Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

Donald Trump’s Global Agenda: What Have You Got to Lose?

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Barack Obama meets with Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Donald J. Trump’s election as U.S. president could have seismic consequences for international cooperation. During the campaign, the candidate signaled his intent to shake up established U.S. foreign and national security policies. Among other pronouncements, he questioned U.S. alliances and commitments to international institutions, vowed to repudiate the Paris climate agreement, attacked the Iran nuclear deal, swore to dismantle trade agreements, lauded dictators who oppress their citizens, promised to suspend U.S. refugee admissions, endorsed torture to defend U.S. national security, and advocated counterterrorism tactics that violate international humanitarian law. Read more »

Who is the Likely Forerunner in the WHO Director-General Election?

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Monday, November 14, 2016
World Health Organisation Director-General Margaret Chan attends the 69th World Health Assembly at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

The following is a guest post by my colleague Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, and his research associate Gabriella Meltzer. Read more »

Goodbye to All That? World Order in the Wake of Trump

by Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, November 9, 2016
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, on November 9, 2016. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Among its many implications, Donald Trump’s election as president calls into question the open liberal international order this country has championed and defended for more than seven decades. The edges of that order were already fraying, thanks to disenchantment with the global economy and the return of geopolitical competition, particularly with Russia and China. Trump’s triumph will accelerate its disintegration, by undermining the network of rules, institutions, and alliances that twelve presidents, Republican and Democratic alike, have nurtured since 1945.  The results of the election suggest that the main threats to the liberal world order are no longer foreign but domestic. Read more »

ICC on Ice?

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Friday, November 4, 2016
Members of the civil society demonstrate in support of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Kenya's capital Nairobi January 18, 2011. (Noor Khamis/Reuters)

The following is a guest post by Theresa Lou, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

After Burundian lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) on October 12, South Africa and Gambia quickly followed suit and declared their own decisions to leave the court. This isn’t the first time that member nations have threatened to withdraw from the court, but none has ever followed through. This time, however, the ICC’s future seems less certain. Other ICC members, such as Kenya and Uganda, may seek to “capitalize on the momentum,” as Indiana University Professor David Bosco told the New York Times, prompting concerns that the ICC will soon face an African exodus. Read more »

Podcast: The Next WHO DG: What Skills and Experiences are we Looking For?

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, October 20, 2016
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan delivers her speech to the 69th World Health Assembly at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, May 23, 2016. (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

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

The Ebola epidemic undermined the confidence that states and the international community had in the World Health Organization (WHO) and its ability to fully implement its own International Health Regulations.  Restoring respect for the underfunded and overstretched WHO will prove a massive challenge for the new Director-General (DG), who will succeed Margaret Chan when her term ends on July 1, 2017.  This third podcast assesses the current WHO leadership’s efforts to reform the organization while tackling other global health challenges.  It will also outline the skills, experience, and leadership a DG will need to steer the agency in a direction that can make it a true guardian of global health. Read more »

The UN’s Ninth Secretary-General is António Guterres

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, October 13, 2016
Nominated U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a news conference at Necessidades Palace in Lisbon, Portugal October 6, 2016. (Rafael Marchante/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. Read more »

Obama’s UN Address: An Enlightened Man in an Unreasonable World

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, September 20, 2016
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York September 20, 2016 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York September 20, 2016 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters).

President Barack Obama used his eighth and final address to the UN General Assembly to share his noble vision of a world order in which equality, liberty, and unity trump injustice, oppression, and division. Part sermon, part pep-talk, the speech exuded an unflinching faith in liberal ideals and a progressive optimism that humanity can surmount any economic, political, and ecological challenges it faces. All that is required, the president suggested, is that leaders and citizens listen to the better angels of their nature. The big-picture speech contained little guidance about how to resolve intractable problems, from mass migration to North Korea’s nukes. But it was an eloquent effort, delivered by a reasonable man living in unreasonable times. Its biggest flaw was in ignoring the practical difficulties and inherent trade-offs of applying such high-minded ideals to a fallen world. Read more »

Refugees Take UN Center Stage: But Is It All Sound and Fury?

by Stewart M. Patrick Friday, September 16, 2016
A rescue boat of the Spanish NGO Proactiva approaches an overcrowded wooden vessel with migrants from Eritrea, off the Libyan coast in Mediterranean Sea August 29, 2016 (Giorgos Moutafis/Reuters).

The annual opening of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) is a noisy affair and, like Churchill’s pudding, often lacks a coherent theme. This year is different. World leaders will convene two special sessions to address the flood of refugees and migrants from global conflict zones—and make promises to alleviate their suffering. Expectations for the first meeting, hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, are low. It will produce no more than a consensus declaration that is long on platitudes and short on action. The second, led by President Obama, is more promising. It should generate meaningful national pledges of aid. But to make a real dent, the assembled nations must get serious about ending chronic displacement, by focusing on cures rather than palliatives. And that, alas, is unlikely to happen. Read more »

America’s Stakes in the Oceans Go Well beyond the South China Sea

by Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, September 13, 2016
U.S. President Barack Obama looks out at Turtle Beach on a visit to the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument on September 1, 2016. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

This week the Chinese and Russian navies launched eight days of war games in the South China Sea. For Beijing, it’s a chance to brush off the July ruling by an international tribunal dismissing the merit of its claim to jurisdiction over those waters. For Moscow, it’s an opportunity to flex Russia’s global muscles and tweak U.S. pretensions to be the arbiter of Asia-Pacific security. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is hosting a very different ocean reunion in Washington. On September 15-16, Secretary of State John Kerry will welcome representatives from some sixty countries, as well as hundreds more from business, science, and civil society to the third Our Ocean conference. According to the agenda, the conferees will focus on how to: protect oceans from global warming, expand marine protected areas, support sustainable fisheries, and stem oceanic pollution. Read more »