Rex Murphy: The mighty combustion of small events, and other lessons from the First World War | National Post

From the First World War, most have taken the theme that (relatively) small events can spiral into a mighty combustion. Europe was a cat’s cradle of connections and alliances, its rulers abominably short-sighted and absurdly confident, no controlling mind overseeing or attempting to oversee what a single push on the chessboard might eventually precipitate. That war resulted from a cascade of misjudgements and misperceptions set in motion by the singular deed of a Serbian terrorist.

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People looking at the world today are, I think rightfully, seeing something of a parallel with confusions of a century ago. In the last weeks and months, what a crowding and a tangling of events we have seen. And we have seen, too, how, just like a hundred years ago, an event in one place has its connection and impact in others. A jet shot down over Ukraine has a consequence for Israel a week later.

Rex Murphy: The mighty combustion of small events, and other lessons from the First World War | National Post