The article looks at structural analogies between the strategic situation in Europe
in the summer of 1914 and in East Asia today, with particular emphasis on the
probability of the outbreak of a major war. The author examines analogies
regarding the nature of the international system, i.e. is the international system
characterized by outright anarchy or by a more or less developed and institutionalized
understanding among the main actors about the way to preserve peace and to
organize economic exchange? The article addresses domestic factors (nationalism,
democratic, authoritarian or semi-democratic regimes) and investigates military
dynamics against the backdrop of geography and the availability of military equipment
and technologies. Possible routes of military escalation are also discussed.
Special attention is paid to states that have isolated themselves and that dispose of
military means that might promise swift victory. The article comes to the conclusion
that there are very few similarities between Europe in 1914 and East Asia
today, but that both the high degree of militarization of the Korean peninsula and
the evolving military competition between the US and China in the region do
imply the possibility of a major armed conflict in a not too distant future.