The world is aflame with new or intensifying conflicts that appear to be independent events, driven by their own unique and idiosyncratic circumstances. But look more closely and they share several key characteristics—notably, a witch’s brew of ethnic, religious, and national antagonisms that have been stirred to the boiling point by a fixation on energy.
Just days after the U.S, Japan and South Korea flew through China’s freshly declared air defense zone over the contested Senkaku Islands and an untapped natural gas field, China deployed fighter jets and an early warning aircraft to the region.
Although the U.S. was a pioneer in unmanned flight technology, it’s worth remembering that many other major countries want to develop similar programs for their own interests. A dispute over islands in the East China Sea is catalyzing such an arms race between China and Japan.