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This currency war cannot go well: Art Cashin

Cashin: Currency war played like chess match

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's quantitative easing announcement Thursday may have been the latest salvo in a currency war, but veteran trader Art Cashin told CNBC that war is being played like a chess match.

However, that will change at some point.

"That laid-back cerebral attitude is going to disappear. At some point somebody is going to get their currency to a place where it's going to cause enough pain to somebody else and then it's going to turn into a real war," Cashin, director of floor operations for UBS at the New York Stock Exchange, said in an interview with "Squawk on the Street. "

On Thursday, the ECB announced an open-ended bond-buying program of 60 billion euros ($70 billion) a month in an effort to boost the region's low inflation rate.

Read More Dow jumps 100 after ECB launches QE bazooka

The euro fell on the news to around $1.146 against the dollar.

In fact, Cashin believes about the only thing the ECB achieved was a weaker euro and "not much else."

"The reliance on the LTROs [long-term refinancing operation] again is not going to increase bank lending in Europe as far as I can tell," he noted.

Cashin also expects the waves of deflation to get stronger as currencies fall.

"These nations have been exporting deflation but it just hasn't turned into a tsunami yet," he said. "When it gets close to that then you're going to see central banks around the world decide they better get a bit more cooperative. "

"This currency war cannot go well. They never have."

Read More ECB needs to buy more bonds than Fed: CIO