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A Chinese Wing Loong 2 reconnaissance and combat drone on display at the Dubai Airshow, United Arab Emirates, Nov. 12, 2017 (Sputnik photo by Sergey Mamontov via AP).

Separating Fact From Hype in Trump’s New Policy on Drone Exports

Friday, May 11, 2018

In another move meant to break with his predecessor, President Donald Trump last month announced new export policies for U.S. drones. In presenting Trump’s policy shift, Peter Navarro, assistant to the president for trade and manufacturing policy, said it “will level the playing field by enabling U.S. firms to increase their direct sales to authorized allies and partners.” The media reaction was hyperbolic, with one outlet asking whether the policy now meant Trump could “sell deadly drones to dictators,” and another stating in its headline that “Trump offers deadly U.S. drones to more countries.”

But does the move simply harken back to the rollout of the Obama administration’s own drone export policy three years ago, with lots of media hype unmatched by actual reform? What has really changed, what are the new policy’s objectives, and what will this mean for international security? ...

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