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Lost CausesAgenda Vetting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security$
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Charli Carpenter

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801448850

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801448850.001.0001

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From “Stop the Robot Wars!” to “Ban Killer Robots”

From “Stop the Robot Wars!” to “Ban Killer Robots”

Pitching “Autonomous Weapons” to Humanitarian Disarmament Elites

(p.88) 5 From “Stop the Robot Wars!” to “Ban Killer Robots”
Lost Causes

Charli Carpenter

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the efforts of political entrepreneurs working towards a global precautionary principle against “lethal autonomous robots” between 2007 and 2012 and the initially lukewarm response of humanitarian law hubs such as the Human Rights Watch and the International Committee of the Red Cross during this period. It shows how judgments about an issue and its entrepreneurs are shaped by their perceptions about the ideational and social ties between the issue entrepreneurs—who in this case are not NGO activists but members of the scientific community—and other issues and actors within the human security network. Perceptions of these “intranetwork” relations shaped advocacy elite preferences around autonomous weapons. Chances for norm development in this area shifted as those perceptions changed, and shifted decisively when network hubs acted on those changed preferences. This chapter shows how and why that happened.

Keywords:   lethal autonomous robots, humanitarian law, human security network, internetwork relations, autonomous weapons, Human Rights Watch, Red Cross, norm development

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