Responding to the Emir of Afghanistan’s 1919 declaration of jihad against British forces, the Royal Air Force sent a single biplane to Kabul that dropped 20 bombs. The Emir sued for peace immediately after the attack. Since then, airpower has been used as a tool of forceful coercion. It provides a range of hard and soft power resources to deter or compel, express national will, or execute policy. Aircraft can be dispatched rapidly, arrive at distant locations quickly, and deliver weapons or humanitarian aid with precision. Properly understood and applied, it can serve as an effective tool to achieve some national objectives.
Airpower Diplomacy Is Underrated
The coercive impact of airpower operations—like gunboat diplomacy—can be difficult to discern. History teaches us how airpower might be applied to achieve political objectives at home and abroad.
By Lieutenant Commander Gary Gomez, U.S. Navy (Retired)<p>
Original painting by Ronald Wong, FGAvA ASAA, www.ronaldtkwong.com