Targeted killing: the recurrence of assassinations in US foreign policy
The Obama Administration’s use of drones has generated strong interest in targeted killings. The technological novelty of drones, however, has meant that most of the literature largely obscures the fact that assassination has a long history in US foreign policy. Few scholars have identified the recurrence of assassinations, but the reasons behind it remain unexplored.
This project aims at assessing under what circumstances practices of assassination have proven a plausible and permissible option for US foreign policymakers. Building on Allison’s decision-making models, the project develops three propositions to interpret the pattern of disappearance and re-emergence of assassinations. Part of a broader research programme, this project looks at the ‘season of inquiry’ in the mid-1970s and at the resurgence of assassinations in the 1980s. With drones firmly established as the counter-terrorism weapon of choice, interpreting the reasons behind assassination practices has clear implications for current public debate and policy-making.
This project is funded by a BA/Leverhulme Small Grant.