The shooting of a Russian jet by Turkish forces won't spark World War Three, but the situation might still worsenby Ben Judah / November 26, 2015 / Leave a comment
Watching the shaking, blazing footage of a Russian jet downed by the Turkish air force one question was running through millions of people’s minds—is this what the start of World War Three looks like?
I think this is a very 20th century question. Historically, few periods of interstate conflict start in a single day. Nor, for the most part war and peace is not a black and white thing with an on/off switch.
Zooming out, like the historians will, to what has been happening between Russia and the west over the last ten years, we can see a slowly building, new normal of interstate violence. The unthinkable happens, is quickly accepted, and fades obscure into a darkening background.
Russia shoots an MI6 agent in London, Russia invades and occupies Georgia, Russia begins constant provocative air intrusion into NATO airspace, Russia annexes Crimea and occupies a chunk of Eastern Ukraine, Russian and the west then fall into a cycle of sanctions and trade wars, Russia bombs Western militia allies in Syria. These are not discrete happenings: they are our new violent normal.
Turkey’s shooting of a Russian…