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US and China are destined for war

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Before settling in for pleasurable summer books, read Graham Allison's "Destined for War: Can America and China escape Thucydides's Trap?"

A warning label: It's going to scare the hell out of you.


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Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 10:00
World & Politics


WeThePeople's picture

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How to conclude a look at so ill conceived and sloppily executed a book? Do not blame Allison. The problem is the pervasive lack of knowledge of China — a country which is, after all, run by the Communist Party, the police, and the army, and thus difficult to get to know. This black hole of information has perversely created an overabundance of fantasies, some very pessimistic, some as absurdly bright as a foreigner on the payroll can make them.

Forget the fantasies, therefore, and look at the facts. In the decades ahead, China will have to solve immense problems simply to survive. Neither her politics nor her economy follow any rules that are known. The miracle, like the German Wirtschaftswunder and the vertical ascent of Japan, is already coming to an end. A military solution offers only worse problems. My advice would be to skip Professor Allison and read instead the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recall that two of its handful of principal authors were not Europeans or Americans but rather Charles Malik of Lebanon and Peng-chun Chang of China, accomplished brother of the celebrated founder of Nankai University in Tianjin.

Perhaps not war, but cultural and political synergy, is what is, in fact, “destined.”