It’s a law of nature: rising states and established powers come to blows. But can the Trump administration avoid a clash of nuclear superpowers?
- By Ben PaukerBen Pauker is executive editor, online, at Foreign Policy. Ben came to FP in May 2010 from World Policy Journal, where he was managing editor from 2007 to 2010. A native of New York, he grew up in Brazil, Australia, and Thailand and has written for Harper’s, the Economist, and the Chicago Tribune, among other publications. He is the co-founder of the Gastronauts, the world’s largest adventurous-eating club, and, in the course of reporting but mainly to see if it was possible, has smuggled small arms out of Central Africa.
On this week’s first episode of The E.R., Ben Pauker, Christine Wormuth, and David Wertime sit down with Graham Allison to discuss his latest book, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?
To talk of China these days requires superlatives: the world’s largest population, the biggest economy, an industrial — and increasingly a technological and scientific — giant. It’s also a burgeoning superpower, both geopolitically and militarily. If China hasn’t already surpassed the United States in most metrics, it will soon. And, as it does, it seeks to claim its rightful place as a leader on the world stage. But while Beijing challenges Washington’s hegemony, it’s not a certainty that this will lead to conflict.
With history as a guide, the panel looks at China’s chest-thumping at home and in the South China Sea, and how this new expansionism threatens the United States. Neither country wants hostilities, but what are the flashpoints that could lead to conflict?
Could China’s geopolitical leverage defang North Korea? Or could Pyongyang set China and the United States on a course for war? It’s no secret that Xi Jinping isn’t a fan of Kim Jong Un’s regime, but could Donald Trump’s loud mouth lead to missile launches? Or is there a road to peace and stability?
Graham Allison is the director of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and served in the first Clinton administration as assistant secretary of defense. He’s the author of Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, which was released in May 2017.
Christine Wormuth, is an FP Shadow Government contributor and the director of the Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience at the Atlantic Council. She was previously the under secretary of defense for policy at the U.S. Department of Defense. Follow her on Twitter: @cwormuth.
Tune in, now twice a week, to FP’s The E.R.