China, the United States are destined not to fall into the Tutsydide trap
Will China and the United States fall into the Tutsiddide trap? Graham Alison, the founding dean of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Wang Huiyao, director of the Center for China and Globalization, and Li Chen, director of the Center for International Security and Strategy. Renmin University of China, were organized by CCG earlier this month In one of the conversations. I tried to find the answers to the most important questions of our time. An excerpt of their conversation is as follows:
Wang Huiyao: It’s been four years since you published “The Doom of War: Can America and China Escape the Tutsydides Trap”. Professor Graham, can you share with us any new ideas you might develop on this issue?
Graham Allison: In structural reality, a rising China is affecting a ruling United States. In my book, I liken this to a power seesaw, in which China inevitably becomes stronger, richer, and stronger. This is the essence of Tutsiddite competition. This rise has changed the structure of power, and the seesaw of power is between the rising power and the ruling power. This is the first point.
The second point is that we are now living in the 21st century.
Where the objective conditions are Condemn the coexistence of the United States and China, because the only option is to destroy together. So, there are two situations here. First, nuclear weapons. As we know, in the 21st century, we also have a climate.
In addition, we are all involved in the global globalization process and the global economy. So that no one can get out of it without putting themselves into poverty.
So, on the one hand, we will become fierce opponents. On the other hand, we condemned by nature and technology and cooperate in order to survive. So, what about these two conflicting ideas at the same time?
Wang: Now, we actually live in a more intertwined world. We are actually inseparable. This is a twin relationship. We must work together to tackle climate change, the new coronavirus pandemic and all other challenges. If we really decouple, we will all die eventually.
Li Chen: First of all, I think the most important factor for the concept of rise and ruling power. Especially the rise of the United States in the 19th or early 20th century, and the rise of China in the past 70 years, is the homeland. That is, while solving social problems, we must concentrate on developing domestic economic development. I think this is one of the most important lessons.
Second, during the Cold War, nuclear weapons were extremely dangerous.
I think that in the 21st century, we have other new technical challenge. Such as cyber attacks and cyber wars, because our daily lives depend on the Internet, computers and smartphones. If the competition among major powers escalates. I think we will face severe challenges in the network field, so we need to manage this competition very carefully.
Wang: Graham, your recent article in “Foreign Affairs” called on the Biden administration to adopt a relentless China policy. How do you see the nature of the US-China confrontation-based on structural changes or more complex things. The combination of fear, value, psychological and ideological differences, or even “civilization conflict”? Can we really do something?
Alison: I think the good news for Biden is that he is a down-to-earth person who has been thinking about international affairs as an adult. Therefore, idea one: This will be a fierce competition. Therefore, when the Olympics held, everyone will fight for as many gold medals as possible. This is the Olympics. on the one hand.
On the other hand, at the same time, what is somewhat contradictory to the first party is that unless the United States and China can find ways to coordinate and cooperate in addressing climate change, we will create an environment where no one can live.
Wang: I like the Olympic spirit. If we can organize a peaceful game, we are all competing for the gold medal, maybe we have a win-win situation. So, if we use KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure the country and its domestic performance to measure the country. This may be a more effective way to measure achievements. This is an idea of Deng Xiaoping: “Whether it is a white cat or a black cat, just catch the mouse.
You mentioned 12 clues in “Doomed to War:
Can the United States and China Escape the Tutsydides Trap”. These 12 clues are basically still true. I don’t know if you have anything to add?
Li: I think the key here is that if we can handle the crisis very, very carefully and review the lessons of competition-not only leaders, but also ordinary citizens-we will realize that in the long-term competition, we need each other Dialogue and mutual cooperation are not only to maintain peace, but also to solve problems.
Even in the long-term competition between major powers, we need to cooperate with both parties and other parties to work hard to establish a security order to take care of all the vital interests of everyone.
Alison: During that… during the Cold War, we found that we had to coordinate and restrain, but also communicate very quickly, and even cooperate, to prevent things from getting out of control. Therefore, I think that the lessons learned from this set of experiences, although the current competition between the United States and China is very different, (they) may be very enlightening.
I explained that even in the deadliest era or era of the Cold War
we aspire to intensive dialogue and communication between the president and the president. But I think that in the competition between the United States and China. We have no reason not to absorb, erase and adjust all the lessons we learned from the previous stage. Communicate at multiple levels, conduct intensive communication, formulate crisis management procedures, and even Crisis prevention procedures provide necessity.
I think that would be actually a big addition that we might add to the list for avoiding being sucked into the Thucydides’ dynamic that could ultimately drag us into a war.
Wang: President Biden has announced this massive and gigantic infrastructure plan for the US, which is enormous. And China has been able to develop very well on the infrastructure front. Also, China has set up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
So probably we need a new Bretton Woods moment and can work with the US to establish a world infrastructure investment bank, so that we can really share some common interests with the US and to make a larger pie to share and to distribute so that we don ‘t have to really fight since we have some large interests to draw us together. That’s one recommendation that I can think of.
The second recommendation to add to your list is the European Union.
I don’t see the EU as a problem. If you count Europe as a whole, it’s probably the largest economy in the world. Since they don’t have a problem of the Thucydides’ trap with the US, they could be in a third-party position. They can be the mediating power between China and the US. Maybe we can have some kind of triparty talks so that they can really be a good middleman in avoiding the conflicts between the US and China.
How can we find common things to work together to accept China?
Because I found that although China is doing the right thing on many fronts, it’s still not accepted by some Western countries. China doing well in infrastructure, in poverty alleviation and contributed to over one-third of global GDP growth. But those not appreciated by the public of some Western countries. How can we reconcile that?
Allison: The US could learn a lot from China in infrastructure development. In the period the US building one high-speed rail going from Los Angeles to Sacramento that actually got into $85 billion worth and gave up, China built 12,000 miles (19,312 kilometers ) of high-speed rail.
The imperative for all of us is to find the way to escape the Thucydides’ trap. Wherever we can find lessons, I think we should be all out actively pursuing them and collecting them. So I think we have an open door for ideas.
I think fortunately, we have (President) Xi Jinping who gets this completely, who says, the reason why we need a new form of great power relations is we know what happens in the old form, the Thucydides’ dynamic. Biden understands this very well. What are we worried about? He’s worried about an unconstrained rivalry ending up with a catastrophic outcome. So I think we have an open door for ideas.
Wang: Another idea would be the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, formerly the Trans-Pacific Partnership, designed by the US for higher standards of goods and service trade, IPR protection, digital economy, state-owned enterprises’ reform, environmental protection and labor rights. It’s really a 21st century mini-WTO that was initially made by the US during the Barack Obama administration.
Now that President Xi has said at the APEC meeting that China is interested in joining and ready to meet all the higher standards, it will be a great area for the US and China to talk about.