BEIJING – Forget, for a moment, the prospect of war with nuclear-armed North Korea.
What about the prospects for war with nuclear-armed China?
As far-fetched as it may sound now, some foreign policy observers fear that the economic rise of China could lead to eventual military conflict with the United States because of a historical phenomenon known as the “Thucydides Trap.”
“China and the United States are currently on a collision course for war — unless both parties take difficult and painful actions to avert it,” writes Harvard political scientist Graham Allison in his book “Destined For War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?”
Thucydides is the ancient Greek historian famous for his work on the Peloponnesian War, which he attributed to growing international rivalry: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.”