Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

Patrick assesses the future of world order, state sovereignty, and multilateral cooperation.

African Union Peace Operations: From Rhetoric to Reality

by Stewart M. Patrick Monday, November 17, 2014
An African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) soldier stands guard atop an armored vehicle in Mogadishu, Somalia, November 2013. An African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) soldier stands guard atop an armored vehicle in Mogadishu, Somalia, November 2013 (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters).

—Djibouti, East Africa

The slogan of “African solutions to African problems” has long been a seductive mantra, attractive to African and Western governments alike. The phrase suggests a new era of continental responsibility in which African countries themselves—rather than former colonial powers, the United States, or even the United Nations (UN)—play a bigger role in delivering regional peace and security. The vision of a self-confident, united, and capable Africa has obvious attractions on the continent. But it also appeals to Washington, which increasingly views instability and violence within Africa’s many fragile states as enabling conditions for terrorists and violent extremists ranging from Boko Haram to al-Shabab to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Read more »

On the Line in Brisbane: Global Growth and G20 Credibility

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, November 12, 2014
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and his Australian counterpart Joe Hockey speak at a media conference at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in the Australian city of Cairns on September 19, 2014. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and his Australian counterpart Joe Hockey speak at a media conference at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in the Australian city of Cairns on September 19, 2014 (Lincoln Feast/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Daniel Chardell, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program. Read more »

More Treaty Gridlock: Another Impact of GOP Senate Takeover

by Stewart M. Patrick Monday, November 10, 2014
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a news conference on the day after he was re-elected to the U.S. Senate at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 5, 2014. U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a news conference on the day after he was re-elected to the U.S. Senate at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 5, 2014 (John Sommers II/Courtesy Reuters).

The Republican takeover of the Senate reduces the chance that the United States will ratify any important multilateral treaties over the next two years. Facing a GOP-controlled legislature, President Obama will focus his executive authority on salvaging what remains of his domestic agenda, rather than playing hardball in the field of foreign policy.With the exception of trade agreements—endorsed by incoming majority leader Mitch McConnell—don’t look for any movement on treaties. Read more »

The Future of Human Dignity—and Human Rights

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, October 21, 2014
A Roma boy pumps water in the slum of Tiszavasvari, east of Budapest, Hungary, on September 26, 2014. A Roma boy pumps water in the slum of Tiszavasvari, east of Budapest, Hungary, on September 26, 2014 (Laszlo Balogh/Courtesy Reuters).

For decades the global debate over human rights has been a dialogue of the deaf. This interminable argument pits advocates of civil and political rights against proponents of economic and social rights. The former take the classic liberal position that individual freedom is the foundation of liberty and, accordingly, that the only fundamental rights are “negative” ones that constrain state power. The latter invoke social justice concerns and argue that civil and political liberties are empty without “positive” rights like guaranteed employment, health, shelter, and sustenance. Their opponents retort that these are mere aspirations and should not become “entitlements.” And so on. Read more »

Could the BRICS Bank Make China More Responsible?

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Leaders of the BRICS countries—Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and South African President Jacob Zuma—pose during the BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, on July 15, 2014. Leaders of the BRICS countries—Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and South African President Jacob Zuma—pose during the BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, on July 15, 2014 (Nacho Doce/Courtesy Reuters).

Below is a guest post by Isabella Bennett, assistant director of the International Institutions and Global Governance program. Read more »

The Age of Extinction: Can Anything Be Done to Save Our Planet’s Biodiversity?

by Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, October 9, 2014
An endangered poison frog (Oophaga histrionica) is pictured at the Santa Fe Zoo in Medellín, Colombia, in January 2013. An endangered poison frog (Oophaga histrionica) is pictured at the Santa Fe Zoo in Medellín, Colombia, in January 2013 (Albeiro Lopera/Courtesy Reuters).

In a world of crises from Ebola to Syria, it’s easy to overlook slow-motion calamities. Both the U.S. government and the mainstream media are vulnerable to this myopia, the former in thrall to the tyranny of the in-box, the latter forever chasing what’s “new” in the news. This may account for the silence that has greeted recent scientific evidence that the Earth is experiencing a devastating and potentially irreversible loss of biodiversity. Unfortunately, this man-made ecological catastrophe is unfolding at a gradual, if inexorable, pace in multiple areas of the world. But it is harder to find images akin to a hostage begging for his life, or health workers clad in protective suits, to hold the public’s attention and mobilize political support for action. Thus, humanity continues to sleepwalk, as the planet experiences only the sixth major extinction event in its 4.5 billion year history. Read more »

President Obama’s UN Speech: Defending World Order

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, September 24, 2014
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the sixty-ninth United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 24, 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the sixty-ninth United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 24, 2014 (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

In one of the most impressive speeches of his presidency, Barack Obama this morning challenged UN member states to join the United States in confronting two “defining challenges”: the return of imperialist aggression and the spread of violent extremism. Read more »

A World of Troubles: Obama at the United Nations

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, September 23, 2014
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 24, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 24, 2013 (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters).

In his rookie address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama famously announced “a new era of engagement.” After the tumultuous Bush years, his reception was rapturous, even giddy (remember that Nobel Peace Prize?). Five bruising years later, the president’s dreams of a harmonious, cooperative world have been torn into shreds from Crimea to Syria. This week the aging prize-fighter-in-chief climbs back into the ring at a time of great peril. He must convince both foreign and domestic audiences that the world is not spinning out of control and that the United States is determined to keep it that way. Read more »

ISIS and Foreign Fighters: Cutting off the Global Pipeline

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Monday, September 22, 2014
ISIS fighters stand atop a tank during a military parade in Syria's Raqqa province on June 30, 2014. The parade was held to celebrate the group's declaration of a "caliphate" spanning its territory in Syria and Iraq one day earlier. ISIS fighters stand atop a tank during a military parade in Syria's Raqqa province on June 30, 2014. The parade was held to celebrate the group's declaration of a "caliphate" spanning its territory in Syria and Iraq one day earlier (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Daniel Chardell, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program. Read more »