Could Drones be Good for Peace?

Over at Medi­um, I won­der if drones, when used out­side of tar­get­ed killing pro­grams, might actu­al­ly be good for peace. The exam­ple I chose is the show­down between Japan and Chi­na in the Senkaku Islands.

Though rel­a­tive­ly expen­sive to devel­op and oper­ate, drones allow for a much longer flight time over sen­si­tive areas, and the lack of a pilot inside the air­craft makes it expend­able should some­thing bad hap­pen and it gets shot down or crash­es.

So should Japan start swat­ting Chi­nese drones out of the sky, it will mat­ter — ten­sions will almost cer­tain­ly get worse. But it also won’t involve the lives of pilots being put at risk, which low­ers the chance of anoth­er Hainan Island inci­dent (when a U.S. EP‑3 spy plane col­lid­ed with a Chi­nese F‑8 inter­cep­tor).

It may not come to pass this way, but it is at least worth talk­ing about, I think.

Joshua Foust used to be a foreign policy maven. Now he helps organizations communicate strategically and build audiences.