The Sino-U.S. trade war may be the Thucydides trap or a clash of Caucasian and non-Caucasian civilizations.

Chanel Holden

2019-06-03 11:31:00 Mon ET

The Sino-U.S. trade war may be the Thucydides trap or a clash of Caucasian and non-Caucasian civilizations. The proverbial Thucydides trap refers to the historical fact that the dominant superpowers may experience inevitable economic sanctions (or even military confrontations) as these countries become more powerful in the world. The current Sino-U.S. trade conflict may result in the self-fulfilling prophecy that the incumbent American superpower fights fears of losing global dominance by precipitating a tit-for-tat trade war against its most plausible Chinese challenger.

In accordance with what Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington suggests, the dominant superpowers may inadvertently go through the clash of civilizations. In the current Sino-U.S. trade war, China and the U.S. may have fallen into the Thucydides trap or an aggressive clash of Chinese and Caucasian civilizations. In fact, the Trump administration advocates *America First* trade protectionism with ubiquitous domestic populist support, whereas, the Chinese Xi administration calls for free markets and open trade flows. U.S. trade regulators should help curtail the imminent Chinese threat to international institutions such as WTO rules and other fair trade practices. The Trump administration must thus demonstrate that a higher moral purpose motivates U.S. protectionist trade policies if the Trump team intends to garner wider international support.

 


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