Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

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Showing posts for "International Cooperation"

Why the State of the World Is Better Than You Think

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
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 »

World Order: What, Exactly, are the Rules?

by Stewart M. Patrick
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
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 »

This Is Your UN on Drugs: From Prohibition to Flexibility in Counternarcotics Policy

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
A Mexican Federal Judicial policeman carries uprooted marijuana plants towards a bonfire as smoke fills a clandestine plantation some four miles east of Santa Cruz de Alaya, in Sinaloa state. (Reuters photographer/Reuters) A Mexican Federal Judicial policeman carries uprooted marijuana plants towards a bonfire as smoke fills a clandestine plantation some four miles east of Santa Cruz de Alaya, in Sinaloa state. (Reuters photographer/Reuters)

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

World leaders gather at the United Nations this week (April 19-21) for the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem. This is the first such event since 1998, when member states committed themselves to policies aimed at eliminating illegal drugs by 2008. Trillions of taxpayer dollars and many destroyed lives later, that goal remains elusive—and illusory. This year’s UNGASS offers an overdue opportunity to rethink the war on drugs, and to appreciate how much attitudes have changed over the last eighteen years. Simply put, the longstanding global consensus behind prohibition is fracturing. Though there is little appetite to overhaul the three main international treaties—the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Expanded Convention, and the 1988 Convention against Drug Trafficking—a growing number of governments are calling for greater national flexibility in interpreting and enforcing these international obligations. Read more »

The Nuclear Security Summits: Welcoming Strangers Bearing Gifts

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. President Barack Obama walks onstage for his press conference at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, on April 1, 2016. U.S. President Barack Obama walks onstage for his press conference at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, on April 1, 2016 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters).

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

The nuclear security summits, one of President Obama’s greatest legacies, have unquestionably made the world safer by reducing global quantities of fissile materials and improving the security of existing nuclear and radioactive materials. When President Obama hosted the first such summit in 2010, there was plenty of skepticism about what an ad hoc gathering of heads of state could accomplish. But that meeting surpassed expectations—as did subsequent ones in Seoul in 2012 and The Hague in 2014. World leaders arrived at each summit with meaningful pledges to lock up the world’s most dangerous materials—and they followed through on them. The fourth (and last) summit, held just two weeks ago (March 31-April 1, 2016) in Washington, went even further. It established mechanisms to ensure continued progress on nuclear security without summitry. Read more »

The Race to Be UN Secretary-General: Five Questions for the Candidates

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon waves as he arrives at the donors Conference for Syria in London, Britain,  on February 4, 2016. (Toby Melville/Reuters) United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon waves as he arrives at the donors Conference for Syria in London, Britain, on February 4, 2016. (Toby Melville/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.

Next week the United Nations General Assembly will begin a series of informal meetings with candidates for the next secretary-general (SG). The official list of those seeking the United Nations’ top spot is beginning to take shape. Though still far from a truly open and competitive process, this year’s race to succeed current Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is already very different from the past. Read more »

The Tragic Irony of Syria: The System “Worked”

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power speaks with her Russian counterpart, Vitaly Churkin, before the UN Security Council votes on a resolution—which Russia goes on to veto—regarding the Ukrainian crisis on March 15, 2014. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power speaks with her Russian counterpart, Vitaly Churkin, before the UN Security Council votes on a resolution—which Russia goes on to veto—regarding the Ukrainian crisis on March 15, 2014 (Andrew Kelly/Reuters).

For nearly five years, the UN Security Council has failed to end Syria’s suffering. The numbers are numbing: The war has claimed 250,000 lives and displaced over 50 percent of Syria’s prewar population of twenty-two million. The grinding conflict has deepened sectarian turmoil in the region and created the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophe. The tragedy has also laid bare an inconvenient truth about the inherent limits of the Security Council in an era of great power rivalry. Because in Syria, the system worked—just not for the Syrian people. Read more »

Making Sense of “Minilateralism”: The Pros and Cons of Flexible Cooperation

by Stewart M. Patrick
The leaders of the Council of the European Union, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Japan, China, and the EU Commission meet on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on March 24, 2014. The leaders of the Council of the European Union, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Japan, China, and the EU Commission meet on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on March 24, 2014 (Jerry Lampen/Reuters).

A defining feature of twenty-first century multilateralism is the rising prominence of alternative forms of collective action as complements to—and often substitutes for—traditional intergovernmental cooperation. Conventional bodies—chief among them, the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions—may persist, but states increasingly participate in a bewildering array of flexible, ad hoc frameworks whose membership varies based on situational interests, shared values, or relevant capabilities. These institutions are often “minilateral” rather than universal; voluntary rather than legally binding; disaggregated rather than comprehensive; trans-governmental rather than just intergovernmental; regional rather than global; multi-level and multi-stakeholder rather than state-centric; and “bottom-up” rather than “top-down.” We see this across issue areas, from the Group of Seven (G7) and Group of Twenty (G20) in the realm of economic cooperation, to the growing importance of regional organizations like the African Union and ASEAN, to the emergence of alternative international financial institutions, like the BRICS New Development Bank. Read more »

2016: Seven Summits to Watch

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and other leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations sit together at the forum's 2015 summit in Germany. U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and other leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations sit together at the forum's 2015 summit in Germany (Michael Kappeler/Reuters).

From the breakthrough at the Paris climate change conference to the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals at the UN General Assembly, summits in 2015 heralded major progress in international cooperation. As we ring in the New Year, it’s time to look at what lies ahead for global summitry. Read more »

The Other Election to Watch in 2016: Selecting the Next UN Secretary-General

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the sixty-fifth session of the UNHCR's Executive Committee meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on October 1, 2014. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the sixty-fifth session of the UNHCR's Executive Committee meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on October 1, 2014 (Pierre Albouy/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.

As the scrum of U.S. presidential candidates clamors for attention, another important election kicked off on Tuesday: the selection of the next secretary-general (SG) of the United Nations. As Ban Ki-Moon prepares to step down at the end of 2016, after two five-year terms UN watchers have been speculating for months about his successor—and the process by which he (or she) will be elected. After eight male secretaries-general, pressure is mounting for a woman to take the helm in Turtle Bay. Many expect Ban’s replacement to hail from Eastern Europe, the only region that has not filled the post. Whoever succeeds Ban will confront a daunting global humanitarian crisis, resurgent great power politics, and unprecedented strains on UN peacekeeping. She or he will need to sustain global momentum behind the Paris climate agreement and the recently agreed Sustainable Development Goals, while deftly responding to fast moving crises throughout the world. Read more »