In 12 of 16 cases [in which a rising power confronted a ruling power] over the past 500 years, the result was war. When the parties avoided war, it required huge, painful adjustments in attitudes and actions on the part not just of the challenger but also the challenged.
Never before in history has a nation risen so far, so fast. In 1980, China’s economy was smaller than the Netherlands’. Last year, the increment of growth in China’s GDP was equal to the Dutch economy.
As Xi Jinping himself said during a visit to Seattle on Tuesday, “There is no such thing as the so-called Thucydides Trap in the world. But should major countries time and again make the mistakes of strategic miscalculation, they might create such traps for themselves.”
I looked, but can not be sure that the article’s definition of “rising” includes “surpassing substantially”. That would be nice to know.
Analysis specifically of the post-nuclear age may be more relevant. It is less likely that two nuclear powers will directly engage in a hot war because there would not be 100,000 casualties – it would be trivial skirmishes, or millions of casualties.
It is an interesting article with good support for an argument that we cannot hand wave “oh that’s impossible” – that we will have to actively work with China as it continues to demand a more important and powerful place in the world order, and China’s demands to alter the world order to China’s further benefit and preference.