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 Law"

Brazil’s Internet Summit: Building Bridges to Avoid “Splinternet”

by Stewart M. Patrick
In this photo illustration, a man holds an iPad with a Facebook application in an office building at the Pudong financial district in Shanghai, September 25, 2013 (Carlos Barria/Courtesy Reuters). In this photo illustration, a man holds an iPad with a Facebook application in an office building at the Pudong financial district in Shanghai, September 25, 2013 (Carlos Barria/Courtesy Reuters).

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

Netizens of the world are in Sao Paulo this week for the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance (April 23-24). The Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br), which organized the gathering in partnership with ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), have high hopes for “NETmundial,” where they hope universal principles for Internet governance will be negotiated. The good news for the United States is that participants seem committed to establishing consensus-based public policies to safeguard the web’s open architecture—as well as to rebooting rather than replacing a multistakeholder governance model that gives equal weight to governments, the private sector, and civil society. Read more »

The Global Debate Over Illegal Drugs Heats Up

by Stewart M. Patrick
Mexican soldiers look as 134 tonnes of marijuana are incinerated at Morelos military base in Tijuana October 20, 2010 (Courtesy Jorge Duenes/Reuters). Mexican soldiers look as 134 tonnes of marijuana are incinerated at Morelos military base in Tijuana October 20, 2010 (Courtesy Jorge Duenes/Reuters).

Having been frozen for four decades, a long-deferred debate over the “war on drugs” is finally heating up. Ever since the Nixon administration, the dominant paradigm informing U.S. and global policy towards narcotics has been prohibition. That failed approach is now being challenged by a slew of influential reports, path-breaking national policies in the Western Hemisphere, and state-level experiments within the United States. Just how turbulent the debate has become was clear at yesterday’s roundtable on the future of international drug policy, hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The United States will need to chart a new policy course if it hopes to retain credibility and influence as global attitudes toward drugs continue to evolve. Read more »

Nuclear Security Summit 2014: How to Make Progress Even After Ukraine

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are seen in this combination photo as they attend the opening ceremony of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague March 24, 2014 (Yves Herman/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are seen in this combination photo as they attend the opening ceremony of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague March 24, 2014 (Yves Herman/Courtesy Reuters).

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

Today, fifty-three countries and four international organizations are gathered in The Hague for the third Nuclear Security Summit. Russia’s annexation of Crimea has cast a shadow over the biannual meeting, threatening to distract delegates from the critical task at hand: following through on their commitments to lock down the world’s unsecured nuclear weapons, fissile material, and related technologies. The summit’s success will depend on whether the participating countries are willing to move beyond the harmonization of national pledges to construct a strong framework for nuclear security, undergirded by more powerful conventions and institutions. Read more »

Crimea: Stop Citing International Law and Start Condemning Russian Expansionism

by Stewart M. Patrick
Participants in a pro-Russian rally wave Russian flags in front of a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin in Simferopol March 17, 2014. Crimea formally applied to join Russia on Monday after its leaders declared a Soviet-style 97-percent result in favour of seceding from Ukraine in a referendum condemned as illegal by Kiev and the West that will trigger immediate sanctions (Sergei Karpukhin/Courtesy Reuters). Participants in a pro-Russian rally wave Russian flags in front of a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin in Simferopol March 17, 2014. Crimea formally applied to join Russia on Monday after its leaders declared a Soviet-style 97-percent result in favour of seceding from Ukraine in a referendum condemned as illegal by Kiev and the West that will trigger immediate sanctions (Sergei Karpukhin/Courtesy Reuters).

Yesterday, Russian president Vladimir Putin pulled off a rigged referendum in which an overwhelming majority of Crimean voters chose union with the Russian Federation. But his victory is far from complete. The West retains a powerful card to play: mobilizing international opposition to deny Russia the international legitimacy it seeks for this naked power play.  U.S. and European leaders have roundly condemned the referendum, citing international law. It would be wiser for the West to shift the terms of the debate away from the legal merits of Russian conduct, and to focus instead on the illegitimacy of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s clear aspirations to expand its territory. 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 »

At Stake in Ukraine: The Future of World Order

by Stewart M. Patrick
Military personnel, believed to be Russian servicemen, march outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in the village of Perevalnoye outside Simferopol March 4, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a robust defence of Russia's actions in Crimea on Tuesday and reserved the right to use force in Ukraine as a last resort, but he sought to ease East-West tension over fears of war in the former Soviet republic (David Mdzinarishvili/Courtesy Reuters). Military personnel, believed to be Russian servicemen, march outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in the village of Perevalnoye outside Simferopol March 4, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a robust defence of Russia's actions in Crimea on Tuesday and reserved the right to use force in Ukraine as a last resort, but he sought to ease East-West tension over fears of war in the former Soviet republic (David Mdzinarishvili/Courtesy Reuters).

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has aptly labeled Ukraine the “biggest crisis in Europe in the twenty-first century.” Indeed, he could have gone further. Read more »

The Obama Administration Must Act Fast to Prevent the Internet’s Fragmentation

by Stewart M. Patrick
A man types on a computer keyboard in Warsaw in this February 28, 2013 illustration file picture. One of the largest ever cyber attacks is slowing global internet services after an organisation blocking ''spam'' content became a target, with some experts saying the disruption could get worse (Kacper Pempel/Courtesy Reuters). A man types on a computer keyboard in Warsaw in this February 28, 2013 illustration file picture. One of the largest ever cyber attacks is slowing global internet services after an organisation blocking ''spam'' content became a target, with some experts saying the disruption could get worse (Kacper Pempel/Courtesy Reuters).

Here in Sydney, Australia, where I’m attending a conference of CFR’s Council of Councils—a global network of prominent think tanks—a dialogue about the future of Internet governance has highlighted brewing controversy about the management of cyberspace. The conversation has convinced me that the Obama administration has a closing window of opportunity to safeguard international support for an open global Internet. It must immediately quicken dialogue with allies and partners to ensure that outrage over the NSA spying program does not result in the irreparable fragmentation of cyberspace. Read more »

The Global Response to Armed Conflict: From Aleppo to Kinshasa

by Stewart M. Patrick
IIGG announces updated Global Governance Monitor (Yurri Erfansyah/Courtesy Reuters). IIGG announces updated Global Governance Monitor (Yurri Erfansyah/Courtesy Reuters).

As the civil war in Syria rages on, and the United States and its international partners appear unable to mobilize a collective response to stem the bloodshed, CFR’s International Institutions and Global Governance program has launched an update to its Global Governance Monitor: Armed Conflict. The revamped multimedia guide uses a new technology platform to track and analyze recent multilateral efforts to prevent, manage, and respond to armed violence around the globe. Combining stunning images and compelling narrative, it identifies the major successes and failures in global conflict mitigation during 2013. Read more »

Spain’s Welcome Retreat on Universal Jurisdiction

by Stewart M. Patrick
Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon waves as he attends the opening of the 130th term of the Argentina's Congressional ordinary sessions inside the Congress building in Buenos Aires March 1, 2012. Spain's Supreme Court cleared former judge Garzon on Monday of overstepping his authority when he ordered an investigation into the murders of more than 100,000 people by forces loyal to late dictator Francisco Franco. Garzon, internationally known for ordering the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998, had been charged with violating a 1977 amnesty on political crimes, passed to ease the transition to democracy after Franco's rule (Marcos Brindicci/Courtesy Reuters). Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon waves as he attends the opening of the 130th term of the Argentina's Congressional ordinary sessions inside the Congress building in Buenos Aires March 1, 2012. Spain's Supreme Court cleared former judge Garzon on Monday of overstepping his authority when he ordered an investigation into the murders of more than 100,000 people by forces loyal to late dictator Francisco Franco. Garzon, internationally known for ordering the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998, had been charged with violating a 1977 amnesty on political crimes, passed to ease the transition to democracy after Franco's rule (Marcos Brindicci/Courtesy Reuters).

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

By voting Tuesday to curb its judges’ authority to exercise universal jurisdiction, Spain’s national parliament has once again thrust the international legal doctrine of universal jurisdiction into the spotlight. The vote came after a Spanish judge issued arrest warrants for former Chinese president Jiang Zemin and four senior Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses committed decades ago in Tibet. The shift in Spain’s stance is an opportunity to reflect on why universal jurisdiction rose to prominence, and whether it is an effective means of furthering the goal of ending impunity for egregious human rights violations. Read more »

In Search of “the International Community”

by Stewart M. Patrick
Members of the United Nations Security Council raise their hands as they vote unanimously to approve a resolution eradicating Syria's chemical arsenal during a Security Council meeting during the 68th United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 27, 2013 (Adrees Latif/Courtesy Reuters). Members of the United Nations Security Council raise their hands as they vote unanimously to approve a resolution eradicating Syria's chemical arsenal during a Security Council meeting during the 68th United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 27, 2013 (Adrees Latif/Courtesy Reuters).

“The international community” is among the most commonly invoked and most frequently vilified phrases in world politics. As Tod Lindberg points out in a new CFR working paper, “Making Sense of the International Community”,  the expression has become a verbal tic of sorts for U.S., foreign, and international officials. Thus, when the stability of post-election Kenya in 2007-2008 was threatened by violence, “the international community” sprang into action. When the repressive Burmese junta kept pro-democracy leader Aung Sang Su Kyi in confinement, “the international community” united in condemnation. When Bashar al-Assad shelled the city of Homs in 2012, “the international community” groped for an appropriate response. And so on. Read more »