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.
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."