An escalating trade war. Incidents between U. S. and Chinese warships and military aircraft in the South China Sea. Accusations of intellectual property theft, industrial espionage, and now, election interference. Relations between the U.S. and China, long defined in terms of rising trade and interdependence, have lately taken a different, far darker turn — a turn towards confrontation, even war. In Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’ Trap
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017) Harvard professor Graham
Allison places the modern Sino-U.S. relationship within the context of an ancient strategic dilemma: the “Thucydides Trap.” When an established power finds itself in political and military competition with a rising power, the resulting friction has often sparked war. Sparta fought the Peloponnesian War to restrain the rising power of Athens; Spain sent the Armada to quell England’s rising power; England, in turn, found itself in an economic and naval competition with a rising Wilhelmine Germany that led to World War I. Are the U.S. and China locked in the same deadly embrace? Examining historical parallels, Allison finds cause for both fear and hope. The trap is dangerous, but not inescapable. Join us to explore perhaps the most important geopolitical issue of the twenty-first century.