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Michael Boyle

Associate Professor of Political Science, La Salle University
Areas of Expertise:

About Michael

Boyle's research revolves around two issues: the use of and response to political violence and terrorism, and the limits and possibilities of American foreign policy. He is a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and has served as a consultant for the U.S. and UK governments, as well as the Obama campaign in 2007-2008.


How to Prevent an Escalating Drone Arms Race

In the News

"The Problem with 'Evil'," Michael Boyle, The New York Times, August 22, 2014.
Guest to discuss the hidden cost of the drone program on All Things Considered, NPR, Michael Boyle, May 5, 2013.
Guest to discuss the debate on drones on The Charlie Rose Show, Michael Boyle (with Rosa Brooks, Scott Shane, and Peter W. Singer), March 29, 2013.


Legal and Ethical Implications of Drone Warfare (Routledge, 2017).

Identifies some of the chief legal and ethical problems associated with targeted killings by drone.

"The Coming Illiberal Order" Survival 58, no. 2 (2016): 35-66.

Discusses how the rise of China, Russia, and other authoritarian states and the decline of liberal democracy in the West is producing a new international order favorable to the interests and values of illiberal states.

"The Race for Drones" Orbis 59, no. 1 (2015): 76-94.

Analyzes the destabilizing impact of the spread of drone technology on interstate bargaining, deterrence and crisis negotiations.

Violence after Wars: Instability in Post-Conflict States (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014).

Explains how and why post-conflict states remain violent, even when peace settlements remain intact. Provides original data and case studies from Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, East Timor, Rwanda, and Iraq.

"The Costs and Consequences of Drone Warfare" International Affairs 89, no. 1 (2013).

Offers a sustained critique of the practice of targeted killing outside declared war zones by drones. Suggests that the practice is strategically ineffective because it produces a backlash on the ground and undermines the legitimacy of the governments of the countries where those strikes occur. Argues that U.S. practice will establish a normative precedent for unchecked targeted killings by other states.

"Do Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency Go Together?" International Affairs 86, no. 2 (2010): 333-353.

Criticizes U.S. policy in places like Afghanistan and Iraq which assumes that counterterrorism and counterinsurgency missions can be conducted concurrently. Argues instead that these missions have different assumptions and that pursuing each mission produces unrecognized costs which undercuts the other's success.