- Over at The Diplomat, Thomas Wright explores how China’s self-confidence in initial relations with the Obama administration may prove the “catalyst for a more competitive – and geopolitically savvy – US multilateralism.” Der Spiegel, meanwhile, highlights the extent of Chinese soft power, while Charles Grant sees a chance to enhance the EU’s relations with the emerging superpower.
- Focusing on Chinese domestic society, the Economist highlights the growing activism and changing dynamics of the country’s vast labour force, with its associated implications for the global economy. Analysis over at VoxEU, meanwhile, assesses evidence of a potential Chinese property bubble.
- Elsewhere, with David Cameron back from his visit to India, Adrian Hamilton and Geoffrey Wheatcroft offer their views on his approach to international affairs. Kim Sengupta meanwhile remarks that the new Prime Minister “has started his foreign policy journey with a series of very deliberate steps”.
- Finally, Sir John Sulston talks to the New Scientist about the implications of global population change for sustainable development – the subject of a new initiative that he’s leading for The Royal Society. Prospect Magazine‘s blog, meanwhile, highlights favourable demographic trends in the developing world, while figures this week confirm that the EU’s population has now passed the 500 million mark. July 30, 2010 at 2:51 pm | More on Climate and resource scarcity, Cooperation and coherence, East Asia and Pacific, Economics and development, Europe and Central Asia, Global system, North America, South Asia, UK | 1 Comment
- Writing in The World Today, General Tim Cross and Brigadier Nigel Hall examine the prospects of the UK’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, suggesting that any reforms it ushers in “must give operational reality to the new concept of comprehensive security”. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, Defence Secretary Liam Fox suggests that “[w]e don’t have the money as a country to protect ourselves against every potential future threat”, with fiscal constraints necessitating Armed Forces tailored to those threats that are “realistic”.
- Yevgeny Bazhanov explores the “triangle” of geopolitical relations between Washington, Beijing, and Moscow, while over at Global Europe Shada Islam suggests that the EU must redoubled efforts to improve engagement with Asia.
- In the first of a new column on international affairs, Shashi Tharoor, former Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, explores the importance of internationalism in foreign policy and why it “has always been a vital part of [the Indian] national DNA”. The economist Jagdish Bhagwati, meanwhile, assesses US-Indian tensions at the heart of the Doha Round and the prospects of reinvigorating the trade talks.
- Elsewhere, in The Walrus John Schram has an in-depth account of Ghana’s post-colonial transition and how its democratic experience provides an example to other African countries.
- Finally, Keith Simpson, William Hague’s Parliamentary Private Secretary, presents his annual offering of summer reading in foreign affairs. Iain Dale has the full list here. July 23, 2010 at 2:25 pm | More on Africa, Conflict and security, Cooperation and coherence, East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, North America, South Asia, UK | Comments Off
- This week’s Economist sees Lexington bemoan those advancing the discourse of American exceptionalism, suggesting that “[t]he last thing the country needs is to be distracted from its practical problems by the quest for an elusive greatness”. Elsewhere, The Spectator’s Coffee House blog remembers Jimmy Carter’s fabled 1979 speech in which he spoke of a US “crisis of confidence”.
Delivering the annual lecture at The Ditchley Foundation last week, Strobe Talbott suggested that the “promise” of the Obama Presidency – both in the domestic and the international arenas – is now “at risk”. “[W]hatever fate is in store for the current president of the United States”, Talbott argued,
“one thing is for sure. His success in tackling the major issues of our time will depend on his establishing a degree of common purpose with his partners in national governance at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue and with his partners in global governance around the world.”
- Elsewhere, over at The Cable, Josh Rogin reports on the slow progress of reviews into US development policy – the Presidential Study Directive on Global Development and the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. The Economist, meanwhile, highlights Brazil’s growing identity as a significant aid donor.
- Finally, the head of the UK Financial Services Authority, Adair Turner, cautions against the default acceptance of prevailing economic ideology, suggesting that policymakers would do well to draw on a diversity of economic opinion. Joseph Stiglitz, meanwhile, explores the Keynesian prescription for the global economy. July 16, 2010 at 1:25 pm | More on Cooperation and coherence, Economics and development, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, UK | Comments Off
June 24, 2010 at 9:08 am | More on What we're watching | Comments Off
Crown copyright: http://www.flickr.com/photos/number10gov
Visual confirmation for the eagle-eyed – from the first meeting of the new UK National Security Council – that Dame Pauline Neville-Jones is the new Minister for Security in David Cameron’s government.
Formal confirmation is expected later today, as the new PM fills the junior ministerial ranks. Former Chief of the General Staff, now advisor to the Conservatives, General Sir Richard Dannatt, offers his views on the new NSC here. May 13, 2010 at 1:57 am | More on UK | 1 Comment
- Writing in the The New York Review of Books, Paul Krugman and Robin Wells highlight the importance of historical perspective in understanding the financial crisis. Experience, they suggest, shows that a failure to implement significant post-crisis reforms leads to “a resurgence of financial folly, which always flourishes given a chance.”
Michael Pomerleano explains the need for a new institution with the necessary legitimacy to provide global financial stability, arguing that “[n]ational public policies can no longer be independent of global collective-action problems”. Amartya Sen, meanwhile, explores the continuing significance of the 18th Century ideas of Adam Smith to contemporary global economic troubles.
- Elsewhere, in an interview with The Christian Science Monitor, Henry Kissinger offers his views on Obama’s recent nuclear initiatives, US-China relations, and coherence among the BRICs. Over at World Politics Review, Nikolas Gvosdev reports on the lack of support forthcoming among BRIC countries for strict sanctions on Iran and highlights some of the other options open to the US administration in dealing with Tehran. Jonathan Holslag, meanwhile, assesses China’s recent diplomatic “charm offensive”, concluding that this will yield little over the long-term if words aren’t backed up by meaningful action.
- Finally, two television debates and nearly three weeks into the British general election campaign, David Marquand explains why this is “a moment for careful historical reconnaissance”. Assessing the rise of Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats, he explores comparisons with the three-party politics of Britain in the early 1920s. The FT’s Philip Stephens, meanwhile, assesses the impact of the debates and the implications of a hung parliament for the British electoral system. April 23, 2010 at 8:30 pm | More on Cooperation and coherence, East Asia and Pacific, Economics and development, Global system, Middle East and North Africa, North America, UK | Comments Off
- From the streets of Bishkek, Standpoint‘s Ben Judah offers an eyewitness account of the uprising in Kyrgyzstan. The Boston Globe has photos here. Alexey Semyonov and Baktybek Abdrisaev suggest what the new interim leader and former foreign minister, Roza Otunbayeva, must now do to restore order and democracy. openDemocracy, meanwhile, puts Kyrgyzstan’s experience in broader Central Asian context, suggesting the role that the OSCE could play in promoting regional stability.
- Writing in The American Prospect, Spencer Ackerman reassesses Obama’s foreign policy doctrine, evaluating attempts to achieve progress on the international stage in the face of domestic opposition. Philip Stephens suggests why the current US President is no Jimmy Carter, with the passing of healthcare and success on the nuclear front beginning to overturn an initial “perception of failure”.
- Elsewhere, with the UK election campaign now in full swing, Bloomberg has news of the Queen’s preparations in the event of a hung parliament. Over at the Institute for Government, meanwhile, Peter Riddell suggests how the language of public policy might shift should there be a change in government.
- Finally, the National Post has news (complete with photos!) that Kim Jong-Il has assumed his place at the sartorial avant-garde. April 9, 2010 at 6:32 pm | More on Conflict and security, East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, North America, UK | Comments Off
April 8, 2010 at 10:46 am | More on What we're watching | Comments Off
- With Moscow still smouldering in the wake of the metro bombings, Sam Greene assesses how the Kremlin might respond, suggesting that recourse to further authoritarianism is unlikely to prove productive. The Economist, meanwhile, highlights the need for greater awareness across Russia of the fragile situation in the north Caucasus and notes the lack of a measured political discourse in response to the attacks.
- Francis Fukuyama talks to former US Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, about China’s approach to the financial crisis. Daniel Drezner, meanwhile, reports on the discontent of leading G20 countries at Beijing’s apparent insouciance over implementing agreed economic reforms. Elsewhere, Patrick Messerlin charts the actions of the emerging G20 powers across economics, trade, and climate – suggesting that while much progress has been made, they still require leadership from OECD countries. Oxfam’s From Poverty to Power blog, meanwhile, offers a progress update on the financial transaction tax.
- Elsewhere, Der Spiegel interviews the man that headed Obama’s transition team, John Podesta, who offers his thoughts on the healthcare debate, the Washington political process, and Obama’s engagement with the rest of the world. The FT’s Edward Luce and Daniel Dombey, meanwhile, assess the centralised nature of foreign policy decision-making in the Obama White House – highlighting the emphasis placed on improving the inter-agency process compared with the Bush years, but also the lack of a grand strategic thinker to which the President can regularly turn (à la Kissinger).
- Finally, Prospect Magazine has an interesting article on “seasteading” – described as involving “a future in which the high seas will be increasingly commandeered for unconventional purposes” (such as medical tourism, gambling, sanctuaries for minority groups etc.) – and the opportunity it may present for the creation of “micronations” populated by libertarian-minded groups. April 1, 2010 at 7:25 pm | More on Conflict and security, Cooperation and coherence, East Asia and Pacific, Economics and development, Europe and Central Asia, Global system, Influence and networks, North America | Comments Off
- With the US and Russia finally concluding negotiations on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty, Julian Borger assesses the deal’s significance. Josh Rogin, meanwhile, wonders whether Obama will be able to get the treaty past Republicans in the Senate.
- Kenneth Weisbrode explores the “reinventing diplomacy” debate, suggesting that “while America thinks in terms of networks, the rest of the world is busy connecting circuits.” Writing in The World Today, Christopher Hill assesses the current challenges facing UK foreign policy, the difficult decisions that lie ahead, and where future priorities may lie. “If it is to serve us well over the longer term”, he argues, UK foreign and security policy “needs a radical overhaul of its underlying outlook”.
- Elsewhere, The Atlantic Monthly‘s Joshua Green offers a wide-ranging profile of US Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner – “a superstar of the bureaucracy” – assessing his influence on President Obama and his central role in shaping the US response to the global financial crisis.
- Finally, discussing European immigration Brigid Grauman highlights the example of Switzerland, suggesting that the rest of Europe would do well to learn the lessons of participatory democracy in promoting integration and fostering multiculturalism. Over at Foreign Policy, meanwhile, Steve Kettmann assesses the recent buffeting taken by the country’s international image, asking if the Swiss stance on neutrality is still feasible in an age of interconnectedness. March 26, 2010 at 6:41 pm | More on Conflict and security, Cooperation and coherence, Economics and development, Europe and Central Asia, Influence and networks, North America, UK | Comments Off
March 26, 2010 at 5:04 pm | More on What we're watching | Comments Off
- The FT has news that London’s position as the dominant global financial hub is slipping, with the UK capital now tied with New York for top spot in the latest rankings. Elsewhere Barry Eichengreen and Kevin H. O’Rourke examine the latest economic data comparing the present crisis with the Great Depression across a range of indicators (including global output, world trade, and equity markets). Robert Shiller, meanwhile, explains the difficulties of using past experience to predict the course of the current crisis.
- European Geostrategy suggests that EU security and defence policy is like a jazz band and explains why a White Paper providing a “grand strategy” is needed. EUobserver, meanwhile, has news on the emerging shape of the European diplomatic service – its structure and staffing – as member states gear up to secure the important EEAS secretary general post.
- Elsewhere, Constanze Stelzenmüller takes an in-depth look at the travails of German security policy, offering insights into how it might evolve. Highlighting the lack of strategy, she argues that “fundamental decisions regarding German security policy have been repeatedly forced into the Procrustean bed of moral necessity, domestic imperatives, or the demands of external alliances.”
- Finally, over at openDemocracy, Andy Yee explores the “hedgehog’s dilemma” between China and the West, highlighting a gradual acceptance of different core values. TIME magazine, meanwhile, assesses the slow progress toward democracy in Hong Kong and the possible wider implications from Beijing’s perspective. March 12, 2010 at 5:06 pm | More on Cooperation and coherence, East Asia and Pacific, Economics and development, Europe and Central Asia, North America, UK | Comments Off
- The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber has an in-depth profile of President Obama’s under fire right-hand man, Rahm Emanuel, explaining why “laboring as chief of staff during the first year or two of a presidency can be a prolonged form of torture”. Over at The Daily Beast Richard Wolffe gets perspectives from three former presidential enforcers. Elsewhere, Robert Kagan explores the growing bipartisan consensus in US foreign policy.
- Writing in Der Spiegel, Sascha Müller-Kraenner and Martin Kremer assess how the new European External Action Service (EEAS) might help the EU exert greater influence over climate governance post-Copenhagen. The new diplomatic corps will offer “a unique opportunity to increase analytical capacity and to design the right instruments and institutions for confronting climate change”, they suggest. Reuters meanwhile reports on the failure of EU member states to meet their commitments on development aid, and the implications for climate funding.
- Over at World Politics Review, Frida Ghitis explores how natural disasters can shape the national political narrative, with last weekend’s Chilean earthquake proving only the most recent example.
“No matter where disaster strikes”, she argues, “the script opens with shock, heartbreak and compassion. Then, it inexorably moves towards a cold political calculus about the performance of political leaders responsible for managing the aftermath.”
- Finally, in the midst of ongoing nuclear negotiations and two months before the crucial NPT Review Conference, the Moscow Times assesses the Kremlin’s “stubborn” approach to talks. British Ambassador John Duncan offers his perspective on UK-Russian nuclear cooperation here. March 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm | More on Climate and resource scarcity, Conflict and security, Economics and development, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America | Comments Off
- As the diplomatic temperature continues to rise in the South Atlantic, Simon Jenkins suggests that the Falklands are “the Elgin marbles of diplomacy” and a “post-imperial anachronism” that should lead Britain to the negotiating table. Hugo Rifkind, meanwhile, explains why he won’t be shedding tears for Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, while The Economist highlights her failure to see the current crisis as an economic rather than a political opportunity.
- Rob de Wijk explores (pdf) the future options for NATO as it come to terms with changing geopolitics. Andrew J. Bacevich, meanwhile, cites a failure to sufficiently “reignite Europe’s martial spirit” and carve a global role for NATO in the 21st Century as cause for the US to draw back engagement in the alliance. Let it return to its origins and “devolve into a European organization, directed by Europeans to serve European needs”, he argues.
- Elsewhere, the London Review of Books blog offers reaction to plans for the new US Embassy in London. Associated Press, meanwhile, has news of an internal State Department report criticising its media operations.
- Finally, VoxEU explores the emergence of “cloud computing” and its potential impact on our lifestyles, business innovation, and economic growth. Charles Leadbeater assesses the associated rise of “cloud culture” and the importance of guarding this new space from the overbearing influence of government and big business. Elsewhere, over at Brookings Mark Muro wonders if the rise of Amazon’s Kindle could be a “symbol of American decline”. February 26, 2010 at 3:51 pm | More on Conflict and security, Cooperation and coherence, Europe and Central Asia, Influence and networks, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, UK | Comments Off
February 26, 2010 at 9:35 am | More on What we're watching | Comments Off