Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

Europe’s Future—and the World’s: Highlights From the Rome CoC Meeting

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Rome's ancient forum lies at the heart of the Italian capital. The Council of Councils Third Regional Conference took place in Rome on September 8-10, 2013 (Stewart Patrick). Rome's ancient forum lies at the heart of the Italian capital. The Council of Councils Third Regional Conference took place in Rome on September 8-10, 2013 (Stewart Patrick).

Last month in Rome CFR cosponsored the first European meeting of the Council of Councils (CoC), a global network of twenty-four prominent think tanks. The setting provided an fitting backdrop to discuss the yawning chasm between today’s surging global threats and the anemic multilateral defenses designed to address them. We met in the gleaming Italian Foreign Ministry, but the parlous state of global governance recalled the crumbling pillars and walls of the nearby Forum and Coliseum—the structures of a once mighty empire laid low by time and change. Read more »

Start Spreading the News: Can Cities Govern the World?

by Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, October 17, 2013
Mayors (L- R) Eckart Wurzner of Heidelberg, Franklyn Tau of Johannesburg, Won Soon Park of Seoul, Eduardo Paes of Rio de Janeiro, Michael Bloomberg of New York, Babatunde Fashola of Lagos, Gilberto Kassab of Sao Paulo and Eduardo Macri of Buenos Aires pose for picture during the Rio+C40 Megacity Mayors Taking Action on Climate Change event in Rio de Janeiro (Sergio Moraes/ Courtesy Reuters). Mayors (L- R) Eckart Wurzner of Heidelberg, Franklyn Tau of Johannesburg, Won Soon Park of Seoul, Eduardo Paes of Rio de Janeiro, Michael Bloomberg of New York, Babatunde Fashola of Lagos, Gilberto Kassab of Sao Paulo and Eduardo Macri of Buenos Aires pose for picture during the Rio+C40 Megacity Mayors Taking Action on Climate Change event in Rio de Janeiro (Sergio Moraes/ Courtesy Reuters).

Benjamin Barber doesn’t just love cities. He’s convinced they hold the secret to effective, democratic global governance. As nation-states and international institutions flail in addressing transnational issues, today’s dynamic urban centers are poised to fill the breach. Such is the message of Barber’s lively and provocative new book, If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities. He overstates his case, but his arguments are original and thought-provoking. Read more »

The 2013 Nobel Message: Hold the Line Against Chemical Weapons

by Stewart M. Patrick Friday, October 11, 2013
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director General Ahmet Uzumcu speaks during a news conference in The Hague October 11, 2013. The OPCW, which is overseeing the destruction's of Syria's arsenal, won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday. Set up in 1997 to eliminate all chemicals weapons worldwide, its mission gained critical importance this year after a sarin gas strike in the suburbs of Damascus killed more than 1,400 people in August (Michel Kooren/Courtesy Reuters). Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director General Ahmet Uzumcu speaks during a news conference in The Hague October 11, 2013. The OPCW, which is overseeing the destruction's of Syria's arsenal, won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday. Set up in 1997 to eliminate all chemicals weapons worldwide, its mission gained critical importance this year after a sarin gas strike in the suburbs of Damascus killed more than 1,400 people in August (Michel Kooren/Courtesy Reuters).

In awarding this year’s Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Norwegian Nobel Committee had three clear objectives. The first was to reinforce the global taboo against chemical weapons, violated by the large-scale sarin gas attack on civilians in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, which the Obama Administration says was launched by Syrian government forces. The second was to bolster the work of OPCW inspectors newly arrived in Syria as they seek to locate, quarantine, and destroy that country’s one thousand ton arsenal. The third was to chastise international laggards, including the United States and Russia, who have failed eliminate their remaining stockpiles of these horrific weapons. Read more »

Missing the Boat to Indonesia: Shortchanging a Strategic Partner

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a U.S.-Indonesia bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Nusa Dua, on the Indonesian resort island of Bali October 8, 2013 (Beawiharta/ Courtesy Reuters). Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a U.S.-Indonesia bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Nusa Dua, on the Indonesian resort island of Bali October 8, 2013 (Beawiharta/ Courtesy Reuters).

An unfortunate casualty of President Obama’s cancelled trip to Asia was the missed opportunity to cement stronger U.S. ties with Indonesia, the emerging giant of Southeast Asia. The bilateral relationship will survive, of course, as will the “comprehensive partnership” the two countries launched in 2010. But the president’s no-show for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bali deprived the United States of a symbolic occasion to highlight how much unites these two boisterous democracies. It also sowed doubts among Indonesian elites about how seriously they should take the U.S. “pivot” to Asia, at a time when the United States and China are offering competing visions of the region’s future. The Obama administration should recall that the key to success in diplomacy (as in life, according to Woody Allen) is mostly just showing up. Read more »