Saturday, August 16, 2014


"Dozens of aerial drones were on display...
at the Chinese air show in Zhuhai." (NYT - 11/27/2012)
The United States is very good at starting things . . . but seldom considers three moves ahead, much less how it will all end.

Drones are a case in point.

Now people are starting to talk about the problem of global drone proliferation. Here are some resources.

Arms Control Association: "Drone Proliferation Tests Arms Control"

April, 2014 - "As the U.S. government winds up an interagency review of rules governing the export of large drones, the conflicting goals of nonproliferation and commerce are creating a new test of the 27-year-old Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)."

The Atlantic: "8 Questions the World Faces as Lethal Drones Proliferate: Today's answers will affect how other countries pursue targeted killing in the future"

March 12, 2014 - "Sooner or later, countries other than the United States may start killing people with drones as frequently as we do. If and when that happens, Americans are likely to regret the norms President Obama has established around targeted and semi-targeted killing . . . . " "Nine facts about armed drones"

May 13, 2014 - "The virtual monopoly that the United States had on armed drones a decade ago is evaporating . . . . "

Action on Armed Violence infographic: "Global drone wars: current combat drones and their proliferation"

"Once countries like China start exporting [drones], they're going to be everywhere really quickly . . . . "

Global Post Special Report: "The Drone Age: Why we should fear global proliferation of UAVs"

"Inside the world’s biggest air shows in Singapore, Dubai and Paris, leading weapons manufacturers gather to sell their lethal wares in the global marketplace, and nothing is selling these days like drones . . . ."

Council on Foreign Relations Special Report: Limiting Armed Drone Proliferation

June 26, 2014 - "The Obama administration should pursue a strategy that places clear limits on its own sale and use of armed drones lest these weapons proliferate and their use becomes widespread. These are the central findings of a new report by CFR Douglas Dillon Fellow Micah Zenko and Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow Sarah Kreps."

"Although only five countries have developed armed drones—the United States, Britain, Israel, China, and Iran—several other countries have announced their own programs . . . ."

(See also "The Drone Invasion Has Been Greatly Exaggerated: Why sensationalizing drone proliferation is going to kill our ability to control them" and "Drone Proliferation: Three Things to Know")

Related posts

No matter how you feel about the inherent challenges posed by drone technology . . . whether or not you recognize that drone attacks resulting in innocent deaths are an enormous ethical and practical problem . . . whether or not you are concerned that even "successful" drone attacks constitute extrajudicial executions (i.e. are war crimes) and are not "self-defense" as claimed by the Obama Administration . . . whether or not you care about the simple surveillance implications of drone use . . . doesn't it seem like a good idea to SLOW DOWN with the proliferation of drone technology? Lest we end up regretting it later?

(See The Drone-Pandora Connection (and I'm not talking about music) )

Today, it may seem quaint to think about the role that trains played in the cataclysms of the 20th century. Could something as simple as a bunch of trains, once set in motion, possibly put people on a course they couldn't reverse? And yet . . . what if I told you that the hyper-organized planners of the U.S. government have a timetable to make 100 drone bases operational in our country in the near future?

(See War By (Drone Base) Timetable? )

Beyond recognizing the inherent contradictions of "pre-emptive violence," we must confront an urgent problem related to technology: the automation of "pre-emptive violence" -- e.g. via drone technology -- is leading to a spiral (or "loop" or "recursive process") that we may not be able to get out of.

(See When "Pre-emptive Violence" Is Automated ....)

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