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 "TWE Remembers"

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 on May 13, 1940. He responded with what is regarded as one of the greatest speeches ever delivered in the English language—and one that helped rally Great Britain 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 »

TWE Celebrates Presidents’ Day

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

Monday is Presidents’ Day. It is a TWE tradition to recognize the forty-three men—and they have all been men—who have been president on Presidents’ Day with the following essay. Enjoy the three-day weekend:

A few presidents have loved the job. Teddy Roosevelt said “No president has ever enjoyed himself as much as I have enjoyed myself.” Most other presidents, though, have found the job demanding, perhaps too demanding. James K. Polk pretty much worked himself to exhaustion. Zachary Taylor, the hero of the Mexican-American War, found being president harder than leading men into battle. Dwight Eisenhower had a heart attack from the stress of leading the Free World.Many presidents express relief once they can be called “former president.” This trend started early. John Adams told his wife Abigail that George Washington looked too happy watching him take the oath of office. “Me–thought I heard him say, ‘Ay, I am fairly out and you fairly in! See which of us will be happiest!” Read more »

The Best (and Worst) Inaugural Addresses

by James M. Lindsay
A convoy of vehicles stages a parade rehearsal for Monday's inauguration ceremonies to mark the start of President Barack Obama's second term (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters). A convoy of vehicles stages a parade rehearsal for Monday's inauguration ceremonies to mark the start of President Barack Obama's second term (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters).

On Monday Barack Obama gets to do what only sixteen presidents have done—give a second inaugural address. His first inaugural address was, like most inaugural addresses, unremarkable. Perhaps the problem was that expectations were too high given his well-earned reputation for being a great public speaker. His audience was expecting soaring oratory, and he delivered a solid tour of major issues facing the United States that even some of his supporters found to be a “hodgepodge.” Read more »

TWE Remembers: Secret Soviet Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Cuba (Cuban Missile Crisis, a Coda)

by James M. Lindsay
President John F. Kennedy speaks with Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara during an ExCom meeting. (Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston) President John F. Kennedy speaks with Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara during an ExCom meeting. (Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)

Washington and the world breathed a sigh of relief on Monday, October 29, 1962.  The day before President John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had struck a deal to end the Cuban missile crisis. But the deal took several weeks to implement, and it came with a plot twist that the world wouldn’t learn about for thirty years. Read more »

TWE Remembers: Kennedy and Khrushchev Agree to a Deal (Cuban Missile Crisis, Day Thirteen)

by James M. Lindsay
Members of the ExCom outside the Oval Office during the Cuban Missile Crisis. From left to right: Special Assistant to the President for National Security McGeorge Bundy, President John F. Kennedy, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Paul Nitze, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Maxwell D. Taylor, and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. (Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston). Members of the ExCom outside the Oval Office during the Cuban Missile Crisis. From left to right: Special Assistant to the President for National Security McGeorge Bundy, President John F. Kennedy, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Paul Nitze, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Maxwell D. Taylor, and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. (Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston).

Sunday, October 28, 1962 was a beautiful fall day in Washington, DC. After a cold start, the mercury hit 71 degrees, six degrees above normal. The sun shone brightly, and the breeze was mild. The weather was in many ways a metaphor for the mood in the White House. After twelve stress-filled days, the thirteenth day of the Cuban missile crisis brought a deal between President John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. The world pulled back from the brink of nuclear war. Read more »