Articles

Allison on the “Thucydides Trap” in The Atlantic

Graham Allison, “The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War,” on theatlantic.com today, uses historical analysis dating back to the Habsburg-Valois Wars to analyze the likelihood of a clash between the today’s hegemon and a rising power.

But does anyone really think that the instances from early modern Spanish history that Allison picks really fit the model of the “Thucydides Trap” in the way that Britain vs. a rising Germany or (originally) Sparta vs. a rising Athens did? It seems like he’s just taking well known wars and jamming them into his model. Does anyone really believe that Sweden was a “rising power” that challenged Austrian hegemony in 1618, and that this is the underlying cause of the Thirty Years War???

About emspanishhistorynotes

Scott Taylor is an associate professor in the history department at the University of Kentucky.

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