Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

The Group of Eight Summit: One Pillar of Today’s “G-x World”

by Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, June 13, 2013
The Lough Erne Golf Resort, where the G8 summit will be held next week, is seen in County Fermanagh June 10, 2013 (Cathal McNaughton/ Courtesy Reuters). The Lough Erne Golf Resort, where the G8 summit will be held next week, is seen in County Fermanagh June 10, 2013 (Cathal McNaughton/ Courtesy Reuters).

It has become conventional to assert, following Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer, that we live in a “G-Zero World.” The international system lacks global leadership. Rather than concerting efforts in common endeavors, we are told, every nation is out for itself. In fact, the “G-Zero” label is misleading—a barren caricature of the rich landscape of international cooperation that actually does exist. What is distinctive about our era is not the absence of multilateralism, but its astonishing diversity and flexibility. When it comes to collective action, states are no longer focusing solely or even primarily on universal, treaty-based institutions like the United Nations—or even on a single apex forum like the Group of Twenty (G20). Instead, governments have adopted an ad hoc approach, coalescing in a bewildering array of issue-specific and sometimes transient bodies depending on their situational interests, shared values, and relevant capabilities. Welcome to the “G-x” world. Read more »

R2P on Life Support: Humanitarian Norms vs. Practical Realities in Syria

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, June 12, 2013
A United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping soldier uses binoculars to watch the fighting between forces loyal to the Syrian regime and rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, near the Quneitra border crossing, close to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria June 7, 2013 (Ammar Awad/Courtesy Reuters).

Thirty-five years ago, U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski famously declared that the doctrine of détente “lies buried in the sands of Ogaden.” By exporting revolution to the Horn of Africa, he implied, Moscow had abandoned norms of peaceful coexistence, as well as prospects for the SALT treaty. One wonders if a more recent would-be doctrine, the “responsibility to protect” (R2P), is destined to suffer a similar fate. Two years ago, the UN Security Council seemed to vindicate this new norm, by authorizing “all necessary means” to protect Libyan civilians against strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi. Today, R2P clings to life support in Syria, as the civilian body count there mounts to appalling levels. Read more »

Understanding the New Frontier: Internet Governance Trade-Offs

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Server rooms and Internet exchanges serve as the physical infrastructure of our global network. Recent efforts to bring this infrastructure under sovereign control have been rebuffed thus far with further challenges likely to follow (Lisi Niesner/Courtesy Reuters).

Below is a guest post by Andrew Reddie, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

The nation could be forgiven its current case of technological whiplash. Last week it learned that the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court  had ordered Verizon to collect all of its customers’ data between January and April of this year. Then came Ed Snowden’s claims of the massive breadth of the NSA’s PRISM program, and the news that Microsoft has, along with the FBI, neutralized over ten thousand botnets in “Operation Citadel.” These revelations suggested that the boundaries between privacy and the surveillance state had shifted fundamentally, with profound legal, security, and social ramifications. Read more »

The Future of Internet Governance: 90 Places to Start

by Stewart M. Patrick Monday, June 10, 2013
A map is displayed on one of the screens at the Air Force Space Command Network Operations & Security Center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado July 20, 2010. U.S. national security planners are proposing that the 21st century's critical infrastructure—power grids, communications, water utilities, financial networks—be similarly shielded from cyber marauders and other foes (Rick Wilking/Courtesy Reuters).

The open, global Internet, which has created untold wealth and empowered billions of individuals, is in jeopardy. Around the world, “nations are reasserting sovereignty and territorializing cyberspace” to better control the political, economic, social activities of their citizens, and the content they can access. These top-down efforts undermine the Internet’s existing decentralized, multi-stakeholder system of governance and threaten its fragmentation into multiple national intranets. To preserve an open system that reflects its interests and values while remaining both secure and resilient, the United States must unite a coalition of like-minded states committed to free expression and free markets and prepared to embrace new strategies to combat cyber crime and rules to govern cyber warfare. Read more »

Global Development 2.0: Assessing a New UN Roadmap

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, June 5, 2013
British Prime Minister David Cameron (L), and Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (R), prepare for the second day of the meeting of the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda at United Nations headquarters in New York (Richard Drew/Courtesy Reuters).

Last week the UN’s latest “High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons” released a long-awaited report on global development. The resulting document—A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development—is not only a good read, it’s also a compelling blueprint for extending prosperity to the world’s poor. Read more »