Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

Rubio’s Global Vision: A Lot Like Obama’s

by Stewart M. Patrick Monday, April 30, 2012
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) gestures as he addresses the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, February 9, 2012. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters)

Senator Marco Rubio, a leading contender to serve as Mitt Romney’s running mate, has a surprisingly centrist foreign policy vision according to his address at the Brookings Institution last Wednesday. Florida’s junior senator sees a world of complex, transnational threats that make it impossible for the United States to hunker down in an isolationist crouch. He recognizes the need for international partnerships. He’s in favor of foreign aid and the defense of human rights. And he believes military force should always be on the table in defending U.S. security. Senator Rubio, meet Barack Obama. Read more »

Exorcising the Resource Curse: Some Innovative Ideas

by Stewart M. Patrick Friday, April 27, 2012
A man samples crude oil at the bank of a polluted river in Bidere community in Ogoniland in Nigeria's delta region on August 20, 2011. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

Among the many frustrations in development, perhaps none looms larger than the “resource curse.” Perversely, the worst development outcomes—measured in poverty, inequality, and deprivation—are often found in those countries with the greatest natural resource endowments. Rather than contributing to freedom, broadly shared growth, and social peace, rich deposits of oil and minerals have often brought tyranny, misery, and insecurity to these nations. Fortunately, as my colleague Terra Lawson-Remer points out in a new CFR memo, all is not lost. There are concrete steps the international community can take to help break this curse Read more »

The Future of NATO

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, April 25, 2012
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels April 18, 2012.(Jacquelyn Martin/Courtesy Reuters)


As U.S. and EU leaders prepare for the NATO summit in May, the Internationalist talks to Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, about why NATO will remain important for Europe and the United States even after the war in Afghanistan winds down. Niblett argues: Read more »

New Tools to Prevent Atrocities: Beyond Syria

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, April 24, 2012
A survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime Hem Sakou, 79, stands in front of portraits of victims at the Tuol Sleng (S-21) genocide museum in Phnom Penh May 31, 2011. She was part of the more than 300 villagers brought to the Khmer Rouge notorious security prison S-21, now museum, by the court on a regular tour basis. Sakou said that she found the photos of her son who was killed at S-21, appealing to the U.N. backed tribunal to sentence the former regime leaders in detention to life in prison for crimes they committed. (Samrang Pring/Courtesy Reuters)

No U.S. President, with the possible exception of Bill Clinton, has devoted as much attention as Barack Obama to preventing mass atrocities and ensuring that their perpetrators are held accountable. Yesterday, in a reflective speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the president announced several initiatives that will help the U.S. government put its “never again” rhetoric into practice more often. The most important of these were the creation of a high-profile Atrocities Prevention Board, the authorization of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the global risk of mass atrocities, and the imposition of targeted sanctions on those who exploit information technology to facilitate grave human rights abuses. Read more »

Understanding Illicit Networks

by Stewart M. Patrick Monday, April 23, 2012
Police officers look on as a road roller is used to destroy confiscated pornographic DVDs and pirated publications in Xi'an, China, province March 17, 2011. (China Daily/Courtesy Reuters)

We all know that, in recent decades, businesses have internationalized their operations like never before, but a less well-known result of globalization is that transnational criminal enterprises have also benefited enormously. Sophisticated illicit networks have emerged around the world, adept at exploiting the disjunction between global economic integration and the persistence of sovereign states. Global commerce now relies on countless shipping containers, which are rarely checked for contraband. The liberalization of capital movements and the ubiquity of information technology enables money laundering at the push of a button. Law enforcement authorities, trapped within national borders and independent jurisdictions, are running in place as illicit actors hopscotch across sovereign frontiers and exploit asymmetries in the policing of trade in narcotics, humans, weapons, and other illicit commodities. Read more »

The War on Drugs: Time for an Honest Conversation

by Stewart M. Patrick Friday, April 20, 2012
Ismael Reyes mourns at the coffin of his son, who was killed at a family birthday party, in Ciudad Juarez October 25, 2010. Families mourned the victims of the massacre, one of Mexico's worst shootings, weeping over the open coffins of teenagers as young as 14 as Ciudad Juarez residents expressed outrage at surging violence. (Gael Gonzalez/Courtesy Reuters)

The facts are clear. The war on drugs has failed. The current global prohibition regime inflates prices of narcotics, creating extraordinary incentives for drug producers and traffickers. Efforts to eradicate supply from one country simply lead criminal syndicates to turn their attention elsewhere. This is the conclusion of a damning June 2011 report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, composed of nineteen prominent world leaders (including former Secretary of State George Shultz). Rather than continuing to insist on policies of “zero tolerance,” and forcing all countries into “the same rigid approach to drug policy—the same laws, and the same tough approach to their enforcement,” the United Nations and the United States both need to be open to greater reform and experimentation at the national level. Read more »

Another American World Bank President Is a Missed Opportunity

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, April 18, 2012
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) Jim Yong Kim (C) as his nominee to be the next president of the World Bank, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, March 23, 2012. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

On CFR’s new Global Expert Roundup, I argue that the U.S. diplomatic push to install an American as the next World Bank president squandered a golden opportunity to promote a new era of global governance founded on contemporary economic realities, and not outdated Western prerogatives. The Obama administration could have thrown its weight behind either of the two outstanding alternatives–Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria or José Antonio Ocampo of Colombia–and in doing so, would have signaled that global institutional reform requires integrating the dynamic developing world. Nevertheless, the first multi-candidate competition is a historic turning point. Read more »

The Launch of a Global Conversation

by Stewart M. Patrick Friday, April 13, 2012

Despite being on the road this week, the Internationalist would like to highlight the release of a report (PDF) summarizing the conclusions of the inaugural session of the Council of Councils (CoC), held March 12-13, 2012. Hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, the first-ever session of the CoC included a meeting of twenty major foreign policy think tanks from nineteen different countries. The CoC also included two keynote speeches from Robert B. Zoellick, president of the World Bank, and Robert D. Hormats, U.S. undersecretary for economic growth, energy, and the environment. Read more »

Don’t Worry Be Happy: The UN Happiness Summit

by Stewart M. Patrick Sunday, April 1, 2012
Women, their teeth red from chewing betel nuts, laugh at a vegetable market in Bhutanese capital Thimpu, October 23, 2006 (Gopal Chitrakar/Courtesy Reuters).

At first glance, this Monday’s high-level event in the UN General Assembly would appear to confirm the worst suspicions of UN skeptics. Given all the crises engulfing the globe, what geniuses in New York decided to have the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan host a daylong special session on “Happiness.” What the heck is going on in Turtle Bay? Read more »