There are no “forgotten wars.” We may choose to talk about them, to write about them, or to learn from them. Or we may not. It is a question of what value we place on the lessons. Some eras, forged in strife and hardship, embrace history’s lessons, and consume narratives of past conflict with an eager inquisitiveness; other epochs, softened by luxury and lassitude, are largely immune to the lessons of the past. In the end, it is always a matter of choice.
The central thesis of Dr. Graham Allison’s Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? is relatively straightforward to state. When a rising power (China) is confronted by a relatively declining power (the United States), the declining one often resorts to making war on its enemy. Allison’s term for this phenomenon is “Thucydides’s Trap,” a phrase taken from the following observation by the great Greek historian: Continue reading