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COVID-19 and the Thucydides Trap

After years of deepening Sino-American divisions, perhaps it is not surprising that the COVID-19 pandemic has made matters worse. But if both countries take a clear-eyed view of their own interests, they will see that cooperation is the best medicine now.

BEIJING – As Graham Allison of Harvard University has warned, “when a rising power like Athens, or China, threatens to displace a ruling power like Sparta, which had been the dominant power in Greece for a hundred years, or the US, basically alarm bells should sound.” Nowadays, the alarm bells are sounding so loud that they are drowning out ideas that would allow the United States and China to escape what Allison called the “Thucydides Trap.”