Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

A Victory for Little England—and National Sovereignty

by Stewart M. Patrick Friday, June 24, 2016
Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and champion of the "Leave" campaign, speaks during a rally in Manchester, England, on April 15, 2016. Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and champion of the "Leave" campaign, speaks during a rally in Manchester, England, on April 15, 2016 (Andrew Yates/Reuters).

The shocking victory of the “Leave” campaign in Thursday’s referendum was a massive repudiation of the elite-driven European project and a testament to the enduring pull of national sovereignty in an age of global anxiety. It is a momentous decision that will reverberate well beyond the British Isles. Besides posing an immediate, existential crisis for the European Union and the United Kingdom itself, the outcome will embolden skeptics of international institutions and multilateral cooperation in the United States. Read more »

Somewhere Beyond the (South China) Sea: Navigating U.S.-China Competition in Southeast Asia

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, June 23, 2016
Philippine Military Academy cadets leave their boat and go ashore during a joint field training exercise at a training center south of Manila, the Philippines, on May 29, 2013. Philippine Military Academy cadets leave their boat and go ashore during a joint field training exercise at a training center south of Manila, the Philippines, on May 29, 2013 (Romeo Ranoco/Reuters).

Coauthored with Daniel Chardell, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

As the international tribunal at The Hague prepares to issue its much-anticipated ruling on the legality of China’s claims to nearly the entire South China Sea, Beijing and Washington have already begun lobbing rhetorical shots across the bow. “We do not make trouble but we have no fear of trouble,” warned a senior People’s Liberation Army official at the Shangri-La Dialogue earlier this month, in reference to U.S. freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS). U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, for his part, cautioned China against “erecting a great wall of self-isolation” as it continues to construct, expand, and militarize artificial islands in the disputed waters over the objections of its Southeast Asian neighbors. Read more »

Multilateralism is Hard to Do

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, June 9, 2016
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 28, 2015. (Mike Segar/Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 28, 2015. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

The following is a guest post by Naomi Egelresearch associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

From the lack of any substantial outcome at the World Humanitarian Summit to the failure to reform the UN Security Council (or even the World Health Organization), multilateral cooperation often seems more an aspiration than a reality today. To assess looming challenges to the liberal world order and how the United States should respond, the International Institutions and Global Governance program last month cohosted the Sixth Princeton Workshop on Global Governance. The conclusions were far more somber than last year’s event, where participants anticipated that international cooperation might get messier, but would surely continue. This time around, the assembled academics and policymakers fretted that rising geopolitical competition abroad and surging domestic populism posed grave threats to multilateralism. Read more »

Let the Sunshine in: Increasing Transparency in UN Elections

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Monday, June 6, 2016
A United Nations flag flies on a mast at their European headquarters in Geneva. (Denis Balibouse/Reuters) A United Nations flag flies on a mast at their European headquarters in Geneva. (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

The following is a guest post by Megan Roberts, associate director of the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, or so the saying goes. While New York and Washington, DC, have been drenched with rain over the past month, the sun is beginning to shine again in both cities. Light is also beginning to shine inside the United Nations, at least when it comes to high-level appointments.  For the first time, the next UN secretary-general (SG), director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), and nonpermanent members of the Security Council will all be selected through more transparent procedures. Read more »

World Humanitarian Summit: One Small Step in a Long Journey

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shake hands following the closing news conference during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, May 24, 2016. (Murad Sezer /Reuters) Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shake hands following the closing news conference during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, May 24, 2016. (Murad Sezer /Reuters)

Coauthored with Theresa Lou, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) concluded this week in Istanbul with mixed results. Although a few significant initiatives emerged, including on financing and education, the summit made little headway on other urgent priorities. These include mobilizing a new crop of humanitarian donors, ensuring compliance with the 1951 Refugee Convention, and getting states to uphold international humanitarian law, including the safety of relief workers. Progress on these fronts will await the opening of the seventy-first session of the UN General Assembly in September, when world leaders convene for real intergovernmental negotiations. The Istanbul summit was merely the first step in mobilizing global attention and political will on the need to rescue a world in flight. Read more »

Why the State of the World Is Better Than You Think

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, May 17, 2016
A podium is pictured at the World Climate Change Conference (COP21) is pictured in Paris, France, on November 29, 2015. A podium is pictured at the World Climate Change Conference (COP21) is pictured in Paris, France, on November 29, 2015 (Christian Hartmann/Reuters).

Coauthored with Megan Roberts, associate director of the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Given global headlines, you might think the world is terribly off course. Geopolitical rivalry threatens stability from Eastern Europe to the South China Sea. Jihadi terrorists sow mayhem throughout the Middle East. A scary virus emerges in Latin America, spreading across borders. A Brazilian president is brought down, as the Panama Papers expose corruption in other lands. Publics everywhere, alienated by yawning inequality and anemic growth, vent their frustration at a system rigged for moneyed elites. Populist politicians, sensing the sour mood, promise to reverse globalization by building walls to keep out foreigners and abandoning trade agreements. Read more »

Global Mexico: From Principles to Interests

by Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, May 5, 2016
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto looks toward U.S. President Barack Obama during their meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2015. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto looks toward U.S. President Barack Obama during their meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2015 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters).

On this Cinco de Mayo, raise a toast to “Global Mexico.” After decades of defining its international role with reference to the United States, Mexico is looking further afield. The government of President Enrique Peña Nieto is groping for a new strategic vision appropriate for a nation whose commercial, political, and cultural links extend far beyond its northern neighbor. Read more »

World Order: What, Exactly, are the Rules?

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin sit for photographs during the Yalta Conference in February 1945. Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin sit for photographs during the Yalta Conference in February 1945 (Courtesy Imperial War Museums).

The international rules-based order established after World War II seems to be under relentless pressure, threatening its foundations existentially. If so, what if anything can be done to reinvigorate it? This question raises several others a priori. First, what are the most distinctive attributes of the post-1945 world order; how did that order come into being; and what explains its longevity? Second, what forces are now placing this order under strain? Third, what aspects of today’s order are most vulnerable—and which are most resilient? Fourth, what principles, frameworks, and objectives should guide U.S. policy toward world order going forward? In my new article in The Washington Quarterly, I aim to answer those fundamental questions. Read more »

Thy Neighbor’s Keeper: Improving Global Humanitarian Response

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, April 28, 2016
Migrants and refugees sit on a railway track at a makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece, April 3, 2016. (Marko Djurica/Reuters) Migrants and refugees sit on a railway track at a makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece, April 3, 2016. (Marko Djurica/Reuters)

Coauthored with Theresa Lou, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

A record-setting sixty-million individuals are currently displaced due to violent conflict. While the world’s attention has been gripped by the million who have reached Europe’s shores over the past year, the global crisis of displacement is vastly greater in scope. In anticipation of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey in May 2016, the International Institutions and Global Governance program held a workshop to diagnose shortcomings of the current humanitarian regime and propose recommendations for its reform. Here are five important takeaways. Read more »

The Peace Imperative: Creating Sustainable Peace through Gender Inclusion

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Democratic Forces of Syria women fighters gesture while riding a pick-up truck near the town of al-Shadadi in the Hasaka countryside of Syria on February 18, 2016. Democratic Forces of Syria women fighters gesture while riding a pick-up truck near the town of al-Shadadi in the Hasaka countryside of Syria on February 18, 2016 (Rodi Said/Reuters).

Coauthored with Erin Sielaff, intern in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The United Nations is attempting to restart yet another set of peace talks in Syria and Yemen, two deeply conflicted states. After years of struggling to foster a negotiated peace, hopes are high that these latest rounds will be successful. The more likely scenario is that they end like their numerous predecessors—in failure. Read more »