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.
This seminar will present a comparative assessment of Chinese and Russian approaches to the international legal and security architecture stood up by the United States after World War II, beginning with a historical overview of the emergence of the concept of "international law." In both places, early approaches developed in response to rather than alongside European international legal norms. During the Cold War, attempts to promote a joint, socialist legal vision as a counterweight to the U.S.-led order broke down with the Sino-Soviet split. However, distinctive concepts that emerged in this period—for example, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence—persist as direct but little-understood challengers to the current global order.
Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.