Are Tehran and Washington figuring out a positive-sum method of employing drones for peace?
Drones have brought enormous new layers of risk to international relations, causing insecurity, murdering innocents, creating provocations, facilitating illegal warfare by the Imperial Presidency outside of Congressional control. But now one sees glimmers of an unstated Tehran-Washington agreement to use them not for war but peace. In this perhaps unnegotiated and certainly not admitted deal, Washington illegally violates Iran’s borders to acquire evidence that Iran is living up to its promise not to build nuclear bombs, and, having–so far–evidently acquired that evidence, can thus justify opposition to Israeli warmongers. Tehran, for its part, publicly claims that Washington is doing no such thing while bragging that it is nevertheless using its own drones to keep a careful watch over Washington’s threatening naval armada in the Persian Gulf.
Thus, each side has neatly made the argument that it is guarding national security so that no hostilities need occur. While this apparent deal is a risky game and falls a bit short of a serious, long-term, positive-sum relationship, it is at least better than the childish prancing about that the world has seen in recent years by war-advocates and the terminally insecure on both sides. As long as the American drones are used only to discover Iranian secrets that confirm Iranian public assertions and Iranian drones are not attacked by U.S. warships, this tricky game can perhaps make a contribution to cooling the tempers of extremists calling for war or brinkmanship.