Drones over Al-Qaeda
Today’s headlines from Afghanistan bring to mind the association of fiction-science fiction-reality and the visualized apocalyptic fears and fascinations that animate so much of cinema and online gaming. A new observation? No, not for at least two generations now. But who would think the USA would be raining destruction on an enemy using armed R-C aircraft, and with considerable success? Right, these drones are but the latest generation of the concept and the reality. Beyond that, the scale is different, but the objectives seem familiar, as when the USA’s massive Vietnam/Cambodia-era bombing campaigns brought insoluble complexity to Southeast Asia. That was old-style — more like the World-War II bombings in Europe by the joint British and American bombing campaigns that destroyed German cities, or the US bombings of Tokyo. The technology is less “direct” where instead of massive aircraft, pilots and bombardiers you find the drones get their directions from a marvelous fusion of technological and human resources. It is less “direct” than the A-bomb deployments over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I do not like to think too much about the future prospects for the melding of hyper-destructive technologies with the drones. I know others have, and that is more than a mere concern.
Of far greater concern: why does it seem there is so little faith in the prospects for solving international problems through new modes of diplomacy? Diplomacy often fails, and “the reality of things” is that conflict will continue, but what would it take to diminish conflict? How much development do we need? How much are we engaging in? Why are there no stronger plans? Where are we putting our resources? What attitudes are we developing among the newest generation? What are our 100-year objectives? Our investment in war — whether we voted for it or not — is no small thing among us, or among our enemies.
I wonder whether a “public” form of international relations would serve better than a “political” form of international diplomacy?