Certainly the world is not becoming a safer place -
China’s most powerful military leader, in an unusual public statement, last week ordered military forces to prepare for combat, as Chinese warships deployed to waters near disputed islands and anti-Japan protests throughout the country turned violent.From the 2012 New Year's predictions -
Protests against the Japanese government’s purchase of three privately held islands in the Senkakus chain led to mass street protests, the burning of Japanese flags, and attacks on Japanese businesses and cars in several cities. Some carried signs that read “Kill all Japanese,” and “Fight to the Death” over disputed islands. One sign urged China to threaten a nuclear strike against Japan.
Start of the Asiatic war (Late Q3 - Q4) - With the US being over committed, it can't back up its positions in other countries, the East sees this and starts moving. Fires break out faster then they can be put out.Now, here's my assumption on this. I believe the Chinese are trying to get Japan to switch sides long term here AND split US forces from concentrating on Syria/Iran. China is basically telling Japan - 'Look, we're bigger, we're younger and we have Russia, plus we haven't forgotten WWII. The US is on the way out, if you're smart, you'll side with us and save yourself in the long run.' Japan will probably have little choice and will join China forming an even more powerful Kings of the East.
The US, somewhat clueless to this, will play along and try to defend Japan (Seeing as how they buy our bonds). Yet, behind the scene, Japan will start making more and more trade and defense deals with China, publicly confusing the US.At some point, Japan will outright betray the United States, perhaps militarily, but that's down the road a bit.
For now, I would expect we'll see a lot of posturing trying to drag American forces away from the Syria. But come November, if Romney wins, expect to see a lot more hawkish uber-patriotism filter in as the West starts to commit strategic blunders.