30 August 2023

7:00 PM - 9:30 PM


Graham Allison posited the 'Thucydides Trap' in his 2017 publication Destined for War, that examined the probability of a so-called unavoidable conflict between the United States and a rapidly ascending China. Utilising sixteen case studies of historical events, Allison stated there were opportunities for peace to prevail. More recently, some international relation scholars have sought to debunk the Thucydides Trap theory altogether.

This paper re-examines the validity of a so-called Thucydides Trap using a cross case comparison of Thucydides original historical arguments in the lead up to the Peloponnesian War in 431BC with contemporary historical events between the United States, her allies and China. Should Australia be concerned of becoming ensnared in the trap, as our close military partnership via AUKUS draws us closer to confrontation, or can we learn from historical events and avoid conflict altogether?

photo of Dr Clint Sheehan

Presenter: Dr Clint Sheehan

Dr Sheehan is a Lecturer in History Curriculum and Education at Australian Catholic University. His research examines military history, and the role education can play in learning from historical events. His interests include Cold War and Naval History as well as cross discipline work. He is currently co-authoring an upcoming book, examining command decisions and the influence of classics education on the First Battle of El Alamein.

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