Dominique Moisi is right in the macrocosm and makes some intriguing historical parallels, although I think he's focusing in the wrong region, and not connecting the dots:
Almost exactly 100 years ago the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand prompted a series of bad decisions by world leaders that caused World War I.
Some experts see striking and disconcerting similarities between 1914 and 2014.
The two time periods share one critical feature, warns Dominique Moisi, senior adviser at The French Institute for International Affairs, in an article for Project Syndicate.
That feature is "the risk that an increasingly complex security and political environment will overwhelm unexceptional leaders. Before they wake up to the risks, the situation could spin out of control."
In 1914, Europe’s leaders resigned themselves to war after failing to find compromises, he says. Historian Christopher Clark said they "sleepwalked" into war.
That kind of blundering leadership is now again a possibility, as conflict and uncertainty again threatens the world, Moisi argues, citing the Middle East, Ukraine and the East and South China Seas.
There is a big difference, however. A century ago, there hadn't been a world war (which is to say, a general European war) since a century before that (i.e. the Napoleonic wars), and thus, not within the lifetimes of those early twentieth century leaders. Consequently, they all believed that a war against their enemies would be quick and easy. Because of this, in turn, both sides were eager for war.
Today only one side, regardless of the region in question, wants war, but that desire has been contained and deterred for the past seventy years by American global hegemony and power. That power has been decimated by Barack Obama, who has been as eager to fan the flames of ambition of every American enemy in every part of the world as his European counterparts were to attack each other a hundred years ago. The result is that winds of war are burgeoning more or less everywhere, but only from one direction, while we refuse to see it and strip ourselves naked before the oncoming onslaught. Whereas in 1914 the result was a long, bloody stalemate, this time it's likely to be a runaway collapse and slaughter, with "liberal" use of WMDs involved.
Today, the United States is like Britain was then, a waning superpower unable to guarantee security. China is Germany, an aggressive, rising superpower. And Japan is France, a declining regional power and ally of the world superpower.
The Japan-France analogy is very apt. Red China is the Second Reich only larger by several orders of magnitude. The U.S. is unlike Britain in that it wasn't until after World War II that the Brits started committing slow national suicide with their embrace of socialism. It wasn't until after World War I that the British even started to decline as a global power, and that decline was offset by America's rise. Under Barack Obama the U.S. is destroying itself at warp speed, with no counterbalancing Western power picking up the slack. That's why today's global order is so rapidly spinning out of control into chaos and disaster.
But the final spark won't come in the Western Pacific or Eastern Europe; it will come in the Middle East. Any conflict prior anyplace else will be mere table-setting.
Aside from America's conquest and/or destruction, of course. That is a prerequisite for The End.