Global Governance

Ask CFR Experts

Do stronger international institutions necessarily mean a weaker United States?

Asked by Aisling L
Author: Stewart M. Patrick

International institutions provide a platform for promoting, formalizing, and enforcing rules, norms, and regimes that regulate state behavior. As a leader in many of these fora, the United States is well positioned to promote its national interests through multilateral partnerships. Multilateral consensus is uniquely capable of legitimizing U.S. action and spreading burdens of leadership.

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Primary Sources

UN Report on Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

The United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic submitted an investigative report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday, September 15, 2013. The "Report on the Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in the Ghouta Area of Damascus on 21 August 2013" concludes that "chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale, resulting in numerous casualties, particularly among civilians and including many children." On December 12, 2013, the final report on the investigation was released. It includes a timeline of events in Syria and actions of the UN and evidence that led to the conclusion that chemical weapons were used.

See more in Syria; Weapons of Mass Destruction; International Organizations and Alliances

Must Read

Foreign Policy: Why Has the U.N. Given Assad a Free Pass on Mass Murder?

Author: Colum Lynch

"Is it better to use the bully pulpit to increase pressure on a government to treat its people humanely, or is it better to nudge the government quietly behind the scenes? For decades, U.N. relief workers have preferred to keep their concerns off the headlines and reveal little about the perpetrators of violence against civilians, thereby preserving their role as neutral healers and helpers. But a spate of internal reviews of U.N. responses to mass killings from Bosnia to Rwanda and Sri Lanka have challenged that view."

See more in Syria; International Organizations and Alliances