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.

On the web: Moscow’s terror response, G20 rumbles, US foreign policy, and libertarians at sea…

– 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.

On the web: a new US-Russia START deal, new diplomacy, and the Swiss example…

– 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.