On the web: China at home and abroad, Cameron’s foreign policy, and sustainable development…

- 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.

On the web: the UK Strategic Defence and Security Review, Russia-China-US relations, and India’s international outlook…

- 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.

On the web: US introspection, development aid, and challenging economic orthodoxy…

- 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.

I spy a Security Minister…

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.

On the web: history and economics, the voice of the BRICs, and the UK’s emerging three-party politics…

- 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.

On the web: revolution in Kyrgyzstan, the UK election and policy discourse, and a picture of sartorial elegance…

- 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.