War is not the same as in the past: a matter of geopolitical struggle and organized deployment of troops within a clear legal framework that includes presence and action from humanitarian aid. In current times is a matter of military action in general terms carried on without even deploy troops, just by drones, with a constant violation of war rules and within a chaotic humanitarian action –sometimes without access-.
These circumstances change the own concept of war/military action and build new challenges in which it is paramount to work towards a responsible and strict regulated use. On the political side, it means a new way of building trust among countries in which soft power represents the resilient path to get into results that will lead towards peace stability.
It is public knowledge that US military presence in Middle East as well as several drone strikes that kill thousands of civilians and have destroyed cities, are not welcomed and are not seen it as a driver for peace. On the last 20 years there are few examples in which US has contributed for good with their military strategy. In general, drones strikes precede flagrant violations of IHL, human rights and seed more hate and confrontation.
Any act that represents deployment of troops or/and military action through remote control methods may be considered war.
There is not a coordinated action among tech advances and law framework. When a drone could get to a place on a few minutes and make the work that only troops based on the field could do it in the past, means that there are new challenges to be faced and that there is a legal vacuum that is allowing arbitrary decisions.
Is it for this reason that the prominent role from leaders as American Presidents may be changed accordingly.
Recent bipartisan initiative from Senator Tim Kaine –and John McCain- about Consultation Committee seems to be a good approximation of a process of re-democratization of US military action. Indeed, unilateral decisions for military action demand a better coordination Legislative- Executive Branch. However, I am seeing on the Consultation committee integration a gap: taking into account the political side of a war resolution its paramount the presence of the Pentagon in the Committee.
An extremely sensitive political issue that “undermines” Presidents powers without the military actors and just pretends to start a dialogue with a super political organisation as the Congress, does not guarantee a democratic process but ineffectiveness in terms of satisfaction among all the actors. After a long history precedent of confrontation its important to build a strong bridge Legislative-Executive branch and that could only be done by the representation of interests parts as the military to make the process more open and transparent. In a sense, working as a Facilitator. Leaving behind this idea of President VS Congress –Committee- confrontation aside.
In addition, this new framework changes also the delivering of the humanitarian action in itself, as currently there are not foreseeable emergencies as in a traditional war. Indeed, with drones strikes there is not a specific battlefield and definitely not strong codes of behavior in relation to indiscriminate attacks to civil population or war in cities.
However, it seems that more regulation –even needed- is not enough and we need to construct a new political framework of political leaders reliable and aware of the need to follow certain rules, particularly on relation to war in cities and attack to civilians. Is under this framework that dialogue and interdisciplinary approaches is the best way to fight back arbitrary and isolated decisions carried on remotely.
The key issue is to stop arbitrary decisions coming from biased interests and political leaders without vision of what means global peace. If there are counterbalance mechanisms that assure that all leaders are accountable at national and global level there are more chances to make a fair strategy. At national level, by the integration of special Committees in which actors from Congress, President and military sector are represented and at international level with the authorization from global institutions as United Nations –under a new innovative Security Council-.
At first glance it seems utopian but when we see countries as Iran that are showing commitment to global agreements and capacity for Negotiation as with the European Union, means that its possible and that soft power would stop the devastating impact of a “technological war”.
Soft power is the best way to stop hard power implementing by arbitrary military decisions made by politicians without sense of purpose of global stability and the fulfillment of the SDGs.
As the sculpture shows: when military action become a “game” it loses sense and legitimation and left many people in a disempowered position under an anarchic institutional framework and legal vacuum.
A dangerous game……
* Sculpture “a dangerous game” by Lorenzo Quinn