Andris Banka

American drone strikes

Supervisor: Adam Quinn

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have become central to the US efforts in fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. What started as a few high value target operations in the Bush administration has risen remarkably under Barack Obama. In a short period of time, drones have profoundly transformed today’s battlefields. They have proven to be remarkably effective in ‘taking out’ top Al Qaeda leadership, at the same time raising serious questions about their legitimacy, proportionality, morality and accountability. Building on the constructivist literature on norm life cycles, the presented study focuses on the significance of using drones as a counterterrorism tool and analyzes to what extent American drone strikes have weakened the international norm against assassination.


Before coming to Birmingham, I completed my studies at Dutch, American and Latvian universities, concentrating on the issues of international security. My professional experience has also been closely related to the field of politics and international relations. Having lived in Washington D.C., Amsterdam, The Hague, Riga, Brussels, and Sofia I had an opportunity to be a part of organizations with a global reach, such as the International Monetary Fund, Hudson Institute and Security & Defense Agenda.


  • BA Political science, University of Latvia (Riga/Latvia)
  • BA International Relations, Lynn University (Florida/USA)
  • MA International relations and Global Governance, VU Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

Research interests

  • US Foreign Policy
  • Security Studies/Terrorism
  • The ‘Rise of the Rest’