America’s gift to the world: exports of the best armed drones

Summary:  America has played a special role in the post-WWII era, repeatedly unleashing horrors on the world. We started the nuclear arms race by bombing Japan, staged the first cyberattack on Iran (we now live in fear of the next being on us), and now we’re flooding the world with armed drones. Here Stratfor explains the likely consequences.


The Unstoppable Spread of Armed Drones
Stratfor, 25 October 2016.


  • The United States will continue to lead in the development of armed drone technology, but China has taken the lead in drone exports and therefore has a bigger influence on the application of armed systems.
  • Only the United States and China have exported armed drones, but other countries are expected to join the lucrative market, causing a surge in globally available systems.
  • Because exporting states do not perceive a threat from armed drones, there is little willpower to establish a legal framework to curb their proliferation.


The presence of armed drones is a reality of the modern battlefield, but only a limited group of countries has the technological ability to produce them or the military capacity to operate them. The United States once held the edge in drone development and use, but as more countries gain access to the technology, armed drones have entered a new stage of proliferation. From the perspective of the United States and others, this proliferation is dangerous. Attempts to curb the spread of armed drones are becoming more difficult now that the United States is no longer their sole developer. China, in particular, has grown as a global exporter of unmanned combat systems, and other countries are planning to follow suit.

Though the use of unmanned aerial vehicles has spread across all sectors at an incredible pace, the military in particular was quick to embrace drone technology. Even less-developed militaries now typically have some capability, though limited, to deploy unmanned platforms for surveillance and reconnaissance. So, too, do non-state actors, including militant and terrorist groups, albeit using technologically restricted commercial drones. The deployment of dedicated combat drones carrying offensive weapons systems has progressed at a reduced rate, however. Besides the significant legal and ethical concerns that surround the use of lethal platforms, only two suppliers are known to exist: the United States and China. More countries, such as Russia, Israel, Turkey and South Korea, are likely close behind. The increased availability will give other countries more opportunities to acquire armed drones.

Many countries have sought access to armed drones, but only a few have found suppliers willing to sell them. Of those, even fewer have actually employed the vehicles in combat. The United States has so far exported armed drones to only the United Kingdom and Italy, and just last year more stringent requirements were placed on U.S. exports to keep the technology out of the wrong hands.

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See free speech crushed at Tufts today. Remember 1964, when we were wild & untamed…

Summary: Every month brings new stories of America’s liberties eroding away, and our passive acceptance.  This Halloween brings an especially pitiful example. To understand how far we have fallen, compare the behavior of college students today to that during a famous incident fifty years ago. Sad, but we can change. We will be what we choose to be.

“Guilt only dreads Liberty of Speech, which drags it out of its lurking Holes, and exposes its Deformity and Horror to Day-light.”
— “Of Freedom of Speech, That the Same is inseparable from Publick Liberty“, one of Cato’s Letters by John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, 4 February 1720.

Indian maiden costume

A criminal dressed for Halloween.

“We were Americans once…”

The first Boomers turn 70 this year; the last turn 52. What have the Boomers become? What have they done to America? What kind of children have they raised? First look at today’s news, then at what the Boomers were in the first stirrings of their strength.

A letter from leaders of Tufts Multicultural Greek Council, Panhellenic Council, Inter-Fraternity Council, and Inter-Greek Council warns fraternities about the penalties of wearing politically incorrect Halloween costumes. It was publicized in a post by Jake Goldberg of Students Advocating for Students. The letter quotes the Dean of Student Affairs, Mary Pat McMahon, threatening students (bold emphasis in original).

“The range of response for students whose actions make others in our community feel threatened or unsafe, or who direct conduct towards others that is offensive or discriminatory, includes OEO {Office of Equal Opportunity} and/or TUPD investigation and then disciplinary sanctions from our office that could run a wide gamut depending on what is brought to our attention and the impact of these actions on others. Any complaints will result in full investigation by University officials and could result in serious disciplinary sanctions through Judicial Affairs.”

Jake Goldberg of SAS points out the absurdity and illegality of this oppressive action.

“Given that the standard of guilt for a violation of this policy relies on an entirely subjective evaluation — was the complainant offended? — there is no way for students responding to accusations of such a violation to prove their innocence.

“This problem is even further exacerbated due to the fact that the policy itself outwardly states that whether or not a student intentionally means to offend others is meaningless. A student who wears an outfit that offends somebody, yet had zero intention to do so, is just as much in violation of this policy as a student who purposefully seeks to insult others with their costume; both students stand no chance of avoiding disciplinary sanctions.

“Wearing a costume that others do not like is not a crime in a free country, especially not on a college campus ‘where freedom of expression is cherished,’ as Tufts University President Monaco has previously stated.”

This and similar outrages at other schools probably will be met with apathetic compliance. But we were not always peons. Look to our past for inspiration, when we were a vibrant and untamed people.. For example, to the Berkeley Free Speech Movement…

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Learning from the Cold War to prevent war with Russia today

Summary: Clinton has stocked her foreign policy team with advisors belligerent and reckless, eager for conflict with Russia – continuing Team Obama’s work. The military-industrial complex’s propaganda mills work to arouse fear and hatred of Russia, as  they did during the Cold War. Let’s learn from that history before we starting risk a terrible war. We were told mostly false stories about the Soviet Union. How accurate are those about Russia? {This updates my post from Oct 2009.}

“Mr. President, if that’s what you want there is only one way to get it. That is to make a personal appearance before Congress and scare the hell out of the country.”

— Senator Arthur Vandenberg’s advice to Truman about starting the Cold War. Truman did so in his famous speech on 12 March 1947. From Put yourself in Marshall’s place by James Warburg (he helped develop the US WWII propaganda programs).

Ministry of Truth


  1. “Exaggeration Of The Threat: Then & Now”.
  2. A look at the Soviet side of the Cold War
  3. Heinlein saw Russia’s long crash – in 1960.
  4. About the demographic collapse of Russia.
  5. Reforming the US intelligence apparatus.
  6. For More information.


(1) Evidence that the US government exaggerated the Soviet threat

We can learn much about the Cold War being brewed today by reading about the first one. Histories of the CIA document its poor performance as an intelligence agency. While incompetence played a role, the CIA’s obedience to its political masters probably was more significant — driving the hyping of the Soviet Union’s capabilities and hostile intentions during the Cold War. For a summary see “Exaggeration Of The Threat: Then And Now” by Melvin A. Goodman in The Public Record, 14 September 2009 — Excerpt…

“A recently declassified study on Soviet intentions during the Cold War identifies significant failures in U.S. intelligence analysis on Soviet military intentions and demonstrates the constant exaggeration of the Soviet threat.

“The study, which was released last week by George Washington University’s National Security Archive, was prepared by a Pentagon contractor in 1995 that had access to former senior Soviet defense officials, military officers, and industrial specialists. It demonstrates the consistent U.S. exaggeration of Soviet “aggressiveness” and the failure to recognize Soviet fears of a U.S. first strike. The study begs serious questions about current U.S. exaggeration of “threats” emanating from Iran, North Korea, and Afghanistan.

“In the 1980s, long after Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev signaled reduced growth in Soviet defense spending, the CIA produced a series of National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) titled “Soviet Capabilities for Strategic Nuclear Conflict,” which concluded that the Soviet Union sought “superior capabilities to fight and win a nuclear war with the United States, and have been working to improve their chances of prevailing in such a conflict.”

“…The Pentagon study demonstrates that the Soviet military high command “understood the devastating consequences of nuclear war” and believed that the use of nuclear weapons had to be avoided at “all costs.” Nevertheless, in 1975, presidential chief of staff Dick Cheney and secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld introduced a group of neoconservatives, led by Harvard professor Richard Pipes, to the CIA in order to make sure that future NIEs would falsely conclude that the Soviet Union rejected nuclear parity, were bent on fighting and winning a nuclear war, and were radically increasing their military spending.

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An anthropologist reminds us why Trump rose & how populism will survive his crash

Summary: Now that Trump has self-destructed and the inevitable landslide (which I predicted in August) looms, the Left believes it can forget the forces that brought Trump close to victory. FAILure to learn is our national affliction. Anthropologist Maximilian Forte reminds us why Trump arose from nothing and why populism might survive Trump’s crash.

Tiago Hoisel: surreal image

Tiago Hoisel: surreal image.

Terminal Condition: Neoliberal Globalization

By Maximilian C. Forte from Zero Anthropology, 13 March 2016.
Reposted with his generous permission.

After decades of protests and riots against neoliberal structural adjustment; after anti-globalization mass movements flourished across North America and Europe; after a large portion of Latin America and the Caribbean elected socialist governments; after waves of anti-Western cultural and religious revitalization movements (some violent, some not) have spread from Indonesia to Europe; after nationalist and nativist movements have achieved unprecedented political prominence in Europe since the 1930s; and, with entire libraries of research produced to show all of the illogic and injustices of corporate globalization which make sense only as the orchestration of the most massive transfer and concentration of wealth in history – after all of this, it would have been surprising if we were not yet in a position to speak of the impending death of neoliberalism.

The neoliberal elites know this, and they are seized by an absolute panic as they see the fundamental tenets of neoliberalism come under mass, electoral repudiation in the heart of the international capitalist system, the US itself. Discussion of the collapse of the neoliberal imperial disorder is therefore far from premature; it is overdue.

Nobody should have believed that the end of neoliberalism would be smooth, peaceful, harmonious or pleasant. There is absolutely nothing to say that movements that are politically right-wing cannot be the ones to bring an end to this order. Once we put these two forms of wishful thinking aside, that is, that there will be a peaceful transition and it will be led by “progressives,” we can be better prepared to grasp current realities.

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Haunted by Gaddafi on the fifth anniversary of his overthrow

Summary: On the fifth anniversary of his overthrow, anthropologist Maximilian Forte is haunted by thoughts about Libyan ruler Mummar Gaddafi. It’s a sad chapter in the history of US foreign policy, rich with lessons for us — and one of Hillary Clinton’s two major initiatives (other other is the massive screw-up of her 1993 health care proposal).

“You just have not seen enough people bleed to death.”
— Explanation of why we must intervene in Libya — despite my analysis — by a special operations officer (retired) & well-known geopolitical expert.

Mummar Gaddafi

Getty photo.

Haunted by Gaddafi?

By Maximilian C. Forte from Zero Anthropology.
Reposted with his generous permission.

One thing I did not predict is that, even five years later, what happened to Libya and to Muammar Gaddafi would still cast a long shadow across the centres of European and North American political and economic power. By now, almost all of the leaders who persecuted Gaddafi, have experienced their own demise, by gentler means and thus even less justifiable than what befell Gaddafi.

Almost all of the Libyans that appeared in the videos showing the brutalization of Gaddafi have themselves been tracked down and killed. My expectation, around the autumn of 2015, was that Libya would be conveniently buried during the US electoral campaign. Reality, fortunately, proved me wrong. Libya has instead become a recurring theme in campaign debates, and apart from Hillary Clinton and some forgettable Republican candidates, everyone else is unanimous that the consequences of US military intervention in Libya were catastrophic.

Gone are the days of the smug smiles of belligerent NATO technocrats, the self-congratulations, the propaganda planted in the media heralding the NATO campaign as a great success, a model intervention, forming a template to be used again. Unscrupulous academics who once were thrilled about the intervention in Libya, in order to promote their careers as advocates of the “responsibility to protect” (R2P), have conveniently and quickly moved to other projects. The “experts” were royally shamed.

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