A dangerous new world of drones
A Predator drone armed with a missile
October 1st, 2012
10:45 AM ET

A dangerous new world of drones

By Peter Bergen, CNN National Security analyst, and Jennifer Rowland, Special to CNN

A decade ago, the United States had a virtual monopoly on drones.

Not anymore. According to data compiled by the New America Foundation, more than 70 countries now own some type of drone, though just a small number of those nations possess armed drone aircraft.

The explosion in drone technology promises to change the way nations conduct war and threatens to begin a new arms race as governments scramble to counterbalance their adversaries.

Late last month, China announced that it would use surveillance drones to monitor a group of uninhabited islands in the South China Sea that are controlled by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan.


soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Georgia Chancellor

    what countries have drone's?

    October 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  2. Baron of Bangalore


    We are Hindus from India,
    And we like to put on the Bindiya,
    We are mostly Haris,
    But we like to put on the Saris,
    Sadly, we are nothing but Bhikaris,
    Sadly, we are nothing but Bhikaris,

    October 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Reply
  3. Lord of Lucknow

    I have read with interest the thesis presented in this forum that "small is beautiful". Empowering subjugated minorities in India by splitting it into smaller states would trigger uber economic demand for western nations who have given so much financial and technology aid to India with no return to show for the investment. I concur with this approach and with economic background find the premise to be on solid footing. Central Asian States (CAS) are a case in point on this successful approach. We need to understand that India has an unmanageable large population mired in poverty and we are spinning our wheels trying to feed it. It is also too big of a geographical unit to govern. Again, we saw how a few teenage talibans were able to invade it with a few BB guns. Even the CIA/Mossad were not able to stop it.

    October 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  4. Mamluk of Mumbai

    The American invasion of Afghanistan brought to the forefront the irrelevance of India as a nation. With a population of over 1.2 billion people there was no value that this nation could bring to the table. Their soldiers (ragtag) 1.2 million continue hiding in the trenches scared from Talibans. A few teenage Talibans invaded the country and held it hostage for days on end showing how useless India is. It was embarrasing for the world to observe this humiliation of a nation that was being touted as a regional power. The Talibans brought them down in a few days with some BB guns. It is all over for India. Its demise is in process and should be completed with Afghanistan withdrawal.

    The bottom line is that the only way to have peace in Afghanistan and lessen regional tension is split India into pieces. It has become too big to govern or create any value for western countries or even for its own population. We have invested a lot of resources in India over the past two decades and given a lot of aid to prop it up. There has been no investment on this return. Instead India has squandered all the resources in building nuclear weapons while poverty remains rampant in the country. We need to revisit our relationship with India. American taxpayers will not tolerate this anymore. We need to take care of our own populace going forward. We cannot be exporting jobs to India or giving it financial or technical handouts.

    October 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
    • Duke of Dwarka

      Otherwise, I am afraid, extremism will continue to fester in that region and continue to become a threat for the western nations. We have been fighting a war for the past ten years with no end. Our soldiers have shed blood to no end. Their families are suffering. Has even one Indian soldier sacrificed his life in helping the Americans, NATO and western countries in fighting this war? The answer is a resolute NO. Folks, just think about it, 1.2 million Indian Army soldiers are sitting in trenches doing what???? Sure the heck beats me. Americans are now questioning the US Congress as to what they are doing to correct this unsustainable relationship with India. The India caucus is being monitored by citizen groups. If they don't respond to the needs of the American people political contributions to them will be severely impacted.

      October 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  5. StanCalif

    Here is the scary part:
    Our drones operating in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere are "flown" by people sitting safely in a control center here in the US. These "pilots" today grew up playing war games on XBox. Yes, they are people (not computers) highly conditioned to blow things (and people) up for entertainment! Our drone "pilots" are not at risk and are not facing their targeted people. When your shift is over, go home where no one is shooting at you! "Honey, what's for dinner? I had a bad day at my video game and killed a bunch of the wrong people."
    Anyone else see the problem here? Real war is not a video game, but this is what it has come to.

    October 2, 2012 at 6:34 am | Reply
    • Trevor

      You think that these RPA folks operate in a vacuum "Stan"? You have no idea of the scrutiny and comprehensive surveillance (sometimes days) that is poured into the assessment before the trigger ("rifle") is pulled. The problem here? The "problem" is ignorant individuals like yourself that think you have "insight" on these type of issues. You sound like a fool...but hey, ignorance is bliss pal. Go back to sticking with what you know about how the U.S. military conducts these strikes, which by your absolutely ignorant commment is ZILCH.

      October 2, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  6. George Patton

    they might not be as effective fighting wars, but at least one good thing about these deadly aircraft is, they are extremely effective for going after terrorist groups where corrupt, financially bankrupt host countries for such groups, a classic example Pakistan, are unwilling to take actions, or in some cases, again country like Pakistan, they are protecting these terrorist groups behind the screen. There is always pro and cons.

    October 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Thanks a lot Phunnie boy, for usurping my name in order to post your right-wing nonsense thereunder! Gee, I wish that you'd quit that as it makes me look like a nitwit!!!

      October 1, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply
      • Ken Spud

        Your response is indicative of your own nitwitism. Did you get George Patton's name from your elementary school history class?

        October 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • StanCalif

      The same was said for the atomic bomb! When only "we" had it, and used it, "we" were in control. Like the A bomb, drones will be everywhere soon.
      If Israel is actively selling drones all over the world, how can we continue to call them an "ally"! Israel sells drones to Russia, Russia sells them to Iran! These drones are a much bigger threat than A Bombs today! Thanks Israel!

      October 2, 2012 at 6:51 am | Reply
    • George Patton

      Stan, don't get too obsessed with drone technology. First, drones are no more than a bird in the sky. They are not 100 percent dependable for army use; they are more like a spy machine aka eye in the sky, but later on equipped with missiles to target terrorists inside Pakistan. It is nice to have a drone or two, but you don't want 100s of them, so it's really not a big industry. But remember, it's main use to TARGET MILITANTS IN MUSLIM COUNTRIES, LIKE PAKISTAN, WHERE IN SOME AREA YOU CAN'T SEND REGULAR ARMY.

      October 2, 2012 at 11:25 am | Reply
  7. George Patton

    It's good thing that other countries now have these deadly aircraft. This means that the right-wing thugs in Washington may not be quite so anxious to get us into another war as would be the case if we alone possessed these ungodly aircraft.

    October 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
    • Travis

      Thank you, George. You nailed it good!

      October 1, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      The "right wing thugs" in Washington are controlled by Israel! Israel wants war, and wants the US to "handle it" for them! Meanwhile, keep making money selling drones to anyone willing to pay! What a wonderful "ally"! "Back stabber" would be a more appropriate description of Israel!

      October 2, 2012 at 7:11 am | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.