Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

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Showing posts for "Violent Conflict"

The Tragic Irony of Syria: The System “Worked”

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power speaks with her Russian counterpart, Vitaly Churkin, before the UN Security Council votes on a resolution—which Russia goes on to veto—regarding the Ukrainian crisis on March 15, 2014. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power speaks with her Russian counterpart, Vitaly Churkin, before the UN Security Council votes on a resolution—which Russia goes on to veto—regarding the Ukrainian crisis on March 15, 2014 (Andrew Kelly/Reuters).

For nearly five years, the UN Security Council has failed to end Syria’s suffering. The numbers are numbing: The war has claimed 250,000 lives and displaced over 50 percent of Syria’s prewar population of twenty-two million. The grinding conflict has deepened sectarian turmoil in the region and created the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophe. The tragedy has also laid bare an inconvenient truth about the inherent limits of the Security Council in an era of great power rivalry. Because in Syria, the system worked—just not for the Syrian people. Read more »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

The Good, the Bad, and the Sad of the High-Level Report on UN Peace Operations

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Helmets belonging to soldiers of the Nigerian army are seen as part of preparations for their deployment to Mali. Helmets belonging to soldiers of the Nigerian army are seen as part of preparations for their deployment to Mali (Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters).

The following is a guest post by Charles T. Call, associate professor in American University’s School of International Service and author of Why Peace Fails: The Causes and Prevention of Civil War Recurrence (Georgetown University Press, 2012). Read more »

Limiting the Security Council Veto in the Face of Mass Atrocities

by Stewart M. Patrick
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius speaks at a session of the UN Security Council on September 19, 2014. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius speaks at a session of the UN Security Council on September 19, 2014 (Shannon Stapleton/Courtesy Reuters).

PARIS — The veto held by the five permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council is one of the most contentious rules of the United Nations. It was included in the UN Charter of 1945 as the explicit price for agreement among the P5—the members that bore the greatest responsibility for maintaining world order—to establish the UN in the first place. However, the veto has repeatedly stymied the Security Council in the face of mass atrocities, despite unanimous endorsement by all UN member states of their individual and collective responsibility to protect (R2P) all people from crimes against humanity. Read more »

The Arms Trade Treaty: Time to Celebrate?

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
An activist campaigning for the global arms trade treaty holds a placard during a protest in New Delhi (Adnan Abidi/Courtesy Reuters). An activist campaigning for the global arms trade treaty holds a placard during a protest in New Delhi (Adnan Abidi/Courtesy Reuters).

Below is a guest post by Naomi Egelresearch associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program. Read more »

ISIS and Foreign Fighters: Cutting off the Global Pipeline

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
ISIS fighters stand atop a tank during a military parade in Syria's Raqqa province on June 30, 2014. The parade was held to celebrate the group's declaration of a "caliphate" spanning its territory in Syria and Iraq one day earlier. ISIS fighters stand atop a tank during a military parade in Syria's Raqqa province on June 30, 2014. The parade was held to celebrate the group's declaration of a "caliphate" spanning its territory in Syria and Iraq one day earlier (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Daniel Chardell, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program. 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 »