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WW3 is unlikely - at least not in the current Crimea/Ukraine situation. Countries have far more to lose in such conflict than there is to gain. Especially when 'they' have made such a mess in other parts of the world from their campaigns..can they really afford to start this? The world has evolved too much since 1945, especially with all the Internet, the surveillance (setting fire to the Internet...), the globalisation movement, the trades, organisations like EU, APEC, ASEAN and etc, improved living standards, living conditions, choices, and more vocal inputs and opinions from people in general, and of course, the media...it is not just the matter of starting a war (a world war) over something like this...it is about the livelihood of the billions of people that may be affected by it...the ramification is huge, and they simply cannot afford to do so. I can see them driving it along the lines of patriotism or nationalism, enforcing conscription perhaps? It is human nature, they don't support things that could put themselves at a disadvantage, let alone be part of it.
Defend the status quo.
Sure the world has evolved, but that just changes the nature of war. WWII was easily defined by WWI, through the allies in treaties and motivation. This 'war', as you mentioned is a remnant of the Cold War which is a remnant of the Vietnam War, which is a remnant of the Korean War, which is a remnant of dropping nukes on Japan. WWIII in my eyes could easily be sparked by this power grab from Russia, seeing as it is the only country that can come close to a toe-to-toe match up with the American military. I feel like this is Russia calling out America for all its BS about sovereign nation protection.
Perhaps war in the cyberworld? Hacking and espionage done via the Internet, just like what Israel did a few years ago against Iran's nuclear facilities (Stuxnet?).
Although it seems like Russia may 'come close to a toe-to-toe match up with the Americans', realistically they lose out because virtually everyone else will not side with them. In any case, I can see the UN being dissolved on several levels - the permanent members will drive it apart with veto powers, boycotts and this extends down to the security council and the common members. I can also imagine a number of embargoes, sanctions and asset freezes being thrown around in the case of escalating tension. The last thing the US will want, is to upset China (in whatever they are trying to accomplish against Russia over Ukraine region), they cannot afford to lose out on economy - the foreign reserve, ownership of debts and businesses. You could also imagine NATO putting pressure on Russia at some point due to the increased military presence in Belarus.
This whole scenario just shows how one-sided the world is. When the US made commitment to 'fix' the world to fit their ideals (or if you like, 'protect civilians from corrupted govt' or 'protect national interests/sovereignty' or 'overthrow the axis of evil' etc. it's just baloney), how positively people in general, respond to it. How inconsistent it is when others attempt to influence the world in one way or another...when we dismiss their ideals or refuse to observe what 'good' can they achieve in similar situations. Unfortunately, because of how the world works at the present, we may never witness it. Similarly, Putin won't be able to get away from this on the global stage. Not because his country's actions are not justified well enough (actually I strongly disagree with their justification, but it isn't really the point here), but it's due to other observers' tinted view of the world. Remember when they made claims about Iraq's WMD? What about their bold ambition to overthrow the Talibans in Afghanistan? Libya? Syria - still fighting there...have we already forgotten about them? Somehow they have gotten away with minor consequences (debt ceiling...they won't default - simply cannot 'afford' to economically speaking, loss of lives - unavoidable in armed conflicts). Even if there aren't any immediate sanctions of some sort, governments in the future would have a leverage over Russia in the future should they wish, over whatever happened with Ukraine. So if you want justice done accordingly (to one side or the other, or both), there's no need to worry.
'Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.' T.S. Eliot
But then, that's sort of the point. The UN (or the League of Nations as it was in its first iteration) was made as a way to balance power. Balance meaning balance, not "failing whenever the US / UK doesn't get its way". Russia has its own sovereign right to act how it wants as well; what's at issue here is that that right is being exercised at the expense of Ukraine's sovereignty, not the US's. That said, I didn't see many right-wing observers in the US or the UK complaining when the UN couldn't influence events before the Iraq War, despite there being issues of legality there too.
In any case, the EU has far more influence over this crisis than the UN. Angela Merkel's response has been far more... considered, than the rhetoric shouted across the Ukraine from Russia and the US.
The 95.5% figure may well be an accurate reflection of votes cast. Many of the 'No' voters simply stayed at home since there was only going to be one winner (this is an area of the Ukraine which doesn't really have any historic ties to Ukraine and is overwhelmingly Russian ethnically) and it really wasn't worth attracting the wrong kind of attention.
Well, when 123% of votes in Sevastopol go to joining Russia, it is kinda shady. Just like Putin got 140% in Chechnya.
Just before Maidan only 41% supported joining Russia, so that 95% is definitely not legit.
Citizens with Russian passport could vote as many times as they wanted.
There are pictures online where the voting pamphlets or whatever they are, are all already marked for voting for Russia.
No, nothing shady at all.
Oh, did I mention that an Estonian journalist who happens to have a Russian passport saw that all first-hand?
"It's not a rest for me, it's a rest for the weights." - Dom Mazzetti
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