Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

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Showing posts for "Campaign 2012"

Reflections on the Foreign Policy Debate

by Stewart M. Patrick
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama (R) debate in front of moderator Bob Schieffer during the final U.S. presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida on October 22, 2012 (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters). Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama (R) debate in front of moderator Bob Schieffer during the final U.S. presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida on October 22, 2012 (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

The final presidential debate last night shed some light on the two foreign policy paths that the United States might walk for the next four years. For all the sturm and drang of campaign rhetoric, on the biggest issues discussed—the U.S. role in the world, relations with China, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and how to deal with terrorism—there is not too much daylight between these men. But even so, as I’ve written before, there are sources of disagreement—including national defense budgets, democracy promotion, foreign aid, and U.S.-Russian relations that are evidence of their divergent outlooks. Read more »

Obama and Romney on Foreign Policy: Beyond the Rhetoric, Some Genuine Differences

by Stewart M. Patrick
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama during the first 2012 U.S. presidential debate on October 3, 2012 (Michael Reynolds/Courtesy Reuters). Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama during the first 2012 U.S. presidential debate on October 3, 2012 (Michael Reynolds/Courtesy Reuters).

Presidential campaigns should come with a disclaimer: “past promises are no guarantee of future policies.” Candidates are notorious for exaggerating modest differences with opponents, then doing precisely the same thing once elected. Remember Bill Clinton, blasting George H. W. Bush for toasting the “butchers of Beijing,” later cozying up to China. Or a junior senator from Illinois, Senator Obama, who condemned George W. Bush’s “global war on terrorism,” but adopted aggressive homeland security and counterterrorism measures of his own, from extending provisions of the Patriot Act to expanding targeted killings via drone strikes. Read more »

Obama’s Message to the Muslim World at the UN

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York, September 25, 2012 (Keith Bedford/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York, September 25, 2012 (Keith Bedford/Courtesy Reuters).

From the podium at the opening session of the 67th UN General Assembly, President Barack Obama  defended freedom of speech as a human right that must not be infringed and expressed confidence that “the rising tide of liberty”—as witnessed in the Arab spring—“will never be reversed.” His speech was a welcome riposte to demands from Muslim leaders, outraged by a crude video mocking the prophet Mohammed, for global rules against the defamation of religion. At the same time, his address reminded us of how turbulent the “Arab spring” that Obama lauded in last year’s speech had become. Read more »

Obama’s Balancing Act With the Muslim World

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. president Barack Obama delivers a speech in the Grand Hall of Cairo University June 4, 2009. Obama sought a "new beginning" between the United States and the Muslim world (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. president Barack Obama delivers a speech in the Grand Hall of Cairo University June 4, 2009. Obama sought a "new beginning" between the United States and the Muslim world (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters).

Today CFR.org interviewed me about the upcoming opening of the UN General Assembly. One particularly interesting question that Bernard Gwertzman, the CFR consulting editor, asked me, revolved around President Obama’s effort to balance his initial hope to improve relations with the Muslim World with the recent anti-American protests and Afghan “insider” attacks on U.S. coalition troops. It’s a difficult question. As I told Bernie: Read more »

Middle East Turmoil Will Greet Opening of UN General Assembly

by Stewart M. Patrick
A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames. Armed gunmen attacked the compound on Tuesday evening, clashing with Libyan security forces before the latter withdrew as they came under heavy fire. Four American embassy personnel were killed. (Esam Al-Fetori/Courtesy Reuters). A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames. Armed gunmen attacked the compound on Tuesday evening, clashing with Libyan security forces before the latter withdrew as they came under heavy fire. Four American embassy personnel were killed. (Esam Al-Fetori/Courtesy Reuters).

This week, foreign policy took center stage in the presidential campaign, and it appears that it may stay in the conversation for Candidate Romney and President Obama next week as well. Listen to The World Next Week podcast, where Bob McMahon and I discuss the attack in Libya that killed four U.S. embassy personnel, the opening session of the sixty-seventh UN General Assembly, and the improvements of the Human Rights Council: Read more »

Ten Critical Human Rights Issues for the Next President

by Stewart M. Patrick
Human rights activist Ales Belyatsky sits in a guarded cage in a courtroom in Minsk November 24, 2011. A Belarussian court on Thursday sentenced leading human rights activist Belyatsky to 4.5 years in prison on tax evasion charges in a case that the European Union has condemned as politically motivated (Vasily Fedosenko/Courtesy Reuters). Human rights activist Ales Belyatsky sits in a guarded cage in a courtroom in Minsk November 24, 2011. A Belarussian court on Thursday sentenced leading human rights activist Belyatsky to 4.5 years in prison on tax evasion charges in a case that the European Union has condemned as politically motivated (Vasily Fedosenko/Courtesy Reuters).

Last week, twenty-two human rights organizations and activists released a list of the ten most pressing human rights challenges for the next U.S. president. The U.S. president remains one of the most influential public figures in the world—if not the most influential—and the enormity of the challenge to protect human rights around the world should not deter President Obama or President Romney in 2013. As the introduction notes: Read more »

Rubio’s Global Vision: A Lot Like Obama’s

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) gestures as he addresses the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, February 9, 2012. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) gestures as he addresses the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, February 9, 2012. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters)

Senator Marco Rubio, a leading contender to serve as Mitt Romney’s running mate, has a surprisingly centrist foreign policy vision according to his address at the Brookings Institution last Wednesday. Florida’s junior senator sees a world of complex, transnational threats that make it impossible for the United States to hunker down in an isolationist crouch. He recognizes the need for international partnerships. He’s in favor of foreign aid and the defense of human rights. And he believes military force should always be on the table in defending U.S. security. Senator Rubio, meet Barack Obama. Read more »

Dispelling Myths About Foreign Aid

by Stewart M. Patrick
Flood victim Haji Usman holds praying beads as he sits outside his makeshift tent covered by weather sheet donated by USAID in Dadu, Pakistan in September 2010. (Akhtar Soomro/Courtesy Reuters) Flood victim Haji Usman holds praying beads as he sits outside his makeshift tent covered by weather sheet donated by USAID in Dadu, Pakistan in September 2010. (Akhtar Soomro/Courtesy Reuters)

Unsurprisingly, foreign aid has once again become a political football in this year’s primary season. Today’s GOP presidential candidates regularly bash it, echoing “Mr. Republican” Robert Taft—who dismissed overseas assistance more than six decades ago as “pouring money down a rat hole.” Read more »

At the United Nations, Reform for All Seasons

by Stewart M. Patrick

It’s a dirty little secret among supporters of the United Nations: The closer you get to seeing how the sausage is actually made in Turtle Bay, the more you wonder whether the UN-bashers have a point. The entire system is in such dire need of an overhaul—from its encrusted bloc politics and rigid personnel policies to its bureaucratic waste and pockets of cronyism—that even the most dedicated multilateralist may begin to channel his inner John Bolton. The big difference, of course, is that committed multilateralists are dedicated to reforming and strengthening, rather than crippling and weakening, the world body. Speaking last Friday at the Council on Foreign Relations, Ambassador Joseph Torsella, the Obama administration’s point man for UN management reform, explained what the United States is doing to shake up business as usual in New York. Its point of departure, as President Obama has stated, is that the United Nations is both “flawed” and “indispensable.” Read more »