The Improbable War: China, The United States and Logic of Great Power Conflict

Hardcover | January 15, 2015

byChristopher Coker

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The Improbable War explains why conflict between the USA and China cannot be ruled out. In 1914 war between the Great Powers was considered unlikely, yet it happened. We learn only from history, and popular though the First World War analogy is, the lessons we draw from its outbreak areusually mistaken. Among these errors is the tendency to over-estimate human rationality. All major conflicts of the past 300 years have been about the norms and rules of the international system. In China and the US the world confronts two "exceptional" powers whose values differ markedly, with China bidding to challenge the current order. The "Thucydidean Trap" - when a conservativestatus quo power confronts a rising new one - may also play its part in precipitating hostilities. To avoid stumbling into an avoidable war both Beijing and Washington need a coherent strategy, which neither of them has. History also reveals that war evolves continually. The next global conflict is likely to be played out in cyberspace and outer space and like all previous wars it will have devastating consequences. Such a war between the United States and China may seem improbable, but it is all too possible, whichis why we need to discuss it now.

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The Improbable War explains why conflict between the USA and China cannot be ruled out. In 1914 war between the Great Powers was considered unlikely, yet it happened. We learn only from history, and popular though the First World War analogy is, the lessons we draw from its outbreak areusually mistaken. Among these errors is the tenden...

Christopher Coker is Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics. He is the author of Barbarous Philosophers: Reflections on the Nature of War from Heraclitus to Heisenberg; Warrior Geeks; and Men At War: What Fiction Tells Us About Conflict, From The Iliad to Catch-22, all of which are published by Hurst.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.4 × 5.4 × 0.98 inPublished:January 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199396272

ISBN - 13:9780199396276

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