Power Threats

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In today's world, it appears like there is competition for everything. Among the concerns at hand is the competition to be considered as the genuine nation and leader, so when a new country emerges to challenge a country in such a position, conflict is bred, and war is on the point of erupting. Power conflict has existed and is thought to have contributed to the emergence of world wars.

Thucydides, an ancient Greek historian, had long predicted the negative consequences of dominance rivalry and emphasized that, while striving for power generates conflict, war can be avoided. The Historian gave reasons as to why war is unnecessary and will be systemic between two competing superpowers as discussed below;

War between Two superpowers is Pure Madness

Thucydides presents his thinking that conflicting between two countries should be addressed to avoid war because warfare will lead to catastrophic losses for both parties calling the event “Mutual assured destruction.” He terms the scenario as madness because both states will have an arsenal that will breed countless deaths and in the end, none of the two parties will be able to disarm another in a first strike (Allison, 2015).

Leaders Risk a losing war

Although both nations going to war cannot win, both tend to believe that they will emerge victoriously and that is the reason battle is created. For instance, both leaders going into war have to demonstrate a willingness to fight a losing battle (Allison, 2015). Leaders should, therefore, choose ways that cause less or no harm such as negotiations and respect.

Precarious Drafts of the Status Quo

Since combat possess risks to both countries going to war, Thucydides forwards a solution that when there is a conflict between a manner in which a nation operates, rules should be drafted, i.e., regulations for air, road, seas, and arms-control to govern the way states conduct their activities (Allison, 2015). This will help see that none crosses the path of another and in that way, order can be maintained and peace upheld.

Domestic performance Decides on who is Powerful

Thucydides advises the nations that standing tall on superiority is determined through domestic performance such as a country’s economy (Allison, 2015). Hence they should battle it out domestically and not through wars which will only tear them apart. When a nation realizes superiority challenge, it should work more on itself and not resolve to threats. Thucydides stresses on this point in addressing the China-USA competition for superiority.

Hope is not a Strategy

Thucydides states that hope cannot be a strategy in war as the outcomes are purely catastrophic. When battle is waged, the country’s citizen’s interests are at stake for the reason that citizens will lose lives, the country will be laid back regarding infrastructure, and economic values will also be affected. While hope is all about hoping for the future, warfare creates no hope but instead makes things far worse than they were (Allison, 2015).

Both countries going to war for superiority may actually crumble back to a level they were years back (developing nations) due to adverse effects of war. The advice tells the American president to study the results of cold war before advancing to wage war against China.

Objects of Thucydides Advice in 1913

The Balkan war of 1913 should have headed Thucydides advice before they went to war. On the night of June 29th, 1913, the Bulgarian soldiers waged attacks against the Serbian and Greek soldiers in Macedonia. The Bulgarians could not overpower the Serbs and the Greeks, and thus they lost the most of Macedonia to Serbia and Greece. After desperation and rise in casualties, Bulgarians resorted to peace, and the Bucharest treaty was signed (Hall, 2012).

Advice that should have been headed

The participants of Balkan war should have headed Thucydides advice that there is no hope and winner in combat. The Results of the Balkan battle were catastrophic as both countries lost a lot of men and even though the Greeks and Serbians felt glorious over their counterpart, the losses of its citizens in war outweighed the pride of victory. The Bulgarians lost 65,000 soldiers, the Greeks 9,500 and the Serbians 36,000 (Hall, 2012). What a disaster!

World War 1

The First World War was a war that was caused by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand from Austria who was the heir to the Austria-Hungary throne on June 28th, 1914 by Gavrilo Princip, a citizen of Yugoslav. The war created conflicts between Serbia and Austria-Hungary making both countries call in their allies and allies-allies making the war enormous and global that left over 9,000,000 soldiers and 7,000,000 civilians dead (Keegan, 2014).

Advice that should have been embraced from Thucydides

Leaders Risk a Losing war

The leaders of countries which went to war such as Russia, Germany, franc, USA, Serbia, and Austria-Hungary should have studied the consequences of war and realize that the war created a lose-lose situation considering the number of citizens lost in the war. The countries should have embraced negotiation to settle conflicts and save themselves the destruction that was nurtured by the war (Allison, 2015).

In conclusion, it is clear from the above discussion that Thucydides is therefore seen to have been a great philosopher who gave concrete advice on diplomacy and relations in relation to power supremacy.


Allison, G., 2015. The Thucydides trap. The next great war, pp.73-80.

Hall, R.C., 2012. Balkan Wars. History Today, 62, pp.36-42.

Keegan, J., 2014. The first world war. Random House.

May 02, 2023

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