Liberal Preferences as an Explanation for Technology Choices. The Case of Military Robots as a Solution to the West’s Casualty Aversion

  • Niklas SchörnigEmail author
Part of the Global Power Shift book series (GLOBAL)


When it comes to choices regarding military technology, many scholars of international relations favor a realist perspective, arguing with “technological imperatives”, “adaptation of technology” and the “security dilemma”. When it comes to military robotics in general and drones in particular, the “technological imperative” seems to be a valid and powerful explanation for the worldwide proliferation of drone technology. What is missing from a realist explanation, however, is why drones become so popular in the first place and why especially Western democracies have been implementing and fostering the development from the very beginning. The text argues that drones and other unmanned military systems offer Western democracies a unique opportunity to implement what has been termed the “New Western Way of War”, i.e. warfare with minimized casualties on their side and reduced civilian casualties on the side of their opponents. So rather than understanding “technology push” and “mission pull” as two contradicting explanations of technology development, the text argues that rather a combination of both offers a comprehensive picture.


Liberal theory Drones Military robots Weapon technologies War 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PRIFFrankfurt am MainGermany

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