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


FT"As Xi Jinping prepares to meet Donald Trump in Florida next week, his staff might do well to get hold of an advance copy of an important new book by Graham Allison on US-Chinese relations — which bears the doom-laden title Destined for War. The Chinese president is already familiar with the work of Allison, a professor of government at Harvard. In November 2013, I attended a meeting with President Xi in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, where he told a group of western visitors: “We must all work together to avoid Thucydides’s trap.”

—Gideon Rachman, Financial Times | 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 Highlights

Interview with Macleans: "Is war between America and China inevitable?"
Brian Bethune | Macleans | May 23, 2017

  • In an interview with Canadian current affairs magazine Macleans, Graham Allison talks Thucydides's Trap, Teddy Roosevelt, and the temptation for established powers to strike rising powers before it’s too late.

Facebook Live Chat with Ian Bremmer
May 22, 2017

  • Eurasia Group president and best-selling author Ian Bremmer sits down with Graham Allison to talk about Destined for War. "I can't think of a book I have read in recent times that I think more needed to be written than this one," said Bremmer.

US Senator Dan Sullivan: Allison's book Destined for War is "a must read"
C-SPAN | May 8, 2017

  • In a speech on the floor of the US Senate, Sen. Sullivan discussed "the most significant long-term challenge we face as a country: the rise of China and the threat it poses to the post-World War II international order." Sullivan continued: "I have had the privilege over the last few weeks to review [Allison's] book, and I believe it will be a 'must read' for those who care about the long-term security and economic interests of the United States."

From Ancient Greece, Lessons On The Risk Of A Modern, Accidental War
Greg Myre | National Public Radio | May 3, 2017

  • NPR national security correspondent Greg Myre profiles Thucydides's Trap on "Morning Edition," reporting that "history is littered with examples of countries stumbling into unwanted wars that quickly spiral out of control."

Making complicated things simple
Heather Lee | Harvard Law Today | May 1, 2017

  • During a conversation with the Harvard Association for Law and Business (HALB), Stephen A. Schwarzman, chairman, CEO and co-founder of the Blackstone Group — the largest alternative asset management firm in the world — cited the Thucydides's Trap as a motivating factor for creating the Schwarzman Scholars program. “If the scholars developed into thought leaders, they would become a layer of protection against this Thucydides's Trap,” Schwarzman noted.

North Korea defies Trump
Michael Crowley | Politico | April 28, 2017

  • “You could easily end up with a civil war on the inside,” Graham Allison, a professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, said in a Thursday talk at at the Center for the National Interest to discuss US-China war scenarios from Destined for War. “We’ll take our side and the Chinese will take their side, and that’s a scenario where the two could start fighting.” Allison added that a military official in the region had told him Kim’s overthrow or demise would touch off a “vertical track meet” between U.S. and Chinese forces racing to secure the country’s nuclear weapons.

What America and China must do to head off a clash
The Economist | April 20, 2017

  • "Disorder under heaven," an Economist special report on China, features "a much-discussed recent study led by Graham Allison of Harvard university highlighted the dangers looming when a rising power challenges a ruling one, as when Athens challenged Sparta in ancient Greece."

Former UN Ambassador Samantha Power and Harvard Professors Explain How to Avoid War with China
Teddy Landis | Huffington Post | April 11, 2017

  • "As the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power has seen a lot. So when she calls a book “gasp-worthy,” we should pay attention...For Ambassador Power, the most chilling part of Allison’s book was its final chapter, which examines the domestic politics of both countries. Allison is specifically concerned with how American politics will respond to this change. As the Trump Administration threatens to step out of certain world affairs like climate change, it creates room for China to come in and become the leader."

WATCH: Graham Allison discusses Thucydides's Trap on Fareed Zakaria GPS
CNN | April 9, 2017


Is China challenging the United States for global leadership?
The Economist | April 1, 2017

 

  • "As Donald Trump prepares to welcome Xi Jinping next week for the two men’s first face-to-face encounter, both countries are reassessing their place in the world ... At the UN in Geneva, Xi talked about a “hegemon imposing its will on others” andwarned America about a “Thucydides trap”—the disaster that befell ancient Greece when the incumbent power, Sparta, failed to accommodate the rising one, Athens."

 

Xi-Trump meeting to set tone for China-U.S. ties
Zhu Junqing | Xinhua | March 31, 2017

  • In a commentary published by China's official Xinhua news agency, Zhu Junqing warns about the danger presented by Thucydides's Trap whiledescribing how the April 6-7 summit between Trump and Xi creates "great opportunities" after the "twists and turns over the past months" in US-China relations.

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

 

  • 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 Thucydides's Trap.

 

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

  • “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.”

Xi Jinping: "Work Together to Build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind"
Speech to the United Nations Office, Geneva | January 19, 2017

  • "Countries should foster partnerships based on dialogue, non-confrontation and non-alliance. Major powers should respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, keep their differences under control and build a new model of relations featuring non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. As long as we maintain communication and treat each other with sincerity, the “Thucydides Trap” can be avoided. Big countries should treat smaller ones as equals instead of acting as a hegemon imposing their will on others."