Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

The Nonaligned Movement’s Crisis

by Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, August 30, 2012
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (L) poses for a photo with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) upon his arrival for the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, August 29, 2012. (Arash Khamooshi/ISNA/Handout/Courtesy Reuters)

Like the West, the developing world is struggling to update global institutions to twenty-first century realities. The Nonaligned Movement (NAM), which holds its sixteenth summit in Tehran this week, is grasping for contemporary relevance. It is clinging to shopworn shibboleths and cleaving to outdated bloc mentalities within the United Nations and other global bodies. In so doing, the NAM is undermining the search for constructive solutions to today’s most pressing transnational problems. Read more »

Guest Post: Iran’s Must-See Sites for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, August 28, 2012
A photo of July 2009 protests at the University of Tehran. Tens of thousands of protesters used Friday prayers to stage a show of dissent over the disputed presidential election (via Your View/Courtesy Reuters).

Below is a guest post by Felice Gaer and Christen Broecker. Gaer and Broecker are, respectively, director and associate director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights.

Despite warnings that attending the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran would legitimize the regime’s abusive behavior at home and abroad, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has decided to go. He seeks to meet with Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Responding to criticisms of Ban’s plans, his spokesman argued that to skip the summit “would be a missed opportunity.” Read more »

Public Wants Tougher Action in Syria—but Not U.S. Troops

by Stewart M. Patrick Monday, August 27, 2012
In this handout photo provided by the Shaam News Network on August 26, 2012, a mass burial for the victims whom activists said were killed by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad is seen in Daraya near Damascus. In the town of Daraya, southwest of Damascus, some 320 bodies, including women and children, were found in houses and basements, according to activists who said most had been killed "execution-style" by troops in house-to-house raids (Shaam News Network/Handout/Courtesy Reuters).

As violence escalates in Syria, so do Republican attacks of the Obama administration’s alleged passivity. No doubt we’ll hear more such critiques this week from the podium in Tampa, where the GOP gathers to nominate Mitt Romney. Such hawkish views may resonate with the U.S. public—but only to a point. As recent polling data makes clear, Americans are appalled by the depradations of the Assad regime and seek its removal from power. They support a variety of robust multilateral measures, including the imposition of tougher international sanctions, and the creation of safe havens to protect civilians. But they are not prepared to dispatch U.S. troops to protect Syrian civilians, even as part of a broader coalition, much less to depose the regime. In addition, Americans support a no-fly zone in theory, though oppose bombing air defenses—a necessary component of establishing a no-fly zone.  Indeed, Americans remain divided even when it comes to providing arms to rebels. Read more »

A Rocky Start to Russian WTO Membership

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Russia's (then) Prime Minister and (now president) Vladimir Putin (L) chairs a meeting on automobile assembly agreements, regarding the country's entry to the WTO, in Moscow June 9, 2011 (Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/Pool/Courtesy Reuters).

After the longest accession negotiations in the history of the WTO, Russia today has finally joined the World Trade Organization. This is an important milestone for the WTO—and for Russia, which according to the CIA possesses the world’s seventh largest economy, with a GDP of $1.9 trillion. For Moscow, it’s certainly been a long road. The Russians first submitted an application for WTO membership back in June 1993, under the newly democratic government of Boris Yeltsin. Read more »

Sea Change: A New Tool for Measuring Ocean Health

by Stewart M. Patrick Monday, August 20, 2012
A fisherman is seen near a rubbish dump on the Sidon seafront in south Lebanon September 27, 2010. The dump, located near schools, hospitals and apartment blocks in Lebanon's third biggest city, has partially collapsed into the Mediterranean sea several times (Ali Hashisho/Courtesy Reuters).

I spent late July alongside the Bay of Fundy, marveling at the world’s most spectacular tides. But the power of the sea can be misleading. The world’s oceans may look omnipotent, but they are all too vulnerable to the short-sighted actions of mankind. As I wrote last summer from Norway’s  Lofoten Islands, the oceans are in deep crisis, thanks to rampant overfishing, calamitous pollution, and unprecedented acifidication induced by climate change. Read more »

No Country for Fifteen Million: The Plight of the World’s Stateless

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick and Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, August 16, 2012
Rohingya women and children hide in a house in Teknaf June 17, 2012. The group of 7 Rohingya Muslims fled mass burning of houses and violence in Myanmar, setting out in a wooden boat for neighbouring Bangladesh. They were pushed back three times by border guards, but finally made it on their fourth attempt and are now hiding with local villagers to avoid being arrested (Andrew Biraj/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Isabella Bennett, program coordinator in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

Guor Marial, a cross-country All-American athlete at Iowa State, ran two marathons in Olympic qualifying times. But with no passport and no country—and no coach nor a sponsor—he watched the summer games’ opening ceremony on television from Flagstaff, Arizona. After fleeing from a Sudanese refugee camp at the age of eight, Marial had eventually escaped to Egypt and then the United States, where he lives as a permanent U.S. resident but without citizenship. Then, the day before the competition began, the International Olympic Committee finally granted Marial permission to run as an independent athlete. Marial, who works at night and trains by day, finished forty-seventh in London. No medal, but a rare triumph for the world’s stateless. Read more »

Man-Made Cities and Natural Disasters: The Growing Threat

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Residents use an improvised raft, made of styrofoam, to cross floodwaters at Dampalit town in Malabon city, north of Manila August 11, 2012. The death toll in nearly two weeks of steady monsoon rains in the Philippine capital and nearby provinces had climbed to more than 100 people, while more than two million people were affected by the worst flooding in three years, disaster officials said (Romeo Ranoco/Courtesy Reuters).

The world is experiencing the most abrupt shift in human settlements in history. After decades of rural to urban migration, half of all humanity now lives in cities. By 2050, that figure will surge to 75 percent, with the developing world responsible for most of this increase. Mankind’s unprecedented urbanization will create new economic opportunities. But it will also place extraordinary strains on national and municipal authorities struggling to provide the poor inhabitants of these chaotic agglomerations with basic security, sustainable livelihoods, and modern infrastructure. Read more »

Guest Post: Ready for Primetime? The $100 Billion Climate Fund

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, August 9, 2012
Curtis Wold, of the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, examines one of the dry pools at the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, in Great Bend, Kansas August 7, 2012 (Jeff Tuttle/Courtesy Reuters).

Below, my colleague Farah Thaler, associate director of CFR’s International Institutions and Global Governance program assesses the progress of and prospects for the Green Climate Fund. Read more »

Ten Critical Human Rights Issues for the Next President

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Human rights activist Ales Belyatsky sits in a guarded cage in a courtroom in Minsk November 24, 2011. A Belarussian court on Thursday sentenced leading human rights activist Belyatsky to 4.5 years in prison on tax evasion charges in a case that the European Union has condemned as politically motivated (Vasily Fedosenko/Courtesy Reuters).

Last week, twenty-two human rights organizations and activists released a list of the ten most pressing human rights challenges for the next U.S. president. The U.S. president remains one of the most influential public figures in the world—if not the most influential—and the enormity of the challenge to protect human rights around the world should not deter President Obama or President Romney in 2013. As the introduction notes: Read more »