Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

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Showing posts for "United Nations"

Obama and Syria: Insights from the President’s G20 Press Conference

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. President Barack Obama departs a news conference at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg September 6, 2013. Obama said on Friday that most leaders of the G20 countries agree that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is responsible for using poison gas against civilians as the U.S. leader tried to rally support at home and abroad for a military strike (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama departs a news conference at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg September 6, 2013. Obama said on Friday that most leaders of the G20 countries agree that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is responsible for using poison gas against civilians as the U.S. leader tried to rally support at home and abroad for a military strike (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

In his revealing press conference closing out the G20 summit, President Obama provided the clearest summary yet of his thinking on Syria. Perhaps the most significant points were the following: Read more »

Pluralism, Peace, and the “Responsibility to Innovate”

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Former President Ronald Reagan addresses a crowd at the opening of the Reagan Library in Simi, California, November 4, 1991 (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters). Former President Ronald Reagan addresses a crowd at the opening of the Reagan Library in Simi, California, November 4, 1991 (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters).

Below is a guest post by Mark P. Lagon, adjunct senior fellow for human rights at the Council on Foreign Relations and professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Read more »

Customary International Law: Can UN Guidelines Affect Domestic Laws?

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
In 2004, people line up for entry into the U.S. Supreme Court where justices determined that executions of teenage killers are unconstitutionally cruel and unusual. In their decision, the court took into account the practice of countries around the world (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). In 2004, people line up for entry into the U.S. Supreme Court where justices determined that executions of teenage killers are unconstitutionally cruel and unusual. In their decision, the court took into account the practice of countries around the world (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

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

More often than not, when we think about customs and laws, we think of them as two distinct categories. Customs are encouraged, but optional: replying to an RSVP request, writing a thank-you note, shaking hands. Laws are mandatory: stopping at red lights, paying taxes, going to jury duty. As Kipling might put it, custom is custom and law is law and never the twain shall meet. Read more »

Regional Organizations and Humanitarian Intervention

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Arab foreign ministers attend a meeting on Syria at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo June 5, 2013 (Asmaa Waguih/Courtesy Reuters). Arab foreign ministers attend a meeting on Syria at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo June 5, 2013 (Asmaa Waguih/Courtesy Reuters).

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

The UN Charter advises that “the Security Council shall, where appropriate, utilize such regional arrangements or agencies for enforcement action under its authority.” The degree to which regional cooperation represents a sine qua non for international action was made abundantly clear in the recent uprising against Muammar al-Qaddafi, as the Arab League sanctioned a no-fly zone over Libya, followed promptly by UN Security Council Resolution 1973. But are regional organizations the future of humanitarian intervention? Read more »

R2P on Life Support: Humanitarian Norms vs. Practical Realities in Syria

by Stewart M. Patrick
A United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping soldier uses binoculars to watch the fighting between forces loyal to the Syrian regime and rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, near the Quneitra border crossing, close to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria June 7, 2013 (Ammar Awad/Courtesy Reuters). A United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping soldier uses binoculars to watch the fighting between forces loyal to the Syrian regime and rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, near the Quneitra border crossing, close to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria June 7, 2013 (Ammar Awad/Courtesy Reuters).

Thirty-five years ago, U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski famously declared that the doctrine of détente “lies buried in the sands of Ogaden.” By exporting revolution to the Horn of Africa, he implied, Moscow had abandoned norms of peaceful coexistence, as well as prospects for the SALT treaty. One wonders if a more recent would-be doctrine, the “responsibility to protect” (R2P), is destined to suffer a similar fate. Two years ago, the UN Security Council seemed to vindicate this new norm, by authorizing “all necessary means” to protect Libyan civilians against strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi. Today, R2P clings to life support in Syria, as the civilian body count there mounts to appalling levels. 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 »

Global Development 2.0: Assessing a New UN Roadmap

by Stewart M. Patrick
British Prime Minister David Cameron (L), and Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (R), prepare for the second day of the meeting of the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda at United Nations headquarters in New York (Richard Drew/Courtesy Reuters). British Prime Minister David Cameron (L), and Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (R), prepare for the second day of the meeting of the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda at United Nations headquarters in New York (Richard Drew/Courtesy Reuters).

Last week the UN’s latest “High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons” released a long-awaited report on global development. The resulting document—A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development—is not only a good read, it’s also a compelling blueprint for extending prosperity to the world’s poor. Read more »

The Geopolitics of the Internet: Seeing the Negotiating Table

by Stewart M. Patrick
Fiber optic cables carrying internet providers are seen running into a server room at Intergate, Manhattan. The 32-story building will be the largest high-rise data center in the world with 600,000 square feet (55,742 square meters) of data center floor space and 40 Megawatts of electrical capacity. (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters) Fiber optic cables carrying internet providers are seen running into a server room at Intergate, Manhattan. The 32-story building will be the largest high-rise data center in the world with 600,000 square feet (55,742 square meters) of data center floor space and 40 Megawatts of electrical capacity. (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters)

Coauthored with Andrew Reddie, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

Will the Internet’s future resemble its past? That seems increasingly unlikely, given the growing influence of new global powers, the determination of many governments to control Internet access and content, and the difficulties of balancing security and civil liberties. This was the take-home message at a meeting last week on “The Geopolitics of Internet Governance,” hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The coming transformation may well challenge the longstanding U.S. vision of an open network whose governance remains largely in private hands. Read more »

There’s a Fly in My Soup! Can Insects Satisfy World Food Needs?

by Stewart M. Patrick
Locusts and worms are seen on a spoon after being cooked with olive oil for a discovery lunch in Brussels September 20, 2012. Organisers of the event, which included cookery classes, want to draw attention to insects as a source of nutrition. (Francois Lenoir/ Courtesy Reuters) Locusts and worms are seen on a spoon after being cooked with olive oil for a discovery lunch in Brussels September 20, 2012. Organisers of the event, which included cookery classes, want to draw attention to insects as a source of nutrition. (Francois Lenoir/ Courtesy Reuters)

What world traveler hasn’t declined at least one local “delicacy”? A decade ago in Oaxaca, Mexico, I turned up my nose at chapulines, a steaming plate of toasted grasshoppers. “Tastes like chicken,” my waiter smiled unconvincingly. But overcoming disgust for “edible insects” may be the easiest way to meet global food needs, according to a fascinating, if occasionally stomach-churning, report from the UN’s Food and Agricultural Agency (FAO), based, of all places, in Rome. Read more »

Beyond Bin Laden: Grading Global Counterterrorism Cooperation

by Stewart M. Patrick
A vendor walks past a sand sculpture of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden created by Indian sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik on a beach in Puri in the eastern Indian state of Orissa May 2, 2011. Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. helicopter raid on a mansion near the Pakistani capital Islamabad early on Monday, ending a long worldwide hunt for the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States (Stringer/ Courtesy Reuters) A vendor walks past a sand sculpture of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden created by Indian sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik on a beach in Puri in the eastern Indian state of Orissa May 2, 2011. Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. helicopter raid on a mansion near the Pakistani capital Islamabad early on Monday, ending a long worldwide hunt for the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States (Stringer/ Courtesy Reuters)

Coauthored with Alexandra Kerr, program coordinator in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

On May 2, 2011, the American people celebrated the news that Osama bin Laden, mastermind behind 9/11 and international symbol of al-Qaeda, had been brought to justice. Addressing the nation that night, President Obama praised the U.S. special forces that killed the terrorist leader in Pakistan, calling bin Laden’s death “the most significant achievement to date” in the United States’ efforts to defeat al-Qaeda. Yet, he cautioned that this victory was not the end of the fight against terrorism: “We must —and we will—remain vigilant at home and abroad.” Read more »