November 19, 2009
Most people around the world support an international order based on international law and treaties. Majorities in most countries believe that international laws create normative obligations like domestic law, and believe that nations should feel obliged to abide by international law even when doing so is at odds with their national interest. However, people tend to underestimate how much their fellow citizens feel such an obligation. Europeans and Americans express readiness to contribute military force to uphold international law. Limited international data reveal strong support for participation in a variety of international treaties. Download full chapter (PDF).
International polling reveals a strong consensus that world order should be based on a multilateral system led by the United Nations or a group of regional powers, rather than a system based on hegemony or bipolarity. Large majorities in countries around the world reject a hegemonic role for the United States, but do want the United States to participate in multilateral efforts to address international issues. Download full chapter (PDF).
Large majorities around the world have endorsed having a stronger United Nations. Large majorities also support giving the UN a variety of expanded powers, including having a standing peacekeeping force, the power to investigate human rights violations, and the power to regulate the international arms trade. National publics are more divided when it comes to giving the United Nations the capacity to impose a tax. Support for working through the United Nations is somewhat tempered, especially among smaller countries, when poll questions highlight the prospect of subordinating national policies to collective decision-making processes. Download full chapter (PDF).
In international polling, large majorities around the world favor the United Nations having the right to authorize the use of military force for a wide range of contingencies. The approval of the UN Security Council plays a powerful—and in many cases a necessary—role in conferring legitimacy on the use of military force. Among Europeans and Americans, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) does provide some legitimacy, but by much smaller margins than does the United Nations. Download full chapter (PDF).
Robust majorities approve of the United Nations intervening in the internal affairs of states to investigate human rights abuses and to promote human rights in member states. Perhaps most dramatic, equally large majorities approve of the United Nations using military force to forcibly deliver urgent humanitarian aid if the government tries to block the aid, and to protect people from severe human rights abuses even against the will of the government. Download full chapter (PDF).
Publics in most nations say that when there are concerns about the fairness of elections, countries should be willing to have UN observers monitor the elections. Most countries polled, including developed democracies, say that their own country would benefit from such monitoring. Download full chapter (PDF).
Asked whether the United Nations, national governments, or regional organizations should take the lead in dealing with various issues, responses vary according to the issue. The most common view is that the United Nations should take the leading role in addressing aid for economic development, dealing with refugees, and international peacekeeping. The most common view is that national governments should take the leading role on protection of the environment. Views are more mixed on human rights, but most say either the United Nations or a regional organization should take the lead. Download full chapter (PDF).
Large majorities in publics around the world perceive themselves as citizens of the world as well as of their nation, but in all nations national identity is still stronger than global identity. Download full chapter (PDF).
Large majorities of Europeans and Americans alike believe that they have enough common values for transatlantic cooperation on international problems and that it is critical for their own nation to act together with its closest allies on national security issues. Europeans strongly favor cooperation over competition between the European Union and the United States. Internationally, more publics think their government should be more cooperative than it is than think that their government tends to be too ready to compromise. Download full chapter (PDF).
Stewart M. Patrick assesses multilateral cooperation and state sovereignty.
Edward Alden and others explore ideas and initiatives for rebuilding American economic strength.
The story of the tragic and often tormented relationship between the United States and Pakistan, and a call to prepare for the worst, aim for the best, and avoid past mistakes. More
An authoritative and accessible look at what countries must do to build durable and prosperous democracies—and what the United States and others can do to help. More
A groundbreaking analysis of what the changes in American energy mean for the economy, national security, and the environment. More
This Independent Task Force report finds that as more people and services become interconnected and dependent on the Internet, societies are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks.
This Independent Task Force asserts that Turkey is an increasingly influential regional and economic power and calls for the United States and Turkey to forge a new partnership.
Special operations play a critical role in how the United States confronts irregular threats, but to have long-term strategic impact, the author argues, numerous shortfalls must be addressed.
The author analyzes the potentially serious consequences, both at home and abroad, of a lightly overseen drone program and makes recommendations for improving its governance.
This volume brings together a broad range of Foreign Affairs content to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Samuel Huntington’s classic article “The Clash of Civilizations?” More
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Stewart M. Patrick, CFR's senior fellow and director of the International Institutions and Global Governance program, discusses the...
Jonathan Tepperman profiles Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in light of this week's first United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.