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The Drone Debate: Do Drones Solve or Create Conflict?

“Drones are going to revolutionize how nations and nonstate actors threaten the use of violence,” writes Amy Zegart , and “the U.S. is in a strategy race with other countries engaged in drone programs.”  

“Today, the true test of political resolve is not initiating combat but sustaining it. Adversaries used to be sure that, over time, pressure would mount in the U.S. to bring troops home. The drones of future combat won’t have families or come back in coffins… Artificial intelligence and autonomous aerial refueling could remove human limitations even more, enabling drones to keep other drones flying and keep the pressure on for as long as victory takes.”  

On the other hand, Karen Greenberg says drones have a much more important cost: “As military insiders have warned, tactics have swallowed strategy. Assassination by robot is bound to inspire rather than curtail extremism… One could almost have predicted the emergence of the Islamic State from this chaos — hopeless, fearless and violent. Having helped to generate the crisis, America and its allies find themselves sadly — but not surprisingly — lacking a novel and effective response.”

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