Evaluating US drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan
Tipple, Christopher Morland
Date of Issue2014
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
This dissertation seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen using the theoretical framework of hard, soft and smart power. The first chapter will define and analyse this theoretical framework, providing a foundation and structure in which this dissertation takes place. The subsequent chapter analyses the drone strikes through the theoretical lens of hard power, emphasising their effectiveness in satisfying the drone campaign's objective to punish terrorist organisations. Following this, the soft power effectiveness of the drone strikes will be evaluated, focusing on how targeted drone killings produce a counterproductive soft power effect, resulting in terrorist organisations being able to absorb their losses through increased recruitment. However, these new recruits are shown to be led by an increasingly inexperienced leadership, hampering the ability of terrorist organisations. Consequently, the drone strikes are argued to be effective through relying of their hard power success, as the hard power effectiveness of the targeted drone killings are shown to be successful enough to overcome the soft power failures of the drone campaign. The final chapter analyses the overall effectiveness of the drone strikes and the known policies the US can implement to increase the soft power effectiveness of the drone campaign. Accordingly, this dissertation concludes that although the drone strikes are effective, this effectiveness is sub-optimal and not 'smart', as the drone strikes are shown to not combine soft power tools with its hard power success to punish terrorist organisations.