What is Thucydides’ trap in International relations?

  • The idea that the rise of a new power, as a competitor to an existing superpower, likely leads to the escalation of political tensions and war.
  • The term was coined by Graham T. Allison, an American political scientist and author of the 2017 book Destined for War, and is named after the 5th century Athenian historian Thucydides.
  • Allison based his conclusion on the study of 15 historical cases since 1500 in which the dominance of an established power was challenged by a rising new power.
  • War resulted in 11 of the 15 cases, as the rising power caused fear in the ranks of the established power.


Leave a Reply