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 Humanitarian Assistance"

Fiddling in Yemen: A Messy War’s Lessons for Global Conflict Management

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Protesters demonstrate against the Saudi-led air strikes outside the United Nations offices in Sana'a, Yemen, on November 2, 2015. Protesters demonstrate against the Saudi-led air strikes outside the United Nations offices in Sana'a, Yemen, on November 2, 2015 (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters).

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

As the world watches Syria burn, a tiny glimmer of hope shines in Yemen. Today, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee disclosed that it will use new oversight powers to more closely monitor U.S. weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, which for nine months has been carrying out a brutal campaign against Houthi rebels that’s left thousands of civilians dead. The news comes on the heels of an announcement earlier this week by Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, that he would begin a renewed push for peace talks in Geneva next week. To be sure, near-term prospects for peace are low, given the conflicting interests of Saudi Arabia and Iran and the growing presence of both al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Even so, the United States should welcome the UN’s latest initiative. More broadly, it should consider what Yemen teaches about the limits of backing proxy interventions—and the need to build up the UN’s multilateral conflict management capabilities. Read more »

Civil-Military Cooperation in International Health Crises

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. soldiers practice the proper way to remove protective gloves at Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on October 23, 2014, prior to their deployment to Africa as part of the U.S. military response to the Ebola crisis. U.S. soldiers practice the proper way to remove protective gloves at Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on October 23, 2014, prior to their deployment to Africa as part of the U.S. military response to the Ebola crisis (Rick Wilking/Reuters).

The following is a guest post by my colleague Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Ebola epidemic demonstrated not only the human devastation wrought by lethal infectious disease, but also the broad coalition of actors needed to combat the outbreak. In Liberia, the U.S. military provided logistical and medical support that was integral to stemming the Ebola epidemic. How did armed forces interact and cooperate with civil society and government workers on the ground? What lessons can we learn from civil-military relations during the Ebola outbreak to guide us in future international health crises? Read more »

Après Paris: Reverberations of the Terrorist Attacks

by Stewart M. Patrick
In a French poster popularized during World War I, a French soldier carries a gun and encourages his countrymen under the phrase "On les aura!" or "We will have them!" In a French poster popularized during World War I, a French soldier carries a gun and encourages his countrymen under the phrase "On les aura!" or "We will have them!" (Abel Faivre/Library of Congress).

Following Friday’s horrific assault on Paris—the world’s most vibrant monument to the open society—there is a welcome global determination to crush the Islamic State. There can be no negotiation with this apocalyptic movement. The international response against the perpetrators must be, in the words of French President François Hollande, “pitiless.” Achieving this aim will require a broad coalition, including not only NATO allies but also strange bedfellows like Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. There will be necessary debates, of course—about whether to introduce Western (including U.S.) ground forces in Syria and Iraq, about whether to treat the Assad regime as an enemy, bystander, or partner in this effort, and about how the West can escalate its involvement without sparking the global religious war that ISIS desires. An effective response will require the Obama administration to be out in front: there must be no leading from behind in this effort. Read more »

World on the Move: Understanding Europe’s Migration Crisis

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Migrants gesture as they stand in the main Eastern Railway station in Budapest, Hungary, on September 1, 2015. Migrants gesture as they stand in the main Eastern Railway station in Budapest, Hungary, on September 1, 2015 (Laszlo Balogh/Reuters).

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

The migration crisis of 2015 makes for somber reading. Seven hundred migrants drowned crossing the Mediterranean from war-torn Libya. Last week, Austrian authorities made the grisly discovery of seventy-one corpses in a truck. Most recently, the body of a three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach, sparking international outcry. Read more »

Senator Rubio and U.S. “Leadership”: Three Questions for the Candidate

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio announces his 2016 presidential campaign at the Freedom Tower in Miami, Florida, on April 13, 2015. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio announces his 2016 presidential campaign at the Freedom Tower in Miami, Florida, on April 13, 2015 (Joe Skipper/Courtesy Reuters).

The decision by Marco Rubio to seek the Republican presidential nomination is audacious. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the first-term senator from Florida. As the current occupant of the White House attests, a thin political resume is no barrier to the highest office in the land when you have charisma and a compelling biography. Read more »

Limiting the Security Council Veto in the Face of Mass Atrocities

by Stewart M. Patrick
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius speaks at a session of the UN Security Council on September 19, 2014. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius speaks at a session of the UN Security Council on September 19, 2014 (Shannon Stapleton/Courtesy Reuters).

PARIS — The veto held by the five permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council is one of the most contentious rules of the United Nations. It was included in the UN Charter of 1945 as the explicit price for agreement among the P5—the members that bore the greatest responsibility for maintaining world order—to establish the UN in the first place. However, the veto has repeatedly stymied the Security Council in the face of mass atrocities, despite unanimous endorsement by all UN member states of their individual and collective responsibility to protect (R2P) all people from crimes against humanity. Read more »

A Massive Humanitarian Failure in Syria

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
A Syrian girl carries bread in the Bab al-Salam refugee camp in Azaz, near the Syrian-Turkish border, October 27, 2014. A Syrian girl carries bread in the Bab al-Salam refugee camp in Azaz, near the Syrian-Turkish border, October 27, 2014 (Hosam Katan/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Shervin Ghaffari, intern in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Read more »

Ebola Reveals Gaps in Global Epidemic Response

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Health workers screen patients for the Ebola virus at a local government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, on June 30, 2014. Health workers screen patients for the Ebola virus at a local government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, on June 30, 2014 (Tommy Trenchard/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Daniel Chardell, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.
Read more »

Voting Against Accountability for Syria

by Stewart M. Patrick
Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin votes in the United Nations Security Council against referring the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court for investigation of possible war crimes at the U.N. headquarters in New York May 22, 2014 (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters). Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin votes in the United Nations Security Council against referring the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court for investigation of possible war crimes at the U.N. headquarters in New York May 22, 2014 (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Claire Schachter, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

Today the UN Security Council voted on a French draft resolution referring the situation in Syria—where government forces have systematically slaughtered civilians—to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Russia and China vetoed the resolution. While not surprising, the double veto is enormously frustrating to those demanding a stronger international response to war crimes in Syria. To some observers, the failure of this referral may signal the impossibility of ensuring accountability in a context of geopolitical rivalry. But the Obama administration’s decision to support the resolution, even in the face of near certain defeat, was appropriate and necessary—appropriate in light of its evolving relationship with the ICC and necessary given its limited options for ending the conflict in Syria. Read more »

Syria and the Global Humanitarian Crisis

by Stewart M. Patrick
Syrian refugee children play at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq (Muhammad Hamed/ Courtesy Reuters). Syrian refugee children play at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq (Muhammad Hamed/ Courtesy Reuters).

Three years after the outbreak of war in Syria, the agony only deepens for its civilian population. The conflict has already killed 140,000, forced 9.5 million­­—44 percent of the nation’s prewar inhabitants—to abandon their homes, and led some 2.5 million Syrians to flee to neighboring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq. Syrian refugees now constitute more than 20 percent of Lebanon’s population, on top of 400,000 Palestinian refugees already present. In January, the United Nations sponsored a conference in Kuwait City, requesting that international donors provide $6.5 billion in emergency assistance for the victims of the Syria conflict—a figure dwarfing any previous humanitarian appeal. The scale of this effort underscores the magnitude of the human tragedy in Syria. It also points to broader strains and dilemmas confronting the humanitarian enterprise globally. Read more »