The Kyle Bass Interviews: Escaping Thucydides s Trap

Published on
5 October, 2018
China, History, Geopolitics
54 minutes

The Kyle Bass Interviews: Escaping Thucydides s Trap

Featuring Graham T. Allison

Kyle Bass sits down with Graham T. Allison, professor of government at the Harvard Kennedy School, for a master class in geopolitics, economics, and history. These titans tackle the issue of China’s evolving role on the world stage through the juxtaposition of cultures, governments, and technology. Filmed on September 17, 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Published on
5 October, 2018
China, History, Geopolitics
54 minutes


  • WD

    Wenhao D.

    6 12 2018 18:59

    0       0

    Play tough with China to re-chain the global chain. Companies do not have this power but being dogs....we do not need a friend to kill you on the back. That’s not what friendship is. Make Huawei down! Take all the networks that they built. Surround them with hurt them with no steals and no export dollars, finally they will follow the rules and standards.

  • BM

    Barry M.

    18 11 2018 02:56

    1       0

    Simplistic I know but Jagger & Bowie shared center stage circa 1985 during "Live Aid", USA and China will be sharing center stage circa 2025 during " Save the world from another war" aid. Just my humble opinion, China is not going away, Nor is Russia, and as a resident in the USA, I have to hope the USA has a future too.

  • MS

    Matt S.

    17 11 2018 09:02

    0       1

    Was it really necessary to edit in Kyle Bass yawning? Seems a little disrespectful to both parties.

  • CC

    Chad C.

    7 11 2018 22:20

    1       0

    Kyle's discussions on China are truly fascinating! Love every minute

  • RK

    Roger K.

    31 10 2018 18:38

    0       0

    Don't take the eye on the ball i.e North Korea which is the hit-man of China.

  • AH

    Ahmed H.

    22 10 2018 10:10

    0       0


  • JX

    JIA X.

    16 10 2018 23:20

    1       0


  • TB

    Tim B.

    16 10 2018 11:22

    2       0

    I would agree that it is a fantastic book and everyone should read it. My big question, could it not be that the original premise is flawed? Perhaps China does not become the largest economy for many decades from now, and their recent growth is a debt fueled surge that is bound to fail. Thucydides trap is still an issue, and should be taken very seriously but we may be very premature in thinking it will happen anytime soon.

  • ZH

    Zayd H.

    15 10 2018 20:48

    3       0

    Awesome interview. Bought the (audio)book immediately and have enjoyed the first 9 chapters so far tremendously. Kyle - doing your bit at elevating the conversation above the daily din.

  • ag

    anthony g.

    13 10 2018 13:29

    0       1

    Interesting no doubt, for which many thanks. A complicated, long term subject with many pieces. Essentially we shall see seems to be about the most accurate thing one can say right now. The question which needs more attention perhaps is whether the USA will continue the foreign policy on this subject started by Trump... or will it change from time to time ? The cold war took about 40 years or so ...... can the USA produce that kind of concentration ..... again ?

  • CG

    Christine G.

    13 10 2018 11:08

    2       1

    I don't think you can talk about US/world trade without talking about Triffin's dilemma. The US has enjoyed the benefits of having the world's reserve currency (e.g., unlimited borrowing ability, countries scrambling to provide us with cheap goods) and now that we are going to slowly loose that status, we do not like the negative consequences (e.g., hollowing out of much of our industrial base). And no one likes the consequences of a slow shift out of the dollar as the world currency towards who-knows-what reserve currency/currencies (e.g., unstable world currency/financial system). To the extent that this is not recognized, people will create all kinds of crazy explanations for what is going on and for who is responsible. I am not confident that anyone in this administration even knows what Triffin's dilemma is. We are playing with a junior high school junior varsity team in a world that needs some pros. Please get someone from the BIS to talk on these issues. Thanks.

  • JM

    James M.

    13 10 2018 07:21

    3       0

    “We won the war” “we did this” “we did that” these money guys live in a delusional protective bubble imo. 🤑

  • VC

    Vince C.

    13 10 2018 05:47

    0       0

    Douglas T's big picture interpretation of the video is entirely misguided. His post is a great example however of fitting one's own biases to confronting information

  • DT

    Douglas T.

    12 10 2018 00:07

    1       2

    The big picture is that China clawed its way out of a deep communist pit with the help of the rest of the world, especially the USA. Not least by "stealing" most of the IP they required to become a near super power. Now that they are a 'big boy', there won't be any more help, they're on their own, which is as it should be.
    This is not directly adversarial, and is perhaps a little over due. It's like kicking your 30 year old college grad out of your basement: your on your own buddy.
    By stealing IP, they haven't built the full culture to do their own. And if they were totally cut off it, would slow their progress dramatically (not likely, I know). In this context, their belligerence feels like under appreciation.
    They have adopted the modern world's archietcutre, transportation, fincial systems, agriculture, energy systems etc etc. But as communists they don't really understand those things. For example, their hubris with respect debt. We know debt is dangerous, they apparently feel their innate superiority excuses them from prudence. We'll see.

  • Sv

    Sid v.

    11 10 2018 21:39

    2       0

    Great interview by Mr Bass. However, I am left with some uneasiness about the future welfare of my own nation. Seems we allowed China to take off under the mistaken idea that they would give up thousands of years of culture and become lazy, fat, porn watching Americas once they got a little money under their mattress. Seems like a bad theory on which to base foreign policy. Now the snowball is running down hill and their appears to be no stopping it.

  • BS

    Bill S.

    10 10 2018 15:34

    0       0

    Given the desire of European leaders to shed their sovereignty and embrace European “order”, I am less confident about their contribution to a China containment strategy.

  • TA

    Trevor A.

    10 10 2018 01:15

    8       5

    There is nothing new in this interview. Typical Chicom narrative rehash. It's a fine interview but not in my top 50. He could not even give an estimate about the percentage of war after Bass asked him to put a number on it directly. Bass keeps the interview on track. He does a great job listening and asking questions but I was not impressed with Graham. If I have missed something in my review I am open to reconsider but this is my current opinion fresh after watching. Cheers

  • FG

    Fraser G.

    9 10 2018 21:39

    1       0

    A remarkable interview. Incredibly relevant yet grounded in huge amounts of historical context. Very much looking forward to part two. Highly recommended

  • MB

    Matthias B.

    9 10 2018 19:37

    0       1

    on the debt topic, interesting comparison to Tesla/Elon Musk. I am truly impressed with Kyle as an interviewer, I think he did a phantastic job. Since Kyle has delved so much into the various debt issues, why not finding him a suitable partner to elaborate on an inevitable debt jubilee (not sure who the biggest proponent these days is to support the application of the accounting gimmick, ie wash between CB and treasury, as this would do the magic trick, is it Mr Alistair Turner?).

  • TR

    Todd R.

    9 10 2018 14:57

    0       0

    can't wait tell part 2

  • PJ

    Peter J.

    9 10 2018 08:40

    1       0

    Great interview

  • dh

    daniel h.

    9 10 2018 03:55

    5       20

    A level of understanding is missing here:
    Level of conciousness
    The usa is cursed with president who has the conciousness of a seven year old(say and do anything to feel good about himself). A higher level would be to see us as all being one, living on / in one world. (Being democratic is a curse when the electorate realise they can vote themselves benefits, especially when they are of a low level of conciousness). Equally an authoritarian country can outperform the democracy due to the leadership operating at a higher conciouness. examples are there: Singapore.

    So the political process chosen is less important than the level of conciouness being utilised in that political system. To an outsider the USA appear corrupt and dysfuntctional is an understatment.

  • RF

    Richard F.

    8 10 2018 21:46

    0       0

    When and where will i be able to find the "2nd Kyle Bass, interview?

  • PD

    Peter D.

    8 10 2018 21:27

    3       2

    The idea that such a thing as "intellectual property" exists and that leveraging an idea is "theft" because some guy with a large legal department patented the process is ludicrous. Governments are involved in espionage all the time. Like Henry Kissinger loves to say, he would be "disappointed" if the US was not doing the same thing. BTW the Thucydides Trap idea is a great idea, but Allison didn't come up with it. He "stole" it from Kissinger himself, who brought it up in his own book about China.

  • SC

    Stanley C.

    8 10 2018 06:47

    8       1

    Excellent interview. Many Chinese intellectuals / businessmen around my circles do support Trump’s hardline policy against China. Though no one says it openly, there are wide discontent on Xi’s authoritarian rules. Chinese are looking for changes .

  • SS

    Steven S.

    8 10 2018 04:50

    9       0

    Simply outstanding interview. I travel to eastern China quite often and interact on a regular basis with scientific colleagues in China. I found this to be a very rich conversation, with some quite subtle hints and insights about the China-US relationship. This is the geopolitical and economic issue that I think about going forward for the next 20 years. Thank you RV, Kyle, and Graham.

  • JW

    James W.

    7 10 2018 23:45

    3       6

    Can't say I learned anything from this one.

  • AS

    Anant S.

    7 10 2018 21:19

    4       1

    Wonderful !
    RealVision.... I have to say that your content is just amazing. Enjoying a lot of your other interviews too.

  • SA

    Scott A.

    7 10 2018 15:09

    13       0

    This goes on my top three RV interviews list and I'm picking up the book. Mr. Allison's ability to provide a clear and compelling viewpoint from both the US and Chinese point of view was amazing. While not a financial discussion, to me this was a perfect example of what "macro" means.

  • SS

    Sam S.

    7 10 2018 13:37

    4       0

    Felt like I was watching Jonathan Winters as an incredible academic involved in actual practice and outcomes of theories and concepts. Kyle Bass was very humble yet helpful in connecting finance with the actions and reactions of policy makers. Professionally done and truly a macro understanding of our global complex world. Off to read another book!

  • JV

    Jason V.

    7 10 2018 11:11

    7       0

    Intensely interesting. Thank you, gentlemen.

  • CB

    Chris B.

    7 10 2018 10:06

    4       0

    Very enjoyable and interesting interview. To repeat what many have already said very nice job by Kyle on the interview. Also, obviously kudos to Professor Allison for synthesizing a complex subject to topics that can be digested in an hour interview. I am really looking forward to the second piece with Grant and Kyle.

  • DC

    Dave C.

    7 10 2018 03:24

    13       0

    Fabulous interview - people wanting more should check out the interview conducted by Kiril Sokoloff of @WhatILearnedTW with @GrahamTAllison - compelling stuff.

  • T~

    Tshort63 ~.

    7 10 2018 02:39

    1       0

    I enjoyed the conversation and Kyle asked many questions I think about. Downloading the audible book now.

  • HJ

    Harry J.

    6 10 2018 22:35

    10       1

    I’ve admired Kyle for years. Every time he appears on RV I’m positively impressed.
    Very good interview!

  • JH

    Jesse H.

    6 10 2018 22:12

    2       0

    Excellent interview in my book. Don't understand the Thumbs Down folks - Kyle did a great job as an interviewer, and Graham certainly did not disappoint! Thanks, RV!

  • JM

    James M.

    6 10 2018 22:11

    2       1

    Fantastic insights from a non-financial market bias point of view. Plenty to digest!

  • SU

    Shakeel U.

    6 10 2018 20:09

    2       0

    Fascinating and brilliant

  • VK

    Viresh K.

    6 10 2018 18:50

    8       0

    A genuinely excellent, excellent interview.

  • XS

    Xin S.

    6 10 2018 18:46

    0       0

    What does the percentage of war probability Graham put? I am not clear about more than likely? which means 50%?

  • bm

    brian m.

    6 10 2018 18:46

    3       0

    Great stuff RV...

  • PB

    Pieter B.

    6 10 2018 17:19

    4       0

    Massive thanks Kyle & Graham! I really enjoyed this!

  • AG

    Adam G.

    6 10 2018 16:31

    4       35

    It seems that since Kyle is unable to actually make money as a hedge fund manager he is now moonlighting as a political theorist.

  • cr

    cc r.

    6 10 2018 06:48

    13       1

    I am surprise by the lack of understanding on the relationship between Taiwan and China. The mentioning of "going for independence" on the Taiwanese is misleading. That concept is mostly promoted on the Chinese side--because they want to take it back. From what I experience is the Taiwanese go about its life and don't think too much of what the Chinese is saying--because its already operating under democracy with its own currency, military, economic, etc. I don't think China will force a take back of Taiwan. The political cost (in the world stage) and the economic cost is too great to make a move like that. Also I don't think they're technically ready to do so either.

    I do think the countries around the world are not stupid and is skeptical of the Chinese propaganda and objectives. Reason US confronted the Chinese is exactly what the Mr Allison mentioned. I don't think major countries will blindly forge relationship with the Chinese and rely on the Chinese as the world has relied on the US in the past. The world can rely on the US is because US political system is open and change every four years and the market here is open with proper rule of the law. So I don't think US will loose leadership to China from the world stage despite what people think of Trump nowadays. Unless of course China takes a different path and decide to lead the world through openness and let go of its economy and makes it fair and rule based such outside investors are willing to buy into the Chinese dream. Until then the only dream most people dream of nowadays is the American dream.

  • SS

    Sean S.

    6 10 2018 02:56

    13       2

    The chairs are always a little too close together

  • MK

    Mike K.

    6 10 2018 02:44

    6       2

    ...and I just bought his book!

  • CD

    Charles D.

    6 10 2018 02:20

    5       10

    Trump & his team have made a lot of glaring errors but two that just leap out at me is Taiwan..serious blunder..if the Chinese choose..they can take back Taiwan..and make the US look like a paper tiger who promised to assist..but couldn’t..the other is the success of triangulation which has kept the world stable for a long constantly sanctioning Russia...etc..we’ve driven Russia into China’s orbit...together that’s quite a formidable adversary... absolutely brilliant discussion..As a charter member of RV..I’d say the best I’ve had the privilege of watching.

  • TB

    Troy B.

    6 10 2018 00:52

    2       3

    Freinds with Kissinger....coool

  • RA

    Robert A.

    6 10 2018 00:18

    10       2

    It just leaped off the screen as I was watching this!—the way this interview and Kiril Sokoloff’s interview of Ronnie Chan intertwine. This one takes off where the other one began and vice verse. I suggest to my fellow RV’ers that they watch both of these back to back....and it doesn’t matter in which order. Any book that Kyle Bass sees fit to read multiple times is subject matter that I want to acquaint myself with! Great job by both these Gentleman in this presentation and special thanks to Milton for this one.

  • AG

    Adam G.

    5 10 2018 22:45

    5       0

    Very insightful interview... history repeats or at least rhymes.
    Looking from Mars and recent foreign policy tracks of the US in light of this discussion one questions (at least I do) the US strategy. Certainly the trade leveling as they discussed is welcome but the tactic with US allies and potential allies I don't see as being productive in the context of a rising power that has 4x the population of the US. In my view, alienating Russia in particular is a mistake. It only hastens China's assent as access to easy energy provides quicker access to wealth and gets the machines going faster.
    I lived through the cold war and MAD was the saving factor. Rhetoric today makes me question the if the concept is understood. Nobody wins a nuclear exchange.
    From an investment/trading standpoint, a world that works together provides opportunity for everybody but maybe I'm naive...
    Hopefully, cool and thoughtful minds prevail.
    Thanks RV!

  • pb

    phillip b.

    5 10 2018 22:05

    3       0

    Great content again RV! This is one of the must-view interviews on RV. Seminal.

    For those who have not already done so, I recommend reading the book. Even if you don't want to invest the time to read from cover-to-cover, buy it and read just Part 4 "Why War is Not Inevitable." The periodical "The Atlantic" has a piece authored by Mr. Allison that was published on Sept 24, 2015, and is freely available on their site.

  • je

    james e.

    5 10 2018 22:01

    14       0

    Kyle is as good a listener as an interviewer and that makes him great at this. He's good on both sides of the discussion.

  • SM

    Sam M.

    5 10 2018 21:37

    15       1

    Kyle Bass, not just world class investor, but all around classy guy period. So humble and a great model for young people like myself to follow.

  • RJ

    Randy J.

    5 10 2018 21:10

    3       1

    OMG, this man is brilliant! Having experience in DoD his conversations hit home. Insightful and from a financial perspective should send chills.... Thank you RV for this outstanding segment.

  • IO

    Igor O.

    5 10 2018 21:00

    4       1

    The Concept of Mutually Assured destruction will prevent sides falling into Thucydides Trap.
    From Harald Malmgren about Cuban Missile Crisis - when it was time to go to bunkers but nobody could take their families, people sobered up. I am rephrasing here.
    Not so hopeful for people being smart and creative about it.

  • SS

    Steve S.

    5 10 2018 20:56

    2       1

    That Professor was one real smart guy.

  • RD

    Ryan D.

    5 10 2018 20:55

    5       3

    Seriously! Who down votes this? Excellent interview by Kyle Bass. Buying Mr. Allison's book NOW!

  • PR

    Paolo R.

    5 10 2018 20:25

    8       1

    Kyle did disappointment... he’s got a talent, great interview FANTASTIC 👍 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • DS

    David S.

    5 10 2018 19:48

    5       9

    China's long-term commitment to a stable society is the gateway to partnering between the Western World and China. The West needs to get over the concept that the only good form of government is a representative democracy. (It is not working very well now in the US “to form a more stable union.”) With the progress that China is making on AI and technology, before long the West may be stealing technology from China which will open China's eyes to the value of intellectual property. Let's hope for a much better future were trade is benefited by peace and stability. DLS

  • DS

    David S.

    5 10 2018 19:47

    5       3

    Excellent interview. When the USA believed in the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, we took all the land between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans by any means possible. When we captured parts of Mexico and Mexico City, the land that was part of the Manifest Destiny were taken, but not all of Mexico. China may believe that their Manifest Destiny is equally valid which includes the complete integration of Hong Kong and Taiwan. DLS

  • NI

    Noah I.

    5 10 2018 19:13

    29       0

    I love listening to Mr. Bass talk but he’s also a gem of an interviewer. Much like Kiril Sokoloff in that he knows the right questions to ask and guides the interview while allowing the interviewee to freely express their opinions without interruption, micromanagement or attempting to have the interviewee discuss the matter in the context of the interviewer’s pre-determined biases (eg Jim Grant — as much as I love Jim I would rather hear his thoughts as a separate piece rather than as 50% of the interview). You could tell Kyle was listening to him speak and basing his questions on the content of the interview rather than haphazardly jumping from prewritten question to prewritten question with abrupt transitions.

    Thanks to RV for an absolutely incredible and enlightening interview, and thanks again to Mr. Bass for demonstrating once again why he’s successful in all of his endeavors.

  • FC

    Fractal C.

    5 10 2018 18:19

    7       1

    I just did not want this discussion to end! Wow. Awesome job Kyle and tons of respect for Prof Allison,

  • PS

    Patrick S.

    5 10 2018 17:54

    2       0

    Wonderful. Looking forward to
    Part Two

  • rr

    rlw r.

    5 10 2018 16:43

    7       1

    RV top notch and many thanks, also really like the notion of a follow up with the focus to Invest Implications.

  • DD

    Daniel D.

    5 10 2018 16:12

    3       0

    Very high quality content. Thank you.

  • DL

    Dillon L.

    5 10 2018 15:09

    1       1

    Rebuild the world with unlimited clean cheap energy, electric vehicles, and meet the climate crisi

  • MM

    Mike M.

    5 10 2018 14:09

    6       0

    Much appreciated, having read the book the interview made the book even better. Kyle did a great job allowing Graham to expound and provide real examples for the risks looming out there. I will be sleeping with one eye open for the near term.

  • SG

    Sophie G.

    5 10 2018 14:00

    19       0

    I live in China and am generally fascinated by this dialogue. However, I've felt for sometime that visiting Shanghai is a view into the future of how a major city and infrastructure is run by harnessing technology and clean energy......... Protect the many.... And work ethic instilled at a very young age is a very powerful catalyst for change. Complacency from the west has endured for many years to its detriment . 😊

  • TJ

    Terry J.

    5 10 2018 11:58

    6       0

    Topical and timely as we await to see the global chessboard develop over the coming months and years. I do hope the two great powers can re-establish some trust and work as friends and not adversaries. Surely for the future of mankind, nobody, not even the warmongering DC industrial military complex that arguably controls the US, and so much of Wall Street, will risk going to war with the Middle Kingdom? I can't wait to see the second part with Kyle and Grant's discussion.

  • Nv

    Nick v.

    5 10 2018 10:39

    3       0

    Excellent. Thank you

  • KC

    Klendathu C.

    5 10 2018 09:38

    48       0

    Nice to see Kyle back on the program