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"

Fiddling in Yemen: A Messy War’s Lessons for Global Conflict Management

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Protesters demonstrate against the Saudi-led air strikes outside the United Nations offices in Sana'a, Yemen, on November 2, 2015. Protesters demonstrate against the Saudi-led air strikes outside the United Nations offices in Sana'a, Yemen, on November 2, 2015 (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters).

Coauthored with Callie Plapinger, intern in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

As the world watches Syria burn, a tiny glimmer of hope shines in Yemen. Today, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee disclosed that it will use new oversight powers to more closely monitor U.S. weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, which for nine months has been carrying out a brutal campaign against Houthi rebels that’s left thousands of civilians dead. The news comes on the heels of an announcement earlier this week by Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, that he would begin a renewed push for peace talks in Geneva next week. To be sure, near-term prospects for peace are low, given the conflicting interests of Saudi Arabia and Iran and the growing presence of both al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Even so, the United States should welcome the UN’s latest initiative. More broadly, it should consider what Yemen teaches about the limits of backing proxy interventions—and the need to build up the UN’s multilateral conflict management capabilities. Read more »

Paris is Just One Piece of the Climate Change Puzzle

by Stewart M. Patrick
The Eiffel Tower is seen at sunset in Paris, France, on November 22, 2015. The Eiffel Tower is seen at sunset in Paris, France, on November 22, 2015 (Charles Platiau/Reuters).

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

Next week’s Paris meeting on climate change—officially, the twenty-first Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)—is shaping up to be a watershed moment in the fight against global warming. Unlike the disappointing 2009 conference in Copenhagen, the Paris summit is expected to produce a strong global agreement that charts the next steps in combatting climate change. Read more »

From MDGs to SDGs: Lessons Learned and Future Directions for Implementing UHC

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
A six-year-old migrant from the Congo receives a medical check-up from a doctor at a refugee camp in Munich, Germany, on October 6, 2015. A six-year-old migrant from the Congo receives a medical check-up from a doctor at a refugee camp in Munich, Germany, on October 6, 2015 (Michaela Rehle/Reuters).

The following is a guest post by my colleague Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.

This year, the United Nations released a new set of development goals called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to replace the previous set of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). One of the goals includes a target that aims to provide universal health coverage across the globe—a much more ambitious and far-reaching goal than the more targeted health-related MDGs. Read more »

UN Peace Operations: Capitalizing on the Momentum of 2015

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
French peacekeepers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) stand at attention during the visit of French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to their base in Deir Kifa village in southern Lebanon on April 20, 2015. French peacekeepers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) stand at attention during the visit of French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to their base in Deir Kifa village in southern Lebanon on April 20, 2015 (Ali Hashisho/Reuters).

The following is a guest post by Megan Roberts, associate director of the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

United Nations peacekeeping confronts a make-or-break moment. That was the main takeaway from last week’s meeting of senior UN officials and peacekeeping experts in Washington. The gathering came on the heels of two pivotal events: the release of a troubling independent report on the parlous state of UN peace operations, and the peacekeeping summit President Obama himself hosted on the sidelines of the September opening of the UN General Assembly. After years of inaction, UN member states may finally be willing to close the yawning gap between the expanding mandates of peace ops and the resources and capabilities devoted to them. Read more »

Raising the Profile of Climate-Smart Agriculture

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
A woman picks vegetables from her garden as her daughter looks on in a village east of Maseru, Lesotho, on February 27, 2015. A woman picks vegetables from her garden as her daughter looks on in a village east of Maseru, Lesotho, on February 27, 2015 (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters).

The following is a guest post by Caroline Andridge, research associate for global health, economics, and development at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Controversial President Robert Mugabe isn’t the only unpredictable force citizens of Zimbabwe face. Over 1.5 million additional people in Zimbabwe (above the 4.8 million undernourished citizens in 2013) will go hungry this year because extreme weather and poor farming methods halved maize production. This is just one sad example of climate change’s growing impact on human health. Read more »

Seventy Is the New Fifty: The United Nations Confronts Its Midlife Crisis

by Stewart M. Patrick
French UN peacekeepers cover their ears during a live training exercise between the Lebanese army and UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon in December 2008. French UN peacekeepers cover their ears during a live training exercise between the Lebanese army and UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon in December 2008 (Haidar Hawila/Reuters).

Pity the United Nations (UN), which turns seventy this month. Rather than enjoying a carefree retirement, the UN faces unrelenting demands on its time and resources, being expected to address threats both old (e.g., violent conflict, nuclear proliferation, and infectious disease) and new (e.g., climate change, terrorism, and cyberwar). Like many Baby Boomers, the UN has held up pretty well, at least superficially. Thanks to its binding charter and universal membership, it remains the world’s most important multilateral forum. However, dig a little deeper and the UN’s real problems are not frailties of geriatric life but the psychological complaints of middle age. The world body faces a four-fold midlife crisis—of identity, of relevance, of authority, and of performance. Read more »

Governing the Internet: The Latest Addition to the Global Governance Monitor

by Stewart M. Patrick
A schoolgirl studies on a computer in Los Angeles, California, on February 9, 2011. A schoolgirl studies on a computer in Los Angeles, California, on February 9, 2011 (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters).

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

The Internet has facilitated countless improvements in lives around the globe, from reducing costs of business transactions to connecting distant expatriate communities. But it has also brought challenges, from new privacy concerns to cyberattacks. Read more »

Assessing U.S. Membership in the UN Human Rights Council

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 2, 2015. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 2, 2015 (Evan Vucci/Reuters).

The following is a guest post by Daniel Chardell and Theresa Lou, research associates in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Read more »

United Nations, Divided World: Obama, Putin, and World Order

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin address the United Nations General Assembly on September 28, 2015. U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin address the United Nations General Assembly on September 28, 2015 (Mike Segar/Reuters).

For the past six years, President Barack Obama has dominated the annual opening of the UN General Assembly, his words and initiatives driving the agenda and media coverage. This year, it was Russian President Vladimir Putin, making his first UN appearance in a decade, who stole the diplomatic show. Putin’s call for a “grand coalition” against the Islamic State, an idea backed by even some U.S. allies, has placed the Obama administration, which has long clung to an “Assad must go” position in Syria, on the defensive. Although it would require at least a partial U.S. climb-down, Putin’s initiative could help resolve a grinding conflict that has killed more than 200,000 people, facilitated the rise of the Islamic State, and generated a humanitarian catastrophe in Syria and neighboring states and the worst migration crisis in the history of the European Union. At the same time, Putin’s address underscored how different the world looks from Moscow’s vantage point—and how inconsistent Russian authoritarianism and realpolitik is with President Obama’s dream of an open, rule-based international order. Read more »

President Obama Tackles UN Peacekeeping

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a news conference at the conclusion of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the State Department in Washington, DC, on August 6, 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a news conference at the conclusion of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the State Department in Washington, DC, on August 6, 2014 (Larry Downing/Reuters).

Few global summits can compete with the opening of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). All the world’s a stage, but the spotlight shines brightest each September in Manhattan, as global leaders gather for UN’s “back to school” night. But while most attention will focus on speeches from the green marble podium, the real action will occur offstage. This year’s most important side event is a special Monday afternoon session on UN peacekeeping, convened by President Barack Obama himself and involving leaders of fifty countries. Its outcome will help determine whether the United Nations gets serious about updating the most important weapon in its arsenal to the realities of the twenty-first century. Read more »