Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

Sanctions on MS-13: Not Enough but a Good First Step

by Isabella Bennett and Stewart M. Patrick Friday, October 26, 2012
A former leader of the Mara Salvatrucha or M -13 gang, poses during a photo session at Comayagua jail in Honduras June 11, 2011, where he is currently serving a sentence for various crimes including murder, extortion and drug trafficking. His tattoos indicate his rank in the gang (Edgard Garrido/Courtesy Reuters).

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

President Obama and Governor Romney may have been arguing over the strength of sanctions on Iran, but there is another set of sanctions that the Obama administration has enacted on a global threat which would likely win Romney’s approval: sanctions against international criminal groups. Read more »

Reflections on the Foreign Policy Debate

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama (R) debate in front of moderator Bob Schieffer during the final U.S. presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida on October 22, 2012 (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

The final presidential debate last night shed some light on the two foreign policy paths that the United States might walk for the next four years. For all the sturm and drang of campaign rhetoric, on the biggest issues discussed—the U.S. role in the world, relations with China, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and how to deal with terrorism—there is not too much daylight between these men. But even so, as I’ve written before, there are sources of disagreement—including national defense budgets, democracy promotion, foreign aid, and U.S.-Russian relations that are evidence of their divergent outlooks. Read more »

Korea Goes Global: And We Mean Security (Not Gangnam Style)

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, October 23, 2012
South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak (R) speaks to members of his delegation while awaiting the start of a meeting on the second day of the G20 Summit in Cannes November 4, 2011 (Dylan Martinez/Courtesy Reuters).

When one thinks of the world’s emerging powers, the mind is naturally drawn to large, sprawling developing countries like China, India, or Brazil. But there’s another dynamo we often overlook that’s increasingly making its global mark—South Korea. Despite the global downturn of the past several years, the ROK’s economy has grown at an impressive clip, becoming the world’s thirteenth largest in nominal terms. South Korea is also flexing its diplomatic muscles within the Group of Twenty (G20) and other forums, seeking to bridge entrenched divides between the global North and South, East and West. Its most impressive role, however, may be its increasing role in promoting international peace and security well beyond the Korean Peninsula. Read more »

Obama and Romney on Foreign Policy: Beyond the Rhetoric, Some Genuine Differences

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama during the first 2012 U.S. presidential debate on October 3, 2012 (Michael Reynolds/Courtesy Reuters).

Presidential campaigns should come with a disclaimer: “past promises are no guarantee of future policies.” Candidates are notorious for exaggerating modest differences with opponents, then doing precisely the same thing once elected. Remember Bill Clinton, blasting George H. W. Bush for toasting the “butchers of Beijing,” later cozying up to China. Or a junior senator from Illinois, Senator Obama, who condemned George W. Bush’s “global war on terrorism,” but adopted aggressive homeland security and counterterrorism measures of his own, from extending provisions of the Patriot Act to expanding targeted killings via drone strikes. Read more »

Europe’s Lifetime Achievement Award: The Nobel Prize

by Stewart M. Patrick Friday, October 12, 2012
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (L) receives flowers from Atle Leikvoll, Norway's Ambassador to the European Union, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels October 12, 2012, after the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize for its long-term role in uniting the continent (Yves Herman/Courtesy Reuters).

Friday’s announcement that the European Union (EU) had won the Nobel Peace Prize elicited widespread surprise and mirth. Had the committee actually awarded the prize to the world’s reigning economic basket case? How will the union divide its $1.2 million winnings—by sending a quarter-cent check to each of its five hundred million inhabitants? Read more »

A Contrarian’s Take on the Global Financial Crisis: The System Worked

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, October 3, 2012
U.S. President Barack Obama (top, R) speaks as (L-R, from bottom L) Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, French President Francois Hollande, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, Russia's Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev as well as European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (L, Foreground) and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (R, foreground) listen at the start of the first working session of the G8 Summit at Camp David, Maryland, May 19, 2012 (Courtesy Reuters/ Andrew Winning).

If there’s one lesson observers have drawn from the “greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression,” it’s that our outdated system of global economic governance failed to respond and needs a major overhaul. A closer look at the performance of international institutions since 2008, however, paints a rosier picture. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Tufts professor Dan Drezner argues in a provocative new CFR working paper that “the system worked.” Despite dire predictions, major economic powers cooperated within multilateral institutions, both old and new, to prevent a global financial collapse, forestall a descent into tit-for-tat protectionism, adopt new rules of financial regulation, and adjust the governance structures of global bodies to reflect power shifts. Read more »

How to Advance the Rule of Law (Hint: Outside the UN)

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, October 2, 2012
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma speaks during the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law at the United Nations headquarters in New York September 24, 2012 (Shannon Stapleton/Courtesy Reuters).

At the United Nations, support for the rule of law has the aura of mom’s apple pie: Everybody loves it. Unfortunately, consensus ends there. UN member states can’t agree on how to define it, much less how to advance it globally. It’s unsurprising, then, that last week’s “High-Level UN Meeting on the Rule of Law” (perhaps you missed it?) was a bust. The meeting’s final declaration was a festival of empty blather, even by UN standards. And that is a wasted opportunity. For as my friend and colleague Mark Lagon points out in a just released policy innovation memorandum from the Council on Foreign Relations, improving the rule of law worldwide may be the critical step in improving prospects for human dignity and prosperity in the twenty-first century.  The lesson of the last week is that this effort can’t be left to the United Nations. Read more »