James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

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

Campaign 2016: Rick Perry, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay Friday, June 5, 2015
Perry Foreign Policy Republican presidential candidate and former Texas Governor Rick Perry (C) acknowledges supporters after formally announcing his candidacy for the 2016 Republican nomination for president at an event in Addison, Texas, June 4, 2015. (Mike Stone, Reuters)

Can you get a second chance to make a first impression? Rick Perry hopes so. When the former Texas governor threw his hat into the presidential ring back in 2011, he was a favorite to grab the nomination. But his campaign faltered badly, most famously after a televised GOP primary debate in which he couldn’t remember the name of one of the three federal agencies he had promised to close. The experience didn’t diminish Perry’s confidence in his political skills or his presidential chances. Yesterday he announced that he is again running for the White House. If he is to succeed, he will need to triumph over a GOP field that stands at ten official candidates and counting. With Ted Cruz and Rand Paul already in the race, Perry is the third Republican presidential candidate with ties to the Lone Star State—with one more candidate with Texas ties waiting in the wings. Read more »

Campaign 2016: Senator Lindsey Graham, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Graham Foreign Policy U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. (Christopher Aluka Berry/Reuters)

Can you win the presidency by running on foreign policy? Lindsey Graham is seeking to find out. The South Carolina senator announced yesterday that he is running for the GOP presidential nomination. His stated his reason for joining the race: “I want to be president to protect our nation that we all love so much from all threats foreign and domestic.” Graham is the ninth candidate to join the GOP race. He won’t be the last. If Graham wins, he’ll be the first bachelor president since Grover Cleveland. Read more »

Campaign 2016: Martin O’Malley, Democratic Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay Monday, June 1, 2015
O'Malley Foreign Policy Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley announces his intention to seek the Democratic presidential nomination. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

When Bill Clinton wrote to a rising Democratic political star back in 2002 that “I won’t be surprised if you go all the way” to the White House, he had no way of knowing that Martin O’Malley would end up throwing his hat into the presidential ring against Hillary Clinton. That’s just what he did on Saturday. Although O’Malley has long been friendly with the Clintons and even endorsed Secretary Clinton’s presidential bid back in 2008 over Barack Obama, he now thinks he’s the man for the job. O’Malley certainly harbors no illusions about his chances. On the eve of his announcement, he told a reporter, “I’m drawn to tough challenges, and this one is certainly a tough challenge.” Relations between O’Malley and Secretary Clinton remain cordial—at least for now. She welcomed him to the race via Twitter, and he tweeted back that he was “eager to engage in a healthy debate about our visions for America.Read more »

Campaign 2016: George Pataki, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay Friday, May 29, 2015
Pataki Foreign Policy Republican presidential candidate and former New York Governor George Pataki formally announces his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in Exeter, New Hampshire. (Dominick Reuter/Reuters)

Would you come out of retirement and put your record of never having lost an election on the line in a long-shot bid to be president? George Pataki is doing just that. The three-time governor of New York won his first race for political office back in 1981, convincing the citizens of Peekskill, New York to make him their mayor. He then won his next eight elections, rising through New York state politics before finally retiring in 2007 after twelve years as governor. But yesterday, after eight years on the political sidelines, Pataki jumped back into the fray. He announced that he is running for the Republican presidential nomination. Read more »

Campaign 2016: Rick Santorum, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, May 28, 2015
Santorum Foreign Policy Former Senator Rick Santorum formally declares his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. (Aaron Josefczyk/Reuters)

Can the second be first? Rick Santorum certainly hopes so. In 2012, the former Pennsylvania senator finished second to the eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Now Santorum hopes to improve on that surprise performance. Last night he announced he was entering the 2016 presidential campaign, after confirming his candidacy to George Stephanopoulos earlier in the day. Read more »

The Conservative Party’s Surprising Victory Doesn’t Herald a Bolder Britain

by James M. Lindsay Friday, May 8, 2015
Conservatives Win in Britain British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks outside Number 10 Downing Street to announce he will form a new majority government. (Stefan Wermuth/Courtesy Reuters)

The Conservative Party’s surprising victory yesterday has rendered obsolete the orgy of pre-election handwringing about the ineffectiveness of Britain’s impending minority government. But it hasn’t rendered obsolete growing concerns about Britain’s retreat from the world stage. Indeed, it may just intensify them. Read more »

TWE Remembers: The Sinking of the Lusitania

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, May 7, 2015
sinking of the Lusitania The RMS Lusitania comes into port. (Library of Congress)

Asking “what if” is a popular parlor game. Seldom, however, do we ever get an answer, and certainly not almost immediately. King George V of Britain is a rare exception. On the morning of May 7, 1915 in the midst of discussing Germany with a visiting American envoy, Colonel Edward M. House, he asked, “Suppose they should sink the Lusitania, with American passengers on board?” Within hours he had his answer. Read more »

Three Foreign Policy Takeaways From the Latest WSJ/NBC Poll

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, May 5, 2015
(Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters) (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

The Wall Street Journal and NBC News are out with a new poll today on Campaign 2016. Much of the coverage is about which candidates are up and which are down. Believe those numbers at your peril. The public’s assessments of individual candidates can and do shift quickly in the early stages of a campaign. Read more »

Campaign 2016: Mike Huckabee, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Mike Huckabee Campaign Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee formally launches his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event in Hope, Arkansas. (Mike Stone/Courtesy Reuters)

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is taking that age old advice to heart. Back in 2008 he did surprisingly well in the GOP nominating race, despite having neither the initial name recognition nor the fundraising success of some of his rivals. He won the Iowa caucuses and seven other states, giving him the second most number of convention delegates. Huckabee passed on the 2012 campaign, but today he announced he’s running in 2016. If he wins his bid for the White House, he won’t be the first president from his hometown of Hope, Arkansas. William Jefferson Clinton holds that distinction. Read more »

Campaign 2016: Ben Carson, GOP Presidential Candidate

by James M. Lindsay Monday, May 4, 2015
Ben Carson Campaign Ben Carson officially launches his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in Detroit, Michigan. (Rebecca Cook/Courtesy Reuters)

Americans have had presidents who were lawyers (more than two dozen of them), soldiers, land surveyors, farmers, and school teachers. Even a newspaper publisher, a mining engineer, and an actor have made it to the White House. But never in its history has the United States had a president who was trained as a medical doctor. That will change if Ben Carson gets his wish. The path breaking, and now retired, pediatric neurosurgeon formally announced today that he has joined the increasingly crowded race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. The campaign marks Carson’s first bid for elective office. In case you are wondering, the last person to win the White House in his first bid for office was Dwight D. Eisenhower. Read more »