Summer Vacation

6 July 2014

Sunday


Sardinia 2

One hundred years ago in July, 1914, as the July Crisis slowly gained momentum, much of Europe went on vacation. Like a classic exponential growth curve, the July Crisis began as a gradual and shallow escalation, and it was not until later in the month that the curve of escalation reached its inflection point and began to shoot upward. At the beginning, very little happened.

Sardinia 1

Immediately after giving carte blanche to Austria-Hungary for any actions it might take to punish the Serbs, the Kaiser left Berlin for Kiel to sail for Norwegian waters aboard his yacht, the Hohenzollern. The day before, German Foreign Minister Gottlieb von Jagow left for his honeymoon in Lucerne — it would seem that no great sense of crisis attended the early days of the July Crisis, and no great weight was attached to decisions made at this time, which at least partially explains the Kaiser’s readiness to grant Austria-Hungary carte blanche backing in dealing with Serbia.

Sardinia 3

I, too, have departed for a summer vacation. Though I usually don’t travel in high summer (in the northern hemisphere), and I usually don’t travel to Europe during the season (since it is crowded and expensive), I thought that Sardinia would be sufficiently off the beaten path of tourist traffic to be spared the brunt of the traffic and would be bearable. So far, I have been right. Maybe it is simply because buses can’t drive directly from the continent that reduces the absolute numbers of tourism. There is something about islands that makes them different — and long before buses were an issue. Islands tend to inspire particularism, as well as loyalty to this particularist alternative to nationalism. This is very much in evidence in Sardinia.

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Sardinia 4

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Grand Strategy Annex

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