Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

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

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Friday, December 11, 2015
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 »

Civil-Military Cooperation in International Health Crises

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Thursday, December 3, 2015
U.S. soldiers practice the proper way to remove protective gloves at Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on October 23, 2014, prior to their deployment to Africa as part of the U.S. military response to the Ebola crisis. U.S. soldiers practice the proper way to remove protective gloves at Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on October 23, 2014, prior to their deployment to Africa as part of the U.S. military response to the Ebola crisis (Rick Wilking/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 demonstrated not only the human devastation wrought by lethal infectious disease, but also the broad coalition of actors needed to combat the outbreak. In Liberia, the U.S. military provided logistical and medical support that was integral to stemming the Ebola epidemic. How did armed forces interact and cooperate with civil society and government workers on the ground? What lessons can we learn from civil-military relations during the Ebola outbreak to guide us in future international health crises? Read more »

Paris is Just One Piece of the Climate Change Puzzle

by Stewart M. Patrick Monday, November 23, 2015
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 Thursday, November 19, 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. 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 »

Après Paris: Reverberations of the Terrorist Attacks

by Stewart M. Patrick Monday, November 16, 2015
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 Thursday, November 12, 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. 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 »

Global Health and the WHO: Revival or Marginalization?

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Friday, November 6, 2015
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan gestures during her address to the sixty-seventh World Health Assembly at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 19, 2014. World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan gestures during her address to the sixty-seventh World Health Assembly at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 19, 2014 (Denis Balibouse/Reuters).

The following is a guest post by my colleague Miles Kahler, senior fellow for global governance at the Council on Foreign Relations and distinguished professor at American University’s School of International Service. Read more »

Oceans and Climate Change: A Bleak Outlook

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Waves crash against stairs to Broad Beach in Malibu, California, United States. Waves crash against stairs to Broad Beach in Malibu, California, United States (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters).

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

As the Paris climate meeting rapidly approaches, the preparatory discussions have been remarkably silent on the crucial links between global warming and the health of the world’s oceans. This is a missed opportunity to galvanize global political will behind significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Read more »

Raising the Profile of Climate-Smart Agriculture

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick Wednesday, October 28, 2015
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 Thursday, October 22, 2015
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 »