, Volume 90, Number 6

Joachim Krause
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.

To read this article, you need to be a Chatham House member

Find out more about Chatham House membership