Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

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Showing posts for "U.S. Foreign Policy"

President Obama’s UN Speech: Defending World Order

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the sixty-ninth United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 24, 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the sixty-ninth United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 24, 2014 (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

In one of the most impressive speeches of his presidency, Barack Obama this morning challenged UN member states to join the United States in confronting two “defining challenges”: the return of imperialist aggression and the spread of violent extremism. Read more »

A World of Troubles: Obama at the United Nations

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 24, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 24, 2013 (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters).

In his rookie address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama famously announced “a new era of engagement.” After the tumultuous Bush years, his reception was rapturous, even giddy (remember that Nobel Peace Prize?). Five bruising years later, the president’s dreams of a harmonious, cooperative world have been torn into shreds from Crimea to Syria. This week the aging prize-fighter-in-chief climbs back into the ring at a time of great peril. He must convince both foreign and domestic audiences that the world is not spinning out of control and that the United States is determined to keep it that way. 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 »

Russia Assaults Ukraine—and the Liberal World Order

by Stewart M. Patrick
Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, speaks to the media on August 28, 2014. Zakharchenko claimed that Russian soldiers, on leave from their posts, are fighting Ukrainian troops alongside pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine. Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, speaks to the media on August 28, 2014. Zakharchenko claimed that Russian soldiers, on leave from their posts, are fighting Ukrainian troops alongside pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine (Maxim Shemetov/Courtesy Reuters).

Accummulating reports that more than a thousand Russian troops are now engaged in combat in eastern Ukraine signals the definitive end of the “post-Cold War” world. That phrase, which framed a quarter century in terms of what it was not, was never a felicitous one. But it did come to suggest a new era in which great power frictions were in abeyance, as the focus of world politics shifted to the management of global interdependence, the integration of emerging economies, the disciplining of rogue states, the quarantining of failed ones, and (after 9/11) the interdiction and elimination of non-state terrorist actors. Read more »

Authoritarianism Undercuts Turkish Aspirations

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks before members of parliament from his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara on April 29, 2014. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks before members of parliament from his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara on April 29, 2014 (Umit Bektas/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Isabella Bennett, assistant director of the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

When the Obama administration took office in January 2009, Turkey seemed poised to join the ranks of other rising powers like Brazil and India, as a regional pivot with potentially global role. Sitting at the crossroads of East and West, riding a wave of robust economic growth, and pursuing a policy of “zero problems with neighbors,” Turkey appeared destined to finally realize its potential as a bridge between Western democracies and the Middle East and an enviable model for democratic governance in the Muslim world. Read more »

‘Our Ocean’ Summit: Stemming the Tide of Ocean Degradation

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
A scuba diver swims in the middle of a school of Jet fish near the island of Sipadan in Celebes Sea (Peter Andrews/ Courtesy Reuters). A scuba diver swims in the middle of a school of Jet fish near the island of Sipadan in Celebes Sea (Peter Andrews/ Courtesy Reuters).

Below is a guest post by Alexandra Kerr, program coordinator in the International Institutions and Global Governance Program. Read more »

Obama at West Point: He Likes Ike

by Stewart M. Patrick
West Point Obama Foreign Policy Graduation Speech Commencement U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with graduates during a commencement ceremony at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, May 28, 2014 (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

Twelve years ago, having already decided on a course of war with Iraq, President George W. Bush traveled to the U.S. Military Academy on June 1, 2002, to announce a new doctrine of unilateral “preemption.”  Today his successor Barack Obama delivered a very different message to West Point’s graduating seniors: The true measure of U.S. strength lies not in its capacity to act alone but in its ability to marshall international institutions and lead coalitions to advance common interests. His speech was an eloquent, reasoned defense of moderate internationalism. At the same time, it is unlikely to satisfy either self-styled “realists” who bemoan his failure to set strategic priorities or interventionists who criticize his unwillingness to use military might to advance the cause of freeom. 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 »