Re: August Handgrenade

As I review this post I see it is rather disjointed so I beg your indulgence.

With the Thucydides Trap is Allison suggesting that groupthink is at large in the USA and the PRC? I would suggest we are adversaries, not enemies. Neither power wishes to destroy the other.To combat their moves the US has to act smarter.

Re: August Handgrenade

What I primarily had in mind, when I said the Chinese remember the US having done things to China that Sparta could not have attempted to do to Athens before the Peloponnesian War, was:

a) The US, having marched troops into Beijing in 1900 during the campaign against the Boxers, did not then pull them all out. More than 300 American troops remained in Beijing, and more than 500 in the nearest major seaport, Tianjin, for decades. The US also had small vessels patrolling the Yangzi River.

Re: August Handgrenade

I applaud, politely but not exuberantly, the Thucydides' Trap Project, a commendable effort to normalize or template a multitude of rivalries that led to war or almost led to war in past centuries. But I am hesitant to draw present-day conclusions, much less derive predictions, from this Project.

Re: August Handgrenade

It's stimulating to read Thucydides but we need to be careful applying direct lessons from war and diplomacy in ancient times. I wonder if the globalism in which we live -- Americans, Chinese, Russians, Europeans, South Asians, pretty much all of us -- is something that could or would be so easily set aside by going to war. Specifically, would the PRC find it more advantageous to risk a general war with a "peer competitor" or persist in their strategy of "death by a thousand cuts?"

Just asking . . . .

Re: August Handgrenade

When I saw this, I thought that Graham Allison was spreading phrases like "ruling power" and "dominant state" to cover a wide variety of actual degrees of power. I don't think Sparta, before the rise of Athens, had ever had a degree of preeminence remotely comparable to that the United States has enjoyed for the last couple of generations. Chinese behavior today is shaped by the memory of the United States having done things to China that Sparta would not have been capable of even attempting against Athens before the Peloponnesian War.

August Handgrenade

Hand Grenade of the Week

Thucydides Trap:   Whose Trap?

Graham Allison, among others, has proposed something known as the Thucydides Trap--which relates to a species of historical determinism based on the classic history of the Pelopponesian  War by the Greek historian Thuycydides (who might be regarded as the father of analytical history as well as military history).

Quoting Allison from his book Destined for War:

Re: Handgrenade of the Month February 2018

Ralph, Navy tactical aircraft we called it compartmentalization, everything goes in a bin and you "scan" between them. You still get scared there---especially landing on the carrier in bad weather at night. Sometimes I would go to bed with the distinct feeling of having cheating death for one more day.

R, John (T. Kuehn)


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