Sputnik: What is this militarization really about? Why does Germany need those drones now?
Nick Mottern: Well, I think the pressure within the German parliament to have these contracts with Israel to use these Heron drones is driven by business interest, not by key military concerns. And I think what's very important to point out is that within the German parliament this is still very much a matter of debate and this deal with Israel over the Heron drones is subject to a hearings that are supposed to be held and parliamentary debates. So, this is not a done deal.
Sputnik: Germany's previous Euro Hawk drone program was canceled, I'm sure you are aware of this, due to the immense cost of the project. How different is the situation now with these UAVs?
Nick Mottern: Well, I think that it's a very similar situation, because once the initial contract is let and you begin to add on various technical supposed improvements it can quickly double and triple. So, this is really just getting your foot in the door, talking about surveillance when you want to move into, you know, a very large-scale, publicly subsidized weapons industry, and this is something that, so far, Germans have tried to avoid, and I think it's very possible that they will continue to avoid it and set an example for other countries.
Sputnik: My understanding is that the US government had made a strategic decision not to sell drones to third-party companies. That decision is now being changed under President Donald Trump's administration. If that is the case, what is the US interest here? Is it just purely about making revenue and money, going along the lines America First's protectionism, adding wealth to the country, returning jobs to the country and livelihood increase? Or is there another agenda here?
Nick Mottern: I think there are two agendas. One is simply to make money. The second is to be able to have a global drone enforcement regime where you have people constantly under surveillance in resource-rich areas where you can kill people at will in order to continue to have access to resources at very cheap prices. So, I think those two things have driven this under Obama, but I think with Trump there is a much keener interest in making money and basically spreading a tool in drones that have actually been shown to create chaos, and demobilize governments, and shatter civil societies. So, these places are much more open to control by the United States, in this particular case, while other, you know, very wealthy and relatively wealthy countries will seek to do the same thing.
Sputnik: In many ways, the fantastic feats of technological advancement give such an opportunity to add value in so many ways. But in the same way, they are killing machines, aren't they? Where do you stand in terms of the balance? There's a fine balancing line, isn't there?
Nick Mottern: Well, I think there is confusion in public minds about drones, in the sense that most people in this country and elsewhere think these are harmless, recreational and beneficial surveillance tools. But the driving, you know, force, in terms of these contracts, is basically killing.
Sputnik: Do you have concerns about these technological, innovative weapons getting into the wrong hands? What if they are being sold into the larger global destination of countries, they can be of course copied and innovated and what have you. And then obviously it's open to any type of country or administration to manufacture them and do all sorts of things. That's the question that most people are worried about. And it's also a rhetorical question, so it cannot be answered, can it?
Nick Mottern: Well, I think that the weapons are already in the wrong hands. And there are no right hands for this type of weapon, there should be international ban against them. And I think the more we find out about the technology of targeting and identification and pursuit that shows that machines are taking over the responsibility of, you know, moral responsibility is being fobbed off on machines because people want to make money and capture resources. I think that's what's happening.
The views and opinions expressed by Nick Mottern are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.