Lethal Drones: Response

by Amitai Etzoni
Professor of international relations at George Washington University

As I see it, one must separate the question of whether a given person ought to be killed (morally and legally speaking) from the question of how this should be done (i.e. using what tools), if s/he is to be killed legitimately. As I have suggested elsewhere, compared to other tools – whether Special Forces, missiles, or bombs – drones are the preferred means by far. They allow for a much more careful review of the target, limit collateral damage, and reduce the casualties on our side.

Given these facts, it seems odd to me for anyone to imply that drones should not be employed because of the danger of contagion. If other nations use them for legitimate kills, more power to them. If they use them for illegitimate kills, it would not be better or worse than if they had used other technologies (see Syria). And if they use drones to achieve goals other than killing terrorists, so be it. (Some are now used for locating lost skiers...)

The notion that if the U.S. did not develop and popularize the production and deployment of this technology that other nations would not do so, is questionable. China, for instance, is "popularizing" anti-ship missiles (followed by Iran) and cyber spying (followed by the U.S.). The question ought to be whether the goal is legitimate, and whether the means are preferable to others. In terms of morality and efficiency, drones win, hands down.


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The Royal Canadian Navy in the Indo-Pacific: A Discussion with Matthew Fisher

June 18, 2018



On today's Global Exchange Podcast, we turn our eyes to the Indo-Pacific, as we assess Canada's naval presence in the region, and the recent deployment of MV Asterix to take part in various multilateral exercises with Canada's Pacific allies. Join our host, Dave Perry, in conversation with CGAI Fellow Matthew Fisher, as they discuss Canada's naval presence around the Indo-Pacific, Chinese military build-up throughout the East and South China Seas, the successes of MV Asterix's recent deployment in the Pacific, and a future for the Canadian Navy in an increasingly militarized Pacific environment.


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