This article by Jaya Ramachandran, a writer for The Palestine Chronicles, makes the argument that the status quo US drone policy triggers increased terrorism and causes a new arms race. There are a couple reasons why I think these arguments are true.
As far as terrorism goes, status quo US drone strikes justify people running to terrorist organizations and joining them. Our policy makes the Pakistani government seem weak and unable to protect the people. So, the people decide to join another organization that is powerful enough to protect them, AKA terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda. The article also correctly makes the blowback argument, which is the idea that our drone policy creates retaliation against the US. People such as Shahzad, the perpetrator of the New York Times Square attack a couple years ago, join terrorist organizations in order to get back at the US for the horrible things that drones do to people in various countries in the Middle East and Central Asia.
For the new arms race argument, the central premise is that when we use drones in an offensive, unregulated manner, other countries get the idea that it’s okay for them to do the same. And as the technology spreads and is developed by other countries, that becomes an increasingly destabilizing thing. Other countries can simply label their targets as terrorists and claim that they attacked their targets because the US set the precedent for them to do it. China could easily decide that various militant groups inside its country should be labeled as terrorist organizations and send a missile from above to destroy them. That could create more dissidents inside China who then decide to revolt against the government. People are already not very happy with the Chinese government– this could be the factor that sends them off the edge.
This article cites another article written by a guy named Boyle (which is an excellent article that can be found here; I won’t go into much detail on it in this post because I’ll write another post about it in the future) who indicts all of the authors who argue that drones are good, indicating that those people are war hawks who ignore the actual political costs associated with drone usage. It’s important to keep that in mind when reading any evidence to the contrary.
I’ll also have a couple more posts in the future about how we can change the drone program, but I’ll end this post with this– our current drone program can only do harm.