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The Contender
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Are we in Thucydides Trap with China?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/27/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,018 times Debate No: 109654
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (13)
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Pretty straight forward. You must think we not for whatever reason not in a Thucydides Trap with China.

I will argue we are in a Thucydides Trap with China right now.

This first round is Acceptance only!!!!

In the second round i will give out my reasons why we are in one. Then you will give out your reasons why we are not in one.

From there we will rebuttal our arguments.

Tell me why you want to accept this challenge in the comment sections.


Debate Round No. 1


In this debate i will focus on the reason why we are in a Thucydides trap. But i will show my opponent and the viewer that we are headed in this process. In some cases we already in the early stages of this trap. Big wars runs in cycles, like in American history, The American Revolution, the Civil War, WW1 and WW2. This can be research in the Thucydides trap. There been 16 cases of this happening in the last 500 years. 12 of them went to war. "Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?" By Graham T. Allison. Wars happen because countries challenge the dominance power, over trade, territorial areas, military, and economy. We seeing the islands china made is challenging the US dominant in the Pacific. The raising military china is having, our trade dispute with china is creating huge problems.

The North Korea part.

Keep in mind the threats of war is low just for the moment. Because trump stop the military exercises because of the Olympics. So the North return the favor. By not testing any missiles and made nice with the South for now. But (1)"South Korea says talks to hold postponed military drill with U.S. moving forward" so this will give the excuse for the North to keep testing. And they will for sure test another icbm. Trump main goal is to defuse the north form having any kind of nuke that could hit the mainland of the US. (2) "Trump Seriously Considering a Military Strike Against North Korea" so trump making a miscalculations on his behalf. And going to risk a war with China at the process. (3) "China has staged military drills near North Korea in a defiant warning to Washington and Seoul that it will uphold a "balance of power", a military expert said, amid ongoing US-South Korean war games. China threats should be met with seriously. Thinking otherwise is a mistake.

The coming trade war with China

(4) "If President Trump follows through on his oft-repeated promise to get tough with Beijing on trade". (5)"there will be pain for U.S. exporters" should Trump levy trade sanctions on China, said David Loevinger, a former senior Treasury Department official". So really this is just the beginning. It could escalate to a full blow trade war later on this year. (6) "President Trump signed an executive memorandum Monday afternoon". Again all signs point toward a trade war with China. You think this will help good relations between the two countries?

China military rising

"The West no longer has a monopoly on world-leading defence innovation' (7)
"China's modernisation of its armed forces is proceeding faster than many analysts expected."(8) China has Hypersonic Railgun and doing an experiment on a Nuclear salted Bombs. They already tested the most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile known as the DF-41. (9) and (10)." This is already an arm race between the two countries. This will further distance our countries and lead to more mistrust and even miscalculations on either sides.

Territorial areas, such as South China Sea

"China has built seven new military bases in South China Sea, US navy commander says" (11) There"s also a more important day-to-day military outposts allow China to dramatically extend its strategic reach from its southern shores down to Indonesian waters, creating a new strategic status quo and a Chinese sphere of influence. Beijing, in other words, is seeking to become the dominant military power in this part of the world with a capacity to prevent, deny or veto other countries from accessing these waters. This will affect trade routes and military power in this part of the globe.


Their another clashed point and that's Taiwan. China and the US Will be at war if thing don't go right over there.
"US risks retaliation with defence talks on Taiwan, Chinese analysts warn"(12)

Graham T. Allison, wrote in his book
"Destined for War" isn't guaranteeing a war would happen between the US and China. It was meant to warn the general public and world leaders. That there is danger, if the two sides don't get along. He did point out both could avoid war, if they could find common ground. But the way both countries are dealing with each other. This is where we are headed toward a war. The North Korea crisis is the most likely out comes to engage in a shooting war. At least in the short term. Even if nothing happen in the North Korea crisis. Both still headed for more tension between them. Mistrust and misunderstanding could lead to miscalculations on both sides.














I"d first like to thank Nd2400 for allowing me to participate in this debate.

My goal in this debate will be to persuade the audience of two things. First, that there is, in fact, no such thing as a Thucydides Trap (1). It is a historical fallacy that fails to prove itself in even its named circumstance. Second, that even the underlying assumption that the United States and China are destined, or even likely to go to war in the near future due solely to the balance of global power or the balance of power in the Pacific, is false.

The concept of the Thucydides Trap is derived from a single line in Thucydides perennial work, "The History of the Peloponnesian War". The line reads: "What made war inevitable was the growth of Athenian Power and the fear which this caused in Sparta". The key word in this sentence is "inevitable". It proposes historical determinism. It states very simply that there was no way for Athens and Sparta to avoid the Peloponnesian war, and the source that Pro cites most frequently, Professor Allison Graham"s "Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides Trap" simultaneously reinforces and refutes the premise of the Thucydides Trap in its very title.

The premise can be summed up very clearly:
P1: Nations that challenge the supremacy of a current regional or global power are destined for war with the supreme power.
P2: China is challenging the global economic and military supremacy of the United States.
C: China and the United States are destined for war.

If the United States is in fact destined for war with China, as the title itself suggests is possible, how can destiny be escaped? If the Thucydides Trap does in fact exist as a historical phenomenon, if the United States is indeed in one with
China, then war is in fact inevitable. It is destiny.

Most historians and philosophers would argue against the idea of historical determinism, which is usually rooted in economic determinism (2). There is no such thing as destiny they would argue. It ignores the idea of the prime mover in historical action, the human element, and the idea of free will. Premise 1 of the Thucydides Trap argument has absolutely nothing historical to back it. While it may be that supreme powers and challengers have gone to war, the key element to the premise is that such situations make war inevitable.

It is true that throughout history, many rising powers have challenged the current regional or global superpower. It is also clear that throughout history that many rising powers have not ended up challenging the current superpower through war. Professor Graham and Pro both point this out. Only 12 of 16 of Professor Graham's cases have ended in war. Wars do not always happen because nations challenge the dominant power over trade and territory.

In addition to the premise of the Thucydides Trap being false, the underlying arguments supporting the idea that the United States and China are headed for war are false.

Pro argues that tensions on the Korean peninsula are driving the United States and China towards war. It should be pointed out that tensions between the United States and North Korea have been actually worse in the last 60 years, following the end of the Korean War, and no war occurred. Fear that the United States and China were headed towards war, even nuclear war, were proposed during past tensions with North Korea, during the Vietnam War, and during tensions over Taiwan. In no case did these tensions lead to war between the US and China. A state owned newspaper in China reinforces the fact that China will not come to North Korea's aid if North Korea attacks either the United States or South Korea (3). China has indeed been attempting to deescalate tensions over North Korea for a single reason; China does not want war with the United States, for several good reasons. Neither does the United States want war with China. At no point has the current administration threatened China with war.

Pro also contends that trade war with China is imminent. If this is true, it in no way supports the idea that a trade war will lead the United States and China to open war. The United States has had trade restrictions on China before, and several other nations, and it has only led to war in a single case, with Japan. No matter how damaging a trade war would be with China, an open war with China would be even more disastrous to the Chinese and American economies. China and the United States are major trading partners. China's other trading partners have close ties to the United States, including western Europe, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. China"s economy would collapse if the United States and China were to go to war (4).

Pro argues that there is a growing arms race between the US and China. Again, this does not mean that war is inevitable or even likely. The United States was in an arms race with the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War, and a shooting war never developed between the two nations. China is also in a arms race with India and Russia, both whom share borders with China, and yet war with either is not threatened.

Pro states very clearly in his own argument admits that war is not guaranteed between the US and China in the very primary form of evidence put forth; Professor Graham and his book. If war is not guaranteed, then there is in fact no such thing as a Thucydides Trap, and the United States and China are definitely not in one even if it did exist. Pro contends that the primary message put forth in "Destined for War" is that there is a danger of war if the two nations do not get along. What this means is not made clear by Pro.

1. "There Is No Thucydides Trap". Arthur Waldron.
2. "Determinism In History". Thomas Gale.
3. "Beijing Warns Pyongyang: You"re on your own if you go after the United States". Simon Denyer and Amanda Erickson.
4. "A guide to the "horrific" consequences of a US-China naval war". Patrick Winn.
Debate Round No. 2


Inevitable mean certain to happen. So in life nothing is for certain even war. But that not to say war won't happen. My opponent can't guarantee there won't be a war. Just like i can't guarantee a war will happen. So just because i can't guarantee a war, doesn't mean we not in a Thucydides"s Trap. We can look throughout history and see current event for what there are. And we can try to predict what goes on next. There is a pattern, that goes in big wars. So in order for wars to happen you need things to go down. Such as trade, military misunderstanding, Territorial issues, and different views of the world order. In Graham Allison finding 12 out 16 rising power challenging the dominant power. War happen 75% chance of happening. That's a pretty high chance don't you think? I already mentioned before we are seeing challenges right now and in the near future. With mistrust and different interest. This could lead to miscalculations on both sides. The point of Destined for War is not to predict the future but to prevent it. Escaping Thucydides"s Trap is not just a theoretical possibility. In four of the 16 cases, including three from the 20th century, imaginative statecraft averted war.

China will protect them if war started by the U.S. "In 1961, the two countries signed the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty, whereby China pledged to immediately render military and other assistance by all means to its ally against any outside attack." (13) This is a treaty with the North Korea and China. Do you know why it's important? It because China would protect them if there were attack first. China help them in the first Korean war. While the US helped the south. So history has a lot of importance here, we need to understand it, so in the future, we don't do the same mistakes. The Chinese government has issued hundreds of warning to the US, not to attack the North. Why would they be so concern, if they weren't going to do anything? By the way US and China relationship isn't going all that well either, same with Russia. Both of Russia and China are now closer than ever before. I never said North Korea would attack first. The biggest risk here is if and when Donald Trump decide to attack first. "Trump"s team is floating an attack on North Korea." (14) They are many reason why North Korea would not attack first. North Korea know they can't attack first, they know they would lose. Kim Jung un want to stay in power not lose it. He will not risk going to jail or even death. So he will not make the first move. Actually this situation is here with the US and North Korea is comparable to the Cuban missile crisis.

"should be pointed out that tensions between the United States and North Korea have been actually worse in the past years" Really? Then how come so many experts and analysis are predicting a war soon by both countries. "North Korea and America could be at war by April" (15). "If the sanctions don"t work, we"ll have to go Phase 2," he said, alluding to the threat of military action. "Phase 2 may be a very rough thing " may be very, very unfortunate for the world." (16) I wonder what Phase 2 could be?" Sound like war to me. Another problem with these new sanctions is this. It targets big Chinese banks. "Furious China lashes out at US over North Korea sanctions" (17) This is adding fuel to tension. A war with North Korea will increase the chances of China stepping in." Because China doesn't want the US influences over there. They don't want the US over there period. You are right. The Trump administration hasn't threatened China with war. But China has, by stepping in. This how miscalculations lead toward war. Sure no one wants a war. But war still happened even if you don't want a war. That's how ww1 and ww2 happen too. No one wanted it but yet it happen.

Trade war
I never said war was going to happen just because of a trade war. A trade war is just adding to more fuel to the tensions that are already there." Sure both seem to know it would hurt both countries. Well maybe not trump. "We have a very big intellectual property potential fine going, which is going to come out soon," Trump said in an interview with Reuters" (18) So you think this will sit will with China? Probably not. China will eventually retaliate, in some way. Again this is just adding more fuel. Countries don't just go to war. It take years and misunderstanding. And that lead to miscalculations and this what we are having here.

WW2 ended in 1945. So the last big war was 73 years ago. And war is knocking at the door. The generational cycle (4 generations or approximately 80 years) of American history which leads to nation-changing social, political and economic upheaval. (The American Revolution: 1781 +80 years = Civil War, 1861 +80 years = 1941, World War II + 80 years = 2021)" China and Russia undermining the US policy on every front now. The US keep on trying to police the world. And China nor Russia not having this near there borders. This actually look more like ww1 set up toward war than ww2. Our leaders didn't live though the last world war. This is the same reason why the cold war between the US and Russia never turn in to a hot war. The leader back then remember ww2. So, they didn't want to start another world war. But the leaders of today are making some old mistakes and some new ones to create a new big war. This is why every generation has a big war. The last one was 73 years ago. And a new one is building.

Growing Arms Race
There is more similarities with China challenging the US in power. And in most cases it doesn't end well. And keep in mind the citizens have no say on who push these nukes buttons. All it take is misunderstanding and miscalculations which we have with China. And it would get worst if the US strike North Korea. "China to Remove Presidential Term Limits, The move will pave the way for incumbent Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely, as "emperor in all but name." (19) This move by the chinese government doesn't sound promising. Having another tyranny in power, doesn't end well. "Top US general: China will be 'greatest threat' to US by 2025" (20) Another thing our government say is this "China, Russia listed as top threats in Pentagon's new National Defense Strategy" (21). The man made islands, the growing military build up from China, and China leads in some super weapon. That make the US very suspicious on what China is actually doing. Again another way of misunderstanding each other and will lead to more tension build-up. By the way China and Russia are not against each other. They both see the US as the enemy, this is why both are challenging the US on many fronts. India and China having a arm race. They actually almost went to war this past summer and tensions are still high there.

"China brings up threat of war, says Taiwan will pay if U.S. follows through with bill" (22) Again this is just as dangerous as the North Korea crisis. The "One China Policy Rule" can lead to war with China and the US. Things are heating up. There are many fronts that could bring the two in a shooting war. Rather it is in the short term or long term. The threat of war will only rise from here on out.

(MAD) isn't a guarantee measure of security anymore. Because many leaders are threatening to use these weapons first. And not surly to defer a country anymore. Putin, trump and kim jong un said they will use these weapons not as a last resort but to use them as a primary first time use.

"Destined for War" is a warning not a prediction. He cited 12 of the great power was challenge, and went to war. He trying to show us and the world leader they could be on a path toward war. As of right now both still are. It increasing with every passing day. So you saying Thucydides"s Trap is false. Is incorrect. Big wars did happen, and the causes are very similar to go in to a war. Humanity tend to make the same mistakes, over and over again. It happening right now it front of our own eyes.





The rest of my sources will be in the comment area
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Nd2400 2 years ago
Pretty disappointing. You wanted this debate, than you Forfeited. I knew i should had gone with Bsh1. He would had at least finish this. I should had know, a person with one debate in three years and nothing else on your profile. Wouldn't finish....
Posted by Nd2400 2 years ago



Posted by Nd2400 2 years ago
Okay. Then i will send you the challenge.

Bsh1, if you still interested in having this debate with me i could still do if after this one.
Posted by RoninDemon 2 years ago
I am still interested.
Posted by Nd2400 2 years ago
So, RoninDemon still interested?

If not then this debate will go to Bsh1, if you still interested.
Posted by Amphia 2 years ago
We actually used this argument in a debate round once.
Posted by Nd2400 2 years ago
Thucydides Trap" to refer to when a rising power causes fear in an established power which escalates toward war. There are part that is needed for all of this and i believe we have the ingredients for this. Won't go much further until i start the debate.
Posted by bsh7000 2 years ago
But first, I'd want to agree on a definition for the trap.
Posted by bsh7000 2 years ago
I'll take it, unless Ronin really wants it.
Posted by Nd2400 2 years ago
Nice one. I will get to you tomorrow.
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