View Full Version : Can you build partners with preditors?

04-25-2011, 04:45 PM
In traditional situations an external military or paramilitary force working for a government that wants to influence an insurgent force sends in SOF or other forces. At a minimum, they will send in the Air Force. In either of these cases there is a human that is sharing at least part of the risk of the fight with the insurgent force. In the case of the drone there is no such shared risk.

This is a question of psychology - when trying to build long term partnerships is something lost when there is no shared risk?

04-25-2011, 09:50 PM
I don't understand the question. You can't build a long-term partnership with an aircraft no matter where the pilot is.

05-17-2011, 09:55 AM
I think you can build some relationship by sending maned aircraft, particularly if there is any ground-to-air contact. There is also a risk being taken by the pilot.

I suppose it is a matter of degree, moving along a scale from American (or any nation's) soldiers on the ground fighting along side the rebel army, taking the exact same risks, to just sending money without publicly acknowledging what you are doing.

It seemed to me that as America becomes more risk adverse it is less likely to send troops in harms way it looses opportunities to form strong bonds early on in relations with the new governance. As a result, its potential future partners are less apt to see it as being a serious partner thereby setting the stage for poor future relations that other departments (like State) have to work to overcome.

05-17-2011, 04:09 PM
Curmudgeon - I see where you're coming from, but I think international alliances are built out of more (or less?) than human connection on the battlefield. One of our most enduring alliances is with Israel - a country who we've never fought alongside, and a relationship which consists entirely of economic aid, military assistance, and diplomatic support.

05-17-2011, 05:00 PM
I think a more fundamental question is "Can you build partnerships with a factionalized state or group?"

Pakistan is an artifical state composed of four major and many minor ethnic groups slammed together. The groups have a fairly wide spread of what they consider their long term interests.

I would argue that you can have parterships with portions of a nation or group under a circumstance like this, but not with the whole group. The problem is that once you align yourself with one faction, the "with us or against us" mindset enters and you are, de facto, against a portion of the population.

This is why we can have a partnership with Israel, but not Palestine. While there are political factions in Israel, their objectives overlap to a high degree, and allow for internal compromise and collaboration. Palestine, however, is intensely factionalized, and has major players who won't accept internal compromise and collaboration with the others. (in statistical terms, Israel has a much smaller standard deviation than Palestine.)

The use of Predators and other stand off weapons to engage targets in Pakistan is a symptom of an underlying problem. The real problem when dealing with a factionalized entity is their internal divisions, trying to mitigate the underlying sources of the divisions, and develop a perception of common interests.

Or you can just pick a side and accept that you'll have enemies sharpshooting (figuratively and literally) every single thing you do in order to undermine your legitimacy, exploit your internal divisions, sap your political will, and place a drain on your military resources.

05-17-2011, 06:17 PM
This is a question of psychology - when trying to build long term partnerships is something lost when there is no shared risk?

In developed nations there will be a greater understanding of partnerships and politics, especially within the "chattering classes". This should make the psychology easier. The partnership will rarely involve the population, only state institutions, civil and military being perennial. There are exceptions to this, notably in Western Europe the Berlin Blockade (1947?) and the cruise missile deployment - even then it was a minority that was engaged.

No-one could have considered NATO without a US civil-military presence in Western Europe.

In my opinion where the difference is in less developed nations. No "boots on the ground" makes partnerships very limited even with state institutions, a point Stan and Tom Odom have repeatedly made regarding Africa.

Where is the partnership / shared risk with providing information to a drone controller? There is the chance of discovery and consequent penalties.

05-17-2011, 08:14 PM




05-17-2011, 10:44 PM
You, sir, owe me a new keyboard.
That was excellent.