In “Pilotless Planes, Pacific Tensions”, an Op-Ed by Richard Parker, Mr. Parker argues that the rise in drone use by the U.S. to combat the rise in Chinese naval power is cheapening the cost of war in a way that we don’t fully understand. For example, what are the implications of using drones to destroy enemy drones?Is there a different standard for engaging drones with our weaponry when compared with manned units? If so, what should the different protocol be? Does this change in military tactics influence diplomacy between the U.S. and China?
At the moment, it seems that a change in military strategy will effect very little between the U.S. and China, economically it is in neither country’s self interest to cut off relations. However, what happens when this calculus changes? What would keep the peace between our two nations then? The U.S. and the Chinese need to work harder to establish a good diplomatic relationship, not just an economic one. The lack of dialogue and understanding across the pacific are laying the seeds for an adversarial relationship that does not need to exist.
The use of drones makes lighting tinderbox conflicts much easier. That means that preventing these tinderbox situations is essential to preserving peace. The U.S. needs to start building greater coordination between the East and the West, so that a natural alliance may form in the decades ahead.