Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?

Destined for War Can America and China Escape Thucydides s Trap CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES ARE HEADING TOWARD A WAR NEITHER WANTS The reason is Thucydides s Trap a deadly pattern of structural stress that results when a rising power challenges a ruling one This

  • Title: Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?
  • Author: Graham Allison
  • ISBN: 9780544935273
  • Page: 464
  • Format: Hardcover
  • CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES ARE HEADING TOWARD A WAR NEITHER WANTS The reason is Thucydides s Trap, a deadly pattern of structural stress that results when a rising power challenges a ruling one This phenomenon is as old as history itself About the Peloponnesian War that devastated ancient Greece, the historian Thucydides explained It was the rise of Athens and the feCHINA AND THE UNITED STATES ARE HEADING TOWARD A WAR NEITHER WANTS The reason is Thucydides s Trap, a deadly pattern of structural stress that results when a rising power challenges a ruling one This phenomenon is as old as history itself About the Peloponnesian War that devastated ancient Greece, the historian Thucydides explained It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable Over the past 500 years, these conditions have occurred sixteen times War broke out in twelve of them Today, as an unstoppable China approaches an immovable America and both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump promise to make their countries great again, the seventeenth case looks grim Unless China is willing to scale back its ambitions or Washington can accept becoming number two in the Pacific, a trade conflict, cyberattack, or accident at sea could soon escalate into all out war In Destined for War, the eminent Harvard scholar Graham Allison explains why Thucydides s Trap is the best lens for understanding U.S China relations in the twenty first century Through uncanny historical parallels and war scenarios, he shows how close we are to the unthinkable Yet, stressing that war is not inevitable, Allison also reveals how clashing powers have kept the peace in the past and what painful steps the United States and China must take to avoid disaster today.

    • Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? ¦ Graham Allison
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      Published :2019-03-03T20:25:56+00:00


    About “Graham Allison

    • Graham Allison

      Librarian Note Also writes under the name Graham T Allison.



    605 thoughts on “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?

    • Exposition of the 'Thucydides Trap', an IR question where a rising power threatens an established great power. While I retain some skepticism of Allison's rosy picture of the Chinese economy, I agree more with the assessment of ongoing sources of tension between China and the United States, and the possibility (though not inevitability) of further disagreement, and the not-entirely reduced risk of blundering into war. While nuclear weaponshave been the greatest deterrent of overt great power con [...]


    • Present foreign policy in the United States is examined in the context of one of the earliest consequential wars ever written about“While others identified an array of contributing causes of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides went to the heart of the matter. When he turned the spotlight on ‘the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta,’ he identified a primary driver at the root of some of history’s most catastrophic and puzzling wars.” Fear. Allison has the advantage o [...]


    • Graham Allison, a Harvard professor and sometime government functionary, is clearly a man who thinks a great deal of himself. On the other hand, most of his pride in himself actually seems justified by his experience and thought, and in these Trumpian days, perhaps immodesty is the Spirit of the Age. Therefore, if you can get through the scenes in “Destined For War” where Allison talks down to and instructs David Petraeus like a schoolboy, as the latter sits behind his CIA desk; and the pass [...]


    • This Geopolitics selection is based on the problems when incumbent major power faces an up and coming challenger to its role as hegemon. The name for this situation is the Thucydides trap. Named after the historian who documented dominant Sparta's war with Athens which was the up and coming power. The author documents about twenty cases when this situation arose in history and 16 times it resulted in war. In the age of nuclear weapons incumbent America and rising China the world cannot afford su [...]


    • This is Thucydides’ Paradox (from his towering work, The Peloponnesian Wars) and its implication for American-Chinese relations, as per Graham Allison: About the Peloponnesian War that devastated ancient Greece, the historian Thucydides explained: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” Over the past 500 years, these conditions have occurred sixteen times. War broke out in twelve of them. Today, as an unstoppable China approaches an [...]


    • This was well-written and informative. A few takeaways:- China's growth can hardly be overstated. It's genuinely impressive, and unprecedented in terms of modern metrics.- Chinese folks, by and large, have a pretty pragmatic view of the world - democracy is not going to happen as long as the country is getting more prosperous under the CCP. If responsive autocracy is working, why fix it? In other words, hardly anyone is still talking about Tiananmen Square, now that China is on the path to growt [...]



    • Of the several books I've read this spring on the China-U. S. competition in the western Pacific, Destined for War vies with Christopher Coker's The Improbable War as being the most scholarly. Both rely heavily on history for their analysis of the present.All I've been reading refers to what's called the Thucydides Trap, the phenomenon existing when a ruling power is threatened with displacement by a rising power. The situation, which is how all these analysts view the current China-U. S. rivalr [...]


    • Excellent data and analysis. As the popular dialogue in the Western media is largely oblivious of China, and Chinese media largely nationalistic, such politic realism and cautious warning Graham provides is rare and precious. U.S. and China have to find a way to compromise and collaborate so that we have a stable and secure world. Let's hope.For an excellent discussion among Graham and Former U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Samantha Power, and one well-known historian Niall Ferguson, see youtube/watch?v [...]


    • The spectacular rise of China’s economic and military might in the past twenty years has given rise to hope as well as anxiety and fear among diplomats and policy makers in the United States. Even the academics and historians are intrigued by what it portends for the future. Consequently, we have a plethora of books, essays and analysis in the media and from the publishing houses. This book is one more contribution to the subject, but quite an original and interesting one. It focuses on the qu [...]


    • There are those who believe that America and China are destined for war. As China expands and becomes more assertive in East Asia, it will start to compromise key American interests. How should America respond to this? Is war an option? If so, can it be avoided? These are the key questions that this book answers, and it will be interesting to see how things turn out as events unfold in the course of this century.What I like about this book is that it doesn't rely on unsupported assertion. It sta [...]


    • Allison, in a word, answers this question in the affirmative. Both readable and straightforward, Allison brings historical case studies to bear where both sides of the question are argued. Tautologically sound, he proceeds to describe the context of these cases and how they are similar or different from the current context of China and the US. Lastly, he finishes the book with a dozen clues to further bolster his case, allowing the reader to pass judgment. Finally, he provides prescriptions and [...]


    • Stunning book that lays out the many unfortunately easy ways the the US and China could blunder into open war. There is a way out, but Americans aren't going to like it- basically, we need to ask ourselves, what is most strategically critical to us? Is it really attempting to dominate the Chinese in the South China Sea? Is there room for us to negotiate some give and take? Excellent, essential book. Highly recommended!


    • A fascinating, and especially topical book by Graham Allison of the Belfer Center at the Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Allison has created an academic infrastructure around the book, which can be found at belfercenter/thucydideThe book makes the proposition that history teaches us that a newly rising power may create fear and a sense of instability within an existing hegemon that drives both towards war, even when both may desire to avoid military conflict. (The Thucydides’s trap) The hist [...]


    • Excellent and through look at a prospective conflict with China. Mr Allison presents a number of historical cases in which a rising power (China) comes into conflict with an established one (USA). His analysis of the various circumstances in which a war might erupt is chilling, esp. his view of the North Korea nuclear threat. But he does discuss alternatives that could satisfy both major powers and not end up in war. If only both parties approach with diplomatic skills rather than the war-monger [...]


    • There is much that is important in this book. Allison makes some strong points about the differences between China’s worldview and our own, and how it affects our respective approaches to the world. He discusses how we need to approach foreign policy, and more importantly, what we need to understand about ourselves before we can come up with a coherent strategy to deal with China and other international challenges.However, the book never quite comes together. It feels like scraps from several [...]


    • Before I begin, let me clear up three issues• Who was Thucydides? According to , he was “an Athenian historian and general. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th-century-BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC. Thucydides has been dubbed the father of "scientific history" by those who accept his claims to have applied strict standards of evidence-gathering and analysis of cause and effect, without reference to intervention by the gods, as outlined in his introduct [...]


    • Let me start by saying that while I disagree with Graham Allison on some fundamental issues, he is on the list of foreign policy intellectuals who I make a point of following and taking seriously Not so much because I've seen bouts of extreme genius from him as because he's managed to sustain a long career in the academy and government with a willingness to go beyond majority viewpoints without the turns of colossal stupidity ( that seem to plague the careers of other IR luminaries. I assume tha [...]


    • This is a short policy analysis book focusing on the "Thucydides Trap" (TT) - a situation in which a rising state causes sufficient concern to the hegemon of the system that it takes actions in response that have the unintended consequence of facilitating the rise of the new power. The focus of this is the rise of China, especially since Deng's economic reforms after 1978. The author is Graham Allison, who is a well known and highly regarded public policy professor and administrator at Harvard's [...]


    • Destined for War: Can America and China Escape the Thucydides Trap? is a book that appears to give credence to the pessimists of Thomas J Christensen, though from a different approach to the subject matter. This book is primarily content to impart three lessons to the reader. Rising powers and reigning powers have a history of conflicting with one another, that small events can spiral into all out war even if the leadership believes they are taking reasonable measures to avoid war, and, what I t [...]


    • I was prompted to start this book after watching a YouTube panel including Graham Allison youtube/watch?v=8yghO. I finished on the same weekend that The Economist front page (October 14th-20th 2017) declared Xi Jinping, China's current leader as 'The World's Most Powerful Man'. The video is a great primer for reading the book - plus you also get to learn how to pronounce 'Thucydides' which for me was a substantial bonus.This is an extraordinary book - chock a block full of useful and often surpr [...]


    • I didn't particularly like this book because I felt the argument was a little too much from one perspective. However, Allison did a great job laying out his position. Once you realize that China's GDP is already larger than the United States and that a country's productivity determines its power, the conclusion that the US needs to alter its relationship with China seems obvious. In light of the size of their economy, I can better understand why China is demanding their own sphere of influence i [...]


    • If there is one book I would want Mr. Trump to read, it would be this one. If there was one man I would like Mr. Trump to listen to over a small dinner, it would be Graham Allison. Both notions are, unfortunately, absurd. He does not have the attention span to read a book nor is he capable of listening to, learning from or absorbing a complex conversation…which is why we may be “Destined For War.” This is an important book and one that will be read by the international leadership class her [...]


    • What's Thucydides's trap? It is a severe structural stress caused when a rising power threatens to upend a ruling one. In such conditions, not just extraordinary, unexpected events, but even ordinary flashpoints of foreign affairs, can trigger large-scale conflict.Yet many Americans are still in denial about what China's transformation from agrarian backwater to "the biggest player in the history of the world" means for the United States. What is this book's Big Idea? In a phrase, Thucydides Tra [...]


    • Not to harsh your chill . . . but . . . For a very tricky subject this work really gets to the core of one of our current geopolitical conundrums - what happens when one nation, having been in ascendancy but beginning to descend (the US), faces the challenge of another nation in ascendancy (China). Thucydides wrote of this problem when the main players were Sparta and Athens in the 5th century BCE.Allison takes the main points of that ancient historical work and examines the current relationship [...]


    • Excellent book by Graham Allison about the rise of China and whether their growing influence will push the United States into war.As a recent transplant to California, I've been disappointed by the state's housing shortage and crumbling infrastructure. Therefore, the following struck me hard:Over the past decade, China has constructed the world’s longest high-speed rail network: 12,000 miles of rail lines that carry passengers between cities at speeds of up to 180 miles per hour. In the US, th [...]


    • "Thucydides trap" is severe structural stress caused when a rising power threatens to upend a ruling one. The Harvard Thucydides Trap project examines 16 major cases over the period of last 500 years, 11 cases of which ended with war.Applying those lessons of history on the current situation of a rising Chinese power that will inevitably challenge US hegemony in world affairs, the author proposes a direction to follow.Graham Allison argues that although war is not inevitable in this situation, h [...]


    • Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?Graham AllisonGraham Allison presents an analysis of past situations where a reigning world power is confronted with the rising power of another nation/state. In 12 of 16 cases, the result was war.If we can learn from those previous situations, then maybe we can better manage the growing tension between America and China today.Among many, there are two topics that get a lot of attention: economic growth, and national identity and [...]


    • I started this wondering whether it would be too academic and not sufficiently applied, and ended it having formed the opposite conclusion. The book is more informative than I expected about how lacking most Anglo-American discourse is about the extent of Chinese power and influence. Allison's forecasts for how US/Chinese competition could escalate are plausible, and his conclusion that the greatest weaknesses of both countries lie in domestic politics also seems correct. What's less clear comin [...]


    • Thucydides' Trap is the path to war occurring when a new country gains power and influence and comes into conflict with the established hegemon.The book describes the trap. It identifies the risks inherent in a change of geopolitical hierarchy, and suggests avoidance measures including 12 "clues for peace" and 4 strategic options.I enjoyed the book because of its big picture view and historical analysis.Some quibbles (and I am being harsh):Overly deterministic;Does not describe the significance [...]


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