Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

How Globalization Affects Transnational Crime

by Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, May 31, 2012
The Xin Mei Zhou container ship is seen at the Port of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California, May 30, 2012. Container ships are a major conduit for illicit trafficking (David McNew/Courtesy Reuters). The Xin Mei Zhou container ship is seen at the Port of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California, May 30, 2012. Container ships are a major conduit for illicit trafficking (David McNew/Courtesy Reuters).

With drug legalization increasingly debated by world leaders, the Internationalist talks to Phil Williams about the explosion of transnational crime in a globalized world.

  • “Transnational criminals have been one of the biggest beneficiaries of globalization.” Globalization facilitates international trade but also increases the difficulty of regulating global trade; traffickers and smugglers have exploited this. Williams adds that globalization has increased inequality around the globe, and that “its disruptive effect has actually caused people to have to go into organized crime and operate in illicit markets as coping mechanisms.”
  • The global financial system has undergone widespread deregulation since the 1970s. This has allowed illicit actors to launder the proceeds of crime more easily. “We’ve got some reregulation to try to deal with money laundering…but it’s not particularly effective,” says Williams.
  • Read more »

Illicit Networks and the Rise of “Mafia States”

by Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, May 24, 2012
Vladmir Kuznetsov (C), an official of the Russian foreign ministry is escorted to Manhattan federal court by FBI agents in New York City on September 2, 2005. Kuznetsov was arrested in an overnight FBI raid and charged with helping a U.N. procurement officer launder bribes from contractors and taking a share of the money, an indictment said on Friday (Seth Wenig/Courtesy Reuters). Vladmir Kuznetsov (C), an official of the Russian foreign ministry is escorted to Manhattan federal court by FBI agents in New York City on September 2, 2005. Kuznetsov was arrested in an overnight FBI raid and charged with helping a U.N. procurement officer launder bribes from contractors and taking a share of the money, an indictment said on Friday (Seth Wenig/Courtesy Reuters).

The conventional narrative of transnational crime describes a weak nation-state exploited by sophisticated organized criminal groups. In this zero-sum worldview, the state loses control as nonstate actors gain power. In some countries, however, government institutions—from executive bodies to intelligence services to central banks to the police—are involved in a  range of illicit activities. In a recent piece in Foreign Affairs, Moises Naim labeled this phenomenon “mafia states,” arguing that the new breed of criminal statehood poses a particular threat to the international community by “blurring the conceptual line” between the licit and illicit worlds. Read more »

Natural Disasters and Humanitarian Assistance to 2020

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Pakistani men throw a bag of flour onto a pile out the back of a U.S. Army Chinook helicopter that has arrived to deliver humanitarian assistance and help with the evacuation of flood victims in the Swat valley as part of the flood disaster recovery effort in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, August 11, 2010 (Horace Murray/Courtesy Reuters). Pakistani men throw a bag of flour onto a pile out the back of a U.S. Army Chinook helicopter that has arrived to deliver humanitarian assistance and help with the evacuation of flood victims in the Swat valley as part of the flood disaster recovery effort in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, August 11, 2010 (Horace Murray/Courtesy Reuters).

Trends in population growth, urbanization, water scarcity, and climate change, are increasing the vulnerability of large populations to storms, droughts, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and pandemics. In an era of globalization, shocks in one place can now resonate around the world, as demonstrated by the 2007-2008 global food crisis, which was caused (PDF) by spiking oil prices, droughts, and government policies with unforeseen consequences. The 2010 Icelandic volcano disrupted global trade and caused problems ranging from severe economic losses in Kenya to challenges for the U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Read more »

Behind the Scenes at NATO

by Stewart M. Patrick Friday, May 18, 2012
German soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) approach locals during a patrol in the village of Isa Khel in the Chahar Dara district December 16, 2011.  (Thomas Peter/Courtesy Reuters) German soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) approach locals during a patrol in the village of Isa Khel in the Chahar Dara district December 16, 2011. (Thomas Peter/Courtesy Reuters)

On CFR.org, I argue that at first glance, NATO’s upcoming May 19-21 Chicago summit can be seen as a moment of triumph, but that there are fundamental questions about the future of the alliance that will go undiscussed. My colleagues in the United Kingdom, Israel, Turkey, and Russia, don’t necessarily agree though. Read their opinions on the second installment of CFR’s new Council of Council’s Global Expert Roundup. Read more »

The G8 Summit at Camp David: A Talk in the Woods

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama during a round table meeting at the G8 summit in Deauville May 27, 2011. (Pool/Courtesy Reuters) Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama during a round table meeting at the G8 summit in Deauville May 27, 2011. (Pool/Courtesy Reuters)

After so many splashy summits, President Obama’s decision to hold this year’s Group of Eight (G8) meeting at Camp David is inspired. The success of leaders-level meetings depends, above all, on opportunities for candid conversation away from media flashbulbs and crowded convention halls. The secluded setting—nestled in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains—will provide a welcome intimacy to deliberations among leaders of the world’s advanced market democracies. Given their daunting global agenda, they can certainly use the peace and quiet. Read more »

Turkey at the Crossroads (Literally)

by Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, May 10, 2012
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan after a bilateral meeting in Seoul March 25, 2012. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan after a bilateral meeting in Seoul March 25, 2012. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

When it comes to “rising powers,” the BRIC countries—Brazil, Russia, India, and especially China—tend to get the most press. But there’s another emerging player that promises to shape world politics in the twenty-first century with its robust growth, political evolution, and strategic choices. It is Turkey, a country that straddles some of today’s most critical divides: between Europe and the Middle East, between the West and the developing world, between secular democracy and religious piety. Turkey’s evolving might, its geographic position, and model of moderate political Islam make it a natural candidate for “strategic partnership” with the United States. This is the conclusion of U.S. Turkey Relations, a just-released CFR task force report co-chaired by former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright and former national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley—and directed by my able colleague, Steven A. Cook. Read more »

The View From Brazil

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer unveils its new EMBRAER 190 regional jet, which will be able to carry up to one hundred passengers, in Sao Jose dos Campos, February 9, 2004. (Paulo Whitaker/Courtesy Reuters) Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer unveils its new EMBRAER 190 regional jet, which will be able to carry up to one hundred passengers, in Sao Jose dos Campos, February 9, 2004. (Paulo Whitaker/Courtesy Reuters)

After emerging from the 2008 financial crisis relatively unscathed, Brazil’s inevitable entrance into the club of major global powers is increasingly accepted. The Internationalist and Carlos Simonsen Leal of the Brazilian Getulio Vargas Foundation discuss Brazil’s perspective on global finance and international security. Simonsen says: Read more »

Not a Drop to Drink: The Global Water Crisis

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Geovani Santos collects water from a weir which has nearly dried up as a consequence of the drought in Maracas at Bahia state, northeast Brazil May 4, 2012. (Ricardo Moraes/Courtesy Reuters) Geovani Santos collects water from a weir which has nearly dried up as a consequence of the drought in Maracas at Bahia state, northeast Brazil May 4, 2012. (Ricardo Moraes/Courtesy Reuters)

The recent UN alert that drought in the Sahel threatens 15 million lives is a harbinger of things to come.

In the next twenty years, global demand for fresh water will vastly outstrip reliable supply in many parts of the world. Thanks to population growth and agricultural intensification, humanity is drawing more heavily than ever on shared river basins and underground aquifers. Meanwhile, global warming is projected to exacerbate shortages in already water-stressed regions, even as it accelerates the rapid melting of glaciers and snow cover upon which a billion people depend for their ultimate source of water. Read more »