NEW YORK TIMES
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
By Clayton MacLean
Today in the UN Security Council, France and the United States stand at odds on the issue of drones. France, when interviewed by a reporter from the New York Times, said they were “working on a paper that would limit the type and size of munitions flown by unarmed aerial vehicles”. Their hope at the time of writing was that a future resolution would guarantee that instead of “the current type of munitions used by the US, [that is to say, such as] high explosive fragmentation munitions that destroy a wide area, to restrict it to high-precision low-yield blast weapons.” France is collaborating in informal sessions on this set of ideas along with Spain, Angola, Venezuela, and Malaysia.
The pro-drone position of the American government on the issue has already been revealed in a New York Times article about this conference, “Tensions Simmer Beneath Surface of Security Council”, published January 6, 2017. More surprising is the friendly attitude of the American delegation towards Russia – currently accused by the American intelligence community of hacking into Democratic Party databases so as to ensure that the Republican, Donald Trump, won the recent American election. Inspired by the words of this conference’s keynote speaker, the American representative explained, we are cooperating on issues of global importance.”
While France is a member of NATO along with the United States, it has historically been an uneasy member of the alliance. Former French President Charles de Gaulle withdrew France from NATO in 1966, and thus France’s current actions – while out of step with those of their American ally – are not unprecedented. Recently-leaked documents reveal that the French government intends to sortie its aircraft carrier, named Charles de Gaulle after the former president, into the Mediterranean. Since France may be preparing to undertake unilateral action in response to the recent actions of Chechen terrorists, one wonders whether the drone question – along with increased Russo-American cooperation – will throw the ability of the Western alliance to cooperate into question.