Welcome to a new semester!
We started off with one of the most important questions in international security today: will China’s rise be peaceful? Here is the video showing two prominent realist thinkers (John Mearsheimer, Robert Pape) coming to different conclusions. If you’d like to explore further academic opinions on this issue, I’d recommend reading Graham Allison‘s, Richard Evans‘s and Ni Shixiong‘s writings.
What do these scholars exactly mean by war? What is their theory? What are their assumptions? What are their explanatory variables? How do their explanatory variables lead to the outcome they hypothesize? Which parts of their theory are underdeveloped? What are the strengths and weaknesses of their assumptions and conclusions? Do you agree/disagree with their assumptions and their theoretical claims? Do you think they are right?
Now try to think in game-theoretic terms: who are the actors? what do the actors strive for? what structure characterizes their interaction? what is the equilibrium in their game?
Finally, what is your theory? Can you capture it in a simple and clean game-theoretic model?