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Global Governance Update: Sovereignty, the UN General Assembly, and Innovative Governance

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October 2017

Global Governance Update

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The Sovereignty Wars: Reconciling America with the World

The defense of sovereignty—specifically American sovereignty—has been the most consistent refrain in the Donald J. Trump administration’s often chaotic foreign policy, and it was again on display as the central theme of Trump’s recent address to the UN General Assembly. However, the Trump administration’s panic over sovereignty is overblown. As Stewart M. Patrick, the James H. Binger senior fellow in global governance, writes in his new book, The Sovereignty Wars: Reconciling America with the World, U.S. participation in multilateral treaties and bodies is an expression and exercise of sovereignty, not its abdication. However, to realize its destiny in a global age, the United States must be prepared to accept voluntary constraints on its autonomy in fields as diverse as arms control, multilateral trade, border security, and membership in the United Nations. For more, read about The Sovereignty Wars here »

 

Trump's Sovereignty Doctrine
 
U.S. President Donald J. Trump addresses the UN General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2017. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)  

U.S. President Donald J. Trump addresses the UN General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2017. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

 

In an article for U.S. News & World Report, Patrick assesses what President Trump got right and wrong about sovereignty in his address to the UN General Assembly. The president mentioned the concept no fewer than twenty-one times. For more, read the U.S. News article »

 

Dissecting Trump's First Address to the UN
 
President Donald J. Trump is shown on a large screen at the UN General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2017. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)  

President Donald J. Trump is shown on a large screen at the UN General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2017. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

 

Patrick and Carla Anne Robbins, CFR adjunct senior fellow, discussed the significance of President Trump’s speech at the UN General Assembly, the implications of his embrace of national sovereignty, and the United States’ response to global challenges such as Iran and North Korea on a CFR Media conference call.

On the World Next Week podcast, Patrick and CFR Senior Vice President and Director of Studies James M. Lindsay discussed how the world has reacted to President Trump’s speech at the United Nations, German national elections, and the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum on independence. For more, listen to the World Next Week podcast »

 

How Innovative Global Governance Can Step Forward
 
A representative of indigenous Peruvian peoples attends the World Climate Change Conference 2015, in Le Bourget, France, on December 1, 2015. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)  

A representative of indigenous Peruvian peoples attends the World Climate Change Conference 2015, in Le Bourget, France, on December 1, 2015. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)

 

A CFR International Institutions and Global Governance workshop, “Innovations in Global Governance,” brought together researchers and practitioners representing four issue areas that are rapidly rising on the global agenda: peace-building, human rights, cybersecurity and internet governance, and climate change. In a series of memos, this expert group charted innovative governance arrangements that have emerged in each issue area and assessed their effectiveness and durability in the face of global and domestic political change.

The workshop’s organizers—Miles Kahler, CFR senior fellow for global governance; Deborah Avant, director of the University of Denver’s Sie Cheou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy; and Jason Pielemeier, policy director of the Global Network Initiative—summarized these developments in a post for CFR’s Internationalist blog. For more, read the memo series »

 

Trump and Guterres: A Diplomatic Odd Couple
 
U.S. President Trump pats UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the arm as they attend a session on reforming the UN in New York on September 18, 2017. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)  

U.S. President Trump pats UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the arm as they attend a session on reforming the UN in New York on September 18, 2017. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

 

Trump, an outspoken critic of the UN, could find unexpected common cause with Guterres on UN reform. In an op-ed for CNN, Patrick and Megan Roberts, associate director for the International Institutions and Global Governance program, detail how some of the United States’ reform priorities overlap with the secretary-general’s initiatives. For more, read the op-ed »

 

Welcome to Nikki Haley's Era of American Diplomacy
 
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley finishes her opening statement to the House Appropriations state, foreign operations, and related programs subcommittee about the budget for the UN on June 27, 2017. (Joshua Robert/Reuters)  

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley finishes her opening statement to the House Appropriations state, foreign operations, and related programs subcommittee about the budget for the UN on June 27, 2017. (Joshua Robert/Reuters)

 

As chaos engulfs the White House and the State Department descends into irrelevance, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, has emerged as a vigorous, independent voice in U.S. foreign policy. In an op-ed for the Hill, Patrick details how Ambassador Haley deserves much of the credit for preventing a total breakdown in U.S.-UN relations. For more, read the op-ed »

 
 

For more CFR experts on international cooperation, read:

Amanda Shendruk, How Much Does the U.S. Contribute to the UN?

Steven A. Cook, Iran is Not the New North Korea

Shannon K. O’Neil, NAFTA Needs More Than a Few Tweaks

 

Ending the War in Syria: An Israeli Perspective
 
Hezbollah and Syrian flags flutter on a military vehicle in western Qalamoun, Syria, August 28, 2017. (Omar Sanadiki/Reuters)  

Hezbollah and Syrian flags flutter on a military vehicle in western Qalamoun, Syria, August 28, 2017. (Omar Sanadiki/Reuters)

 

While Israel has largely abstained from direct involvement in the Syrian civil war, it has a vested interest in the conflict’s outcome. In the most recent Council of Councils global memo, Amos Yadlin and Ari Heistein of the Institute for National Security Studies argue that Israel should support a resolution to the conflict that reflects both its humanitarian concerns and its national security interests: ending the bloodshed and limiting the threat posed by the Iran-led axis. For more, read the global memo »

 

A Sputnik Moment for Artificial Intelligence Geopolitics
 
Chinese Go player Ke Jie reacts during his second match against Google's artificial intelligence program AlphaGo at the Future of Go summit in Wuzhen, China, on May 25, 2017. (Stringer/Reuters)  

Chinese Go player Ke Jie reacts during his second match against Google's artificial intelligence program AlphaGo at the Future of Go summit in Wuzhen, China, on May 25, 2017. (Stringer/Reuters)

 

In a post for the Internationalist, Kyle Evanoff, research associate for international economics and U.S. foreign policy, and Roberts assert that international efforts to address artificial intelligence’s (AI) potential implications have been limited and reactive, and to ensure that AI works for good, governments should cooperate in its development and deployment. For more, read the Internationalist post »

 

Could the Rohingya Crisis Be a Turning Point for Guterres?
 
A woman reacts as Rohingya refugees wait to receive aid in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, on September 21, 2017. (Cathal McNaughton /Reuters)  

A woman reacts as Rohingya refugees wait to receive aid in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, on September 21, 2017. (Cathal McNaughton /Reuters)

 

The pace and scale of the violence currently unfolding in Myanmar is difficult to comprehend. In a post for the Internationalist, Roberts writes that amid the tragedy, it is at least encouraging that Secretary-General Guterres has deployed a long-underused instrument for focusing attention on the plight of the Rohingya. For more, read the Internationalist post »

 

Thug Life: Why is Donald Trump So Cozy with Dictators?
 
President Donald J. Trump shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during the their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)  

President Donald J. Trump shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during the their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

 

No other modern occupant of the White House has so brazenly embraced foreign strongmen or so baldly jettisoned any pretense of promoting liberty, writes Patrick in an article for the Hill. Patrick goes on to explain why cozying up to strongmen is not in America’s diplomatic interests. For more, read the Hill article »

 

ABOUT THE IIGG PROGRAM

The International Institutions and Global Governance (IIGG) program aims to identify the institutional requirements for effective multilateral cooperation in the twenty-first century; propose reforms to strengthen or replace international institutions; and promote effective responses by the United States and its partners to today's daunting global challenges.

 

Stewart M. Patrick
@StewartMPatrick
Senior Fellow and Director


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