Drone warfare won't defeat terrorists, Nasr says

U.S. can't afford 'minimalist' counterterrorism strategy, SAIS dean writes

In an op-ed published Tuesday by Bloomberg View, Vali Nasr, dean at the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, makes the case for a shift in U.S. counterterrorism strategy.

In the article, titled "Killing from the sky is no way to defeat terrorists," Nasr contends that while drone strikes have been effective in eliminating key members of al-Qaeda leadership, they have also driven members of the terrorist organization to new safe havens. Though it's not clear that al-Qaeda was directly responsible for the Benghazi attack, he says, it is clear that al-Qaeda and like-minded organizations remain a real threat to U.S. security.

Drone strikes have "been a seductive policy," Nasr writes. "Drones are a low-cost, low-risk way to wage war." But, he cautions, the U.S. can no longer afford such a "minimalist approach":

Drones have killed al-Qaeda leaders with devastating precision but with the unintended consequence of pushing the organization out of its lair in northwest Pakistan and into every other broken part of the Muslim world. The options for asylum, meanwhile, have spread beyond Africa's Sahel region because of the effects of the Arab Spring. Syria's civil war has pulled in global jihadists. Extremists are exploiting a breakdown of order in parts of Egypt, Libya and Yemen caused by the dissolution of authoritarian regimes.

Read more from Bloomberg View