Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

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Showing posts for "Regional Organizations"

An Ever-Looser Union

by Stewart M. Patrick
British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives at the EU council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on February 19, 2016, to discuss "Brexit" and the migrant crisis. British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives at the EU council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on February 19, 2016, to discuss "Brexit" and the migrant crisis. (Yves Herman/Reuters)

The European Union is locked in a perpetual state of crisis management. It has had to head off the collapse of the eurozone, deal with waves of undocumented migrants, and now come to terms with a renewed terrorist threat, underscored by the recent attacks in Brussels. On top of all this, the EU confronts the real possibility of a British exit, or Brexit, which depends on the outcome of a public referendum in the United Kingdom in June. The European idea, which has helped to inspire the continent’s integration since World War II, may be the next casualty. 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 »

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 »

Economic Coalition of the Willing: The OECD and Emerging Powers

by Stewart M. Patrick
A view of the OECD Conference Centre entrance in Paris, France, January 2011. A view of the OECD Conference Centre entrance in Paris, France, January 2011 (Michael Dean/OECD).

In an article just published by Foreign Affairs, Naomi Egel and I argue that the OECD’s approach to engaging emerging powers as “key partners” is a smart way to remain relevant as the global balance of power shifts. Other multilateral organizations should learn from its example. Read more »

African Union Peace Operations: From Rhetoric to Reality

by Stewart M. Patrick
An African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) soldier stands guard atop an armored vehicle in Mogadishu, Somalia, November 2013. An African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) soldier stands guard atop an armored vehicle in Mogadishu, Somalia, November 2013 (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters).

—Djibouti, East Africa

The slogan of “African solutions to African problems” has long been a seductive mantra, attractive to African and Western governments alike. The phrase suggests a new era of continental responsibility in which African countries themselves—rather than former colonial powers, the United States, or even the United Nations (UN)—play a bigger role in delivering regional peace and security. The vision of a self-confident, united, and capable Africa has obvious attractions on the continent. But it also appeals to Washington, which increasingly views instability and violence within Africa’s many fragile states as enabling conditions for terrorists and violent extremists ranging from Boko Haram to al-Shabab to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Read more »

NATO Membership Has Its Privileges (Unfortunately Ukraine Won’t See Them)

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. president Barack Obama and his Estonian counterpart, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, review troops during Obama's visit to Tallinn, Estonia, on September 3, 2014. U.S. president Barack Obama and his Estonian counterpart, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, review troops during Obama's visit to Tallinn, Estonia, on September 3, 2014 (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters).

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is the most egregious effort since World War II to forcibly alter the borders of a sovereign European state. It is also the biggest test of Western resolve since the Cold War ended a quarter century ago. If history is any guide, at this week’s summit in Wales, President Obama and fellow NATO leaders are unlikely to extend significant assistance to Ukraine, and will probably instead focus on providing reassurance to the alliance’s own membership. Read more »

NATO: Suddenly Relevant, Deeply Divided

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during an interview at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels on August 11, 2014. NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during an interview at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels on August 11, 2014 (Yves Herman/Courtesy Reuters).

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

Latin America Charts Its Own Course: Reflections on the Mexico City CoC Meeting

by Stewart M. Patrick
Secretary General of the OAS José Miguel Insulza delivers a keynote speech at the Council of Councils Fifth Regional Conference in Mexico City, at a dinner hosted in the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. November 25, 2013. Secretary General of the OAS José Miguel Insulza delivers a keynote speech at the Council of Councils Fifth Regional Conference in Mexico City, at a dinner hosted in the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. November 25, 2013.

For more than two centuries the United States has loomed—for good and ill—over its southern neighbors. But that longstanding hegemonic role is fading. After two decades of robust growth and democratic consolidation, Latin America is increasingly charting its own course, not only in the hemisphere but, increasingly, around the globe. The diverse and dynamic region below the Rio Grande may still be America’s “backyard”, but it’s no backwater. And it’s evident that the United States is only beginning to adjust to these realities. Read more »

Wherefore Art Thou ASEAN? Typhoon Haiyan’s Teachable Moment

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
A survivor carries plastic jugs as he searches for fresh water in an area devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippine city of Tacloban on November 18, 2013 (Damir Sagolj/Courtesy Reuters). A survivor carries plastic jugs as he searches for fresh water in an area devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippine city of Tacloban on November 18, 2013 (Damir Sagolj/Courtesy Reuters).

Below is a guest post by Jeffrey Wrightresearch associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

On November 8, Typhoon Haiyan blasted through the heart of the Philippines, leaving thousands dead and the country’s midsection flattened. One of the most powerful storms in recorded history, Haiyan carved a path of destruction reminiscent of the Asian tsunami in 2004 that demolished Indonesia’s Aceh province and other coastal areas in the Bay of Bengal. Similar to that disaster, the poorest citizens bore the brunt of calamity in the archipelago, their matchstick homes and enterprises reduced to rubble. Read more »