Date of Award

Spring 6-2023

Document Type

Thesis (Master's)

Department or Program

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

First Advisor

Steven Ericson

Second Advisor

David Rezvani

Third Advisor

Donald Pease


ii ABSTRACT: The Thucydides Trap is a pattern for identifying rising powers preparing to disrupt the status quo by challenging an already established one. Assuming this pattern is correct, and if we fail to take actions to modify this path, then it is not at all unlikely that the long-elevating tensions between China and its adversaries (the US and its allies) will eventually reach a point of critical mass – and even result in direct military conflict. This paper will look to outline the tactics and actions taken by China. This will then be followed by my argument for proactive measures needed and available to the US and its allies to avoid the worst. The outcome of such measures will hopefully lead to discussions that allow for mutual goals to be mapped out between all parties in an attempt to de-escalate and find common ground. While there is no way to fully know what all parties desire for themselves, there are a few areas worth discussing that are outlined at the end of the paper that seem to be realistic points for discussion (i.e. fair trade, Pacific coastal waters, and others). In the end, the goal will ultimately be to find stability and common ground: Chinese people and government comfortable with their place in the international community and interacting with other nations in an open, honest, mutually equitable, and sustainable manner.