James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

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

The History of the Cold War in 40 Quotes

by James M. Lindsay Friday, November 7, 2014
Churchill and Truman Winston Churchill and Harry Truman aboard a train to Fulton, Missouri, where Churchill would deliver his Iron Curtain speech. (Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration/Abbie Rowe)

On Monday, I posted my nominees for ten Cold War histories worth reading. But many people don’t have the time or patience to plow through comprehensive histories. So for TWE readers looking to save time, here is a short course on the history of the Cold War using forty of the most memorable quotations from that era. Read more »

Ten Cold War Films Worth Watching

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, November 6, 2014
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy British actor Gary Oldman, Swedish director Tomas Alfredson, and British writer John Le Carre at the premiere of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in London. (Suzanne Plunkett/Courtesy Reuters)

The Cold War has provided the grist for rich histories, enlightening memoirs, and terrific novels. It has also provided source material for some great movies. Here in alphabetical order are my ten favorite English-language films about the Cold War: Read more »

What the New Republican Congress Means for Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay Wednesday, November 5, 2014
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 »

Ten Cold War Novels Worth Reading

by James M. Lindsay Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Orwelly 1984 Toby Melville/Courtesy Reuters

If you want to know the facts about the Cold War, you should read histories and memoirs. If you want to know how the Cold War felt, you should read novels. Why? Because “fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.” So in that spirit, here are my ten favorite English-language Cold War novels—plus my favorite Cold War play as a bonus pick: Read more »

Ten Cold War Memoirs Worth Reading

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Cold War Memoirs President Harry Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson meet in the Oval Office in 1950. (Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration/Abbie Rowe)

Yesterday, I posted a list of great histories of the Cold War. Those books provide an excellent analysis of the U.S.-Soviet superpower rivalry. Their great strength is their detachment—they are academic efforts to make sense of the decisions governments made. But you can also gain deep insight into the Cold War by reading the memoirs of the people who made those decisions. Below are my ten favorite Cold War memoirs—firsthand accounts of the events that shaped the second half of the twentieth century. Read more »

Ten Histories of the Cold War Worth Reading

by James M. Lindsay Monday, November 3, 2014
Berlin Wall West Berlin citizens stand atop the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate on November 10, 1989. (Courtesy Reuters)

Sunday marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. For those of us who grew up during the Cold War it was an unforgettable moment—one we hoped for but didn’t necessarily expect to see. The fact that the wall fell, and did so with a simple announcement rather than at the barrel of gun, remains one of the most consequential events of the twentieth century. Read more »

Happy 239th Birthday to the U.S. Navy!

by Guest Blogger for James M. Lindsay Monday, October 13, 2014
Navy Birthday Graduates toss their hats in the air at the 2013 U.S. Naval Academy commencement ceremony. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

TWE has noted the birthdays of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Marine Corps. But it hasn’t noted the birthday of the U.S. Navy. My research associate, Rachael Kauss, and my intern, Corey Cooper, volunteered to remedy that oversight. Here’s what they learned. Read more »

Better Together It Is: The Scots Choose Union Over Independence

by James M. Lindsay Friday, September 19, 2014
Scotland Votes No A "No" campaign placard and Union flag are displayed on the Isle of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. (Cathal McNaughton/Courtesy Reuters)

The United Kingdom has survived its near-death experience. Scots voted 55 percent to 45 percent yesterday in a record turnout to remain within the union. The sighs of relief this morning in London are audible. Yet even though the Scots stepped back from the brink—and the pandemonium that would have ensued—some tough decisions and rough politics are yet to come. Read more »

The United States Air Force Celebrates Its 67th Birthday Today

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, September 18, 2014
Air Force Birthday Fly Over The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds F-16 fighters perform a fly-over. (Joe Skipper/Courtesy Reuters)

The United States Air Force (USAF) turns 67 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 »