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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 / 19 / 2017
E.g., 9 / 19 / 2017
Friday, December 19, 2014

Issue 20

How might the U.S. reboot its Middle East policy and restore confidence in U.S. power and influence?

Background Essay

by Joshua Muravchik Friday, December 19, 2014
article

Featured Commentary

by Kimberly Kagan Friday, December 19, 2014
article
by Colonel Joseph (Joe) Felter (ret.) Friday, December 19, 2014
article

Related Commentary

by Thomas Donnelly Friday, December 19, 2014
article
by Walter Russell Mead Friday, December 19, 2014
article
by Kori Schake Friday, December 19, 2014
article
by Barry Strauss Friday, December 19, 2014
article
by Bing West Friday, December 19, 2014
article
by Peter R. Mansoor Tuesday, February 17, 2015
article
Monday, November 10, 2014

Issue 19

What is the likely trajectory of Chinese-Japanese tensions and how will the United States be affected?

Background Essay

by Miles Maochun Yu Monday, November 10, 2014
article

Featured Commentary

by Angelo M. Codevilla Monday, November 10, 2014
article
by Mark Moyar Monday, November 10, 2014
article

Related Commentary

by Angelo M. Codevilla Monday, November 10, 2014
article
by Miles Maochun Yu Monday, November 10, 2014
article
Monday, September 1, 2014

Issue 18

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

Background Essay

by Andrew Roberts Monday, September 1, 2014
article

Featured Commentary

by Thomas H. Henriksen Monday, September 1, 2014
article
by Kori Schake Monday, September 1, 2014
article

Related Commentary

by Peter Berkowitz Tuesday, September 16, 2014
article
by Peter Berkowitz Wednesday, August 6, 2014
article
by Victor Davis Hanson Thursday, September 11, 2014
article
by Victor Davis Hanson Wednesday, August 20, 2014
article
by Victor Davis Hanson Tuesday, August 5, 2014
article
by Victor Davis Hanson Tuesday, July 29, 2014
article
by Edward N. Luttwak Sunday, July 20, 2014
article
by Bruce Thornton Monday, July 21, 2014
article
by Bruce Thornton Tuesday, April 8, 2014
article

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Related Commentary

The Strategic Problems of Grexit

by Barry Strauss via Strategika
Friday, July 1, 2016

With Britain posed to exit the European Union, other European countries might reconsider their own status. None has a more fraught relationship with the EU than Greece, primarily because of its experience with the Euro. And what if Greece leaves the Eurozone?

Related Commentary

The Potential Perils of Grexit

by Kori Schakevia Strategika
Friday, July 1, 2016

Would a Grexit from the Eurozone create any strategic problems? Absolutely. If other Eurozone countries force Greece out of the currency union, we should expect it to have a deeply damaging effect on the NATO alliance, which remains the crucial lever by which the United States organizes security contributions from European countries.

Featured Commentary

Brexit: How Much Contagion, How Many Strategic Consequences?

by Josef Joffevia Strategika
Friday, July 1, 2016

Will Britain’s departure from the EU set off a stampede, prompting other members to bolt? The probability ranges from “very low” to “nil.” Like Tolstoy’s oft-invoked unhappy family, every EU member is unhappy in his own way, but none will take the plunge. For one, everyone is feeling in his own body politic Britain’s buyer’s remorse on the day thereafter. The pound took the largest hit in more than thirty years.

Related Commentary

Brexit: Isolationism or Atlanticism?

by Max Bootvia Commentary
Monday, June 27, 2016

Britons might never have voted to leave the European Union had it not been for the refugee crisis that hit Europe as a result of the Syrian civil war. Even though Britain has accepted only some 5,000 Syrian refugees, German premier Angela Merkel agreed to take in 800,000, thus fueling fears across the continent of an influx of possible terrorists. 

Related Commentary

The EU-Progressive Paradigm is Falling Apart

by Bruce Thorntonvia FrontPage Mag.com
Monday, June 27, 2016

The rise of populist and patriotic passions.

The Classicist with Victor Davis Hanson:
Related Commentary

The Classicist: “Brexit and the Future of Europe”

interview with Victor Davis Hansonvia The Classicist
Friday, June 24, 2016

What the UK’s split from Brussels means for the future.

Related Commentary

Why Brexit alarms Britain’s Baltic allies

by Max Bootvia The Washington Post
Monday, June 20, 2016

The world is transfixed by Britain’s referendum Thursday over whether to stay in the European Union. Some of the most interested and anxious spectators of the “Brexit” debate are in the Baltic republics, where I recently spent a week meeting with political and military leaders as part of a delegation from the Jamestown Foundation.

Related Commentary

Learning What Not To Do: The North Korean Nuclear Example

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Strategika
Friday, May 27, 2016

There are no historical precedents to justify current American confidence that the treaty with Iran will prevent it from going nuclear. There are, however, historical precedents of how unauthorized and unhelpful secret back channels have derailed ongoing major U.S. governmental diplomatic initiatives and negotiations that involve difficult players.

Related Commentary

Blinded by the Light? What It Will Take for the Iran Deal to Succeed

by Bing West via Strategika
Friday, May 27, 2016

Before addressing history, it should be pointed out that the Obama agreement (it is not a treaty) provides Iran with the expertise, systems, and unimpeded bridge to nuclear weapons within about twelve years. Iran can abide by the agreement and still become a power with nuclear weapons.

Related Commentary

Iran Without Nuclear Weapons: We Can Only Hope

by Barry Strauss via Strategika
Friday, May 27, 2016

History suggests three ways to prevent a state that has the capacity of going nuclear from exercising that option. The first is a security guarantee in exchange for denuclearization. The former Soviet republic of Ukraine took this route in 1994, when it gave up its extensive nuclear stockpile and jointed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty upon a promise of respect for its territorial integrity from the United States, Britain, and Russia. 

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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?

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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.

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