Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

The Geopolitics of the Internet: Seeing the Negotiating Table

by Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, May 30, 2013
Fiber optic cables carrying internet providers are seen running into a server room at Intergate, Manhattan. The 32-story building will be the largest high-rise data center in the world with 600,000 square feet (55,742 square meters) of data center floor space and 40 Megawatts of electrical capacity. (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters)

Coauthored with Andrew Reddie, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

Will the Internet’s future resemble its past? That seems increasingly unlikely, given the growing influence of new global powers, the determination of many governments to control Internet access and content, and the difficulties of balancing security and civil liberties. This was the take-home message at a meeting last week on “The Geopolitics of Internet Governance,” hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The coming transformation may well challenge the longstanding U.S. vision of an open network whose governance remains largely in private hands. Read more »

Winds of Change in the War on Drugs: An OAS Report That Won’t Gather Dust

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, May 22, 2013
A Colombian police officer stands guard near packs of confiscated marijuana in Cali March 26, 2013. According to authorities, narcotics police confiscated 7.7 tons (6985 kilograms) of marijuana that were transported in two trucks at a checkpoint in Valle del Cauca, which belonged to the sixth front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). They also said that 80 tons of marijuana have been seized so far this year. (Jaime Saldarriaga/ Courtesy Reuters)

It was half a century ago that UK Prime Minister Harold McMillan famously noted the “winds of change” buffeting the British Empire. Old verities were crumbling and Great Britain would need to adapt to a new political reality. Something analogous is happening today in the Western Hemisphere, where Latin American governments are rethinking their participation in Washington’s decades-long war on drugs. The latest evidence is a ground-breaking Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas, released May 17 by the Organization of American States (OAS). For the first time, the multilateral body is calling for a sober reassessment of the prohibition strategies the United States has backed since the Nixon administration. Read more »

There’s a Fly in My Soup! Can Insects Satisfy World Food Needs?

by Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, May 16, 2013
Locusts and worms are seen on a spoon after being cooked with olive oil for a discovery lunch in Brussels September 20, 2012. Organisers of the event, which included cookery classes, want to draw attention to insects as a source of nutrition. (Francois Lenoir/ Courtesy Reuters)

What world traveler hasn’t declined at least one local “delicacy”? A decade ago in Oaxaca, Mexico, I turned up my nose at chapulines, a steaming plate of toasted grasshoppers. “Tastes like chicken,” my waiter smiled unconvincingly. But overcoming disgust for “edible insects” may be the easiest way to meet global food needs, according to a fascinating, if occasionally stomach-churning, report from the UN’s Food and Agricultural Agency (FAO), based, of all places, in Rome. Read more »

Ending Syria’s Agony: Lessons from Other Civil Wars

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talk during their meeting in Moscow, May 7, 2013. Russia and the United States agreed on Tuesday to try to arrange an international conference this month on ending the civil war in Syria, and said both sides in the conflict should take part. (Mladen Antonov/Courtesy Reuters)

Tuesday’s agreement between Moscow and Washington to convene an international conference on Syria raises some obvious questions. After a brutal conflict that has killed more than seventy thousand, is a negotiated peace between government and rebels forces plausible? And even if a settlement can be negotiated, is it likely to hold? Read more »

Beyond Bin Laden: Grading Global Counterterrorism Cooperation

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, May 1, 2013
A vendor walks past a sand sculpture of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden created by Indian sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik on a beach in Puri in the eastern Indian state of Orissa May 2, 2011. Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. helicopter raid on a mansion near the Pakistani capital Islamabad early on Monday, ending a long worldwide hunt for the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States (Stringer/ Courtesy Reuters)

Coauthored with Alexandra Kerr, program coordinator in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

On May 2, 2011, the American people celebrated the news that Osama bin Laden, mastermind behind 9/11 and international symbol of al-Qaeda, had been brought to justice. Addressing the nation that night, President Obama praised the U.S. special forces that killed the terrorist leader in Pakistan, calling bin Laden’s death “the most significant achievement to date” in the United States’ efforts to defeat al-Qaeda. Yet, he cautioned that this victory was not the end of the fight against terrorism: “We must —and we will—remain vigilant at home and abroad.” Read more »