President Obama took the concept of an aerial attack by unmanned drone from a rare event to something exceedingly common. The architect of the drone wars in Pakistan and Yemen has launched hundreds of strikes, killing thousands of people, since taking office.
Something has happened though, as the US has made drone warfare the “new normal;” other nations started acquiring drones of their own. It’s not as funny when the other guy does it, so President Obama is now pushing global rules and standards on when drones can be used.
“People say what’s going to happen when the Chinese and the Russians get this technology. The president is well aware of these concerns and wants to set the standard for the international community on these tools,” the White House noted in a statement.
Yet America’s own standards for using drones have been ambiguous at best, with officials often refusing to comment on who they’ve killed, let alone why, and has spurned the idea of legal oversight for the killings.
If America has “set the standard” it is surely a bad one, and one can only assume the US will be outraged if Russia or China follows the trend and starts using drones to assassinate state enemies in other nations.