Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "U.S. Sovereignty"

More Treaty Gridlock: Another Impact of GOP Senate Takeover

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a news conference on the day after he was re-elected to the U.S. Senate at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 5, 2014. U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a news conference on the day after he was re-elected to the U.S. Senate at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 5, 2014 (John Sommers II/Courtesy Reuters).

The Republican takeover of the Senate reduces the chance that the United States will ratify any important multilateral treaties over the next two years. Facing a GOP-controlled legislature, President Obama will focus his executive authority on salvaging what remains of his domestic agenda, rather than playing hardball in the field of foreign policy.With the exception of trade agreements—endorsed by incoming majority leader Mitch McConnell—don’t look for any movement on treaties. 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 »

“Still Ours to Lead:” Bruce Jones Explains Why the World Still Looks to the United States

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. president Barak Obama surrounded by leaders during the NATO summit in Lisbon, November 19, 2010.  (Yves Herman /Courtesy Reuters) U.S. president Barak Obama surrounded by leaders during the NATO summit in Lisbon, November 19, 2010. (Yves Herman /Courtesy Reuters)

Manifestoes about U.S. “decline,” have become a publishing juggernaut. But this literature is demolished in a beautifully written, persuasive new book from Bruce Jones, the Brookings Institution senior fellow. In Still Ours to Lead: America, Rising Powers, and the Tension between Rivalry and Restraint, Jones explains that the declinists have it all wrong. First, on nearly every measure of material power, the United States is the world’s dominant player—and will remain so for some time. Second, there is no plausible alternative to U.S. leadership, given weaknesses within and divisions among major emerging powers. Third, the United States remains the undeniable and indispensable pivot of world politics; it is the only player capable of forging effective global partnerships to confront pressing transnational threats. Lastly, most rising powers in today’s world have at least as many incentives to exercise strategic restraint as they do to engage in rivalry with the United States. In short, the United States is an “enduring” rather than declining power. And the world is still its to lead. Read more »

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 »

Obama’s State of the Union: Epitaph for Neoconservatism

by Stewart M. Patrick
Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner applaud as President Barack Obama finishes his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 28, 2014 (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters). Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner applaud as President Barack Obama finishes his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 28, 2014 (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters).

As anticipated, President Obama’s State of the Union address focused overwhelmingly on domestic matters, notably steps to close the yawning income inequality in American society. Still, the speech contained important signals about Barack Obama’s approach to U.S. foreign policy in his last 1,000 days in office. Beyond a full-throated declaration that “climate change is a fact” and a plea to “fix our broken immigration system,” three broad leitmotifs jumped out. The first was the need to return to normalcy after a dozen frenzied years of the global war on terrorism. The second was the imperative of giving diplomacy a chance to resolve the gravest security threats. The third, more rhetorical than substantive, was the necessity of reframing the language of American exceptionalism. Read more »

Understanding the New Frontier: Internet Governance Trade-Offs

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Server rooms and Internet exchanges serve as the physical infrastructure of our global network. Recent efforts to bring this infrastructure under sovereign control have been rebuffed thus far with further challenges likely to follow (Lisi Niesner/Courtesy Reuters). Server rooms and Internet exchanges serve as the physical infrastructure of our global network. Recent efforts to bring this infrastructure under sovereign control have been rebuffed thus far with further challenges likely to follow (Lisi Niesner/Courtesy Reuters).

Below is a guest post by Andrew Reddie, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

The nation could be forgiven its current case of technological whiplash. Last week it learned that the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court  had ordered Verizon to collect all of its customers’ data between January and April of this year. Then came Ed Snowden’s claims of the massive breadth of the NSA’s PRISM program, and the news that Microsoft has, along with the FBI, neutralized over ten thousand botnets in “Operation Citadel.” These revelations suggested that the boundaries between privacy and the surveillance state had shifted fundamentally, with profound legal, security, and social ramifications. Read more »

The Future of Internet Governance: 90 Places to Start

by Stewart M. Patrick
A map is displayed on one of the screens at the Air Force Space Command Network Operations & Security Center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado July 20, 2010. U.S. national security planners are proposing that the 21st century's critical infrastructure—power grids, communications, water utilities, financial networks—be similarly shielded from cyber marauders and other foes (Rick Wilking/Courtesy Reuters). A map is displayed on one of the screens at the Air Force Space Command Network Operations & Security Center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado July 20, 2010. U.S. national security planners are proposing that the 21st century's critical infrastructure—power grids, communications, water utilities, financial networks—be similarly shielded from cyber marauders and other foes (Rick Wilking/Courtesy Reuters).

The open, global Internet, which has created untold wealth and empowered billions of individuals, is in jeopardy. Around the world, “nations are reasserting sovereignty and territorializing cyberspace” to better control the political, economic, social activities of their citizens, and the content they can access. These top-down efforts undermine the Internet’s existing decentralized, multi-stakeholder system of governance and threaten its fragmentation into multiple national intranets. To preserve an open system that reflects its interests and values while remaining both secure and resilient, the United States must unite a coalition of like-minded states committed to free expression and free markets and prepared to embrace new strategies to combat cyber crime and rules to govern cyber warfare. Read more »

The South China Sea and the Law of the Sea

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) speaks with ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan (R) during a meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta September 4, 2012 (Jim Watson/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) speaks with ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan (R) during a meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta September 4, 2012 (Jim Watson/Courtesy Reuters).

Conflict is simmering in the South China Sea, where China is butting heads with four members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)—Vietnam, the Phillippines, Malaysia, and Brunei (as well as Taiwan)—over territorial claims. As China seems to gradually step up aggression in the region, the Obama administration continues the seventeen-year-old policy of  backing ASEAN as a hedge against nationalist aggression by the burgeoning naval power, China. Read more »

Everyone Agrees: Ratify the Law of the Sea

by Stewart M. Patrick
Philippine and U.S. marines during a Philippine-U.S. joint military exercise on the western coast of Philippines April 25, 2012. Thousands of American and Philippine troops participated in a mock assault to retake a small island near disputed areas in the South China Sea, an exercise expected to raise tension with rival claimant China (Romeo Ranoco/Courtesy Reuters). Philippine and U.S. marines during a Philippine-U.S. joint military exercise on the western coast of Philippines April 25, 2012. Thousands of American and Philippine troops participated in a mock assault to retake a small island near disputed areas in the South China Sea, an exercise expected to raise tension with rival claimant China (Romeo Ranoco/Courtesy Reuters).

It is high time the United States joined 162 other states and the European Union in becoming party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)—thirty years after the Reagan administration first negotiated the treaty.

On May 23, the White House dispatched its big guns to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Senator Kerry is holding hearings on UNCLOS. The message from Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, was unequivocal: Acceding to the treaty is profoundly in the U.S. national interest. Read more »