Ghosts from the past

Science  25 Jul 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6195, pp. 361
DOI: 10.1126/science.1258594

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2014 marks the centennial of the commencement of World War I. One connection between today and that seemingly long-ago war is how we make choices when the future seems obvious only in retrospect, in what former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz refers to as a world “awash in change.” Max Hastings, in Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War, summarizes his views on how the rulers of Europe allowed World War I to start, then continue with a loss of over 8.6 million soldiers: “It is more appropriate to call them deniers, who preferred to persist with supremely dangerous policies and strategies….”