4/30(Tue.) Thucydides’s Trap: An Inevitable War? (Host:Iris)

4/30(Tue.) Thucydides’s Trap: An Inevitable War? (Host:Iris)

文章Iris Wu » 週日 4月 14, 2019 12:09 am

“History doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” -- Mark Twain

As early as 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping already told a group of western visitors: “We must all work together to avoid Thucydides’s trap.”
Some Americans said Chinese leaders study history more than their US counterparts do. Judging by this case, it does sound like a fair statement! :)

Thucydides was born 2500 years ago. He wrote “History of the Peloponnesian War”, which recounts the 5th Century BC war between Sparta and Athens. Thucydides explained: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.”

In 2012, a Harvard professor Graham Allison observed the growing tensions between the US and China and coined the term, “Thucydides’s Trap”, to depict the scenario that “the rivalry between an established power and a rising one often ends in war”.

In the past decades, we’ve witnessed the rising, the waning and the wrestling of the two techonomic powerhouses. Indisputably, many characteristics of both countries have helped their rise and staying on the top, but power balance is like a zero-sum game – the shifting of dominance is inevitably causing some contractions. Will the economic and technological competition become military and territorial conflicts?

History doesn’t repeat itself, but “don’t underestimate human stupidity” as said by Dr. Harari. Let’s see how history is going to unfold.

    Though Taiwan is in a sensitive position, our thoughts and wishes carry little weight in the real world. The reason I chose this subject is probably just because I came across a website, Intelligence Squared and found this round-table discussion interesting and the arguments brought up by the debaters pretty compelling. (See Links in Reference (2))

It would be nice if you have time to read and listen to some of the referencing materials, otherwise, the questions are designed for general discussion.
References for the meeting:
1) “Thucydides's Trap”: Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
(Please read the introduction and watch the 3-minute video on this page)

2) “The U.S. and China Will Both Lose the Trade War”
(This is the motion 3 in “Unresolved: The Techonomic Cold War with China” debate on Intelligence Squared, IQ²)
    “After months of tit-for-tat tariffs, rising tensions, a high-profile arrest, and unsuccessful trade talks, the United States and China remain tied up in a heated trade dispute. Will one country come out on top? Some say China can play the long game because President Xi doesn’t have an election to worry about and China can substitute for U.S. goods, while others say China has more to lose as its economic growth reverses. Will both the U.S. and China lose the trade war, and are the real winners in Japan, Europe, and Mexico? Or will the world see a victor when these contentious trade disputes are resolved?” – IQ²
    Or if you have time, you can watch the full-length debate on IQ² website:

3) Zero-Sum Tactics That Built Trump Inc. Could Backfire With World Leaders (3-min radio clips with transcripts)

4) Real reason for arrest of Huawei CFO (5-min video clip on YouTube)

5) 中美貿易戰惡鬥一年 川普到底是如何完勝習近平?

Session I:
1. Do you agree with the theory of “Thucydides’s Trap”? Do you think U.S.-China will fall into the trap and end in war? Why or why not?

2. Who holds the upper hand in the U.S. and China trade war in your opinion? Will both lose in the battle? Who do you wish to be the final winner and why?

3. What are the purposes of studying history? Do you think people learn from history? Between Presidents Trump and Xi, do they apply “lessons learned from history” differently?

Session II:
1. What are the real reasons behind Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou extradition?

2. Do you think the next Silicon Valley will be in China? Why or why not?

3. What do you like about Trump’s China policies? Will any of his strategies/tactics backfire?

6:50~ 7:00pm Greetings & Free Talk / Ordering Beverage or Meal / Getting Newcomer’s Information
7:00 ~ 7:20pm Opening Remarks / Newcomer’s Self-introduction / Grouping
(Session I)
7:20 ~ 8:00pm Discussion Session (40 mins)
8:00 ~ 8:20pm Summarization (20 mins)
8:20 ~ 8:30pm Regrouping / Instruction Giving / Taking a 10 Minutes Break (Intermission)
(Session II)
8:30 ~ 9:10pm Discussion Session (40 mins)
9:10 ~ 9:30pm Summarization / Concluding Remarks / Announcements (20 mins) ********************************************************************************************************************************************
聚會時間:請準時 7:00 pm 到 ~ 約 9:30 pm 左右結束
地址、電話:台北市濟南路三段25號 地圖 (02) 2740-2350
捷運站:板南線 忠孝新生站 3 號出口
走法:出忠孝新生站 3 號出口後,沿著巷子(忠孝東路三段10巷)走約 2 分鐘,到了濟南路口,左轉走約 2 分鐘即可看到。
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Iris Wu
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Re: 4/30(Tue.) Thucydides’s Trap: An Inevitable War? (Host:I

文章李昰翰 » 週一 4月 22, 2019 10:26 pm

When a rising power threatening a ruling one for sure will make the current dominator unrested. In animal world, it actually plays the same scenario where, for example, a young lion challenges the king of the lion family, it always turns into a fight between them for leadership on the territory.
From a macroview on population scale, China is 4 times larger than USA. It means the entire labor capacity and potential consumption scale for China will be much larger than USA on long-term. For 40 years of fast growth of China’s economic on-going its pace, plus the fundamental of China’s economic pillars were manifested with the great performance for an illustration of reaching more than USD9,000 GDP per capita in 2017. China has been allocating its ambitious strategy by transforming the structure of its economy from labor-intensive to high end technology orientation of the industry on supply end, and on demand end, China has been launching its strategy to expand its entire consumption market scale for which will stir up its service industry with intention of balancing its economy entity.
The trade war between USA and China will probably slow down China’s ambition on catching up or even surpassing the advancement on technology industries to those developed countries. However, those barriers intended to weaken China’s progress on technology will inevitably even make China speed up its pace toward more self-sufficient to its advancement on technology. The flare of “An economy war” was actually ignited and will probably become norms. Whether the economy war will eventually lead to a military conflict for USA and China on long-run, it can’t be foreseen; however, it’ll be possibly tied with how much cost both USA and China will be sustainable. The nuclear weapons either from USA or China can destroy entire world. If the two super-powers will behave in a stupid risk, there will leave no space to get back from regrets.
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Re: 4/30(Tue.) Thucydides’s Trap: An Inevitable War? (Host:I

文章Iris Wu » 週日 4月 28, 2019 7:05 am

A possible outcome of the trade war, as Winston pointed out, China may experience a short-term economic contraction, but if they seriously put their head down, and charge into fundamental technology development, it possibly will enable them to leap far and high, and then the endgame may not be what US expected.
Iris Wu
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文章: 654
註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: 4/30(Tue.) Thucydides’s Trap: An Inevitable War? (Host:I

文章Janice Wang » 週日 4月 28, 2019 11:32 am

“What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.” -- Victor Hugo. Going to a session hosted by Iris without reading her well-prepared hosting materials is one of the most daunting challenges one may come across and can only hope to be on a wing and a prayer. Her hallmark of an informative topic , however, guarantees enlightening learning ; lessons learned from history.

Evidently , China is on course to challenge the global hegemony currently held by the United States through expanding its sphere of influence with aspirant-ambitious plans, risk-taking ability, and hard-working tenacity. To me, the Sino-American tension is perfectly depicted by the “Thucydides’s Trap” and the war is actually ongoing, but just in an unconventional way by wielding economic power and tariffs as arms and ammunitions to attack one another.

In view of 75% prominent “Thucydides’s Trap” incidents (12 out of 16) ended up in a war, some even with sizable casualties; there definitely would be no “winner” in a war! Seriously, war is by no means inevitable; even though this specific one likely won’t go toe-to-toe with firearms on battlefields somewhere soon; however, the economic impact would likely ripple all over the world. Yet so far, neither US nor China remains intact. Nevertheless, whoever is willing to give a broader & more comprehensive look at the scope to seek common grounds while reserving differences and allow conflicts but try not go beyond boundaries (求同存異,鬥而不破,爭而不傷), whoever could cleverly avoid from winning a battle, but losing a war!

Living in a technology-driven world; obviously , data underpins and enables national security, social stability, sustainable development and economic growth. 5G seems to take data innovation to the next level, and provide endless possibilities to allow us to evolve into a new era. Is 5G a key catalyst that further worsened the trade conflicts or did the US-China trade war fuel the 5G race with the Huawei’s hot shot being used as a leverage? There are certainly lots of political wrestling going on behind the scene. Let’s wait and see how Meng Wanzhou’s extradition will play out to examine who is the barking dog that seldom bites!

The world, after all, has been perpetuating a ‘US-centric’ standpoint for a long time. It’s difficult to imagine how it will look like if China surpasses the United States as the world’s largest economy leader in the next decade or so. It will mark the first time ever in centuries the world’s leader is a non-English speaking, non-Western, and nondemocratic country. Hopefully, in their very process of vying to become the winner, Taiwan will never willingly or forcibly become a political pawn to tip the scales pre- or post-conflict as the price to weather the crisis if we get mired might be too high to afford.
最後由 Janice Wang 於 週四 6月 13, 2019 1:43 pm 編輯,總共編輯了 1 次。
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Re: 4/30(Tue.) Thucydides’s Trap: An Inevitable War? (Host:I

文章Luis Ko » 週二 4月 30, 2019 6:10 pm


i for one agree the reason for the arrest of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou is all about 5g. there's no doubt that China is in pole position for 5g competition, as mentioned in the video that China is racing ahead of America in terms of 5g. China and those countries that have invested in it may create a 5g tsunami making it near impossible for the United States to catch up. that's why USA did it. guess it would also be one of Trump's bargaining chip in this US-China trade war. guess that's why, apart from those five eyes, EU didn't impose a bloc-wide ban on Huawei. but then again, what can we do? just try not to be a pawn in a game that we can't win anything lo~ 8)
i might be a cynic and, a sceptic as well but, i'm definitely not a bad person!!
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Re: 4/30(Tue.) Thucydides’s Trap: An Inevitable War? (Host:I

文章Iris Wu » 週三 5月 01, 2019 3:12 pm

In 1940’s, right before WWII, the rising Japan and the established America fell into the Thucydides’s Trap. As described in “Destined for War” (by Graham Allison), “The Japanese people believe… that they are being placed under severe pressure by the United States to yield to the American position; and that it is preferable to fight rather than to yield to pressure.” And the Americans thought, Japan was “redrawing the map of Asia so as to exclude the West.” The vicious circle of reprisals eventually led to war.

In the end of this decade, will US and China fall into the same trap? Will history repeat itself? We certainly hope not, but as a friendly reminder to all the world politicians by Prof. Allison, “only those who refuse to study history are condemned to repeat it.”

Thanks all the participants in the meeting and great comments on the forum!
Iris Wu
YOYO member
文章: 654
註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: 4/30(Tue.) Thucydides’s Trap: An Inevitable War? (Host:I

文章Iris Wu » 週三 5月 01, 2019 3:17 pm

Attendees (25): Morris, Winston, Janice, Andy Liu, Miller, Amy, Rosie, Sabrina, Douglas, Liwen, Carrie, David, Christine, Tim, Sunny, Julian, Sherry, Dan Balaban, Kat, Felicidad, Chris, Wen-Han, Luis, Ellen, Iris (Host)
Iris Wu
YOYO member
文章: 654
註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm

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