Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

The United Nations Then and Now; and What it Means for Syria

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This month marks the seventieth anniversary of the “United Nations.” Not as a formal organization—that would occur in San Francisco in 1945—but as a wartime alliance. After Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was anxious to define a common set of war aims and a joint vision of postwar order that could unify allied nations. The fruit of that effort was a “Joint Declaration of the United Nations.” Released on January 1, 1942, that document bound twenty-six allied nations to the principles of the Atlantic Charter that the United States and Great Britain had issued the previous summer. These principles envisioned an open postwar world, based on self-determination, freedom of the seas, multilateral trade, and collective security. During the war, another twenty-one nations endorsed the declaration, each pledging to “employ its full resources, military or economic” against the Axis powers. Read more »

Dispelling Myths About Foreign Aid

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Flood victim Haji Usman holds praying beads as he sits outside his makeshift tent covered by weather sheet donated by USAID in Dadu, Pakistan in September 2010. (Akhtar Soomro/Courtesy Reuters) Flood victim Haji Usman holds praying beads as he sits outside his makeshift tent covered by weather sheet donated by USAID in Dadu, Pakistan in September 2010. (Akhtar Soomro/Courtesy Reuters)

Unsurprisingly, foreign aid has once again become a political football in this year’s primary season. Today’s GOP presidential candidates regularly bash it, echoing “Mr. Republican” Robert Taft—who dismissed overseas assistance more than six decades ago as “pouring money down a rat hole.” Read more »

At the United Nations, Reform for All Seasons

by Stewart M. Patrick Monday, January 23, 2012

It’s a dirty little secret among supporters of the United Nations: The closer you get to seeing how the sausage is actually made in Turtle Bay, the more you wonder whether the UN-bashers have a point. The entire system is in such dire need of an overhaul—from its encrusted bloc politics and rigid personnel policies to its bureaucratic waste and pockets of cronyism—that even the most dedicated multilateralist may begin to channel his inner John Bolton. The big difference, of course, is that committed multilateralists are dedicated to reforming and strengthening, rather than crippling and weakening, the world body. Speaking last Friday at the Council on Foreign Relations, Ambassador Joseph Torsella, the Obama administration’s point man for UN management reform, explained what the United States is doing to shake up business as usual in New York. Its point of departure, as President Obama has stated, is that the United Nations is both “flawed” and “indispensable.” Read more »

Breaking the UN Deadlock on Syria

by Stewart M. Patrick and Isabella Bennett Thursday, January 19, 2012
Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad after their Friday prayers in Kafranbel, near Adlb  January 6, 2012.  (Reuters handout/ Courtesy Reuters). Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad after their Friday prayers in Kafranbel, near Adlb January 6, 2012. (Reuters handout/ Courtesy Reuters).

Despite Arab League monitors in Syria, the death toll of the regime’s brutal crackdown on protestors is rising. The situation in Syria raises the question: Why did the United Nations authorize an intervention in Libya, at the mere threat by former Libyan leader Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi to slaughter his people, but remains idle while Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has already massacred over 5,000? Criticism that NATO overstepped its boundaries in Libya to orchestrate regime change rather than merely protect citizens does play a part, but the real story is more complicated. Read more »

Americans on Renewable Energy

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, January 18, 2012
An aerial view of the shale oil drilling rig SAI-307 in the Patagonian province of Neuquen October 14, 2011. (Enrique Marcarian/Courtesy Reuters) An aerial view of the shale oil drilling rig SAI-307 in the Patagonian province of Neuquen October 14, 2011. (Enrique Marcarian/Courtesy Reuters)

With Iran threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, energy security is once again at the top of the global agenda—and not just in Rick Perry’s debate talking points. But true “energy security” will require more than independence from unreliable or unstable suppliers. It will also oblige governments and companies to invest in a wider range of energy sources—many of them renewable. That is the message of the World Future Energy Summit, which opened in Abu Dhabi this week. In his keynote address, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the world to double its use of renewable energy by 2030. Ban’s words should resonate strongly in the United States, according to a new digest of polls on energy security released by the International Institutions and Global Governance program and worldpublicopinion.org. Read more »

UN Security Council Reform: Is it Time?

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Check out the new Internationalist video series, which we’re launching today. This weekly series will feature brief, but in-depth analysis of multilateral cooperation in the news, or pressing issues that are flying under the radar.

In the first show, I discuss the impetus to reform the UN Security Council, which has remained “frozen in amber” since the end of World War II despite huge shifts in the global distribution of power over the past fifty years. Read more »

J: The New Super Office

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, January 10, 2012
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) William Brownfield (2nd L) speaks with Mario Andresol, director general of the Haitian Police Force, as he arrives for a news conference at the Haitian Police Academy in Port-au-Prince December 1, 2011. During his visit, Brownfield inspected Haitian projects and assistance programs funded by the U.S. government and assessed the Haitian-American cooperation in the implementation of laws against drugs. (Swoan Parker/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) William Brownfield (2nd L) speaks with Mario Andresol, director general of the Haitian Police Force, as he arrives for a news conference at the Haitian Police Academy in Port-au-Prince December 1, 2011. During his visit, Brownfield inspected Haitian projects and assistance programs funded by the U.S. government and assessed the Haitian-American cooperation in the implementation of laws against drugs. (Swoan Parker/Courtesy Reuters)

With attention on the Republican primaries and international crises in Syria, Iran, and the eurozone, few have time to pay attention to bureaucratic politics.

But while our eyes were trained elsewhere, the Obama administration shook up the U.S. Department of State—and the result will have some important consequences for the way the United States implements the foreign policy handed down by whoever is commander in chief. Read more »