Earthquakes occur along tectonic fault lines, places where sections of the Earth's crust collide. The pressure builds up slowly, sometimes over decades or even centuries, before releasing in a violent moment of destruction. Some seismically active areas lie on the intersection of multiple fault lines--multiple sources of stress, all converging.
Looking at world events at the moment, it's hard not to see the fault lines combining and intersecting, the pressure building and building, slowly, inescapably. The ongoing disaster that is Donald Trump's presidency; North Korea's increasing belligerence; China's stated willingness to go to war with the US if the situation on the Korean peninsula erupts in the wrong way; and now a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville that seems to have earned endorsement-by-silence from the government.
North Korea seems the most likely to slip, and it's easy to imagine how the seismic shock could trigger the other fault lines.
Trump over-reacts to an apparent threat by North Korea and retaliates, reversing the erosion of his support and emboldening the wave of white supremacy sweeping across America.
Trump's ego and desperation to pander to his most extreme supporters causes him to strike first, triggering a war with China.
North Korea launches a successful missile attack on the US; the resulting surge in nationalism and xenophobia is seized on by the Trump administration in order to facilitate the slide into autocracy that so many of his followers seem to want.
(Astute readers will notice that there's a common factor in all of these scenarios)
Whenever you study the outbreak of war or similarly catastrophic events, you're looking for the fault lines, the places where the pressure builds. It's only in hindsight that you recognize the moment when the earthquake became inevitable, and the only question is exactly which fault line slipped first.
Have we reached that point yet?
I don't know. But then, I wouldn't. We'll just have to wait until the shaking starts.