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Sleepwalking Toward Accidental Conflict

The argument minimizing the risk of a war between major powers – that today’s globalized, interconnected world has too much at stake to risk a seismic unraveling – is painfully familiar. It is the same argument that was made in the early twentieth century, when the first wave of globalization was at its peak.

NEW HAVEN – Too many observers have lost sight of one of the key lessons of World War I. The Great War was triggered by the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, which occurred against the backdrop of a long-simmering conflict between Europe’s major powers. This interplay between conflict escalation and a political spark has special resonance today.