I certainly agree, to some degree, that both administrations are quite similar in some respects to the characterization that is being put forth. However, it would suffice to say that they are not absolutely continuations of Bush 43’s policies but rather amplification in some matters and a complete change in others.
On the use of drones, NYT’s Peter M. Singer (“Do Drones Undermine Democracy?”) makes the comprehensive argument that the use of drones goes against the how wars are meant to be fought—human participation. It can be counter argued that these automatons are better in terms of expendability; personnel are not easily replaced while drones are easily replaceable. The Bush 43 strategy relied more on men, and it did yielded adverse results politically. The switch to drones presented dynamic political benefits, for which Singer argued allowed for circumvention of aggravated/emotive discourse among members of the American populace, academics and mass media. It is imperative to remember that the cost of the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq—increases in casualties—was detrimental to the American credibility and brought about victory to Obama in 2008 elections.
The Obama Administration did maintain the policy of Bush 43 of using massive troops, such as the Afghan surge in 2009 but steadily reverted to the draconian measure of using drones. The arrivals of Hagel and Brennan, in agreement with VP Biden’s view, earlier this year made a better case for this change from counterinsurgency to counterterrorism (NYT’s “In Step on ‘Light Footprints’, Nominees Reflect A Shift”). This is where there is a departure from Bush 43. This is not to assert that the use of the aforementioned are unquestionably productive since they tend to produce undesirable collateral damage (and create political repercussions) but that they are cost-effective when compared to having men on the ground. In other words, drones are politically subtle instruments of the first order.
On the use of Special Operations forces (or boots on the ground), this is the second tier of the subtle instruments available and makes the ‘light footprint’ possible. Regular forces are quite useless in counterterrorism efforts, and this is where the Obama Administration diverges from its predecessor; the preference for accuracy over large troop operations. As far as sovereignty is concerned for both Special Operations and drone strikes, it is apparent that...