Over the weekend Pakistani cricket star and politician Imran Khan lead a peace march to the country's troubled region of south Waziristan to expose the US's devastating drone campaign in Pakistan's federally administered tribal areas.
Khan and his fellow marchers – including American anti-war activists – faced a government-imposed security obstacle at the border of Waziristan, but the march did its job: it placed the deadly US drone war, which has killed hundreds of civilians and children, onto front pages across the world.
Whether or not this will have an impact on US policy remains to be seen. What got lost in the coverage, though, was another terrifying dimension to the growing use of robot weapons – one which could affect the entire world.
Where does all this end?
The same weekend as Imran Khan's peace march, thousands of miles away in the Negev desert, the Israeli military shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle that had entered its air space from the Mediterranean sea. Many suspected that the drone belonged to the powerful militant Lebanese movement, Hezbollah, which had used drones with success against Israel in the 2006 summer war. The following day, Israel fired missiles from an unmanned drone at two suspected militants in Gaza, wounding them and eight others.
Meanwhile, across the border in Syria, Iranian-made drones have been flying over the skies for many months in an effort to help support Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.
The US has spearheaded the use of remote-controlled weapons in its so-called war on terror – claiming they are a cheaper, more accurate way to target enemies without risking its own soldiers. Most opponents of the drone war focus on the horrible scenes of death that drones leave behind, as well they should.
But another dangerous aspect of the US drone policy gets far less attention: the precedent that it sets globally. If the US is killing with drones in countries it's not even at war with, what's to stop other countries or powerful nonstate actors from doing the same?
Drone technology varies enormously, but the rudimentary concept is far simpler than other types of weapons. Most developed militaries have access to drones – equipped for intelligence gathering, attacks or both.
This is a new arms race: and in this militarisation of the skies, we all lose.
Learn more: The New York Times examines Barack Obama's sometimes baffling and often inscrutable counterterrorism strategy.
Sources: Avaaz, Telegraph, New York Times, Build Your Own Drone, BBC