Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Violent Conflict"

Lessons of the Rwandan Genocide

by Stewart M. Patrick
The skulls and bones of Rwandan victims rest on shelves at a genocide memorial inside the church at Ntarama just outside the capital Kigali, August 6, 2010. Some 5,000 people, mostly women and children, sought refuge near the church in April 1994, but were massacred by Hutu extremists who used grenades, clubs and machetes to kill their victims. Rwandan voters go to the polls on Monday for the second presidential election since the genocide 16 years ago (Courtesy Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters). The skulls and bones of Rwandan victims rest on shelves at a genocide memorial inside the church at Ntarama just outside the capital Kigali, August 6, 2010. Some 5,000 people, mostly women and children, sought refuge near the church in April 1994, but were massacred by Hutu extremists who used grenades, clubs and machetes to kill their victims. Rwandan voters go to the polls on Monday for the second presidential election since the genocide 16 years ago (Courtesy Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters).

Coauthored with Patrick McCormick, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

Twenty years ago yesterday two surface-to-air missiles ripped into a plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira. Hutu militias responded by launching a violent genocide against Rwanda’s Tutsi minority. Over the next 100 days, the country became an abattoir. Read more »

Syria and the Global Humanitarian Crisis

by Stewart M. Patrick
Syrian refugee children play at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq (Muhammad Hamed/ Courtesy Reuters). Syrian refugee children play at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq (Muhammad Hamed/ Courtesy Reuters).

Three years after the outbreak of war in Syria, the agony only deepens for its civilian population. The conflict has already killed 140,000, forced 9.5 million­­—44 percent of the nation’s prewar inhabitants—to abandon their homes, and led some 2.5 million Syrians to flee to neighboring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq. Syrian refugees now constitute more than 20 percent of Lebanon’s population, on top of 400,000 Palestinian refugees already present. In January, the United Nations sponsored a conference in Kuwait City, requesting that international donors provide $6.5 billion in emergency assistance for the victims of the Syria conflict—a figure dwarfing any previous humanitarian appeal. The scale of this effort underscores the magnitude of the human tragedy in Syria. It also points to broader strains and dilemmas confronting the humanitarian enterprise globally. Read more »

The Global Response to Armed Conflict: From Aleppo to Kinshasa

by Stewart M. Patrick
IIGG announces updated Global Governance Monitor (Yurri Erfansyah/Courtesy Reuters). IIGG announces updated Global Governance Monitor (Yurri Erfansyah/Courtesy Reuters).

As the civil war in Syria rages on, and the United States and its international partners appear unable to mobilize a collective response to stem the bloodshed, CFR’s International Institutions and Global Governance program has launched an update to its Global Governance Monitor: Armed Conflict. The revamped multimedia guide uses a new technology platform to track and analyze recent multilateral efforts to prevent, manage, and respond to armed violence around the globe. Combining stunning images and compelling narrative, it identifies the major successes and failures in global conflict mitigation during 2013. Read more »

Geneva II: The Diplomatic Headaches Have Just Begun

by Stewart M. Patrick
Leader of Syria's opposition National Coalition Ahmad al-Jarba and Badr Jamous, secretary-general of the coalition, arrive for the Geneva 2 talks on Syria, at Geneva International airport January 21, 2014 (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Courtesy Reuters). Leader of Syria's opposition National Coalition Ahmad al-Jarba and Badr Jamous, secretary-general of the coalition, arrive for the Geneva 2 talks on Syria, at Geneva International airport January 21, 2014 (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Claire Schachter, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

How to interpret the diplomatic kerfuffle over the United Nations’ decision to invite—and then disinvite—Iran to the Syria peace conference, scheduled to begin tomorrow in Montreux, Switzerland? Read more »

Russia’s Syria Initiative: Beware Strangers Bearing Gifts

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (R) after delivering opening remarks to the media before their meeting to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria, in Geneva September 12, 2013. Syria applied on Thursday to sign up to the global ban on chemical weapons, a major first step in a Russian-backed plan that would see it abandon its arsenal of poison gas to avert U.S. military strikes (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (R) after delivering opening remarks to the media before their meeting to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria, in Geneva September 12, 2013. Syria applied on Thursday to sign up to the global ban on chemical weapons, a major first step in a Russian-backed plan that would see it abandon its arsenal of poison gas to avert U.S. military strikes (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters).

Moscow has seized the initiative in the increasingly dizzying diplomacy over Syria’s chemical weapons (CW). By picking up on Secretary of State John Kerry’s offhand remark—that Damascus might avoid a U.S. military strike by eliminating its CW stockpiles—Vladimir Putin has offered a lifeline to a beleaguered White House. Bereft of domestic and international support for a hard line against Bashar al Assad, Barack Obama must be sorely tempted to make this new initiative work. After all, by disarming Syria of chemical weapons, he can declare “victory” without dragging an exhausted American public into another Middle Eastern quagmire. But before making this leap, the President needs to take a hard look at the political as well as technical requirements for an effective inspection regime. Read more »

MLK, Obama, and the Audacity of Intervention in Syria

by Stewart M. Patrick
President Barack Obama speaks at a dedication ceremony of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington October 16, 2011. (Molly Riley/Courtesy Reuters) President Barack Obama speaks at a dedication ceremony of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington October 16, 2011. (Molly Riley/Courtesy Reuters)

At first glance the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the chemical weapons crisis in Syria seem entirely unrelated. But they offer an opportunity to juxtapose the visions of war and peace of two influential Americans. On the one side is the towering figure of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK), an apostle of nonviolent resistance, convinced that “violence never brings permanent peace.” On the other is President Barack Obama, himself product of the civil rights struggle, who confronts an agonizing policy choice in Syria after the suspected chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime on civilian populations last week. Read more »

Ending Syria’s Agony: Lessons from Other Civil Wars

by Stewart M. Patrick
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talk during their meeting in Moscow, May 7, 2013. Russia and the United States agreed on Tuesday to try to arrange an international conference this month on ending the civil war in Syria, and said both sides in the conflict should take part. (Mladen Antonov/Courtesy Reuters) Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talk during their meeting in Moscow, May 7, 2013. Russia and the United States agreed on Tuesday to try to arrange an international conference this month on ending the civil war in Syria, and said both sides in the conflict should take part. (Mladen Antonov/Courtesy Reuters)

Tuesday’s agreement between Moscow and Washington to convene an international conference on Syria raises some obvious questions. After a brutal conflict that has killed more than seventy thousand, is a negotiated peace between government and rebels forces plausible? And even if a settlement can be negotiated, is it likely to hold? Read more »

Introducing the Global Governance Report Card

by Stewart M. Patrick
Screen shot of the Global Governance Report Card page. Click www.cfr.org/reportcard to access the report. Screen shot of the Global Governance Report Card page. Click www.cfr.org/reportcard to access the report.

As Mayor of New York, the late Edward Koch famously asked constituents, “How’m I doing?” He got an earful. But he valued the instant feedback and even adjusted occasionally. As we commemorate Earth Day, we might ask the same question of ourselves – but on a planetary scale. When it comes to addressing the world’s gravest ills, how are we doing? Read more »

Is the International Community Growing Apart?

by Stewart M. Patrick
The Spasskaya Tower of the Kremlin pictured after a heavy snowfall in central Moscow on January 21, 2013 (Sergei Karpukhin/Courtesy Reuters). The Spasskaya Tower of the Kremlin pictured after a heavy snowfall in central Moscow on January 21, 2013 (Sergei Karpukhin/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Isabella Bennett, program coordinator in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

Last month, IIGG and the Moscow-based Institute of Contemporary Development convened the second regional meeting of the Council of Councils—a network of twenty-four policy institutions based in established and emerging states—to exchange practical ideas and solutions regarding daunting transnational challenges. The conversations highlighted growing areas of systemic global risk and thinning solidarity within the so-called international community. These trends threaten to undermine multilateral cooperation in stabilizing the global economy and preserving international peace and security. Read more »

Collateral Damage: How Libyan Weapons Fueled Mali’s Violence

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Anti-Qaddafi fighters salvage weapons from a pro-Qaddafi weapons and ammunition compound in a village near Sirte on September 19, 2011. Munitions stockpiles in eastern Libya remain for the large part unguarded through today, despite pledges by the interim government to secure the country's massive arsenal (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters). Anti-Qaddafi fighters salvage weapons from a pro-Qaddafi weapons and ammunition compound in a village near Sirte on September 19, 2011. Munitions stockpiles in eastern Libya remain for the large part unguarded through today, despite pledges by the interim government to secure the country's massive arsenal (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Isabella Bennett, program coordinator in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

The violence that has plagued once-stable Mali since late 2011 should have come as no surprise to Western governments, for it is a direct function of NATO’s Libyan intervention. By adopting a “light footprint” approach in Libya, the alliance unwittingly contributed to a security vacuum that allowed countless weapons  to stream out of Libya and fuel insurgency, extremism, and crime in neighboring countries. One of these countries was Mali, where the flood of weapons from Libya helped a rebel coalition topple the democratically elected government in Bamako in May 2012 and—until the recent French intervention—allow a jihadist alliance to gain control over the country’s entire northeast. The relevant policy question is why neither the United States nor its international partners did anything to  staunch or mitigate the flow of Libyan weapons south. Read more »