The Sky's Not the Limit

Jiji Press / AFP / Getty Images

A Japanese air-force plane on patrol over one of the islets in the East China Sea that are claimed by both Tokyo and Beijing.

A brave new world, sometime in the not too distant future: Chinese aircraft carriers dock at their naval base in Venezuela, cruising through a Caribbean that the U.S. once treated as practically another American Great Lake. From an air base in Cuba, one of the few remaining communist bastions, Chinese fighter jets roar into the air. They head straight for a patch of sky the U.S. has designated as an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). This is not sovereign airspace but a self-proclaimed designation that carries little import under international law. Naturally, the Chinese pilots don't bother radioing in...

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