James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

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

Remembering Veterans Day

by James M. Lindsay Friday, November 11, 2016
A war veteran waves a U.S. flag as he marches up Fifth Avenue during the Veterans Day Parade. (Photo: Carlo Allegri/ Reuters)

Today is Veterans Day. Americans first celebrated it on November 11, 1919, one year to the day after the end of the conflict they knew as the Great War and we (regrettably) know today as World War I. President Woodrow Wilson issued a message proclaiming the first celebration of “Armistice Day.” The holiday was meant to show “gratitude for victory” in World War I and solemn pride “for those that died in our country’s service.” On that day, all business was suspended for two minutes starting at 11 a.m. and parades and public gatherings commemorated the war’s end. The choice of time was deliberate. The agreement ending World War I went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Read more »

The United States Marine Corps Celebrates Its 241st Birthday Today

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, November 10, 2016
U.S. Marines from Fox Company, 2nd Battalion run for cover during a non-live fire training exercise. (Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)

The Marine Corps turns 241 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 »

Facebook Live: Brexit, Erdogan’s Crackdown, and South Korea’s Political Scandal

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, November 8, 2016
A supporter holds a flag depicting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during a pro-government demonstration in Ankara, Turkey, July 20, 2016 (Reuters/Baz Ratner).

I sat down yesterday with my colleague Anya Schmemann, CFR’s communications director, to review some foreign policy events in the news. We discussed the British High Court’s ruling that the British Parliament must vote on whether Britain should leave the European Union, Turkish President Erdogan’s wide-ranging crackdown on the media and Kurdish political opposition, and the fallout from the political scandal that has engulfed South Korean President Park Geun-Hye’s presidency, among other topics. Read more »

Facebook Live: Denial of Service Attacks, Hacking U.S. Elections, and Deterrence in Cyberspace

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, November 3, 2016
A man is seen near cyber code and the U.S. National Security Agency logo in this photo illustration taken in Sarajevo on March 11, 2015 (Reuters/Dado Ruvic).

Last week, I sat down with my colleague Adam Segal, CFR’s director of digital and cyberspace policy, to discuss the recent denial of service attacks on popular websites like Netflix and Twitter, the vulnerability of the U.S. presidential election to hacking, and the effectiveness of deterrence in cyberspace, among other topics. Read more »

Facebook Live: Mosul, Duterte, and the Venezuela Crisis

by James M. Lindsay Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Protesters clash with riot police during a rally to demand a referendum to remove Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, September 1, 2016 (Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins).

On Monday, I sat down with my colleague Anya Schmemann, CFR’s communications director, to review some foreign policy events in the news. We discussed the Iraqi bid to retake Mosul from the Islamic State, Rodrigo Duterte’s desire to distance the Philippines economically and militarily from the United States, and the growing crisis in Venezuela, among other topics. Read more »

The United States Air Force Celebrates Its 69th Birthday Today

by James M. Lindsay Sunday, September 18, 2016
The F-16 U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly in formation. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

The United States Air Force (USAF) turns 69 years-old today. On September 18, 1947, Chief Justice Fred Vinson swore in Stuart Symington as the first secretary of the air force, officially founding a new branch of the U.S. military. Gen. Carl A. Spaatz became the USAF’s first chief of staff eight days later on September 26, 1947. Read more »

Remembering Ho Chi Minh’s 1945 Declaration of Vietnam’s Independence

by James M. Lindsay Friday, September 2, 2016

What if? Those two words are easy to ask, whether about our own lives or world history. But the answers can be haunting—a different choice might have created a better opportunity or prevented a tragedy. Just consider the U.S. response to Ho Chi Minh’s declaration of Vietnam’s independence on September 2, 1945. Read more »

Remembering the Vietnam “Coup Cable”

by James M. Lindsay Wednesday, August 24, 2016
A copy of Cable 243. (National Security Archive)

Things usually slow down in Washington in August. Congress goes into recess, and Washingtonians who can leave town do. But this predictable lull in government activity doesn’t mean that policymaking stops. Indeed, it can be precisely because much of official Washington is elsewhere that critical decisions get made. The cable that the U.S. State Department issued on August 24, 1963, is a classic example. Read more »

July 4th Trivia Quiz

by James M. Lindsay Saturday, July 2, 2016
The skyline of Manhattan is seen as spectators watch Macy's Fourth of July fireworks explode over the East River. (Reuters/Eric Thayer)

Monday is July 4—the best of all American holidays. To mark the occasion, here is the annual TWE July 4 trivia quiz to test your knowledge of all things related to this glorious day in American history. You can see the previous quizzes hereherehere, 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 »

Campaign 2016 Friday Foreign Policy Roundup: Happy Fourth of July

by James M. Lindsay Friday, July 1, 2016
Lower Manhattan is seen as the Macy's 4th of July fireworks explode over the East River. (Eric Thayer/Reuters)

Monday is the Fourth of July. It’s the nation’s 240th birthday. Campaign 2016 has clearly enflamed divisions here at home. So here’s to hoping that the next few days provide an occasion to remember what unites us. And whether you are headed to the beach or a pool, marching in a parade or just watching one, grilling outdoors or ordering in, watching fireworks or avoiding them, have a happy, fun, and safe holiday. Read more »