The School of International Relations was the host of a high-end guest lecture on the Global War on Terror.Held at Boxue Building 308at 15:30 on November 8, 2018, the forum benefitted of the guest lecture of Dr. Graeme Davies, Professor of the School of Political Science and International Relations, University of Leeds, UK.
The main topics under discussion included the use of drones on the battlefield in the global war on terrorism, media reports of drone casualties and public scrutiny of the president’s responsibility for the casualties. Dr.Wang Bo, Deputy Dean of the School of International Relations, host and conveyor of the forum,welcomed Prof. Davies’ lecture and shared his expertise on the matter with the other participants. Li Hangmin, Associate Dean of the SIR, and Lu Chuang, the School Officer for Student Affairs, organized and attended the event. Over 100 students from the SIR and other departments of our university attended the forum and addressed numerous questions to the speakers.
Professor Davies is a well-known international security expert in the UK and has published multiple articles on the topic in authoritative academic journals. In 2018, Professor Davies was hired as a high-end foreign expert in our School.
In his speech, Professor Davies presented his main researchfindings on the social and political impacts of the use of drones in the modern war on terror. The war on terror has become one of the main forms of combating terrorism for the United States and Western countries. The modern war on terror has spawned new weapon systems, while witnessing an increasingly frequent usage of drones. During the presidency of the former US President Barack Obama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, U.S. troops used drones more than 100 times in the war on terror. Prof. Davies’ research focused on the necessity and rationale of using this type of weapons.
During his research, Prof. Davieshas found the use of drones to greatly reduce the domestic political risk of American pilots being hit, killed, or captured alive in an air strike. At the same time, the study found that the public held the president responsible for the innocent casualties caused by the use of drones, far less than the situation of innocent casualties caused by fighter jets piloted by pilots. The reduction in the pressure exercised by media and civil societycould facilitate the decision making process in terms of drone warfare.
During his commentaries over drone usage and media scrutiny, Dr.Wang Bo urged the students and other academics to use more discourse analysis in their research and cultivate our own political thinking and critical sense. Following Dr. Wang’s encouragements, the students actively asked questions. Several students expressed their doubts and opinions concerning ethical aspects connected to the usage of drones in warfare, while Professor Davies answered them patiently. Professor Wang Bo and Professor Daviesshared their concerns with regard to the future use of drones. After the forum, the students continued to communicate with Professor Davies.
In his speech, Professor Daviesprovideda vivid methodology on the matter through the presentation of case studies and their associated research pathways, the different situational assumptions of the research questions, and the comparative analysis of related variables.
Through this forum, the students realized the importance of using objective perspectives and independent variables in their political research, while gaining significant knowledge on the nexus of modern warfare, public opinion and media. Professor Davies’s approach left the students with a deep impression. It is hoped that all the students will benefit from the guest lecture and make use of the expertise and research methods shared by Prof. Davies, while continuously improving their academic English skills. Overall, the UIBE SIR Faculty and students agreed that the lecture laid the premises for further in-depth research on the matter.