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.
Breakfast available from 8:00AM
Discussion begins at 8:30AM
In 2012, the year he took the reins of power, China’s President Xi Jinping spoke of “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” as part of his speech on the “Chinese Dream.” As President Xi pursues that vision in various ways, and newly-minted U.S. President Donald Trump promises to “Make America Great Again,” many believe the two powers are destined for conflict. Why is this? According to distinguished scholar and historian Dr. Graham Allison, the world is witnessing a potentially dangerous iteration of what historians call the “Thucydides's Trap”, a period when a rising power like China is able to challenge the ruling global power—in this case, the U.S. Allison’s new book, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, argues that in the history of geopolitics this is the 17th instance of the “Trap,” and that most of the previous instances have resulted in war. Are a rising China and a Trump-led United States destined for conflict? What are the pathways to peace—the roads that lead these great powers away from the “Thucydides's Trap”?
Join us for a breakfast discussion with Dr. Allison and the Hon. Kevin Rudd, President of the Asia Society Policy Institute, as they take up one of the most important foreign policy questions of our time.