Latest Developments, January 23

In the latest news and analysis…

Mission creep
Le Monde reports being told by several military sources that the number of French troops on the ground in Mali is likely to be “considerably more than 3,000”:

“The mission’s anticipated duration remains unclear; officials will only say it will last ‘as long as necessary.’ There were 2,150 French troops deployed in Mali on Monday, with an additional 1,000 providing support.

In the second phase of the offensive, French forces will advance into the North. Rather than heavy bombardment, large numbers of helicopters will allow French forces to hold the ground. ‘Now is when the difficulties will begin,’ said a military official.” [Translated from the French.]

Hunger Inc.
The Independent reports that more than 100 civil society groups have launched a new campaign blaming a grain oligopoly for the hunger of hundreds of millions of people around the world:

“The new campaign challenges [this year’s G8 chair] David Cameron to take the lead in championing measures to stop tax-dodging by companies, prevent farmers from being forced off their land and ensure western nations live up to their promises on aid.

It says five multinationals – ADM, Bunge, Cargill, Glencore and Louis Dreyfus – control all but ten per cent of the world’s grain supplies.
The campaign’s chair, Max Lawson, Oxfam’s head of policy, said: ‘The stranglehold of a small number of companies on food supply is squeezing African farmers’ ability to feed themselves and their communities.’ ”

Buying access
The Globe and Mail reports that a Calgary-based energy company has agreed to pay the biggest foreign corruption fine in Canadian history over bribes paid to obtain oil and gas contracts in Chad:

“The plea by Griffiths Energy International Inc., a small privately held oil and gas company based in Calgary, stands to settle charges it faces under Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act after a company investigation unearthed payments made in an attempt to secure lucrative energy properties in Africa.

It is illegal for Canadian companies to bribe foreign officials – transactions that were once viewed as routine business deals, particularly for resource outfits. The Griffiths case will mark the second conviction for the RCMP since it established teams dedicated to investigating foreign corruption.”

Dutch haven
Bloomberg reports that the Dutch parliament is looking into the Netherlands’ role as “a $13 trillion relay station on the global tax-avoiding network”:

“Last month, the European Commission, the European Union’s executive body, declared a war on tax avoidance and evasion, which it said costs the EU 1 trillion euros a year. The commission advised member states — including the Netherlands — to create tax-haven blacklists and adopt anti-abuse rules. It also recommended reforms that could undermine the lure of the Netherlands, and hurt a spinoff industry that has mushroomed in and around Amsterdam to abet tax avoidance.
Attracted by the Netherlands’ lenient policies and extensive network of tax treaties, companies such as Yahoo, Google Inc., Merck & Co. and Dell Inc. have moved profits through the country. Using techniques with nicknames such as the ‘Dutch Sandwich,’ multinational companies routed 10.2 trillion euros in 2010 through 14,300 Dutch ‘special financial units,’ according to the Dutch Central Bank. Such units often only exist on paper, as is allowed by law.”

Second fiddle
Radio France Internationale reports that, despite the personnel demands of the Mali intervention, the French military is maintaining a presence in another former colony, namely the Central African Republic:

“The military crisis has passed and soldiers, whether they be Central African or foreign, are less visible. The French army has been called to another theatre of operations, Mali, and in the streets of Bangui, French uniforms are now much more rare. ‘During last month’s crisis, we got up to 604 troops. The 240 that will stay here beyond the end of the week will carry out their original mission, providing logistical and technical support for the Central African Multinational Force. And of course, if the situation deteriorates again, they will ensure the protection of our citizens and our interests,’ said Lieutenant-Colonel Benoît Fine, commander of the French mission in the Central African Republic.” [Translated from the French.]

Questionable advice
Inter Press Service reports that Malawi’s new president’s apparent enthusiasm for the economic prescriptions of the International Monetary Fund is causing a popular backlash:

“According to John Kapito, head of the watchdog known as the Consumers Association of Malawi, [President Joyce] Banda has ‘transferred power’ to the IMF and the World Bank.
‘Like many leaders of poor countries, the problem with Joyce Banda is that she doesn’t think on her own. She is listening to everything that the IMF and the World Bank are telling her. She (agreed) to devalue the kwacha, agreed to remove subsidies on fuel without considering the impact of these decisions on the poor,’ said Kapito, who helped organise the latest demonstrations.”

Libyan arms
The Telegraph’s Richard Spencer writes about the large quantities of weapons that went missing from Libya after NATO military action helped topple the country’s long-time ruler, weapons that may have precipitated the latest foreign intervention, this time in Mali:

“Gaddafi, [Human Rights Watch’s Peter Bouckaert] said, had built up a vast arsenal of kit, with dumps in every city. Much of it has gone missing – far more than, say, disappeared after the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. He himself photographed men with 18-wheel trailers towing away the landmines from my field – he reckoned there were 120,000 anti-personnel mines and 30,000 anti-tank mines. He says they were sold to an international arms dealer and are still in circulation.
‘The weapons that went missing in Libya are perhaps the greatest proliferation of weapons of war from any modern conflict,’ he said.”

Speaking out
Reuters reports that a Yemeni cabinet minister has broken ranks by criticizing US drone strikes in her country and calling for “more effective strategies”:

“[Human rights minister Hooria] Mashhour also said she wanted to see a fair trial for anyone suspected of involvement ‘in terrorist activities’.
‘This is our idea, to do this through the judiciary. But the United States said that it’s in an open war with them and they declared the US as an enemy. The (US) declared (militants) as enemies who could be targeted wherever they are found.
‘All we are calling for is justice and reliance on international regulations with regard to human rights and to be true to our commitment to our citizens in that they all deserve a fair trial,’ Mashhour added.

Latest Developments, January 22

In the latest news and analysis…

Casualties of war
In an interview with France 24, the UN refugee agency’s William Spindler discusses the uncertain humanitarian situation since the start of the French offensive in northern Mali, where the number of refugees “could rise by as much as 400,000”:

“Only organisations that already had staff on the ground are present. International NGOs have not yet been given access to the combat zones since the French army launched its offensive.

The situation will only worsen because of growing difficulties in transportation, especially between the cities of Mopti and Gao. We also fear an increase in the number of internally displaced people, which we currently estimate at 229,000.”

Splitting Africa
Reuters reports that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has come out strongly against the French-led military intervention currently underway in Mali:

“ ‘I would like to confirm that we do not agree, ever, to military intervention in Mali because this would inflame the conflict in this region,’ Mursi said.
‘The intervention must be peaceful and developmental and funds must be spent on development,’ he said. ‘What we don’t ever want is to … separate the Arab north from the core of Africa.’ ”

The Pakistan exception
The Washington Post reports that a nearly completed US government counterterrorism “playbook” establishing rules for targeted killings will not immediately apply to CIA drone strikes in Pakistan:

“The adoption of a formal guide to targeted killing marks a significant — and to some uncomfortable — milestone: the institutionalization of a practice that would have seemed anathema to many before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Among the subjects covered in the playbook are the process for adding names to kill lists, the legal principles that govern when U.S. citizens can be targeted overseas and the sequence of approvals required when the CIA or U.S. military conducts drone strikes outside war zones.

The decision to allow the CIA strikes to continue was driven in part by concern that the window for weakening al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan is beginning to close, with plans to pull most U.S. troops out of neighboring Afghanistan over the next two years. CIA drones are flown out of bases in Afghanistan.”

Lessons from Bangladesh
The Wall Street Journal reports that Wal-Mart has announced a new “zero tolerance policy” that would mean terminating contracts with suppliers that use subcontractors without the American retail giant’s permission:

“The changes, which begin taking effect March 1, come after Wal-Mart clothing was found at a Bangladesh factory where a fire killed 112 people in November—a factory the company said was no longer supposed to be making its clothes.
The tougher new policies replace the Bentonville, Ark., retailer’s prior ‘three strikes’ approach to policing suppliers, which gave the suppliers three chances to address problems before being terminated.”

New treaty
In a Q&A with Inter Press Service, Uruguayan diplomat Fernando Lugris, who chaired 140-nation negotiations on the newly agreed and legally binding Minamata Convention on Mercury, discusses some of the issues that divided rich and poor countries:

“The GRULAC (Latin American and Caribbean Group) clearly sought to introduce health as an issue throughout the convention, and the agreed text basically contains many measures for health protection.
The group also insisted on the need to include a specific article on health. In principle, the industrialised countries felt that an article on health was irrelevant in an environmental agreement.
However, Latin America’s persistence and its clear interest in protecting human health succeeded in getting the final session of the plenary to agree on an article specifically about health.

The international community has clearly formulated this issue [of indigenous rights] through the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is a non-binding agreement, but unfortunately at the level of binding agreements there are still some countries that oppose making specific reference to native peoples. This is not the case in Latin America.”

Commodification salvation
The Guardian’s Claire Provost urges greater scrutiny of “market-based approaches to the world’s water woes,” whose growing popularity is setting off alarm bells in some circles:

“The global water justice movement – emboldened by a decade of struggles against the commodification and privatisation of water – warns that setting up markets for the benefits provided by ecosystems could pave the way for a wholesale commodification of nature while doing little to address imbalances of money, power and resources. Commentators have lashed out at payments for ecosystems services for heralding the greatest privatisation since the enclosure of common lands, and sounded the alarm over prospects for a future financialised global water market and the impact that could have on food security.
Alarmingly, this week’s report notes that social goals – from poverty reduction to gender inequality – are not measured or monitored in most projects, even when mentioned as priorities.”

Concentration problems
Oxfam is calling on world leaders, many of whom are about to meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos, to “commit to reducing inequality to at least 1990 levels”:

“Barbara Stocking, Oxfam Chief Executive, said: ‘We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true.’

‘In a world where even basic resources such as land and water are increasingly scarce, we cannot afford to concentrate assets in the hands of a few and leave the many to struggle over what’s left.’
Members of the richest one per cent are estimated to use as much as 10,000 times more carbon than the average US citizen.”

Small answers
A Guardian editorial argues the international development industry appears to be incapable of leading the necessary conversation about changing the world, a debate that “needs blasting open”:

“While the questions in development are getting bigger, the professional and intellectual scene has never been so fragmented. It will take a formidable alchemy to forge strong solutions here. One thing is clear: wasting years on a technocratic debate about goals which are for advocacy more than anything else – and likely drawn up without reference to such fundamentals as political rights – is not a serious response to the dysfunctional summitry, procrastination and missed targets of recent years. And it will leave the global public square in the same state of disrepair. The conversation we need has barely begun.”

Latest Developments, January 17

In the latest news and analysis…

War behind closed doors
Reporters Without Borders is calling for journalists, both local and foreign, to be granted access to the conflict zone in Mali:

“Forced to comply with military directives that are keeping them far from the areas of operation by preventing them from going beyond the city of Ségou, the international and local media have been calling it a ‘war behind closed doors.’
The French and Malian authorities are preventing journalists from getting within 100 km of the areas where fighting is taking place. It is particularly difficult of find out what is happening in the embattled city of Gao, where phone networks have been down since the start of the week, preventing any contact with local residents, journalists or anyone else.”

Perfect record
The Associated Press reports that the International Criminal Court has launched a formal investigation into war crimes in Mali, thereby maintaining the Hague-based court’s apparently exclusive focus on Africa:

“The Mali probe is the Hague-based court’s eighth investigation — all of them in Africa.
The 10-year-old court also has opened investigations in Libya, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Congo, Central African Republic and Kenya.
Suspects indicted so far include Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. The court also indicted former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, but closed the case when he was killed by rebels who toppled his four-decade regime.”

We the oil & gas companies
The Hill reports that a trio of US senators is contending that a lawsuit by business groups threatens the ability of Congress to make energy policy:

“Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ex-Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), in a court filing Thursday, defend [Securities and Exchange Commission] rules that will force oil, gas and mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governments.
Their brief in the case notes that oil and business groups have challenged not only the specifics of the rule, but Congress’s power, in the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law, to force the disclosure.”

Rules of the game
In an interview with the Guardian, outgoing Oxfam head Barbara Stocking says she believes the “humanitarian spirit” has changed fundamentally since she got into the development business:

“And I think we’ve shifted in understanding that it’s not just the poor places that need to be changed, but our habits. But it’s hard to get across the message that it’s us lot, who are actually using all the global goods, who need to change. Not poor people.

I think we recognise more that poverty is about power and politics more generally – and that while charity or aid may be necessary, actually the rules of the game have to be changed if anything’s going to happen.”

Cloak of respectability
The World Development Movement’s Miriam Ross makes the case for companies that behave badly overseas to be de-listed from the London Stock Exchange:

“Richard Lambert, former director general of [the Confederation of British Industry], wrote in the Financial Times: ‘It never occurred to those of us who helped launch the FTSE 100 index 27 years ago that one day it would be providing a cloak of respectability and lots of passive investors for companies that challenge the canons of corporate governance such as Vedanta…Perhaps it is time for those responsible for the index to rethink its purpose.’
In November, John McDonnell MP made the case in parliament for Vedanta and other ethically contentious mining companies to be strongly regulated by the FCA, including possibly de-listed ‘because of their behaviour in the developing world.’

A listing on the London Stock Exchange gives companies like Vedanta access to vast financial resources, as well as a cloak of legitimacy, however thin. As long as the City of London is home to mining companies that pursue profit at the expense of the lives of people in the countries in which they operate, it will hold part of the responsibility for the crimes they commit.”

Haven for fraud
The Guardian reports on the UK’s support for fraud-facilitating offshore secrecy in places like the British Virgin Islands:

“The BVI’s system of offshore secrecy is underwritten by the UK government, which ultimately controls the behaviour of the Caribbean islands. It is popular among property firms in the City of London, which are allowed by the British government’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills to conceal the identities of owners on the UK’s public Land Registry, by putting premises in the name of such BVI vehicles.
More than 1m BVI companies have now been incorporated since the launch of their offshore system in the 1980s, according to the latest figures, and it is the world’s biggest provider of offshore entities.”

Democracy in crisis
The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities’ Slavoj Žižek argues a recent Slovenian court decision is “a symptom of a global tendency towards the limitation of democracy”:

“The idea is that, in a complex economic situation like today’s, the majority of the people are not qualified to decide – they are unaware of the catastrophic consequences that would ensue if their demands were to be met.

What is new today is that, with the financial crisis that began in 2008, this same distrust of democracy – once constrained to the third world or post-communist developing countries – is gaining ground in the developed west itself: what was a decade or two ago patronising advice to others now concerns ourselves.”

Latest Developments, January 16

In the latest news and analysis…

“Neocolonialist” war
Le Monde reports that former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing has urged his country to stick to a supporting role for African troops in Mali’s conflict:

“I want to warn against allowing the French action in Mali to turn into a neocolonialist undertaking.

Air strikes in the country’s north and east would hit civilian populations and would replicate the pointless destruction of the war in Afghanistan. They would no doubt have the same political results.” [Translated from the French.]

Give peace a chance
Agence France-Presse reports that the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation has called for a ceasefire in Mali, which is one of the world body’s 57 member states:

“OIC chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said the military offensive is ‘premature’ and called for ‘an immediate ceasefire in Mali and for all parties to go back to the negotiations which were led by Burkina Faso’ in December, in a statement.
Ihsanoglu, who ‘expressed his deep concern over the military escalation’ also called for ‘maximum self-restraint from all parties at this critical time in order to reach a peaceful solution to this conflict,’ the statement said.”

Arms fit for a king
Pro Publica reveals “the fullest picture yet” of US arms sales to the Kingdom of Bahrain during the Gulf state’s crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations:

“The list includes ammunition, combat vehicle parts, communications equipment, Blackhawk helicopters, and an unidentified missile system.

The U.S. has long sold weapons to Bahrain, totaling $1.4 billion since 2000, according to the State Department. The sales didn’t come under scrutiny until security forces killed at least 19 people in the early months of the crackdown in 2011. (Dozens have died since then.)
The administration put a hold on one proposed sale of Humvees and missiles in Fall 2011 following congressional criticism. But Foreign Policy reported that other unspecified equipment was still being sold without any public notification.”

Siemens suit
Reuters reports that a former Siemens employee is suing the German electronics giant, which he says fired him for trying to expose “a kickback scheme” on sales of medical equipment to hospitals in China:

“Siemens agreed to pay $1.6 billion in 2008 to resolve U.S. and German charges that it violated foreign anti-bribery laws through its business in countries that ranged from Argentina and Venezuela to Bangladesh.
As part of that settlement, the company also agreed to implement and maintain a robust program to comply with [the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act] and retain an independent consultant to monitor that program and report on its development to the U.S. Justice Department.
Liu said the evidence he uncovered showed that the company intentionally evaded the due diligence policies put in place to comply with its 2008 plea agreement.”

Tax advice
A new report by the European Network on Debt and Development offers suggestions for ways the EU can take on the “acute challenge” of illicit financial flows from poor countries:

“A first step is to implement a robust interpretation of the Financial Action Task Force’s set of recommendations from February 2012. In Europe, the review of the EU’s Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD) in 2013 will be one of the biggest opportunities. The report recommends that this political opportunity is used to:
• Create publically available government registers of the real owners and controllers of companies, trusts and other such legal structures.
• Make all tax evasion a predicate offence of money laundering
• Improve compliance with and enforcement of anti-money laundering rules and introduce credible sanctions.”

Superfood concerns
The Guardian reports that the rapid growth in demand for quinoa on the international market is causing problems in the Andean communities that grow the plant:

“That global demand means less quinoa is being eaten in Bolivia and Peru, the countries of origin, as the price has tripled. There are concerns this could cause malnutrition as producers, who have long relied on the superfood to supplement their meagre diets, would rather sell their entire crop than eat it. The rocketing international price is also creating land disputes.

Bitter battles are being fought over prime quinoa-growing land. Last February dozens of people were hurt when farmers fought with slings and sticks of dynamite over what was once abandoned land.”

Knowable unknowns
OpenOil’s Johnny West asks how much of the abundant literature on Nigeria’s Niger Delta are based on “ground up, not top down” research:

“Forty years on, what we know about the peoples and societies of the Delta is scant at best. Just as Michael Herr said for American grunts Vietnam was not a country but a war, the Niger Delta is not a place and group of people but an issue – a multi-billion dollar headache or a contention in ongoing ideological debates, depending on where you stand.
Now [the Max Planck Institute’s Olumide Abimbola] is setting out to fill that gap by compiling a complete bibliography of ground level research, and then gearing up Nigeria’s social science faculties to start filling the void. But the fact we’ve got this far without this is mind-boggling and begs the question: what do we know about the people of southern Iraq, the Yusuni native Ecuadoreans, or the peoples of West Papua – apart from their relationship to the Black Stuff?”

Non-European thinking
Columbia University’s Hamid Dabashi writes that the act of “thinking and acting in terms at once domestic to their immediate geography and yet global in its consequences” is increasingly not just a European prerogative:

“The question is rather the manner in which non-European thinking can reach self-consciousness and evident universality, not at the cost of whatever European philosophers may think of themselves for the world at large, but for the purpose of offering alternative (complementary or contradictory) visions of reality more rooted in the lived experiences of people in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America – counties and climes once under the spell of the thing that calls itself ‘the West’ but happily no more.

Reduced to its own fair share of the humanity at large, and like all other continents and climes, Europe has much to teach the world, but now on a far more leveled and democratic playing field, where its philosophy is European philosophy not ‘Philosophy’, its music European music not ‘Music’, and no infomercial would be necessary to sell its public intellectuals as ‘Public Intellectuals’.”

Beyond Aid, January 15

In the latest news and analysis…

Operation Serval
Liberté Algérie’s Mounir Boudjema writes that the name of the French military action in Mali is apt, given that its namesake is a cat that “urinates 30 times an hour to mark its territory“:

“Despite the French president’s semantic precautions and the language used to legitimize a military intervention that will have terrible consequences for the sub-region, François Hollande has shown that he cannot alter the reality of ‘la Françafrique.’ When French interests are threatened in Africa (Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Chad, Gabon, Central African Republic…), Paris dusts off its policeman’s uniform and sends in its helicopters.  Protecting Niger’s uranium reserves is worth the sacrifice of military expenses, even in the midst of an economic crisis. It’s too early to speculate on the outcome of this inevitable military intervention. It’s all a question of timing. But two things are sure to happen. First, a humanitarian crisis in the Sahel with huge numbers of displaced people. Then, France’s action will unite the terrorist groups, since jihadists from around the world will descend on Mali to give a hand to their brothers in arms.” [Translated from the French.]

Beyond nation states
New York University’s Manthia Diawara suggests that perhaps restoring Mali to its pre-coup form may not be as desirable a goal as the international community seems to think:

“Why are we so attached to a nation state that can only be preserved for us by others. If the nation and nationalism were useful for Africa at one time, it was to do away with the colonial yoke that reduced us to subhumans. If after 50 years of independence Westerners have to come to save our nation states, or to protect us from dictators, or to teach us democracy, maybe it’s time to start rethinking, to imagine other systems of communal living than those offered by nation states.
If we cannot protect the rights of minorities inside our nation states, why not ask questions about the existence of these nation states. Why keep on keeping men and women like prisoners within the nation, if it cannot satisfy their basic needs for freedom of movement and expression, the right to work, to education and to health?” [Translated from the French.]

Hear no evil
A new Human Rights Watch report accuses a Canadian mining company of doing too little to prevent forced labour at its gold mine in Eritrea:

“The Bisha project, majority owned and operated by the small Canadian firm Nevsun Resources, is Eritrea’s first and so far only operational mine. It began gold production in 2011 and produced some $614 million worth of ore in its first year.
Other large projects led by Canadian, Australian, and Chinese firms are in the pipeline, however. Numerous exploration firms are scouring other leases for new prospects.

Human Rights Watch interviewed several Eritreans who worked at Bisha during its initial construction phase. Some said they were deployed there as conscript laborers by [state-owned construction firm] Segen. They described terrible living conditions and forced labor at paltry wages. One former conscript said that he had been arrested and imprisoned for several months after leaving the work site to attend a relative’s funeral.”

Land morality
Princeton University’s Peter Singer explores the ethics of investors from wealthy nations buying up agricultural land in countries that are, on average, four times poorer:

“But, given the pressures of poverty and the lure of cash, what does it take for people to be able to make a genuinely free and informed choice about selling something as significant as a right to land? After all, we do not allow poor people to sell their kidneys to the highest bidder.
Of course, hardline supporters of free markets will say that we should. But, at the very least, it needs to be explained why people should be prohibited from selling kidneys, but not from selling the land that grows their food. Most people can live without one kidney. No one can live without food.
Why does the purchase of body parts give rise to international condemnation, while the purchase of agricultural land does not – even when it involves evicting local landholders and producing food for export to rich countries instead of for local consumption?”

Bad law
The Canadian Press reports that a Canadian judge has struck down the country’s human smuggling law, calling it “unnecessarily broad“:

“[British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman] said the result could lead to the prosecution of people like humanitarian workers.
As the law stood, a human smuggler was defined as anyone who might ‘knowingly organize, induce, aid or abet’ someone coming to Canada who does not have a visa, passport or other required documentation.
The judge declared section 117 of the act to be of no force or effect, saying federal politicians now need to fill the legislative gap.”

More fish
Fish Information & Services reports that the head of the European Parliament fisheries committee plans to recommend that a proposed EU-Mauritania fishing agreement be rejected for being “insufficient in terms of fishing opportunities”:

“The MEP insisted on that the current agreement “is not profitable” because it is expensive for the fishing opportunities and the conditions it establishes.
He also claimed that the agreement will allow no access to the cephalopod fleet with no biological reason to justify it.
Therefore, 32 vessels, of which 24 are Spanish and based in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, have run out of ground to fish.
He also criticized the restriction of fishing areas for all fleets, including the pelagic one, which will mean a drastic reduction in catches.”

Legal lag
US congressman Keith Ellison argues America’s use of drones is dangerous first and foremost because “our technological capability has far surpassed our policy”:

“No country — not even our allies — accepts the U.S. legal justification for targeted killings. Our justification must rest on the concept of self-defense, which would allow the United States to protect itself against any imminent threat. Any broader criteria would create the opportunity for abuse and set a dangerous standard for other countries to follow, which could harm long-term U.S. security interests.

A just, internationally accepted protocol on the use of drones in warfare is needed.”