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Presidential use of diversionary drone force and public support

During times of domestic turmoil, the use of force abroad becomes an appealing strategy to US presidents in hopes of diverting attention away from internal conditions and toward a foreign policy success.

Scott S. Boddery, Graig R. Klein
02 June 2021
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Weaponized drone technology presents a low cost and potentially high-reward option to embattled presidents. While generally covert operations, drone strikes are frequently reported in the media, making them a viable diversionary tool. To gauge whether drone strikes are in fact capable of diverting the public’s attention, we surveyed 1198 Americans and find that a successful drone strike increases presidential approval despite a weak and sagging economy, and the impact of diversionary drone use is significantly greater than that which accompanies traditional diversionary methods.

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