I think your analysis is fairly spot on, Steve. I just have a few more thoughts:
Austria opened even more aggressively than you intimated. It was ultimately by his diplomatic instigation that Germany marched eastward on the break, throwing the opening of the game into complete chaos. Trying to play ALL sides against each other, Joel's brazenness gave Turkey, Italy, and me the casus belli (targeting Turkey, leaking intel, keeping me distracted) to eliminate him pronto.
Kang and I were obviously staring at each other as we grew. I'm certain he didn't stab me because he didn't want to commit "one of the classic blunders" - pushing on Moscow has foiled everyone from Napoleon to Hitler to all of our Diplo players who have attempted it thus far. He had to gamble he had more time before I went at him, for any chance for him to win. I also was loathe to go after him because he was my only reliable asset. Stabbing him meant risking going one versus three. A stab by either of us meant full commitment.
I ended up going for it when I did, because I got NOWHERE diplomatically with France and Germany, even after weeks of lobbying. I hoped that their lack of cooperation with each other would continue and they would give Italy the same cold shoulder they gave me, especially since he took both Marseilles and Munich. I basically doubled down and prayed it would pay off. I knew Kang would be out of town those turns and figured that that distraction might be enough to prevent a full alliance against my final push.
My only real regret about how the game shook out was eliminating Turkey. I had two reliable allies in Linda and Kang, but they were in unavoidable conflict and I had to arbitrate the outcome. I had to choose the partner that gave me steady growth. Teaming with Turkey would've bogged me down, plus I needed Italy's fleets to go west. I prefer to play straight up, relying on self-evident truths as diplomatic tools, but I had to dishonorably deceive Linda there. I did the same to Joel, but unlike Turkey, Austria totally had it coming
The fun that never happened was the plan we worked out to counter the apparent Western alliance on the break. It involved:
-Me digging in against England's advance
-A combined Italian/Austrian/Russian fleet sailing on France
-Italian and Austrian armies banging on Munich
-Best of all, Turkish troops convoyed to Rumania through the Galicia corridor support by Russian troops into Berlin
It's amazing what you can put together diplomatically when people's interests are lopsidedly threatened.
Oh, and I got TOTALLY lucky that final turn. I did try to set certain things into motion, but I botched the execution and still somehow gained six centers in one go.