Book: A Theory of the Drone
Author: Gregoire Chamayou (translated English Version)
Review by: Jose A. Flores Velasco, deputy consul, Consulate General of Argentina in Atlanta
Through the lens of modern drone warfare, A Theory of the Drone offers a trove of excellent analytical tools for anyone who wishes to glean balanced interpretations of current international events, especially those regarding international security.
The book uses the widely debated practice of killing from afar to dive right into the basis of what self-defense means (or even the term “pre-emptive” for that matter), why certain rules for belligerence were created and how new technological developments have allowed humankind to overcome these limitations, sliding into new and uncertain moral territory when it comes to conflict.
Showing how conflict evolved throughout the 20th century, Chamayou very clearly points out that war zones are no longer confined to certain locations. Wars are not even declared anymore, as we’re in a suspended state of always-on-but-rarely-acknowledged warfare.
I found myself having to pause throughout the book on numerous occasions, as the theoretical points that the author raises throughout are easily transferable into debates regarding policing and security ranging from local to the federal and international scenarios.
As an example, he explores why governments have required less and less the involvement of their electorate in conflict (remember Warner Bros. cartoons inviting people to buy war bonds?). He also contrasts how media impacted the legitimacy for warfare in Vietnam with the way the long drag of war hardly influences local affairs in Western countries today.
This book is a must-read for any serious discussion on the current state of military conflict (either internal or international and especially asymmetrical), the language used to confound the conversation in media outlets. In an uncertain world, it provides an excellent basis for considering the future implications of current military actions.
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