The US argues that these ISR missions are protected by the ‘freedom of navigation’. Even if this is so, these incidents are not about legal right and wrong. The two are engaged in a sparring match with feints, jabs and defensive moves as the two militaries and their intelligence communities size each other up by probing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This sparring in itself is unlikely to trigger a real fight with military punches and counter punches. Nevertheless, it is preliminary to conflict and thus bodes ill for the relationship.Sponsored Ads
By 431 BCE, under the leadership of Pericles, Athens had become a formidable maritime power whose empire extended across the eastern Mediterranean region. Its challenge to the supremacy of Sparta, the warrior nation of the Peloponnesian peninsula, was obvious. According to historian and general Thucydides:
Growth of the power of Athens, and the alarm which this inspired in Sparta, made [the Peloponnesian] war inevitable.
Graham Allison’s new book, Destined for War, suggests a modern parallel in a rising power (Athens/China) causing fear in an established power (Sparta/the US) in which the necessary trust in one another is lost, and war becomes inevitable.
The Chinese superpower has arrived. Could America’s failure to grasp this reality pull the United States and China into war? Here are two books that warn of that serious possibility. Howard W. French’s “Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power” does so through a deep historical and cultural study of the meaning of China’s rise from the point of view of the Chinese themselves. Graham Allison’s “Destined for War: America, China, and Thucydides’s Trap” makes his arguments through historical case studies that illuminate the pressure toward military confrontation when a rising power challenges a dominant one. Both books urge us to be ready for a radically different world order, one in which China presides over Asia, even as Chinese politicians tell a public story about “peaceful rise.” The books argue persuasively that adjusting to this global power shift will require great skill on both sides if conflagration is to be avoided.
The engine has been under development since 2000 and was described as a low-cost, high power, and high controllability propulsion system in a compact form. A total of eight flight tests have been carried out.
Song Zhongping, a military expert formerly with the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force, told the Global Times that the new engine will give J-20 jets the ability to fire missiles to great ranges and at hypersonic speeds.
Ramjet-powered anti-aircraft missiles will have ranges of up to 186 miles at speeds faster than Mach 5, or more than 4,000 miles per hour.
The engine likely will be deployed with China’s more advanced missiles including the PL-12 air-to-air missile, which currently has a range of 62 miles.
That’s because the government and ruling Communist Party that Xi heads have clearly run out of patience with the obstreperous Hong Kong’s continued demands for greater political autonomy. Now, China is tightening the controls. They consider many of Hong Kong’s political activists to be ungrateful agitators who neither appreciate the special favors the city has been granted, nor are properly respectful of Beijing authorities and the powers they hold. This feeling has intensified since 2015, when Hong Kong’s complex—and sometimes dysfunctional—political system rejected the mainland’s offer of a highly conditional form of universal suffrage for choosing its chief executive, or local government leader.
Before settling in for pleasurable summer books, read Graham Allison’s Destined for War: Can American and China escape Thucydides’s Trap?
A warning label: It’s going to scare the hell out of you.
It starts with the Athenian historian’s chronicle of the conflict between Sparta and Athens in the fifth century BC as a way to tackle the larger question of whether war can be averted when an aggressive rising nation threatens a dominant power. Allison, a renowned Harvard University scholar and national security expert, studied 16 such cases over the past 500 years; in 12 there was war.
For three-quarters of a century, the US has been the dominant world power. China is now challenging that hegemony economically, politically and militarily. Both countries, with vastly different political systems, histories and values, believe in their own exceptionalism.
Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?
CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES ARE HEADING TOWARD A WAR NEITHER WANTS. The reason is Thucydides’s Trap, a deadly pattern of structural stress that results when a rising power challenges a ruling one. This phenomenon is as old as history itself. About the Peloponnesian War that devastated ancient Greece, the historian Thucydides explained: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” Over the past 500 years, these conditions have occurred sixteen times. War broke out in twelve of them. Today, as an unstoppable China approaches an immovable America and both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump promise to make their countries “great again,” the seventeenth case looks grim. Unless China is willing to scale back its ambitions or Washington can accept becoming number two in the Pacific, a trade conflict, cyberattack, or accident at sea could soon escalate into all-out war.
In Destined for War, the eminent Harvard scholar Graham Allison explains why Thucydides’s Trap is the best lens for understanding U.S.-China relations in the twenty-first century. Through uncanny historical parallels and war scenarios, he shows how close we are to the unthinkable. Yet, stressing that war is not inevitable, Allison also reveals how clashing powers have kept the peace in the past — and what painful steps the United States and China must take to avoid disaster today.
The United States and China are inextricably locked in the Pacific Rim’s system of international trade. Some argue that this makes war impossible, but then while some believed World War I inevitable, but others similarly thought it impossible.
In this article I concentrate less on the operational and tactical details of a US-China war, and more on the strategic objectives of the major combatants before, during, and after the conflict. A war between the United States and China would transform some aspects of the geopolitics of East Asia, but would also leave many crucial factors unchanged. Tragically, a conflict between China and the US might be remembered only as “The First Sino-American War.”
How the War Would Start
The Diplomat speculates that China is scared of the THAAD’s powerful AN/TPY-2 radar, which has two modes. The first, for THAAD’s announced purpose, can see about 370 miles into North Korea and track and knock down any incoming missile launches.
In another configuration, THAAD becomes a node for a larger ballistic-missile defense system, such as the ground-based midcourse defense that the US recently used to shoot down a mock intercontinental ballistic missile over the Pacific.
Estimates of the range of this forward-basing mode of THAAD vary from a few hundred miles to almost 2,000 miles, meaning any missile launched from mainland China to the US would most likely be spotted very quickly.
The Chinese Communist Party exercises sovereignty over 1.4 billion people. In doing so, it suppresses free speech, regulates political activity and exercises a pervasive program of propaganda in education, the arts and the news media. There are no elections of the sort we are familiar with, the judiciary has limited independence, and the internet is closely monitored and tightly censored.
Things have been worse: the first 40 years of CCP rule were marked by episodic violence and ruinous economic folly. More recently, however, CCP rule has resulted in both domestic peace and remarkable prosperity for the Chinese people. According to the World Bank, Chinese GDP per capita grew 34-fold between 1960 and 2015.
In coming years China could reform the world’s largest army into a smaller, swifter and harder-hitting rival to the America’s own army, while also deploying high-tech new warplanes and warships from new air and naval bases on manmade—and potentially illegal—Pacific islands.
Meanwhile, Beijing’s top scientists are putting the finishing touches on rockets and other weaponry capable of knocking America’s satellites and ballistic missiles from space. And Chinese operatives are expanding a shadowy, oceangoing militia that disguises itself as a fishing fleet—and could represent the vanguard of any future Chinese invasion.
Here are some of the highlights from the Pentagon’s China report.