English: Vladimir Putin and Gerhard Schroeder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The conflict in the Ukraine could spiral out of control too easily. Putin does not seem to care about the puny sanctions that the United States has imposed but he does seem to care about his image inside Russiapublic opinion. Russia controls a significant amount of the oil spigot that flows into Europe which gives Putin considerable power without resorting to military action. The first World War was started by an assassination and this could happen again in the current poisonous political environment. Miscalculations by any side in the existing conflict combined with an overly strong response by the other side are the most likely way that a more wide spread war could occur. Putin may simply not want peace and could use any imagined indignity by the other side to escalate military action.