When a rising power comes into conflict with an existing one — as Athens and Sparta did in the 5th century B.C., most such confrontations have ended in war.
Now could the United States and China fall into the same predicament, known as the “Thucydides Trap”?
Let’s hear what analysts say.
During a trip to Seattle, Chinese President Xi Jinping rejects the notion of the “Thucydides trap”, which maintains that a rising power and an established power are doomed to clash.
SOUNDBITE: XI JINPING, Chinese President
“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.”
Xi says, building a new model of major-country relationship with the U.S. that features non-conflict, non-confrontation, and win-win cooperation is the priority of China’s foreign policy.
Observers say, the world today is very different from the time of ancient Greece and mankind has more wisdom to avoid repetition of history.
Some say China and the United States haven’t been and won’t be caught into the Thucydides Trap.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): DOUGLAS PAAL, Carnegie Endowment for Int’l Peace
“People talk about the Thucydides trap and the likelihood of the two countries coming into conflict and of China pushing the US out of Asia and the US resisting China’s rise in Asia, but those are all poor formulas for the challenge that faces leaders now. But I don’t think they’ve really gotten to it yet”.
Analysts say China’s rise is a peaceful one, and development remains a top priority as the country works to realize its dream of national renewal.
As President Xi noted, China sees itself as a member of the global community of common destiny.
Observers say there is no reason for fear as China has neither the interest, nor the need, to challenge the U.S. for leadership by launching a war.