Asia & the Pacific

3 Items

Chinese President Xi Jinping is displayed on a big screen in Beijing as Chinese battle tanks roll by during a Sept. 3, 2015 parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender during World War II.

(AP Photo)

Magazine Article - The Atlantic

The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?

| September 24, 2015

The defining question about global order for this generation is whether China and the United States can escape Thucydides’s Trap. The Greek historian’s metaphor reminds us of the attendant dangers when a rising power rivals a ruling power—as Athens challenged Sparta in ancient Greece, or as Germany did Britain a century ago. Most such contests have ended badly, often for both nations, a team of mine at the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has concluded after analyzing the historical record. In 12 of 16 cases over the past 500 years, the result was war. When the parties avoided war, it required huge, painful adjustments in attitudes and actions on the part not just of the challenger but also the challenged.

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News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Belfer Center: 2015 at a Glance

December 2015

In a year marked by both hopeful trends and alarming challenges, the Belfer Center’s mission to provide thoughtful, policy-relevant research and insights for a more secure, peaceful world has never been more timely. In 2015, our faculty and fellows delved into critical issues from Iran’s nuclear program, China’s rise, and Russian relations to violent extremism, climate talks, U.S. leadership, and economic growth. Whether in books, reports, testimony, commentary, or multimedia, see the ways our experts responded to a world in need of impactful ideas.