Yves here. It’s funny how if you’ve had no particular reason to examine key junctures of history to overlook how key decisions set events moving down a particular road. It’s hard to recognize the path dependence unless you were a close observer of the original actions or you have them unpacked later. For instance, one major and critical set of decisions took place at the Council of Vienna in 1815, when national boundaries were redrawn after the Napoleonic conquests and reversal. These negotiations often determined which of various royal claimants wound up in charge of particular jurisdictions. The proof that that was well done is the nearly 100 years of peace, save some minor dustups. As we can see, the much less complex negotiations between the West and the USSR, with Gorbachev, was not conducted with such long-term concerns. The durability of peace in a soon-to-be unipolar world was assumed.