With the economy front and center in the US presidential campaign, national security has provided mainly background noise. Obama‘s “To Do List” about foreign policy is going forward dangerous times, also because it could become something very difficult to manage.
It’s impossible to know whether Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for the elections, really believes that’s the case when it comes to Obama’s reliance on unmanned drone strikes to kill suspected terrorists in places from Pakistan to Yemen.
On June 5, the White House has announced that a CIA drone killed, in an attack in Pakistan’s tribal area, al-Qaeda’s n° 2 [Abu Yahya al-Libi], even the WSJ said: “President Obama’s decision to expand the drone program into Pakistan and Yemen – which are difficult for US troops to access – is one of his finest accomplishments”.
But, even if personal role of the President could be exaggerated, thinking about Obama calling for every action everywhere, his parameters could be a bit too large: in facts, Pentagon and CIA drones had already killed dozens of “suspects”around the World. It seems not so democratic, but.. who cares? Surely not the UN or NATO, neither other regional and supranational actors. But maybe, looking at this kind of policy, Russia is not so in wrong dubting about the US foreign policy.
If Mitt Romney, “The Real Man – White, Cristian, Republican” will win the electoral campaign, becoming the new President, it’s doubtless that he’s going to follow Obama’s guidelines. But it’s not risk-free as it seems. Drones offer many clear advantages over more-conventional forces. They are precise (more or less), limiting the collateral damage and relatively cheap.
But Micheal Crowley, columnist of TIME, says: “That’s a big contrast to the military strategy that dazzled Washington just a few years ago. Counterinsurgency, as tailored for Iraq and Afghanistan, called for a hearts-and-minds campaign to win over populations in conflicts zone through face-to-face interactions and infrastructure projects.”
Counterinsurgency is slow when it should be quicker, and very expensive (maybe just because US troops don’t know how to do it!).
Since september, when General David Petraeus took over the CIA, he has focoused on the agency’s terrorist-hunting drone campaign. Having one obsessed over winning over locals through close contact and knowledge of tribal customs, Petraeus now refines the art of bombing from the air without so much as boots on the ground.
We would like to know what is a terrorist. Is it a taliban? Is it a potential danger for the US? Or for its allied? What’s dangerous for the US domestic policy, and what’s the sense of going around Africa and Middle-East bombing someone who could be a potential danger or terrorist or.. oh, damn’, he was his cousin. sorry guy! So, wondering where is the International Law is so stupid as believing in Santa Claus, nowadays, but we still believe in another way.
By the way, we don’t want to say that this is the US point of view, also because we know that European countries are not less incredible about their own foreign policies, but we want to keep in mind that Mr. Obama is the Peace Nobel Prize Winner. Don’t forget it.