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Physicist, Startup Founder, Blogger, Dad

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Destined for War? America, China, and the Thucydides Trap



Graham Allison was Dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and Assistant Secretary of Defense under Clinton. I also recommend his book on Lee Kuan Yew.

Thucydides: “It was the rise of Athens, and the fear that this inspired in Sparta, that made war inevitable.” More here and here.
Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?

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.
At 1h05min Allison answers the following question.
Is there any reason for optimism under President Trump in foreign affairs?

65:43 Harvard
65:50 and Cambridge ... ninety-five
66:04 percent of whom voted [against Trump] ... so we
66:08 hardly know any people in quote real
66:11 America and we don't have any perception
66:15 or understanding or feeling for this but
66:17 I come from North Carolina and my wife
66:19 comes from Ohio ...
66:33 ... in large parts of the
66:36 country they have extremely different
66:38 views than the New York Times or The
66:39 Washington Post or you know the elite
66:43 media ...

I think part of what Trump
67:11 represents is a rejection of the
67:15 establishment especially the political
67:17 class and the elites
67:19 which are places like us places like
67:21 Harvard and others who lots of people in
67:25 our society don't think have done a
67:27 great job with the opportunities that
67:28 our country has had

67:33 ... Trump's willingness to not be
67:37 Orthodox to not be captured by the
67:40 conventional wisdom to explore
67:43 possibilities

... he's not
68:31 beholden to the Jewish community he's
68:34 not beholden to the Republican Party
68:36 he's not become beholden to the
68:38 Democratic Party

... I think I'm
69:26 hopeful

See also:
Everything Under the Heavens and China's Conceptualization of Power
Thucydides Trap, China-US relations, and all that

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