James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

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

The World Next Week: Ukraine Protests Turn Violent, UN Report Condemns North Korea’s Human Rights Record, and the Sochi Olympics Come to a Close

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, February 20, 2014
Anti-government protesters carry logs to build barricades after violence erupted in the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine. (Vasily Fedosenko/Courtesy Reuters) Anti-government protesters carry logs to build barricades after violence erupted in the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine. (Vasily Fedosenko/Courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed the escalating conflict in Ukraine, the United States and South Korea’s joint military exercises, and the end of the Sochi Winter Olympics. Read more »

TWE Celebrates Presidents’ Day

by James M. Lindsay Monday, February 17, 2014
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)

Today 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. If you are lucky enough to have today off, enjoy:

American kids often say they want to be president when they grow up.  You have to wonder why. A few presidents have loved the job. Teddy Roosevelt said “No president has ever enjoyed himself as much as I have enjoyed myself.” Most 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 »

A Presidents’ Day Quiz

by James M. Lindsay Friday, February 14, 2014
U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets fly by Mount Rushmore. (Lt. Anthony Dobson/U.S. Navy Handout/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets fly by Mount Rushmore. (Lt. Anthony Dobson/U.S. Navy Handout/Courtesy Reuters)

Monday is Presidents’ Day. To get you in the proper celebratory mood, TWE presents its third annual Presidents’ Day quiz. You can find a link to 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 the quizzes from 2012 and 2013 as well. Read more »

The World Next Week: President Obama Attends the North American Leaders Summit, Iran Nuclear Negotiations Resume, and Kosovo Marks the Sixth Anniversary of Its Independence

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, February 13, 2014
U.S. president Barack Obama and his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto shake hands in Mexico City in May 2013. (Mexico Presidency Handout/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. president Barack Obama and his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto shake hands in Mexico City in May 2013. (Mexico Presidency Handout/Courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed President Obama’s trip to the North American Leaders’ Summit in Toluca, Mexico, the continuing negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, and the sixth anniversary of Kosovo’s independence. Read more »

The World Next Week: Francois Hollande Visits Washington, Egypt Marks the Anniversary of Mubarak’s Ouster, and the Chicago Auto Show Opens

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, February 6, 2014
U.S. president Barack Obama shakes hands with French president Francois Hollande after a meeting in the Oval Office in 2012. (Eric Feferberg/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. president Barack Obama shakes hands with French president Francois Hollande after a meeting in the Oval Office in 2012. (Eric Feferberg/Courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed French president Francois Hollande’s upcoming visit to Washington, the third anniversary of Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in Egypt, and the Chicago Auto Show. Read more »

The World Next Week: Security Concerns Plague the Sochi Winter Olympics, Thailand Holds Parliamentary Elections, and Ukrainian Protests Continue

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, January 30, 2014
An Olympic volunteer takes pictures of people posing under the Olympic rings in Sochi. (Phil Noble/Courtesy Reuters). An Olympic volunteer takes pictures of people posing under the Olympic rings in Sochi. (Phil Noble/Courtesy Reuters).

The World Next Week podcast is up. CFR distinguished visiting fellow and former New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly joined Bob McMahon and I on the podcast this week to discuss security challenges at the Sochi Winter Olympics.  Bob and I also discussed upcoming parliamentary elections in Thailand and ongoing protests in Ukraine. Read more »

The World Next Week: Previewing Obama’s State of the Union Address

by James M. Lindsay Friday, January 24, 2014
U.S. president Barack Obama delivers his 2013 State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. president Barack Obama delivers his 2013 State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed President Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Read more »

The World Next Week: Al Qaeda Resurfaces in Iraq, Egyptians Vote on a Constitution, and Thais Protest Ahead of Elections

by James M. Lindsay Thursday, January 9, 2014
Sunni gunmen protest against Iraq's Shiite-led government in Fallujah on January 7, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Sunni gunmen protest against Iraq's Shiite-led government in Fallujah on January 7, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I discussed ongoing violence in Iraq’s Anbar province, Egypt’s constitutional referendum, and anti-government protests in Thailand. Read more »

TWE Remembers: FDR’s “Four Freedoms” State of the Union Address

by James M. Lindsay Monday, January 6, 2014
A page from the fifth draft of Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1941 annual message to Congress. (Franklin D. Roosevelt Papers as President, Master Speech File; Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum) A page from the fifth draft of Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1941 annual message to Congress. (Franklin D. Roosevelt Papers as President, Master Speech File; Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum)

Barack Obama is set to give his State of the Union address on January 28. If it is like most such speeches, it will be hotly debated for a moment and then forgotten. (Quick, name the major theme of last year’s State of the Union address. I didn’t think so.) But a few State of the Union addresses do make a lasting impression. One such speech was President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s State of the Union address on January 6, 1941, better known today as the Four Freedoms speech. Read more »

Remembering Ten World Figures Who Died in 2013

by James M. Lindsay Monday, December 30, 2013
The sun sets over Clifton Beach in Cape Town, South Africa. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) The sun sets over Clifton Beach in Cape Town, South Africa. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

Last Thursday, I wrote about ten Americans who died in 2013 who helped shape U.S. foreign policy through their vision, service, intellect, or courage. Below are ten world figures who died in 2013. Each made a mark on history. Some were heroes; some were villains. Which were which may depend on whom you ask. Read more »