Compared to previous years, the Obama administration has wisely reduced the number of drone strikes that it conducts. Micah Zenko discusses why the United States' restraint in conducting strikes and rejection of demands for U.S. drone strikes on behalf of other countries are wise policy choices.
Max Boot, CFR's Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow for national security studies, discusses the history of nontraditional warfare and implications for policymakers, as part of CFR's Academic Conference Call series.
"While drones have attracted considerable attention, we know little about how effective they are as tools of punishment and deterrence. In particular, it is not clear how, if at all, drones differ from other technologies of violence, what experience with broadly similar technologies in past conflicts suggests will be the likely consequences of drone strikes, and what systematic analysis of the available evidence suggests about the effects of the drone campaigns. This monograph seeks to address these open questions."
"Should the United States continue targeted killings in Yemen without addressing the consequences of killing civilians and taking responsibility for unlawful deaths, it risks further angering many Yemenis and handing another recruiting card to AQAP."
"The cases in this report raise serious concerns that the USA has unlawfully killed people in drone strikes, and that such killings may amount in some cases to extrajudicial executions or war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law. Like other forces operating in the Tribal Areas, the USA appears to be exploiting the lawless and remote nature of the region to evade accountability for its violations."
"For decades the model for understanding PTSD has been 'fear conditioning': quite literally the lasting psychological ramifications of mortal terror. But a term now gaining wider acceptance is 'moral injury.' It represents a tectonic realignment, a shift from a focusing on the violence that has been done to a person in wartime toward his feelings about what he has done to others—or what he's failed to do for them."
"[Locals and security experts] say that while the drone attacks are a legal issue for Pakistan and the global community, those residing in the tribal belt do not consider them as unpopular as Pakistani officials portray them to be."
Ahead of President Barack Obama's meeting with Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday, October 23, CFR Senior Fellow Daniel Markey and former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter discussed U.S.-Pakistan relations on a media call on October 22.
"A strengthened security relationship between these unlikely partners would be mutually beneficial and allow the sides to combine their assets to counter shared threats while minimizing the risks of international blowback."
Asked by Justin McDowell, from Minnesota State University Moorhead
Counterinsurgency (COIN) operations will continue to be a viable option in future conflicts, particularly given rising instability in areas of interest to the United States and its allies. However, the relative feasibility and ability to support large COIN operations is very much in question.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Countering Terrorism, Ben Emmerson, released an interim report on his study of drone strikes and targeted killings on October 17, 2013. The study, which began in January 2013 and will issue a final report in 2014, reports on the use of remotely piloted aircraft in counter-terrorism operations.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.