Sparta and Athens grew toward a conflict that neither wanted – what Graham Allison calls Thucydides’s Trap. Named for the classical Greek historian, Thucydides’s Trap describes the structural stresses that result when a rising power threatens to displace a ruling one. The looming question is whether China’s rise and the fear it instills in America will result in war between the great powers. With tensions rising on nearly all of China’s borders, new leadership priorities in Washington, and historic government transition set to happen after Beijing’s 19th National Congress, the foundation for conflict or coordination is in many ways being set right now. Will the intertwined economies of the China and the US stave off Thucydides’s Trap, or is this all just a little bit of history repeating?
Allison’s new book Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? will be available for purchase and signing via the Book Cellar following the program.
Background reading and multimedia:
- US Desire for North Korea Oil Cutoff Puts China in a Tight Spot
Jane Perlez, New York Times, September 5, 2017
- The US Fired the First Shot in a Trade War With China
Linette Lopez, Business Insider, August 18, 2017
- Donald Trump Sends Tough Signal to China on Unfair IP, Tech Practices
Nirmal Gosh, The Straits Times, August 15, 2017
- America's Collision Course With China
Judith Shapiro, New York Times, June 15, 2017