April 21, 1914 offers a dramatic example. Within a span of four days President Woodrow Wilson went from hawk to dove. Read more »

TWE Remembers: FDR’s “Four Freedoms” State of the Union Address

by James M. Lindsay
A page from the fifth draft of Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1941 annual message to Congress. (Franklin D. Roosevelt Papers as President, Master Speech File; Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum) A page from the fifth draft of Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1941 annual message to Congress. (Franklin D. Roosevelt Papers as President, Master Speech File; Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum)

Barack Obama is set to give his State of the Union address on January 28. If it is like most such speeches, it will be hotly debated for a moment and then forgotten. (Quick, name the major theme of last year’s State of the Union address. I didn’t think so.) But a few State of the Union addresses do make a lasting impression. One such speech was President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s State of the Union address on January 6, 1941, better known today as the Four Freedoms speech. Read more »

Remembering Ten World Figures Who Died in 2013

by James M. Lindsay
The sun sets over Clifton Beach in Cape Town, South Africa. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) The sun sets over Clifton Beach in Cape Town, South Africa. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

Last Thursday, I wrote about ten Americans who died in 2013 who helped shape U.S. foreign policy through their vision, service, intellect, or courage. Below are ten world figures who died in 2013. Each made a mark on history. Some were heroes; some were villains. Which were which may depend on whom you ask. Read more »

Ten Americans Who Died in 2013 Who Shaped U.S. Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay
American flags fly at half mast. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters) American flags fly at half mast. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters)

Year’s end is a time for taking stock, counting successes, and assessing failures. It is also a time for remembering those who are no longer with us. Here are ten Americans who died in 2013 who through their vision, service, intellect, or courage helped shape U.S. foreign policy. They will be missed. Read more »

Ten Historical Anniversaries of Note in 2014

by James M. Lindsay
Pictures of victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide on display at the Gisozi memorial in Kigali. (Radu Sigheti Pictures of the Year 2004/Courtesy Reuters) Pictures of victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide on display at the Gisozi memorial in Kigali. (Radu Sigheti Pictures of the Year 2004/Courtesy Reuters)

Anniversaries are how we mark the passage time of time, celebrate our triumphs, and honor our losses. Two thousand and thirteen had its share of historical anniversaries of note: the five hundredth anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon’s discovery of Florida, the two-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the end of the French and Indian (or Seven Years’) War, the one-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and the twentieth anniversary of the Oslo Accords, to name a few. Two thousand and fourteen will also see anniversaries of many significant events in world history. Here are ten of note: Read more »

Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps!

by James M. Lindsay
U.S. Marine Corps Major General Michael Dana uses a saber to slice a cake for the Marines' 237th birthday (Chip East/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. Marine Corps Major General Michael Dana uses a saber to slice a cake for the Marines' 237th birthday (Chip East/Courtesy Reuters).

The Marine Corps turns 238 years-old today. On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution to create a Marine force composed of two battalions. Since then, the Marines have been “from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli” and many other places as well. Read more »