At least one former Australian defense official thinks China and Japan (and the United States) might be heading to war:

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.

Of course we should all hope that common sense prevails.

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. The Greek historian Thucydides first explained the difference almost 2500 years ago. He wrote that the catastrophic Peloponnesian War started from a spat between Athens and one of Sparta’s allies over a relatively insignificant dispute. But what caused the war was something much graver: the growing wealth and power of Athens, and the fear this caused in Sparta.

I still have a little faith that everybody’s so invested in one another that China, Japan and the United States will not start a war over something so trivial. Still, nationalist stupidity seems to be “trending,” so anything’s possible. I just hope I can upgrade to the D600 before the missiles start flying. Maybe pick up some FX glass, too.

(HT to reader… and the Business Insider)