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"

Birthday Wishes to the United States Army!

by James M. Lindsay
Members of the U.S. Army Band perform during the Army's birthday celebration at Times Square on June 14, 2012 (Shannon Stapleton/Courtesy Reuters). Members of the U.S. Army Band perform during the Army's birthday celebration at Times Square on June 14, 2012 (Shannon Stapleton/Courtesy Reuters).

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 238 years old.

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

TWE Remembers: JFK’s “Strategy of Peace” Speech

by James M. Lindsay
President John F. Kennedy delivers the commencement address at American University on June 10, 1963 (Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston). President John F. Kennedy delivers the commencement address at American University on June 10, 1963 (Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston).

Commencement addresses have figured prominently in American foreign policy. Whether it was FDR ending the pretense that the United States would remain rigidly neutral in World War II in a speech at the University of Virginia, or George W. Bush warning Americans of the growing need for preemptive (actually, preventive) action abroad in an address at West Point, major foreign policy turning points are sometimes announced on college campuses. So which of the many foreign-policy themed commencement addresses was the most significant? My money is on Secretary of State George C. Marshall’s address to Harvard’s graduating class of  1947—it unveiled the Marshall Plan that would rebuild Europe. But plenty of others would vote for a commencement address given sixteen years later: John F. Kennedy’s arms control speech to the graduating class of American University, which he gave fifty years ago today, June 10, 1963. Read more »

TWE Remembers: FDR’s “Stab in the Back” Speech

by James M. Lindsay
Franklin D. Roosevelt's commencement address at the University of Virginia on June 10, 1940 as released to the press (Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration). Franklin D. Roosevelt's commencement address at the University of Virginia on June 10, 1940 as released to the press (Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration).

A president giving a commencement address is commonplace. A president giving a commencement address when his child is a member of the graduating class is pretty rare. Rarer still is a president speaking at his child’s graduation and saying something memorable enough to make it into the history books. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt accomplished just that feat on the evening of June 10, 1940 in his “stab-in-the-back” speech at the University of Virginia. Read more »

TWE Remembers: The Korean Expedition of 1871 and the Battle of Ganghwa (Shinmiyangyo)

by James M. Lindsay
Council of war on board the U.S.S. Colorado in Korea in June 1871 (Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration). A council of war meets on board the U.S.S. Colorado off the coast of Korea in June 1871 (Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration).

Sometimes good relationships get off to a bad start. The United States and South Korea are a case in point. Today, Seoul is a valued American ally. Just last month, South Korean president Park Geun-hye became the sixth Korean president to address a joint session of Congress. President Obama said that President Park’s decision to make the United States her first overseas visit as president “reflects the deep friendship between our peoples and the great alliance between our nations.” But U.S.-Korean relations started with conflict rather than cooperation when on June 10, 1871, the U.S. Navy expedition sent to open relations with Korea instead waged the Battle of Ganghwa (or Shinmiyangyo). Read more »

TWE Remembers: Dunkirk, Operation Dynamo, and Churchill’s “Never Surrender” Speech

by James M. Lindsay
A flotilla of "Little Ships" sails from Britain to Dunkirk to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation (Dean Nixon/MOD/Crown Copyright/Courtesy Reuters). A flotilla of "Little Ships" sails from Britain to Dunkirk to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation (Dean Nixon/MOD/Crown Copyright/Courtesy Reuters).

Epic defeats are usually the source of national shame and humiliation. But not always. Sometimes defeat reveals character and gives a leader a chance to inspire a nation. Such was the case on June 4, 1940, when Britain completed its rushed evacuation from the beaches of Dunkirk and British prime minister Winston Churchill pledged that Britain would “never surrender” to Nazi Germany. Read more »

TWE Remembers: Memorial Day

by James M. Lindsay
Members of the U.S. Army Old Guard place a flag at each of the more than 220,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters). Members of the U.S. Army Old Guard place a flag at each of the more than 220,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery (Jason Reed/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 following 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: Churchill’s “Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat”

by James M. Lindsay
Former British prime minister Winston Churchill is featured on a new banknote alongside his famous declaration "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat" (Bank of England/Courtesy Reuters). Former British prime minister Winston Churchill is featured on a new banknote alongside his famous declaration "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat" (Bank of England/Courtesy Reuters).

You finally land the job you have long coveted. But many of your colleagues dislike you, and the task you have been given may be undoable. That’s the situation that Winston Churchill found himself in seventy-three years ago today. He responded with a speech that is regarded as one of the greatest ever delivered in the English language—and one that helped rally his country at one of its darkest moments. Read more »

TWE Remembers: The Tampico Incident

by James M. Lindsay
President Woodrow Wilson addresses Congress on the Tampico Incident, April 20, 1914 (Courtesy Library of Congress). President Woodrow Wilson addresses Congress on the Tampico Incident, April 20, 1914 (Courtesy Library of Congress).

Karl Marx famously wrote that history repeats itself, “the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.” But some historical events combine elements of both. Just consider the Tampico Incident, which occurred on April 9, 1914. Read more »

A Presidents’ Day Quiz

by James M. Lindsay
Oval-Office-Quiz-2012-02-16 The Oval Office in the White House in Washington (Jonathan Ernst/courtesy Reuters).

Happy Presidents’ Day. To get you in the proper celebratory mood, TWE presents its second Presidents’ Day quiz. You can find the answers at the bottom of the post. By all means, if you have your own presidential trivia questions, please post them in the comments section so everyone can take a crack at answering them. And if you are feeling up to it, you can try last year’s presidential trivia quiz.
Read more »