Here’s one of those “Now what could possibility go wrong?” stories.
Drones for Everyone
Reversing years of restricted sales of America’s robot drone killers, the Obama administration announced it will begin allowing sales of armed drones to some friendly and allied countries. Until now, only the UK has been allowed to purchase armed drones, though select other countries have bought unarmed craft.
The change comes as China begins exporting its own drones. Sales of drones could be worth billions to American companies.
In the published policy, the State Department (which ostensibly controls arms export policy but hah hah) did not specify which countries would be considered for armed drone sales, but unnamed officials told U.S. media previous requests by Italy and Turkey would be considered. The United Arab Emirates is also being considered, though only for the unarmed versions which could never at all in no way be modified to carry weapons, no siree.
But don’t worry, because the State Department sales rules have safeguards against drone misuse built right in:
– Countries purchasing drones must sign agreements that the aircraft will only be used for military campaigns and not to, say, wipe out political opponents;
— Certain drones capable of carrying a payload of 500kg (1,100lb) will still be barred from export except under undefined “highly unusual circumstances.”
— The recipient will be required to use drones in accordance with international law (hilarious given how the U.S. does not follow international law in its own drone use);
— Drone owners must promise not use the aircraft “to conduct unlawful surveillance or use unlawful force against their domestic populations.”
So that’s all covered. Or maybe not. The full rules for drone sales are classified.
Reprinted with permission from We Meant Well.