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Publisher's Summary

War with China is much more likely than anyone thinks.

When Athens went to war with Sparta some 2,500 years ago, the Greek historian Thucydides identified one simple cause: A rising power threatened to displace a ruling one. As the eminent Harvard scholar Graham Allison explains, in the past 500 years, great powers have found themselves in "Thucydides's Trap" 16 times. In 12 of the 16 - from war between the French and the Habsburgs in the 16th century to the two world wars of the 20th - the results have been catastrophic. Today, the same structural forces propel China and the United States toward a cataclysm of unseen proportions, even as both sides insist that such a war could never occur.

In Destined for War, Allison compares the US-China conflict to its closest parallel: World War I. There, a rising Germany threatened the supremacy of the British Empire. He sketches several scenarios in which America and China might slide, against their intent and better judgment, into a similar conflict. But he also examines the rare instances when two clashing powers have avoided disaster. Can our current standoff be one of those exceptions? Allison's answer is essential listening for our age and ages to come.

©2017 Graham Allison (P)2017 Recorded Books

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Balances, Counter-Balances and Traps

Great book. was a recommendation for class reading. glad I did. It proved to illuminate and portray in concrete terms the seemingly abstract theories of International Relations.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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spectacular historical relevance to today

hooked from that first chapter I devoured this timelytypical discussion of history. The coming confrontation between the US and China is fascinating.

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Only a trap if you care about ranking

One would argue that with nuclear weapons great power politics is about economics of creation/destruction so the chance 4/16 for peace may actually be 1/1 for peace as the cold war is the only war that would be counted in the nuclear era not the last 500 years. It would be more so if false flag nuclear event is ruled out but after 9/11 no one is sure of that.

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Great insight!

This is an excellent book for students of military history or international affairs. Graham Allison does not argue that war with China is inevitable and presents cases that counter Thucydides's Trap. History does show that war is likely if leaders of both nations don't make smart decisions that will allow the nations to avoid a direct military conflict. He does describe the key points of the Peloponnesian War so a knowledge of Thucydides is not a prerequisite for reading or listening to this book.

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Most important book on international relations

This book explains clearly why managing US-China relations is the most important and challenging task of this era of international relations. Written clearly and presented with appropriate gravitas, Allison demonstrates why he remains in the premier league of analysts.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful