Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

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

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, April 30, 2014
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 Tuesday, April 22, 2014
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 »

Winter is Coming: Beyond the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings, an Unfinished Battle for Reform

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Friday, April 11, 2014
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde enters the opening of a news conference in Washington April 10, 2014 (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters). International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde enters the opening of a news conference in Washington April 10, 2014 (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters).

Below is a guest post by Claire Schachterresearch associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

The Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank Group are underway in Washington, DC. The world’s top finance officials are painting the brightest picture of the global economy since the 2008 financial crisis: global growth is picking up, the United States’ recovery is gaining traction, and the future of the euro appears less precarious. But if one steps back to view the scene with a broader perspective, the portrait darkens. From slower emerging market growth to risk in China’s shadow banking sector to weak internal demand in the southern part of the euro area, the steady recovery of the global economy is hardly a sure bet. Unfinished economic and financial policy reforms litter the post-2008 landscape. A renewed commitment to improving the resilience of the global economy from domestic leaders and international financial governance institutions is critical. Read more »

Lessons of the Rwandan Genocide

by Stewart M. Patrick Monday, April 7, 2014
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 »

The Global Debate Over Illegal Drugs Heats Up

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Mexican soldiers look as 134 tonnes of marijuana are incinerated at Morelos military base in Tijuana October 20, 2010 (Courtesy Jorge Duenes/Reuters). Mexican soldiers look as 134 tonnes of marijuana are incinerated at Morelos military base in Tijuana October 20, 2010 (Courtesy Jorge Duenes/Reuters).

Having been frozen for four decades, a long-deferred debate over the “war on drugs” is finally heating up. Ever since the Nixon administration, the dominant paradigm informing U.S. and global policy towards narcotics has been prohibition. That failed approach is now being challenged by a slew of influential reports, path-breaking national policies in the Western Hemisphere, and state-level experiments within the United States. Just how turbulent the debate has become was clear at yesterday’s roundtable on the future of international drug policy, hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The United States will need to chart a new policy course if it hopes to retain credibility and influence as global attitudes toward drugs continue to evolve. Read more »

Beyond the Nuclear Security Summit: What Remains on the U.S. Agenda

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, March 26, 2014
President Obama delivers a speech on his nuclear agenda in Hradcany Square in Prague, April 5, 2009. (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters) President Obama delivers a speech on his nuclear agenda in Hradcany Square in Prague, April 5, 2009. (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters)

Coauthored with Martin Willner, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

President Obama deserves praise for spearheading global efforts to address the threat of nuclear terrorism. As countries gathered for this week’s Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, it was clear that countries had made real progress in securing the world’s most dangerous weapons. Read more »

Nuclear Security Summit 2014: How to Make Progress Even After Ukraine

by Stewart M. Patrick Monday, March 24, 2014
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are seen in this combination photo as they attend the opening ceremony of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague March 24, 2014 (Yves Herman/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are seen in this combination photo as they attend the opening ceremony of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague March 24, 2014 (Yves Herman/Courtesy Reuters).

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

Today, fifty-three countries and four international organizations are gathered in The Hague for the third Nuclear Security Summit. Russia’s annexation of Crimea has cast a shadow over the biannual meeting, threatening to distract delegates from the critical task at hand: following through on their commitments to lock down the world’s unsecured nuclear weapons, fissile material, and related technologies. The summit’s success will depend on whether the participating countries are willing to move beyond the harmonization of national pledges to construct a strong framework for nuclear security, undergirded by more powerful conventions and institutions. Read more »

Crimea: Stop Citing International Law and Start Condemning Russian Expansionism

by Stewart M. Patrick Monday, March 17, 2014
Participants in a pro-Russian rally wave Russian flags in front of a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin in Simferopol March 17, 2014. Crimea formally applied to join Russia on Monday after its leaders declared a Soviet-style 97-percent result in favour of seceding from Ukraine in a referendum condemned as illegal by Kiev and the West that will trigger immediate sanctions (Sergei Karpukhin/Courtesy Reuters). Participants in a pro-Russian rally wave Russian flags in front of a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin in Simferopol March 17, 2014. Crimea formally applied to join Russia on Monday after its leaders declared a Soviet-style 97-percent result in favour of seceding from Ukraine in a referendum condemned as illegal by Kiev and the West that will trigger immediate sanctions (Sergei Karpukhin/Courtesy Reuters).

Yesterday, Russian president Vladimir Putin pulled off a rigged referendum in which an overwhelming majority of Crimean voters chose union with the Russian Federation. But his victory is far from complete. The West retains a powerful card to play: mobilizing international opposition to deny Russia the international legitimacy it seeks for this naked power play.  U.S. and European leaders have roundly condemned the referendum, citing international law. It would be wiser for the West to shift the terms of the debate away from the legal merits of Russian conduct, and to focus instead on the illegitimacy of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s clear aspirations to expand its territory. Read more »

Syria and the Global Humanitarian Crisis

by Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, March 13, 2014
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 »