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"

Brexit, Pursued by a Bear: NATO’s Enduring Relevance

by Stewart M. Patrick
Polish, U.S., and British flags are seen during the NATO allies' Anakonda 16 exercise near Torun, Poland, on June 7, 2016. Polish, U.S., and British flags are seen during the NATO allies' Anakonda 16 exercise near Torun, Poland, on June 7, 2016 (Kacper Pempel/Reuters).

The British public’s momentous decision two weeks ago to quit the European Union (EU) continues to reverberate globally. But its geopolitical implications should not be exaggerated. Brexit poses an institutional crisis for the European Union. But it hardly indicates the impending “collapse of the liberal world order,” as some pundits fret. This weekend’s Warsaw summit will remind the world—and Vladimir Putin—that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) remains the real anchor of Western defense, and that the solidarity of the transatlantic alliance need not depend on the fortunes of the European project. Read more »

A Victory for Little England—and National Sovereignty

by Stewart M. Patrick
Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and champion of the "Leave" campaign, speaks during a rally in Manchester, England, on April 15, 2016. Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and champion of the "Leave" campaign, speaks during a rally in Manchester, England, on April 15, 2016 (Andrew Yates/Reuters).

The shocking victory of the “Leave” campaign in Thursday’s referendum was a massive repudiation of the elite-driven European project and a testament to the enduring pull of national sovereignty in an age of global anxiety. It is a momentous decision that will reverberate well beyond the British Isles. Besides posing an immediate, existential crisis for the European Union and the United Kingdom itself, the outcome will embolden skeptics of international institutions and multilateral cooperation in the United States. Read more »

Somewhere Beyond the (South China) Sea: Navigating U.S.-China Competition in Southeast Asia

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Philippine Military Academy cadets leave their boat and go ashore during a joint field training exercise at a training center south of Manila, the Philippines, on May 29, 2013. Philippine Military Academy cadets leave their boat and go ashore during a joint field training exercise at a training center south of Manila, the Philippines, on May 29, 2013 (Romeo Ranoco/Reuters).

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

As the international tribunal at The Hague prepares to issue its much-anticipated ruling on the legality of China’s claims to nearly the entire South China Sea, Beijing and Washington have already begun lobbing rhetorical shots across the bow. “We do not make trouble but we have no fear of trouble,” warned a senior People’s Liberation Army official at the Shangri-La Dialogue earlier this month, in reference to U.S. freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS). U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, for his part, cautioned China against “erecting a great wall of self-isolation” as it continues to construct, expand, and militarize artificial islands in the disputed waters over the objections of its Southeast Asian neighbors. Read more »

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 »