3 Responses to “Review of “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?”

  1. Marcus Breen says:

    Don: Thank you for the review of the book about which you make important observations.

    There are major limitations in using the Thucydides Trap.

    First, is it an ancient philosophical concept, aligned with idealist philosophy, conservative analysis and western establishment perspectives. As such it has limited utility in explaining the current US-China challenges. It is instructive to see how frequently it is used, as if this is a great leap forward (Sorry) for analytical international relations by scholars from elite US and western universities and think tanks. It is hardly even a jump over a puddle.

    The second point follows: because the ‘Trap is constrained by western ideology it cannot adequately include teh most important aspects of the head-on collision between the these two great powers. I am assuming that China is a great power. The missing part of the analysis is socialism. As an ideology with a political system evolving in China, it offers a different ideology: a non-western, non-imperialist, peace perspective. Analysts using the Thucydides Trap methodology fail to take this into consideration, or belittle it as failed, when the evidence points to accomplishments in China.

  2. Dan B. says:

    Allison’s thesis of war as an endpoint is basically absurd. This is not ancient Greece with the weaponry of that era.
    A real war between China and the USA would last only several hours, at most, and result in the complete and permanent destruction of both countries by nuclear warhead missiles.

  3. Nancy Tai says:

    Your review of Allison’s book & Freeman’s analysis are thorough & correct. Marcus’s comment is also valid. It is disappointing & annoying that so many commentaries from bloggers, analysts, so called experts, etc kept referring to the US China competition/conflict as a case of Thucydides Trap! None of the characteristics fits when comparing with the case of Athens & Sparta!

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