In 1945 the United States used the atom bomb on Hiroshima. It was a new and terrifying weapon that forever changed the shape of warfare. It now looks like we Americans have done it again by revolutionizing warfare with the drone. Those who voiced concern that the drone would make a type of low intensity warfare endemic appear to have been prescient. The technology is relatively simple, drones are cheap, and even Iran now manufactures them. They have apparently given some to Hezbollah, which sent one into heavily guarded Israeli airspace on October 6 and was eventually shot down. Israel has been sending drones over both Lebanon and Syria for some time now.

Is the use of unarmed drones an act of war? Of course it could be construed that way. But the question becomes what nations will be willing to go to war over drones, and so we will likely see more and more instances where adversaries probe each other along their borders, most particularly in the Middle East and in south Asia, heightening the risk that a real war could break out if someone responds aggressively.