Everything is connected. A flat tyre in Delhi or Mumbai is not a paradigm-shifting event. But things are significantly different if you’re a Russian diplomat caught in the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali with — you guessed it — a flat tyre. A Georgian delegation to work out peace talks was awaiting Yuri Popov’s arrival, but had to give up once the news deflated any possibility of a tête-à-tête. Understandably, the Georgians didn’t believe that Mr Popov had been stalled because of a pneumatic failure. The result: war breaking out between Russia and Georgia.
We’ve heard about a kingdom being lost for want of a nail. So, to be honest, we were prepared for a peace to be squandered for want of a plump tyre. Chance is a funny thing especially in current affairs which end up being history. Ask the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife. Six assassins missed them as targets, until the seventh, Gavrilo Princip, ‘chanced upon’ the royal couple — after they had missed a turn — and shot his way into the history books for triggering World War I. Just as things could have been different if you had turned the page without reading this.