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.

On the web: Obama’s enforcer, the EEAS and climate, the politics of natural disasters, and nuclear negotiations…

– 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.

On the web: skirmish in the Falklands, NATO futures, State Dept’s media relations, and “cloud computing”…

– 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”.

On the web: nuclear progress, gold bubbles, Ashton’s diplomacy, and key thinkers of 2009…

– With the US and Russia reportedly close to agreeing a successor START deal, Gareth Evans and Yoriko Kawaguchi chart the next steps for a secure nuclear future. Details of their recently published report on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament can be found here. Henry Kissinger, meanwhile highlights the importance of kick-starting progress on six-party talks with North Korea.

– Elsewhere, Nouriel Roubini reflects on “gold bubbles” and the need to beware the calls of “gold bugs”, given that the “recent rise in gold prices is only partially justified by fundamentals”. The FT’s Alphaville blog offers an alternate view.

– Catherine Ashton, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, outlines her vision of a “quiet diplomacy” keenly focused on “getting results”. The BBC’s Europe Editor, Gavin Hewitt, assesses the upcoming challenges she is likely to face – whether a winter energy crisis, shaping a coherent EU policy towards the Middle East, or establishing the much-trumpeted EU diplomatic service. Charlemagne, meanwhile, argues that when it comes to European foreign policy there are simply “too many cooks”. Philip H. Gordon, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, offers his thoughts on what the post-Lisbon landscape is likely to mean for US-EU relations.

– Finally, Prospect presents 25 key public intellectuals that have helped us navigate the squalls of the financial crisis – Simon Johnson, Avinash Persaud, and Adair Turner make up the top 3. Niall Ferguson, meanwhile, offers his take on the most influential thinkers of the past now showing renewed relevance – Keynes, Polanyi, Kindleberger and Darwin, among others, have places on his list.

On the web: Obama’s Asia tour, the EU’s world role, and Pakistan’s nuclear security…

– With President Obama embarking on his visit to Asia, John Plender examines the nature of China’s challenge to US dominance. Cheng Li and Jordan Lee suggest what the President has to do in striking the right tone for US-China relations going forward. Kishore Mahubani, meanwhile, views Asia’s rise through the prism of Francis Fukuyama’s End of History twenty years on.

– In a wide-ranging interview with Der Spiegel, Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev talks about Stalin, democracy and the rule of law, his relationship with Vladimir Putin, and ongoing Western entanglement in Afghanistan.

– Elsewhere, Stefan Theil argues that, aided by the financial crisis, the EU’s global standing is on the rise:

“The EU’s modus operandi — sharing power, hammering out agreements, resolving conflict by endless committee — can be boring and even frustrating to watch”, he argues, “[b]ut in an increasingly networked and interdependent world, it has become the global standard.”

Julian Priestley, meanwhile, suggests four conditions if the EU is to get the most from its “institutional architecture”.

– Finally, writing in the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh explores US concerns about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal amid growing instability.