Sunday, March 19, 2023

Beware the Thucydides Trap (and the coming war with China)

By Tim Gamble
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I've written on this topic a few times over the past 5 years+, but in light of current news and events, I wanted to tackle it again for the benefit of my new readers. We are already in a cold war with China, and there is a coming hot war with China. It is happening, and it is inevitable. No amount of denial will change this fact.

Who says? China's President Xi Jinping. The Chinese military. Various Chinese politicians. The US military. Most recently US Air Force four star General Mike Minihan. Various foreign policy experts. Geopolitical analysts. Even historians and scholars.*

In fact, most everyone except for Ice Cream Grandpa Joe Biden, who is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the CCP. 

*The Thucydides Trap

According to many historians and scholars, a hot war with China is inevitable as a natural function of history, due to a concept called the Thucydides Trap.

The Thucydides Trap isn't some conspiracy theory twaddle, but is a well-studied historical concept heavily discussed in academic and diplomatic circles. Very simply, the Thucydides Trap states that when a rising great power (China, in this instance) threatens to displace an existing great power (the USA), war that will likely lead to the destruction of one of the great powers is almost always inevitable.

The concept is articulated by Harvard University professor Graham Allison, based on a quote from the ancient Greek historian (and military general) Thucydides.

Thucydides stated that the Peloponnesian war, between Athens (the rising power) and Sparta (the existing dominant power), had been inevitable because of the resulting structural stress on the established order. Dr. Allison's research, published through Harvard's Belfor Center For Science and International Affairs, has identified sixteen cases over the last 500 years in which a major new power arose as a rival to an already existing dominant ruling power. Twelve of these sixteen rivalries (75%) resulted in a major war in which one of the two powers was destroyed. (See Dr. Allison's book, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?, for more information.)
Available on Amazon

Although some criticism of this theory exists in academic circles, the case laid out by Dr. Allison is compelling. And it certainly has gotten the attention of politicians, diplomats, and military leaders in the US and China, even at the highest levels. Even China's President Xi Jinping has publicly used the term on a number of occasions.  

The Chinese are very aware of the Thucydides Trap,, and are making policy based on it. It is the basis of their ongoing massive military build-up, as well as their interest in North Korea (the Chinese have always assisted North Korea with their nuclear and missile programs). It is also part of the reasoning behind their aggressiveness in the South China Sea (control over vital trade routes), their claims over several islands owned by Japan (Senkaku and Diaoyu), and their "Belt and Roads" push into South America and Africa (the later which includes a fast growing military presence), in order to obtain various resources. And we haven't even mentioned Taiwan yet. Chinese leaders, including Xi Jinping himself, have stated numerous times their intention to take Taiwan by military force.

The Cold War with China 

Though most Western politicians, business leaders, and even common folks have denied it, China has been successfully waging a Cold War against the USA and the West for decades now. 

Brig. Gen. Robert Spalding (USAF Ret.) has stated "The United States is in the midst of a 21st century cold war with China... The very system of globalization has been used by the Chinese Communist Party to advance its agenda. By slowly taking over the world’s trading system and monopolizing manufacturing, they have turned global supply chains into a national security liability."

For details on China's Cold War against America, and how they are winning, please read Spalding's books, Stealth War: How China Took Over While America's Elite Slept, and War Without Rules: China's Playbook for Global Domination, in which he exposes the decades long effort by China to successfully wage a six-front war on America's economy, military, diplomacy, technology, education, and infrastructure. 
Available on Amazon

When will the Hot War with China happen? 

An honest answer: I don't know. What I do know is that China is preparing for a hot war with the United States, whether we want to admit it or not. I assume they are waiting for the right moment to strike, a moment when they feel ready and believe the USA is at its weakest. General Mike Minihan says it will happen by 2025. Others give similar predictions. I think 2024 sounds good from a Chinese perspective - with the US in the middle of another chaotic presidential election, and having given us another year to drain our military stockpiles against Russia in Ukraine. Only time will tell for sure. 

Prepare for the coming war with China

Few of us are in a position to stop things on a national or international level. We can pray. Vote for the few politicians who are anti-CCP and pro-America. Buy less stuff made in China. But I don't believe we can stop the coming war from happening. 

As individuals, families, and communities, we can do some things to prepare for the inevitable coming war. We still have some time. Build self-reliance and resilience (keep working your preparedness plans). Expect the supply chain to be completely destroyed, so think about building your local supply chain, growing your own food, etc.

Any war with China could easily go nuclear, so move out of obvious nuclear targets, such as mega cities, strategically important (command and control) areas, and away from important military bases. 

Read my recent article, What If...? Nuclear War Preparations, for ideas on preparing for nuclear war. 
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