Hugh White, a professor at Australian National University and a former Australian defense official, believes this is the latest sign the two countries are heading to war.
And the U.S. will be dragged in.
Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, White says we are now witnessing the types of conditions that have historically led to war — despite conflict being in no one's interest.
THIS is how wars usually start: with a steadily escalating stand-off over something intrinsically worthless. So don't be too surprised if the US and Japan go to war with China next year over the uninhabited rocks that Japan calls the Senkakus and China calls the Diaoyu islands. And don't assume the war would be contained and short.
It seems almost laughably unthinkable that the world's three richest countries - two of them nuclear-armed - would go to war over something so trivial. But that is to confuse what starts a war with what causes it.