What the events that led to the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914 tell us is that diplomats can lose control of situations, which can escalate quickly and snowball out of anyone’s control.
World War 1 was a war that no one wanted, with the possible exception of Kaiser William II who had off-the-wall fantasies of glory in combat. Because of entangling alliances, once the dominoes started to fall, it was inevitable that the world was faced with not a local war but a world war.
It is a lesson that perhaps has been lost on today’s generation of diplomats that seem to be acting as if the nuclear threat were merely an innocuous abstraction that could never happen. But it can happen, and if certain events are set in motion mindlessly, it will happen of its own accord.
And so we will have another world war that no one wanted, but this time it will be the war that does end all war — and civilization as we know it.