Russia deploys warships off Syria. China sends threatening vessels to its neighbors over island disputes. The world can't afford a return to 19th-century naval intimidation.
Just when the world had begun to view aerial drones as the weapon of the 21st century, the 19th-century practice of “gunboat diplomacy” seems on a rebound.
Here are recent examples:
Iran has threatened to disrupt oil-tanker traffic through the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for sanctions against its nuclear program. Even Turkey has flexed its naval muscle over disputes with Cyprus and Israel.