Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

Through the Glass Darkly: What U.S. Intelligence Predicts for 2030

by Stewart M. Patrick Friday, December 21, 2012
The NIC suggests that urbanization is the one of the key future global trends. (Courtesy Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)

Mathew Burrows, counselor to the National Intelligence Council, may have the most fascinating job in Washington. Every four to five years he coordinates the U.S. intelligence community’s crystal-ball gazing exercise, which imagines what the future will bring fifteen to twenty years hence. The sixth and most recent installment, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, offers an eye-opening  glimpse into the turbulent world we will inherit as middle classes grow, power shifts to developing countries, demographics change, and humanity confronts daunting ecological constraints. Read more »

A New Agenda for the G20: Addressing Fragile States

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, December 12, 2012
People walk along Red Square, with Saint Basil's Cathedral in the background, in central Moscow where the G20 summit will be held later this year. (Denis Sinyakov/Courtesy Reuters)

— Moscow

Having recently assumed the rotating chair of the Group of Twenty (G20), the Russian government is now soliciting input on the agenda for its September 2013 meeting in St. Petersburg. Yesterday I contributed to these deliberations as a member of the “Think20”network—a consortium of independent experts from around the world. My own advice to the Russian sherpa, Ksenia Yudaeva, was that Russia should transform the G20’s nascent development agenda to address the pressing challenge of fragile states. Read more »

Santorum Champions U.S. Sovereignty (the Disabled, Not So Much)

by Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, December 6, 2012
While campaigning for president, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum speaks to supporters at the Wisconsin Faith and Freedom Coalitions presidential kick-off in Waukesha, Wisconsin on March 31, 2012 (Darren Hauck/Courtesy Reuters).

The Senate’s appalling rejection this week of the UN Convention on Persons with Disabilities was a cruel and petulant gesture, particularly during the holiday season. Relishing the role of Ebeneezer Scrooge was Rick Santorum, former Senator from Pennsylvania. Unbowed by his drubbing in the GOP presidential primary, the firebrand led the charge against an innocuous treaty—negotiated by George W. Bush no less—whose sole purpose is to extend to other countries the protections afforded to the disabled in the United States. Santorum’s specious claim that the convention posed a mortal threat to U.S. national sovereignty, which convinced enough of his former colleagues to block ratification, speaks volumes about the Republican Party’s antipathy towards international treaties—and the absurd lengths it will go to resist them. Read more »

UN Control of the Internet? An Idea Whose Time Will Never Come

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Internet cables are seen at a server room in this picture illustration taken in Warsaw January 24, 2012. The ITU meets this week to determine whether the information carried through these cables will remain uncharged. (Kacper Pempel/Courtesy Reuters)

The Persian Gulf is receiving plenty of press this week, as climate negotiators debate in Doha and political turmoil buffets Bahrain. But another important drama is unfolding in Dubai, where more than one hundred and fifty nations are meeting for the World Conference on International Telecommunications (Wcit) from December 4-13. Topping the agenda is the future governance of the internet. A bloc of developing countries and authoritarian states is pushing for a sweeping new treaty that would wrest authority for regulating the internet from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and hand it to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).  Fortunately, the United States, European Union, and private sector have mobilized to block this nightmare scenario, which would threaten the free and open character of the internet. Read more »