– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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”.