The Legitimacy of Drone Warfare
Evaluating Public Perceptions
This discussion, based on the book The Legitimacy of Drone Warfare: Evaluating Public Perceptions (Routledge 2024), will examine public perceptions of the legitimacy of drones, and how this affects countries’ policies on and the global governance of drone warfare. Scholars recognize that legitimacy is central to countries’ use of drones, and political officials often characterize strikes as legitimate to sustain their use abroad.
In this discussion, Dr. Paul Lushenko introduces his recent book, which introduces and tests an original middle-range theory that allows scholars, policy-makers, and practitioners to understand how evolving patterns of drone warfare globally shape the public’s perceptions of legitimate strikes. Rather than relate drone warfare to a platform or counterterrorism strikes only, as experts often do, Dr. Lushenko argues that drone warfare is best understood as a function of the unique ways that countries use and constrain strikes. By updating theories of drone warfare, Dr. Lushenko provides a generalizable way to understand public perceptions of legitimacy in cross-national contexts, especially among democratic political regimes that are prefigured on political officials’ accountability for the use of force abroad.
About the Speaker
Paul Lushenko is an Assistant Professor and Director of Special Operations at the U.S. Army War College.