Foreign Policy Blogs

Drone Proliferation (2)

Drone Proliferation (2)
The numbers are unsettling. According to a story in last Sunday’s Review section of the New York Times, Chinese manufacturers showed off 25 different kinds of remotely controlled aircraft at an aerospece show this time last year. In all, 50 countries are thought to have built or bought UAVs, and more do so all the time. In the next decade, global investment in drone R&D is expected to near $100 billion.
The scenarios are unsettling too. “What if Indian uses remotely controlled craft to hit terrorism suspects in Kashmir, or Russia sends drones after miittants in the Caucasus?,” asks the Times’s national security correspondent Scott Shane. What if UAVs are rigged to carry not just bombs but anthrax or nuclear waste?
Then there are the moral, legal, and political issues, ably addressed by Times ombudsman Arthur S. Brisbane in the same section the same day. Public Editor Brisbane particularly focuses on the reluctance of the Obama administration to disclose the legal rationale for and rules governing its ever-escalating use of drones.

 

Author

William Sweet

Bill Sweet has been writing about nuclear arms control and peace politics since interning at the IAEA in Vienna during summer 1974, right after India's test of a "peaceful nuclear device." As an editor and writer for Congressional Quarterly, Physics Today and IEEE Spectrum magazine he wrote about the freeze and European peace movements, space weaponry and Star Wars, Iraq, North Korea and Iran. His work has appeared in magazines like the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and The New Republic, as well as in The New York Times, the LA Times, Newsday and the Baltimore Sun. The author of two books--The Nuclear Age: Energy, Proliferation and the Arms Race, and Kicking the Carbon Habit: The Case for Renewable and Nuclear Energy--he recently published "Situating Putin," a group of essays about contemporary Russia, as an e-book. He teaches European history as an adjunct at CUNY's Borough of Manhattan Community College.

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