Reviews

Kirkus Star"A pertinent study of the relationship between the United States and China... A timely, reasoned treatise by a keen observer and historian."

Kirkus (Starred Review) | Read full review


Asia Times"The most comprehensive book to ever tackle the question of not only whether a US-China war is possible, but what steps Washington and Beijing can take to avoid such a calamity .... Allison’s efforts in Destined for War will surely be praised, and for good reasons .... Allison’s ideas flow easily, no matter how frightening they are .... We are finally about to have a real public debate about the very distinct possibility of a war between the US and China."

Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at The Center for the National Interest | Read full review
 


Press

How China and the U.S. might collide — or not
March 23, 2017 | John Laidler | Harvard Gazette

  • "China’s dramatic rise as a world power rivaling the United States has placed the two nations on a potentially dangerous collision course, experts warned during a Harvard Kennedy School forum on Wednesday. Joining Belfer Center Director Graham Allison in conversation were Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Niall Ferguson, senior faculty fellow at the Belfer Center and the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies; and moderator Arne Westad, S.T. Lee Professor of U.S.-Asia Relations at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation." Watch the event here.

Foreign Minister: China, US can avoid Thucydides's Trap
March 21, 2017 | Xinhua

  • "China and the United States can sidestep the Thucydides's Trap and the Kindleberger Trap and jointly chart bilateral ties from a long-term perspective, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday in Beijing.  "China has the confidence to avoid the historical precedent through enhanced dialogue and coordination with the US side," Wang said during a luncheon speech at the 2017 China Development Forum."

Are We on the Verge of a Full-On Trade War With China?
March 16, 2017 | Foreign Policy "Editor's Roundtable" podcast

  • David Rothkopf, Rosa Brooks, and Colin Kahl take on the big questions of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s trip to Asia. China was once a cheerleader for Trump, but that could quickly change now that the president is singing a different tune. Rothkopf shares his takeaways from a recent conversation with Destined for War author Graham Allison (8:50), including a revelation about what White House chief strategist Steve Bannon thinks about Thuydides's Trap.

Don’t let Beijing push us around, warns ‘frustrated’ former ambassador to China
Feb. 26, 2017 | Simon Denyer | The Washington Post

  • “The United States needs to stop getting pushed around by China and work out a long-term strategy to deal with the country’s rise, former U.S. ambassador Max Baucus said last week...Baucus is proud to have visited all of China’s mainland provinces during his time there. He said he worked hard to prevent the two nations from falling into what has been called the Thucydides trap, a theory that an established power feels threatened by a rising power, leading to a rivalry that often descends into war.”

China’s Great Leap Backward
December 2016 | James Fallows | The Atlantic

  • “The next president will face a quandary often called the “Thucydides Trap.” This concept was popularized by the Harvard political scientist Graham Allison. Its premise is that through the 2,500 years since the Peloponnesian warfare that Thucydides chronicled, rising powers (like Athens then, or China now) and incumbent powers (like Sparta, or the United States) have usually ended up in a fight to the death, mainly because each cannot help playing on the worst fears of the other.

The Lessons of Henry Kissinger
December 2016 | Henry Kissinger, interviewed by Jeffrey Goldberg | The Atlantic

  • Goldberg: Let’s talk about the “Thucydides Trap,” the notion that a rising power will more often than not come into conflict with an established power. Graham Allison has done important work on this. You buy the basic concept, yes? 
     
  • Kissinger: To a considerable extent. Graham Allison shows that in the vast majority of historical cases, rising powers and status quo powers have fallen into some kind of military conflict. It is almost inevitable when both countries have global influence. Even with benign intentions, they are bound to interact and occasionally step on each other’s toes in some parts of the world. It is inherent in the definitions of rising and status quo powers.

War and peace in Asia
August 5, 2016 | Gideon Rachman | Financial Times

  • "Xi’s reference to 'Thucydides’ trap' showed that he (or his staff) had been following the American debate about the rise of China. Graham Allison, a Harvard professor, had coined the phrase with reference to the ancient Greek historian’s observation that the war between Athens and Sparta in the fifth century BC was caused by Sparta's fears of a rising Athens."