Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

The UN Human Rights Council: Five Things to Know

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Overview of the U.N. Human Rights Council during the emergency debate on human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria, at the United Nations in Geneva February 28, 2012. (Denis Balibouse/ Courtesy Reuters)

The UN Human Rights Council has taken an increasingly prominent role in pressing for global action on the Syrian crisis. In the latest installment of the Internationalist Video Series, I explain how this furthers the revival of the world’s preeminent rights body, which replaced a discredited rights commission. Watch below for the five things you need to know about the reconstituted forum: Read more »

Global Human Rights: Miles to Go

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, February 28, 2012
View the Global Governance Monitor: Human Rights at


Nearly three years ago, the first arrest warrant for a sitting head of state was issued by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The date was March 4, 2009, and the leader was Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, who remains that country’s leader to this day. As this glass half-full anniversary approaches and the international community faces what UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has called “almost certain” instances of crimes against humanity in Syria, the complex issue of human rights has once again assumed the center stage in world politics. Read more »

Guest Post: Does the G20 Matter?

by Terra Lawson-Remer Wednesday, February 22, 2012
U.S. President George W. Bush (standing, C) addresses leaders at the White House before the G20 summit in November 2008. (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters)

Terra Lawson-Remer explores the important question of how the G20 can improve its legitimacy and effectiveness. Lawson-Remer is a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and assistant professor at the New School University. She was formerly senior advisor for international affairs at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Lawson-Remer holds a JD and PhD. Read more »

¡Viva México! The G20’s New Political and Security Agenda

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, February 21, 2012
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a news conference at the end of the G20 foreign ministers summit in Los Cabos, February 20, 2012. (Courtesy Reuters)

Meeting last weekend in Los Cabos, Mexico, for their first, “informal” gathering, G20 foreign ministers made a pivotal decision: to expand the G20 agenda to encompass pressing political and security matters. Patricia Espinosa, the Mexican foreign minister, emphasized that on crucial issues that “affect the lives of billions…the international community is failing,” and announced that the group would reconvene at the G20 leaders’ summit from June 19 to 20 to consider a raft of global issues ranging from transnational crime to green growth and food security. Read more »

Five Things to Know About the G20

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, February 15, 2012

As Mexico prepares to welcome the first meeting of G20 foreign ministers this weekend, the Internationalist highlights five things to know about the world’s steering body for global financial cooperation–the Group of Twenty (G20). Watch below to find out how the G20 saved the world from a debilitating 1930s-style depression, how the G20 has breathed new life into a global financial watchdog, and learn about the continuing debate on the scope of its mission. Check it out for those answers and two other lessons, and post your bet on the G20’s future. Read more »

G20 Priorities: Advance Sustainable Development, Bolster Fragile States

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Mexican President Felipe Calderon (L) speaks to members of the G20 during a G20 Sherpas' meeting at Los Pinos Presidential Palace in Mexico City, February 3, 2012. (Bernardo Montoya/ Courtesy Reuters)

This weekend, foreign ministers from the Group of Twenty Nations (G20) will meet in Los Cabos—the first such meeting in a group which has been dominated by finance ministers and central bank governors since its inception. With foreign ministers at the table will the G20, like the G7 and G8 before it, expand its remit to address a broader suite of global challenges? Read more »

Eating Our Seed Corn: Warnings from the Global Sustainability Report

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, February 8, 2012
An illegal logger cuts down a tree to be turned into planks for construction in a forest south of Sampit, in Indonesia's Central Kalimantan province November 14, 2010. Indonesia has one of the planet's fastest rates of deforestation (Yusuf Ahmad/Courtesy Reuters).

Last week, as the world’s media focused on the deepening crisis over Syria, it missed a less pressing story with profound long-term implications. The High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, released a sobering assessment for the world’s seven billion inhabitants. The document—Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing­­—offers humanity a stark choice: modify our patterns of production and consumption, or risk crashing through the “planetary boundaries” of growth and social progress. Read more »

Lessons from the Russian-Chinese Double Veto

by Stewart M. Patrick Monday, February 6, 2012
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice speaks to China Ambassador Li Baodong during a U.N. Security Council meeting, February 4, 2012 (Allison Joyce/ Courtesy Reuters).

On Saturday, Russia and China cast a double veto of a UN Security Council resolution backing an Arab League peace plan for an orderly departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power in Syria, and the creation of a transitional government in that country. This was the fourth time since 2007 that the duo has vetoed resolutions criticizing brutal crackdowns in Myanmar (2007), Zimbabwe (2008), and Syria (2011, 2012). Read more »

A “New Deal” for Fragile States? Promises and Pitfalls

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, February 1, 2012
An East Timorese refugee family gathers around their camp in Dili, February 18, 2008. East Timor's government and the United Nations have started a programme to relocate some 30,000 refugees living in camps that dot the capital. (Beawiharta/Courtesy Reuters)

For the past decade, the challenge of weak and failing states has dominated the U.S. foreign policy agenda. Once dismissed as third tier strategic concerns, poorly governed and conflict-ridden states rose to unprecedented prominence after 9/11. Al-Qaeda’s ability to launch the most devastating attack on the United States in U.S. history from one of the most wretched countries on earth persuaded George W. Bush, in the words of the 2002 National Security Strategy, that the nation was “now threatened less by conquering states than we are by weak and failing ones.” Allied nations and international organizations from NATO to the United Nations drew the same conclusion, describing the world’s forty-odd fragile states as “weak links” in the chain of global collective security, generating risks ranging from jihadist terror to transnational crime, WMD proliferation to infectious disease. Read more »