China and the US are heading toward a war neither wants.

That’s the sensational premise of Dr. Graham Allison’s new book, Destined for War?. The reason: Thucydides’s Trap, a deadly historical pattern of structural stress that results when rising powers challenge ruling ones. In the past 500 years, this pattern has occurred 16 times; in 12 of these cases, the outcome was war. Today, as an unstoppable China approaches an immovable America and both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump promise to make their countries “great again,” the case for war looks grim. Dr. Allison, who is director of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and founding dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School, has served as Assistant Secretary of Defense and advised the secretaries of defense under every president from Reagan to Obama. Join him and legendary general, former CIA Director and Belfer Center senior fellow David Petraeus for a crucial conversation about what painful steps China and America must take to avoid disaster.

Graham Allison will sign copies of his book, Destined for War, following the event.

Bios

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Graham Allison

Director of Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Graham Allison is a leading analyst of U.S. national security and defense policy with a special interest in nuclear weapons, terrorism and decision-making. As Assistant Secretary of Defense in the first Clinton Administration, Dr. Allison received the Defense Department's highest civilian award, the Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, for "reshaping relations with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan to reduce the former Soviet nuclear arsenal." This resulted in the safe return of more than 12,000 tactical nuclear weapons from the former Soviet republics and the complete elimination of more than 4,000 strategic nuclear warheads previously targeted at the United States and left in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus when the Soviet Union disappeared.

His latest book (2013), Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States and the World (co-authored with Robert Blackwill), has been a bestseller in the U.S. and abroad. His previous book, Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe, now in its third printing, was selected by The New York Times as one of the "100 most notable books of 2004." It presents a strategy for preventing nuclear terrorism organized under a doctrine of "Three Nos:" no loose nukes; no new nascent nukes; and no new nuclear weapons states. Dr. Allison's first book, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (1971), was released in an updated and revised second edition (1999) and ranks among the all-time bestsellers with more than 450,000 copies in print. His forthcoming book, Destined for War: America, China, and Thucydides’s Trap, will be published in May 2017.

As "Founding Dean" of the modern Kennedy School, under his leadership, from 1977 to 1989, a small, undefined program grew twenty-fold to become a major professional school of public policy and government.

Dr. Allison has served as Special Advisor to the Secretary of Defense under President Reagan. He has been awarded the Department of Defense's highest civilian award, the Distinguished Public Service Medal, twice: first by Secretary Cap Weinberger and second by Secretary Bill Perry. He served as a member of the Defense Policy Board for Secretaries Weinberger, Carlucci, Cheney, Aspin, Perry and Cohen. He currently serves on the Advisory boards of the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and the Director of the CIA.

Dr. Allison was the organizer of the Commission on America's National Interests (1996 and 2000), a founding member of the Trilateral Commission, a Director of the Council on Foreign Relations and has been a member of public committees and commissions, among them the Baker-Cutler DOE Task Force on Nonproliferation Programs with Russia, the IAEA’s Commission of Eminent Persons and the Commission on Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation, and Terrorism.

Dr. Allison has served as a Director of the Getty Oil Company, Natixis, Loomis Sayles, Hansberger, Taubman Centers, Inc., Joule Unlimited and Belco Oil and Gas, as well as a member of the Advisory Boards of Chase Bank, Chemical Bank, Hydro-Quebec and the International Energy Corporation.

Dr. Allison was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was educated at Davidson College; Harvard College (B.A., magna cum laude, in History); Oxford University (B.A. and M.A., First Class Honors in Philosophy, Politics and Economics); and Harvard University (Ph.D. in Political Science).

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David Petraeus

General (Ret) David H. Petraeus (New York) joined the KKR global investment firm in June 2013 and is Chairman of the KKR Global Institute. He oversees the Institute’s thought leadership platform focused on geopolitical and macro-economic trends, as well as environmental, social and governance issues. Prior to joining KKR, Gen. Petraeus served more than 37 years in the US military, including command of coalition forces in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and command of US Central Command. Following his military service, he was Director of the CIA. Gen. Petraeus has received numerous US military, State Department, NATO and United Nations medals and awards, and he has been decorated by 13 foreign countries. He is also a Visiting Professor of Public Policy at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, Judge Widney Professor at the University of Southern California, and a non-resident Senior Fellow at Harvard University. He also serves on the advisory boards of several veterans organizations.

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Details & Ordering

  • Graham Allison in Conversation with Gen. David Petraeus (Ret): Destined for War?

    Date: Wed, May 31, 2017, 8 pm

    Location: Lexington Avenue at 92nd St

    Venue: Kaufmann Concert Hall

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