The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War

Some key things I will evaluate are:

1. Do you have a well-defined thesis at the beginning of your essay which clearly and concisely states your position and outlines for your reader how you’ll support that position in the body of the essay;

2. In the body of your essay, do you provide evidence to support your thesis, as you outlined you would (and do you not deviate off course into topics which don’t support your thesis);

3. Do you include a counter-argument (where you should anticipate why a reasonable person might disagree with your position or your evidence) and a rebuttal (where you explain why that reasonable person would be wrong or, at least, not as right as you are);

4. Do you briefly summarize your position/argument in a conclusion; and

5. Do all of the above in a well-organized manner using proper grammar and spelling?

For the purposes of this assignment, you should use only the two articles provided and should not read/cite any outside sources.  If you use information (by either directly quoting or paraphrasing) from one of the provided sources in your essay, you can cite that source by adding a parenthetical footnote in the body of your essay.  As an example, I’ve added a parenthetical footnote at the end of this sentence (Smith, p. 17).  Since you are only using the sources provided, you do not need a bibliography.  This is my policy for this writing assignment in this Foundational Knowledge Course.  Most professors use this simplified footnote structure and don’t require a bibliography.  That said, though, some professors will require more formal footnotes or endnotes and will require a bibliography, as defined in the NWC Pocket Writing and Style Guide 2012 under the Resources tab in the top ribbon on Blackboard.  In your future courses, you should check with your professor to ensure that you adhere to whatever his/her citation policy is.

Articles To Read and Question to Answer for Week Three Paper

Here are the two articles for your Week Three paper:

1. The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?

GRAHAM ALLISON is the director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

2. “There is No Thucydides Trap” written by Arthur Waldron former Professor at US Naval War College, first written as a Book Review of Allison’s book.

After reading the articles by Allison and Waldron, please answer the following question:

These two articles provide opposing perspectives on the likelihood of a potential future conflict between the United States and China. Which one, do you believe, provides the most useful perspective?

Things to keep in mind:

A major problem of past classes has been papers that regurgitated the main points of the articles instead of answering the question which requires you to give your opinion of them. Please carefully review the rubric.

Thesis statements (and thesis paragraphs) are important. It is difficult to write a good essay without a strong one. Up front, you should give your reader a clear answer to the question or your position on this issue. Then, tell your reader how you plan to support the position you have taken. Your thesis paragraph should take a clear position and provide a “road map” on how you plan to support that position, i.e., an outline for the body of your essay.

Students usually do not need an introductory paragraph. After giving your answer and the outline (in the thesis), get right to the point and start providing evidence to support your answer as you told the reader you would. Unnecessary filler between your answer and your support tends to distract your reader from what is important.

Transition phrases at the beginning of a paragraph (to introduce) or the end (to summarize) are important. Good writers use them to introduce or summarize material, clearly connect the material to their thesis, and/or make logical/smooth segues between points.

Transition phrases at the beginning of a paragraph (sometimes called topic sentences) are useful in introducing the material which follows, but does not stand alone. One-sentence and even two-sentence paragraphs are not strong. If an idea is important enough to dedicate a paragraph to it, make sure you support it. After introducing the material in the opening transition phrase, expand on it to make your reader understand why you think it’s important and how you think it supports your thesis.

A counter-argument contributes to your argument by anticipating how a reasonable critic might challenge your thesis or a supporting argument. It briefly and fairly describes what an opposing view might be.

Counter-arguments require a rebuttal. A rebuttal explains why that critic might seem reasonable on the surface, but is wrong. An effective rebuttal will point your reader back to your thesis, either telling him/her why your thesis is superior to the counter-argument, what the shortfalls of the counter-argument are, or both. A common mistake with the counter-argument/rebuttal is to make a counter-argument but not rebut it. This leaves your reader wondering what side you’re on – this is the last thing you want to do.

Lastly, summarize your paper by restating your thesis and supporting arguments in your conclusion.

While this video provides tips for a Strategy & War paper, many of the same ideas apply to this paper. If you are a visual learner, you’ll like the diagram at 17:30. (Click here)

After reading the articles by Allison and Waldron, please answer the following question:

These two articles provide opposing perspectives on the likelihood of a potential future conflict between the United States and China. Which one, do you believe, provides the most useful perspective? Write a 1500- to 2000-word response.

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