Send in the drones. Few grasp the significance of drone warfare. We don't see them. Our people don't get killed. We rarely know who does get killed and when, infrequently, we hear anything about it at all it's the announcement of some terrorist leader expunged from the face of the earth.
What we don't understand is that drone warfare has also ushered in an era of permanent warfare of an entirely different paradigm, utterly alien to our notions and laws of war sculpted over the past several centuries. We cannot foresee the scope, range and geopolitical fallout that drone warfare will bring to the world stage.
The Royal Institute or Chatham House has published a couple of insightful evaluations of the risks and benefits of drone warfare including Michael Boyle's detailed examination, that conclude drone warfare isn't particularly effective, incites retaliation or "blowback" attacks, and will lead to new and highly unstable arms races.
Across Asia, nations are rushing to "drone up." China is deploying its own drones that look remarkably similar to U.S. designs. South Korea and Japan are placing orders for the latest and greatest American drone technology. India is said to be developing its own arsenal of UCAVs or Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles. France and Britain are developing stealth UCAVs. It's even been speculated that war between China and Japan over contested islands could begin with an air-to-air drone exchange.
For the West, and particularly Obama, drone warfare is a dandy way of dragging out wars that are already lost. They're bloodless for the home team and only look like murder to those on the receiving end.
It's this same lack of accountability, lack of transparency and apparent immunity to consequences that can lull nations into complacency and dangerously lower the threshold of drone warfare sparking a much greater, direct and perhaps even unforeseen conflict.