Weekly Geopolitical Report – What to do with China: Part I (January 28, 2019)

by Bill O’Grady

Graham Allison published a controversial book in 2017 in which he argued that the probability for a major war increases when an established hegemon faces an emerging power that threatens the hegemon’s position.  He used Thucydides, the Greek historian who wrote a history of the war between Sparta and Athens, as his model for superpower competition.[1]

Over the past few years, we have noted steady changes in American views toward China, and vice versa, that will likely lead to superpower competition and the potential for conflict.  In Part I of this report, we will discuss the American and Chinese viewpoints.  In Part II, we will summarize the two positions and examine the potential for war using the historical examples of British policy toward the U.S. and Germany, offering our take on which analogy best fits.  There will be a discussion of current American views on hegemony as well.  As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

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[1] Allison, G. (2017). Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. See also: the Confluence Reading List.