One of the great privileges of power is to determine the legitimacy or illegitimacy of powers, to judge what is just and unjust, and to define which entities are real and which are only imaginary.
To detect where power is — or where power believes it is — look for where matters of legitimacy, justice and ontology are asserted as self-evident without argument or persuasion, and protests are dismissed or ignored.
And to detect where war is developing look for where two parties each summarily judge the other illegitimate, unjust and deluded with no attempt at understanding, much less agreement.
The conflicting worldviews are a superficial symptom of a deeper disagreement on power: who is actually in a position to dominate the other? Such disagreements intensify to the degree the two powers are equal.
In an armed conflict the more equally matched the combatants the more protracted and destructive the battle will be.