I can't see any comparision with the interwar period. China spends quite a low percentage of GDP on defence (ok huge growing GDP). Its massive wealth is largely dependent on exports. How would a war help that?The situation we are living right now reminds me a lot of the naval build up period between WWI and WWII. IMHO, the question is not wether there will be a war in Asia, but when it will start.
And it will start in the South China sea, near the Spratlys and the Paracel reefs.
If there is a comparsion and I don't think there is, one could view like the period between the Crimean & WW1. A long peace, ending in a arms race built up on mutual fear and then thne collective suicide of the European Powers, over the most minor issues.