Last Friday, President Trump signed into law the Taiwan Travel Act, which makes it a U.S. policy to allow high-level meetings between Taiwan and U.S. government officials. News reports about the law have often described it as “non-binding.” This “not legally binding” view is widely shared, including by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But this reading is not quite right.
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Although drone warfare to date has overwhelmingly been analyzed in the context of US operations against non-state actors - Al Qaeda or affiliated groups or, more recently, ISIS - much of the impact of drones on warfare is likely to come in the markedly different environment of state-to-state conflict (or near conflict) in the Asia Pacific ocean. The conflict environment, not to put too fine a point on it, of China versus, well, everyone or anyone else in the waters that China regards as its near-abroad and everyone one else regards as, more or less, the high seas.