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James M. Lindsay

Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair

Expertise

U.S. foreign and defense policy; international security; globalization; Congress; domestic politics of U.S. foreign policy; public opinion.

Featured Publications

All Publications

Ask CFR Experts

Why can’t the United States cut military spending?

The United States has cut defense spending in the past, and it is doing so again today. In 1989, for example, the Defense Department spent $295 billion; seven years later it spent $253 billion, or about 14 percent less in nominal dollars. When inflation is taken into account, defense spending dropped by more than 25 percent during the 1990s. U.S. defense spending will likely follow a similar trajectory over the next decade with the Afghanistan war ending and pressure mounting to cut government spending.

Read full answer

See more in United States; Defense Budget

Book

America Unbound

Authors: James M. Lindsay and Ivo H. Daalder

America Unbound argues that President Bush has redefined how America engages the world, shedding the constraints that friends, allies, and international institutions have traditionally imposed on its freedom, insisting that an America unbound is a more secure America.

See more in United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State

Expert Roundup

Obama's NSS: Promise and Pitfalls

Authors: Stephen Biddle, Laurie Garrett, James M. Lindsay, Stewart M. Patrick, Adam Segal, Steven Simon, and Paul B. Stares

President Obama's first National Security Strategy departs from Bush administration doctrine by redefining the war against terror groups and embracing multilateralism, and may expect too much from global partners, say CFR experts in an analytical roundup.

See more in United States; Grand Strategy; Homeland Security

Current Projects

Roundtable Series on America’s Governability Crisis

Director: James M. Lindsay, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair
April 27, 2012—Present

The Roundtable Series on America's Governability Crisis focuses on the challenge of governing effectively during a time of sharp partisan polarization in Washington. The series seeks to examine the challenges that domestic division poses to developing and executing sound fiscal, economics, defense, and foreign policies. The series is held as part of the Renewing America initiative, which considers how policies at home will directly influence the economic and military strength of the United States and its ability to act in the world.

Renewing America Roundtable Series

Directors: Edward Alden, Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, and James M. Lindsay, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair
July 1, 2011—Present

Part of CFR's Renewing America initiative, this roundtable series brings high-level attention to homegrown challenges to U.S. national security. Meetings in this series are led by individual CFR fellows and examine how policies at home will directly influence the economic and military strength of the United States and its ability to act in the world.

Recent Activity from The Water's Edge

CFR Events

Guest Event ⁄ Washington

DC Fellows' Book Launch Series--By All Means Necessary: How China's Resource Quest is Changing the World

Speakers:

Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

James M. Lindsay, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Council on Foreign Relations
February 4, 2014 5:30-6:00 p.m. - Registration
6:00-6:45 p.m. - Meeting
6:45-7:15 p.m. - Reception and Book Signing

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Guest Event ⁄ New York

CFR Fellows' Book Launch Series: No Exit from Pakistan--America's Tortured Relationship with Islamabad

Speaker:

Daniel S. Markey, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, No Exit from Pakistan: America's Tortured Relationship with Islamabad

Presider:

James M. Lindsay, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Council on Foreign Relations
October 21, 2013 5:30-6:00 p.m. - Cocktail Reception
6:00-6:45 p.m. - Meeting
6:45-7:15 p.m. - Cocktail Reception and Book Signing

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Guest Event ⁄ Washington

No Exit from Pakistan: America's Tortured Relationship with Islamabad

Speaker:

Daniel S. Markey, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, No Exit from Pakistan

Presider:

James M. Lindsay, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Council on Foreign Relations
October 15, 2013 5:30-6:00 p.m. - Registration
6:00-6:45 p.m. - Meeting
6:45-7:15 p.m. - Reception and Book Signing

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Symposium

A Conversation with Kerri-Ann Jones

Speaker:

Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary, Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Presider:

James M. Lindsay, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Council on Foreign Relations
March 20, 2013 4:00-5:00 p.m.

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Academic Conference Call

Campaign 2012 and Foreign Policy

Speaker:

James M. Lindsay, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Council on Foreign Relations
October 10, 2012 12:00-1:00 p.m. - (ET)

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Roundtable Meeting

The Middle Class in an Age of Global Finance

Speaker:

Michael Casey, Dow Jones Newswires

Presider:

James M. Lindsay, Council on Foreign Relations
May 15, 2012

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Roundtable Meeting

America’s Dysfunctional Politics

Speakers:

Thomas E. Mann, Brookings Institution, Norman J. Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute

Presider:

James M. Lindsay, Council on Foreign Relations
May 3, 2012

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Symposium

Session One: Prospects for Democracy

Speakers:

Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Michael Willis, Director of Middle East Centre and H.M. King Mohammed VI Fellow in Moroccan and Mediterranean Studies, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford

Presider:

James M. Lindsay, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Council on Foreign Relations
March 29, 2012 - March 30, 2012 10:00-10:30 a.m.

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Corporate Meeting

Post-Qaddafi Instability in Libya

Speakers:

Robert M. Danin, Eni Enrico Mattei Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Daniel P. Serwer, Professorial Lecturer and Senior Fellow, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Presider:

James M. Lindsay, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Council on Foreign Relations
August 22, 2011 3:00-4:00 p.m.

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Symposium

UK Keynote: A New Approach to Counter-Radicalization

Speaker:

Pauline Neville-Jones, Minister of State for Security and Counterterrorism, Home Office

Presider:

James M. Lindsay, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Council on Foreign Relations
April 1, 2011

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Academic Conference Call

Deterring a Nuclear Iran

Speakers:

James M. Lindsay, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Council on Foreign Relations, Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Irina A. Faskianos, Vice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations
April 7, 2010

This meeting is not for attribution.

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General Meeting ⁄ New York

Understanding Anti-Americanism

Speakers:

Peter J. Katzenstein, Walter S. Carpenter Jr. Professor of International Studies, Cornell University, Robert O. Keohane, Professor of International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

James M. Lindsay, Vice President and Director of Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
May 15, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Bio

James M. Lindsay is senior vice president, director of studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg chair at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) where he oversees the work of the more than six dozen fellows in the David Rockefeller Studies Program. He is a leading authority on the American foreign policymaking process and the domestic politics of American foreign policy.

Before returning to CFR in 2009, Dr. Lindsay was the inaugural director of the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at The University of Texas at Austin, where he held the Tom Slick chair for international affairs at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. From 2003 to 2006, he was vice president, director of studies and Maurice R. Greenberg chair at CFR. He previously served as deputy director and senior fellow in the foreign policy studies program at the Brookings Institution. From 1987 until 1999, he was a professor of political science at the University of Iowa.

From 1996 to 1997, Dr. Lindsay was director for global issues and multilateral affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. He has also served as a consultant to the United States Commission on National Security/21st Century (Hart-Rudman Commission) and as a staff expert for the United States Institute of Peace's congressionally mandated Task Force on the United Nations.

Dr. Lindsay has written widely on various aspects of American foreign policy and international relations. His book with Ivo H. Daalder, America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy (Brookings Institution Press, 2003), was awarded the 2003 Lionel Gelber Prize, named a finalist for the Arthur S. Ross Book Award, and selected as a top book of 2003 by The Economist. His other books include Agenda for the Nation (with Henry J. Aaron and Pietro S. Nivola, Brookings Institution Press, 2003), which was named an "Outstanding Academic Book of 2004" by Choice Magazine; and Congress and the Politics of U.S. Foreign Policy (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994). He has also contributed articles to the op-ed pages of many major newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. He writes the blog, "The Water's Edge," which discusses the politics of American foreign policy and the domestic underpinnings of American global power.

Dr. Lindsay holds an AB in economics and political science from the University of Michigan and an MA, MPhil, and PhD from Yale University. He has been a fellow at the Center for International Affairs and the Center for Science and International Affairs, both at Harvard University. He is a recipient of the Pew Faculty Fellowship in International Affairs and an International Affairs Fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Dr. Lindsay was born in Winchester, Massachusetts in 1959. He and his wife live with their four children in the Washington, DC, suburbs.