In the aftermath of the recent mail bombs sent from Yemen to the Unites States, the White House may finally have been pushed over the line to officially begin an unofficial war against Yemen.
The Obama administration is debating a plan to begin drone strikes against militants in remote areas of Yemen, a move that would represent a major escalation of U.S. involvement there, according to two U.S. officials.
[...] The U.S. has been flying unmanned aircraft over Yemen since earlier this year, but the drones have been used for surveillance and not for attacking militants who have taken refuge in the country’s rugged hinterlands.
The option under consideration by the White House would escalate the effort, enlisting Yemeni government support for drone strikes and developing more intelligence sources about where militants are hiding, the officials said.
Our thusfar successful drone operations in Pakistan would argue for an expansion of such tactics, particularly since Yemen is as equally ungoverned and dangerous as the FATA and NWFP. However, two things concern this author. Firstly, there will clearly be no official declaration of war allowing any escalation of US involvement in Yemen to proceed without congressional approval.
Secondly, since there will be no declaration of war, it will remain unclear what the bar is for future operations of this sort. Indeed, were the US to begin drone operations in trouble spots around the globe, we’d have to go to full on WW2 scale production of them. While there is no doubt that Yemen’s internal anarchy represents a threat to many countries, I remain unconvinced that escalation will decrease our problems rather than increase them.
Readers, ask yourself the following question. When reading, discussing or watching the news regarding current affairs and foreign policy, what is NOT in America’s interest nowadays? Every flavor of the day threat seems to require a response. Every incident, even when successfully thwarted is an excuse for escalation, expansion and restriction of Americans’ civil rights. This is unsustainable policy both domestic and foreign.
The ease with which new technology will allow a type of instant gratification/fast food foreign policy option is frightening. While the occasional use of special operations forces is necessary, it is also temporary. As drone technology improves, the possibility to have a near endless presence anywhere is a dangerously addictive drug.
The US already suffers from short sightedness in the FP realm. The last six decades of policy are similar to the endless expansion seen in our blog’s favorite book, The Great Game, wherein Britain or Russia expands, and through its new territory is suddenly confronted with more threats, which require a new response, often more expansion and the use of additional resources we cannot afford.