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Blog 2

The T-Trap (Present Day)

The United States has, for a long time, been commonly referred to as the superpower country. Therefore, every other country is at the heels of The United States. The standard of America is always being pursued. With this, you have all other countries as a competitor trying reach the place of America. There will be countries who are closer to achieving this than others, of course, and others that are just a pest trying to weaken the superpower country knowing that they will never reach the same status. With all these competitors, there will automatically be tension in the air. Especially between the superpower country and the other countries fast approaching. Currently, The United States is being tested by China as a threatening country. China is considered the country behind America as the superpower country. The tension that comes from this is leading to talks of a potential war. This situation is similar to what lead to the Peloponnesian War. “Fearful that the Athenians would use their navy to destroy Spartan control over its own alliance system, the Peloponnesian League, Sparta determined to destroy Athens’ power.” This situation was between Sparta and Athens. Sparta feared the growth of Athens. They knew that Athens was on the rise and that Athens was rising to the status of them (Sparta). This fear of growth and a rising of power is considered the Thucydides Trap. “Trap” refers to the trap of war, when a rising power is growing the leading power and rising power almost always go to war and fight to determine who is the superpower country. Now back to present tense, there has been talks that The United States and China are on the way to being caught in this trap. My take on this is that in order to determine if we are headed into this trap you have to take into account the time period and the leaders in both countries. If we take into account the time period, the present time is one that is very social, so word spreads fast and people are very aware of what is going on in the world. This makes it more difficult for leaders to declare war because if there is no clear reason to begin a war the people of that country will not be in full support. Also, the leaders of the countries play a big role in falling into this trap. Leaders who are very prideful and flamboyant are more likely to go into a war to remain or establish dominance. To qualify this statement, we can look back at Sparta and Athens. We see two cultures with leaders and societies full of pride and ego. This causes more of a “I have something to prove attitude,” having this attitude causes tension that leads to war, as it did. 

All in all, The United States is not in the Thucydides Trap. However, it would be ignorant to not consider that America could be headed into the trap based off the history of Athens and Sparta.   

-word count: 507

-Kevin Spencer

3 thoughts on “Blog 2

  1. I think you made very fair points in comparing the United States and China to Athens and Sparta. The similarities are there but looking back I think you could have been more specific in your examples or picked another example that would have been easier to relate. Russia would have been easy, Germany in the West during the 20th century or when Japan attack Pearl Harbor would have been other examples. The beginning was a bit confusing, language use could have been more concise and specific because it’s not easy to follow exactly what you’re talking about throughout. Again, if you used examples of how America and China were similar to Athens and Sparta, this would have had better quality.


  2. The post seems to lack accuracy without the facts in the text to back your statements. It seems to be assumptions being made without a source to sight anything relationship between the US and China


  3. I agree, the U.S isn’t in a Thucydides trap with anyone, however we’re definitely being careful and paying really close attention to China. China has been acquiring land from other countries along the South and East China Seas. By them setting up bases and gathering this land, they are gaining more control of the pacific ocean, meaning that they’ll be able to have control over what comes and goes. There are also allegations of cyber intrusions and espionage, claims of intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices, and China’s treatment of political dissidents and ethno-religious minorities. The Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), an act that strengthened U.S. government oversight of foreign investments in emerging technologies, enacted a prohibition on American attainment of technology produced by China’s Huawei and ZTE. These companies are accused of providing prohibited technology to Iran. China also has detention camps in which around 10 percent of the Uighur population of Xinjiang is locked up. The Chinese Communist Party maintains these centers, saying that they are a “crucial part of its effort to counter terror, extremism and separatism” (NBC News). I don’t believe we’ll go to war with China, but there is a chance.


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