As the inheritor of the Euro Hawk surveillance drone project, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière is also the symbol of its demise.
But as a surveillance aircraft that was to bear no armaments, the Euro Hawk was not the weapon of war that many imagined it to be. By developing it, Germany fulfilled a NATO obligation. Problems with the Euro Hawk, including malfunctions and airworthiness issues, led Germany to cancel the project.
Militaries around the world are embracing unmanned drones as "risk-free" tools of warfare. But do drones lower the "democratic threshold" for engaging in warfare? Does their "risk-free" nature actually increase risk-taking? And if the US uses its bases in Germany to guide weaponized drones to foreign targets, is Germany breaking the law?
By cancelling its drone project, Germany rid itself - albeit briefly - of a divisive moral question.
DW examines the issues.
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