Over at Medium, I wonder if drones, when used outside of targeted killing programs, might actually be good for peace. The example I chose is the showdown between Japan and China in the Senkaku Islands.
Though relatively expensive to develop and operate, drones allow for a much longer flight time over sensitive areas, and the lack of a pilot inside the aircraft makes it expendable should something bad happen and it gets shot down or crashes.
So should Japan start swatting Chinese drones out of the sky, it will matter — tensions will almost certainly get worse. But it also won’t involve the lives of pilots being put at risk, which lowers the chance of another Hainan Island incident (when a U.S. EP‑3 spy plane collided with a Chinese F‑8 interceptor).
It may not come to pass this way, but it is at least worth talking about, I think.