Lindsay, James M. 1959-
LINDSAY, James M. 1959-
CAREER: Political scientist, educator, and writer. University of Iowa, Iowa City, professor of political science, 1987–99; National Security Council, director of global issues and multilateral affairs, 1996–97; Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, director and senior fellow in foreign-policy studies, 1999–2003; U.S. Commission on National Security/Twenty-first Century, Hart-Rudman Commission, consultant, 2000–01; Council on Foreign Relations, New York, NY, vice president and director of studies, 2003–.
AWARDS, HONORS: Pew Faculty fellowship in international affairs, 1990; International Affairs fellowship, Council on Foreign Relations, 1995; Lionel Gelber Prize, Economist, 2003, for America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy.
Congress and Nuclear Weapons, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1991.
Congress and the Politics of U.S. Foreign Policy, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1994.
(Editor, with Randall B. Ripley) U.S. Foreign Policy after the Cold War, University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1997.
(With Michael E. O'Hanlon) Defending America: The Case for Limited National Missile Defense, Brookings Institution Press (Washington, DC), 2001.
(Editor) American Politics after September 11, Atomic Dog (Cincinnati, OH), 2003.
(With Ivo H. Daalder) America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution Press (Washington, DC), 2003.
(Editor, with Henry J. Aaron and Pietro S. Nivola) Agenda for the Nation, Brookings Institution Press (Washington, DC), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: James M. Lindsay, an expert on American foreign policy as it is influenced by domestic issues and agendas, has written or edited several books in this area. In Congress and Nuclear Weapons the author delves into how congress forms its decisions concerning nuclear weapons acquisitions, which he contends are motivated by individual congresspersons' personal policy preferences. Lindsay bases his work largely on statistical studies, case studies of individual weapons-system decisions, and approximately seventy-five interviews with Washington insiders. Writing in the American Political Science Review, Jeffrey W. Knopf commented that the book "contains a first-rate discussion of why critics of congressional involvement in nuclear-weapons policymaking have exaggerated the problems and overlooked the benefits of such involvement." Knopf also noted that the author's "analysis is sensible and hard to fault."
Lindsay serves as coeditor, with Randall B. Ripley, of Congress Resurgent: Foreign and Defense Policy on Capitol Hill, which includes twelve chapters on various topics associated with foreign and defense policy and a bibliography for further research. "Its compass is quite broad," wrote Cecil V. Crabb, Jr., in American Political Science Review. "Nearly every significant aspect of the subject is covered, sometimes in more than one chapter. The work reflects a wide diversity of viewpoints, with no evident ideological bias."
In his book Congress and the Politics of U.S. Foreign Policy, the author writes about the strong role he maintains Congress plays in U.S. foreign policy, a position that runs counter to the opinion of many political scientists. Writing in the Political Science Quarterly, H. Bradford Westerfield noted that the author "is a determinedly nuanced analyst and commentator, who deals almost always in shades of gray—or, better, shades of silver, for he is decidedly upbeat about the American constitutional and political system. His clouds have luminous silver linings." The reviewer went on to comment that what Lindsay "has given us is very fine work."
Lindsay turns his attention to missile defense in Defending America: The Case for Limited National Missile Defense, which he wrote with Michael F. O'Hanlon. In the book, the coauthors outline the rationale for a missile-defense system, the costs of such a system, and just how effective it would be. They also set forth the parameters for the kind of missile-defense system they would support: one that would focus on missile attacks from rogue nations. "The reader will learn much from this book, with its helpful compendium of treaty texts, threat assessments, and the like," wrote Richard L. Garwin in Political Science Quarterly. An Aerospace Power Journal contributor commented, "This important book provides the most balanced treatment of this difficult topic to date."
Lindsay is also coauthor with Ivo H. Daalder of America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy. The authors delve into President George W. Bush's unilateralist approach to foreign policy. The authors argue against a popular belief that Bush is being unduly influenced by neoconservatives but rather claim that his approach to foreign policy comes from Bush's own deep-seated convictions, which he laid out plainly when he first ran for the presidency in 2000. Although generally the authors write in support of Bush's approach to foreign policy, they also duly note that there are drawbacks and potential dangers to the unilateral approach, such as losing support from allies and other nations. Much of the book focuses on Bush's decision to invade Iraq and the consequences of that decision.
Writing in Reason, Steve Chapman noted that the authors of America Unbound "argue that the war reflected Bush's approach to foreign policy: assertive, unilateral, enamored of pre-emptive action, and eager not to contain enemy regimes but to eliminate them." Chapman went on to comment that "America Unbound is a thorough and learned account of how Bush has handled international relations. It's also balanced, to the point that sometimes the authors can't quite seem to decide whether to give the president an A or an F." In a review in Foreign Affairs, Joshua Micah Marshall noted that "the strength of the book's contribution lies not in the originality of its thesis but in its clarity and brevity, its mastery of detail, and its analysis of the essential continuity of the administration's policy before and after September 11, 2001." Noting that the book is "exhaustively documented," Naval War College Review contributor David Marquet described America Unbound as, "ultimately, a criticism of President Bush's policies, his foreign policy unilateralism in particular." Laura Secor, writing in the American Prospect, called the book a "briskly readable, narrative account of Bush's foreign-policy decision making." Secor also wrote that Lindsay and Daalder "have done an excellent job of chronicling history in the making, and of doing so soberly, with insight rather than vitriol."
With Henry J. Aaron and Pietro S. Nivola, Lindsay also served as coeditor of Agenda for the Nation. The book contains fifteen chapters and includes contributions from political-science experts associated with various academic and research organizations. The topics discussed are varied, including growing economic disparity, increasing health-care costs, and the potential retirement crisis brewing in the United States. Writing in Perspectives on Political Science, Greg M. Shaw noted, "Many of the chapters likely will leave sophisticated readers hungry for more theoretical insight. One such example is Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay's chapter on national power and international cooperation."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Aerospace Power Journal, winter, 2001, review of Defending America: The Case for Limited National Missile Defense, p. 111.
American Political Science Review, March, 1993, Jeffrey W. Knopf, review of Congress and Nuclear Weapons, p. 218; September, 1994, Cecil V. Crabb, Jr., review of Congress Resurgent: Foreign and Defense Policy on Capitol Hill, p. 770.
Booklist, May 15, 2001, Mary Carroll, review of Defending America, p. 1713; November 15, 2003, Margaret Flanagan, review of America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy, p. 552.
Brookings Review, fall, 2003, review of America Unbound, p. 2.
Foreign Affairs, March-April, 1995, David C. Hendrickson, review of Congress and the Politics of U.S. Foreign Policy, p. 152; November-December, 2003, Joshua Micah Marshall, review of America Unbound, p. 142.
Perspectives on Political Science, winter, 2004, Greg M. Shaw, review of Agenda for the Nation, p. 45.
Political Science Quarterly, summer, 1995, H. Bradford Westerfield, review of Congress and the Politics of U.S. Foreign Policy, p. 309; summer, 2002, Richard L. Garwin, review of Defending America, p. 311.
Publishers Weekly, May 7, 2001, review of Defending America, p. 239.
Reason, February, 2004, Steve Chapman, review of America Unbound, p. 56.
Technology Review, January, 1992, Katherine Magraw and Christopher Paine, review of Congress and Nuclear Weapons, p. 74.
Council on Foreign Relations Web site, http://www.cfr.org/ (June 3, 2005), brief biography of author.
Harvard University Belfer Center Web site, http://bcsia.ksg.harvard.edu/ (July 11, 2003), "Belfer Center Alum James M. Lindsay to Join Council on Foreign Relations."