On the road to war... nobody ever asks directions. The question as to whether there will be war depends on who is behind the wheel.
All nations will go to war when attacked but who decides to attack another country? The governing or ruling elites of one country decide that the soldiers and civilians of both countries should begin to die in a war.
Oddly enough, democracies do not vote to go to war. Their Congresses, Parliaments and rulers decide to go to war and often their citizens are asked to support a war once it has already begun. Almost like an investment for the future but paid by the blood and lives of those already engaged in fighting. Our sailors died on the ship that was attacked and sunk! Our soldiers died defending our borders! Or even that our civilians were on the plane that was downed. A little blood and death goes a long way when those in government want to go to war anyway. A single incident, a border clash or even an accidental faux provocation like a downed plane can end up having caused the loss of millions of lives before the war is over years later.
Democracies do not vote for war. No one puts it to the citizens who will fight and die whether they wish to have a war. Kings and dictators decide to go to war but only a ruling elite will vote for one.
Enter the manufactured incident that is used to justify a vote for war and which provides a 'moral' excuse to begin the inescapable carnage. Enter the constant prodding and urging of citizens to think war is understandable. Netanyahu's projected hatred towards a confined people under occupation is not moral but it does provoke many Israelis - soldiers and settlers - to excess. It also eggs on the citizenry to make excuses for a steady state injustice... which of course produces hatred in return.
But there are other roads to war. Big wars. Big wars take time and long gestation periods. How do you know? Like a pregnancy... it shows.
People seem so very disturbed by the head butting in the Ukraine but when you look you have to wonder is she pregnant or what because it doesn't show. That potential war may not be using birth control but she sure doesn't look pregnant yet. Massed armies on the borders? Not yet.
Syria is trickier. People are dying and factions provoke greater responses trying to keep things going in case a potential for peace breaks out... but still that is all a current conflict extension of a planned destabilization of the general area. There may be no peace in the Middle East but no one wants to see it become a world war. The day in and day out endless war scenario is a steady state destabilization which never quite ignites a world war but keeps things smoldering just the same.
And then along comes that road sign pointing to a future big war - a potential world war although not expected just right now but there for those who go down that road. The chess piece moves of escalation by a new empire come into contact with the previously placed pieces by an entrenched empire. The projected sphere of influence of a new empire confronts the assumed sphere of influence of an existing empire.
A new power tests an old power... but not just yet.
People should ask just what will be the end result of China's expansionist moves in the South China Sea. Where will this all end down the road? Ukraine already had borders and negotiations can be held etc. There is a solution to be reached. Syria also has a preexisting 'Syria" that holds a potential diplomatic solution or in this case a diplomatic chaos (more endless war or a proxy war or even a musical chairs changing alliances game of death and suffering played out as war).
But what is the end game solution for the South China Sea?
The world is destabilizing and amid immense and unexpected environmental changes and increasing climate based economic stresses... ruling elites begin strategizing for a big war. Not for now but for later. Either China keeps her conquest - one that gives her dominant control of the South China Sea for a long time to come or she doesn't get it.
I find it hard to believe that China will give up her bloodless conquest of a place that she has been creating that is worth fighting a war over and from as well. A military base for naval and air power is being constructed in the South China Sea and while it may not look like much and there are no factions fighting or refugees involved... even a single tiny match can start a huge fire.
The world should discuss this issue rather than warships and fighter jets strutting their stuff. The issue is will China have the right to claim territorial waters hundreds of miles from the mainland and strategic control of the South China Sea?
Ironically... this is a type of reverse containment. An expansionist acquisition that significantly changes the map. The conflicts in Syria and Ukraine do not. Well not really... Russia had already reclaimed the Crimea last year and nobody seemed all that surprised at it since It was mostly a technicality on paper anyway.
The South China Sea issue is very much like ... being only a little bit pregnant.