There is a clear crisis trajectory, and I think eventually a limited Japan/China naval engagement is in the cards:
The Senkaku Islands feature a good deal of oil, and if China takes them, they can also exert control over the 200 km economic exclusion zone that that would bring.
The long-term Chinese objective is to eject the US Navy from the South and East China Seas. If China is 2b happy, then our guys will be tooling and zooming around seas a bit west of Guam, and then no more.
China wants to control the sea lanes that feature most of her trade, and that’s why Hainan Island features a submarine base carved into the island rock, with long-term capacity to harbor 20 nuclear submarines (which would guard the approaches to the Straits of Malacca).
Yes, I’d say that in a year or so there’s going to be some shooting.
However small the engagement, we can be sure Obama will find some reason to prominently chicken-out.
If he does that, you know WHAT WILL happen, hmmm...?
We will see a very huge and serious arms-race kick-off in Asia —ALL former APAC allies of the USA will see that lo and behold they are really ON THEIR OWN, in spite of the fancy US rhetoric.
Asia is a place where manners are important, and therefore A LOT of words are just gestures —you watch actions.
A lot of Asia’s leaders were watching when DC didn’t lift a FINGER as their guys were killed in Bengazi, so how could they expect that DC fan of MAO TSE TUNG would help THEM, all the way across the Pacific against a power he said the USA should emulate...???
I’d say right now SK and Japan missile projects are on over-drive, and after a little shooting starts that will only increase.