Strategika

Subscribe to receive Strategika. Subscribe »

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Issue 44

Preemptive Strikes and Preventive Wars
Background Essay
Background Essay

Preemptive Strike Or Preventive War?

by Williamson Murrayvia Strategika
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

With the troubles bubbling over on the Korean Peninsula, as the North Korean regime approaches possession of nuclear weapons and missiles capable of striking the United States, two words, preemptive and preventive, have gained increasing currency. While similar in meaning, their context is crucial in understanding their applicability to the current crisis. And here, as is so often the case, history is a useful tool in thinking through the possibilities. 

Featured Commentary
Featured Commentary

Preemptive Strikes and Preventive Wars: A Historian’s Perspective

by Barry Strauss via Strategika
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Preventive wars and preemptive strikes are both risky business. A preventive war is a military, diplomatic, and strategic endeavor, aimed at an enemy whom one expects to grow so strong that delay would cause defeat. A preemptive strike is a military operation or series of operations to preempt an enemy’s ability to attack you. In both cases, a government judges a diplomatic solution impossible.

Featured Commentary

Calculating The Risk Of Preventive War

by Max Bootvia Strategika
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The issue of “preemptive” war is more in the news now than at any time since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The impetus, of course, is the rapid development of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, which will soon give Pyongyang the capability to hit any American city with a nuclear-tipped ICBM. President Trump has been threatening “fire and fury” in response, and warning that the United States is “locked and loaded” for war. 

E.g., 9 / 24 / 2017
E.g., 9 / 24 / 2017
Monday, October 31, 2016

Issue 36

The Legacy of the Obama Doctrine

Background Essay

by Mark Moyar Monday, October 31, 2016
article

Featured Commentary

by Thomas H. Henriksen Monday, October 31, 2016
article
by Barry Strauss Monday, October 31, 2016
article

Related Commentary

by Angelo M. Codevilla Monday, October 31, 2016
article
by Thomas Donnelly Monday, October 31, 2016
article
by Andrew Roberts Monday, October 31, 2016
article
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Issue 35

Israel And A Nuclear Iran

Background Essay

by Edward N. Luttwak Wednesday, September 21, 2016
article

Featured Commentary

by Thomas Donnelly Wednesday, September 21, 2016
article
by Kori Schake Wednesday, September 21, 2016
article

Related Commentary

by Peter Berkowitz Wednesday, September 21, 2016
article
by Josef Joffe Wednesday, September 21, 2016
article
by Ralph Peters Wednesday, September 21, 2016
article
by Andrew Roberts Wednesday, September 21, 2016
article
Monday, August 15, 2016

Issue 34

The Potential Of Today’s Terrorists To Conduct Large-Scale Attacks

Background Essay

by Peter R. Mansoor Monday, August 15, 2016
article

Featured Commentary

by Ralph Peters Monday, August 15, 2016
article
by Williamson Murray Monday, August 15, 2016
article

Related Commentary

by Max Boot Monday, August 15, 2016
article
by Angelo M. Codevilla Monday, August 15, 2016
article
Friday, July 1, 2016

Issue 33

The Strategic Ramifications of a Fractured EU

Background Essay

by Andrew Roberts Friday, July 1, 2016
article

Featured Commentary

by Angelo M. Codevilla Friday, July 1, 2016
article
by Josef Joffe Friday, July 1, 2016
article

Related Commentary

by Max Boot Monday, June 27, 2016
article
interview with Victor Davis Hanson Friday, June 24, 2016
podcast
by Kori Schake Friday, July 1, 2016
article
by Barry Strauss Friday, July 1, 2016
article
by Bruce Thornton Monday, June 27, 2016
article
by Max Boot Monday, June 20, 2016
article

Pages

Explore Research

Filter By:

Topic

Type

Author

Section

Enter comma-separated IDs of authors
Enter comma-separated IDs of contributors

Support the Hoover Institution

Join the Hoover Institution's community of supporters in advancing ideas defining a free society.

Support Hoover

Related Commentary

The Key Technological Breakthrough: Avoiding Death

by Bing West via Strategika
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What technological breakthroughs could recalibrate military operations in the tradition of the tank, guided missile, jet aircraft, or nuclear weapon? It’s not the technologies; rather, it is the motivation driving the technologies that has changed. The American Way of War has reverted back to the pre-1775 style called “skulking”: you try to kill your enemy while staying alive. 

Related Commentary

The Next Revolution in Military Affairs

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Strategika
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

History is replete with examples of revolutions in military affairs, or RMAs, the name for changes in warfare wrought by a combination of technological breakthroughs, organizational adaptations, and doctrinal innovations that lead to new and more effective methods of conducting military operations. 

Related Commentary

Defending the Final Frontier

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Strategika
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The capacity to protect one’s own military satellite network while destroying the enemy’s—entirely feasible well within a decade—would relegate an enemy’s military operations to pre-modern levels.

Related Commentary

Technological Advances, Diminishing Results

by Max Bootvia Strategika
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The former secretary of defense, Ash Carter, fervently hoped that technology would transform military operations in the near-future in ways favorable to the United States. He put billions of dollars behind what is called the “third offset strategy.”

Featured Commentary

America Respected Vs. Global Security

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Strategika
Thursday, January 26, 2017

George Kennan wrote that Americans in 1905 had not imagined threats from abroad, but that by 1950 they could hardly think of anything else. In the intervening half century, U.S. foreign policy had adopted the maxim that America’s security is inseparable from the rest of the world’s peace and progress. Accordingly, Woodrow Wilson’s Great War, his settlement thereof, and subsequent American-led treaties for global peace and arms control sought to “make the world safe for democracy.” 

Background Essay

Blast From The Past: The Strategic Realignment Of The United States In The Trump Administration

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Strategika
Thursday, January 26, 2017

As Donald Trump assumes office as the nation’s 45th president, questions swirl regarding the strategic trajectory and alignment of the United States during his administration. Mr. Trump campaigned on a platform of putting “America First,” but the policy details of what exactly this means were, to put it mildly, lacking.

Featured Commentary

Trump’s Strategic Realignments

by Bing West via Strategika
Thursday, January 26, 2017

“Likely,” when considering what strategic realignments the Trump administration will embrace to restore American deterrence and enhance global security, is the least likely adverb to apply to predictions. A Wall Street Journal review of 6,500 market predictions by economic experts found that most were wrong. 

Related Commentary

Russia in 2030

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Strategika
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

It has become increasingly clear that Russia is on the inexorable path toward restoring its territory on the old map of the USSR. Whether Moscow will be able to achieve such a grandiose scheme to recreate another Soviet Union-size Rodina has been traditionally believed to depend on the strength and willingness of NATO and Europe to counter such Russian ambition. The assumption is that if the counterthrusts from the West are robust enough, Moscow will fail in its attempt, otherwise Russia’s territorial map will look like the Soviet Union in 2030.

Related Commentary

Russia’s Borders In Thirty Years: A Vision, Not A Certainty

by Ralph Petersvia Strategika
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

We cannot project with any assurance where Russia’s boundaries will lie in thirty years. There are far too many variables, from the Islamist contagion to China’s appetite and others yet unknown. But we do know roughly what Russia’s current czar would like those borders to be, should an enervated world continue to bow to Moscow’s will.

Related Commentary

Russia: Its Boundaries In 2050

by Williamson Murrayvia Strategika
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In the late 1960s, Charles de Gaulle is reputed to have commented that the Soviet Union would collapse before the end of the twentieth century and that Russia itself would find its eastern borders back on the Urals before the twenty-first century had ended. Given our focus on the present it is impossible to predict what the future will look like thirty years down the road. Nevertheless, given the arrogant machinations of Putin and his crew of kleptomaniacs in destabilizing the small states on Russia’s western borders, it is not difficult to argue that Russia that may well regain much of its political, if not direct, control over its Baltic neighbors, Belarus, and Ukraine, not to mention the small states in the Caucasus. But such a prediction would miss looking at the troubles that Russia faces to the east.

Pages


The Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict strives to reaffirm the Hoover Institution's dedication to historical research in light of contemporary challenges, and in particular, reinvigorating the national study of military history as an asset to foster and enhance our national security. Read more.

Is there a military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Stay Up To Date!

Be notified when an new issue is available.

Subscriptions »

RSS Feed Subscription

subscribe and listen on iTunes

Strategika is an online journal that analyzes ongoing issues of national security in light of conflicts of the past—the efforts of the Military History Working Group of historians, analysts, and military personnel focusing on military history and contemporary conflict.

Our board of scholars shares no ideological consensus other than a general acknowledgment that human nature is largely unchanging. Consequently, the study of past wars can offer us tragic guidance about present conflicts—a preferable approach to the more popular therapeutic assumption that contemporary efforts to ensure the perfectibility of mankind eventually will lead to eternal peace. New technologies, methodologies, and protocols come and go; the larger tactical and strategic assumptions that guide them remain mostly the same—a fact discernable only through the study of history.

To stay up to date when new issues are released, sign up here to be notified when a new Strategika is available.

Subscriptions »

 

The opinions expressed in Strategika are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hoover Institution or Stanford University.