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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 / 21 / 2017
E.g., 9 / 21 / 2017
Monday, April 3, 2017

Issue 40

Trump's New Nationalism

Background Essay

by Williamson Murray Monday, April 3, 2017
article

Featured Commentary

by Kori Schake Monday, April 3, 2017
article
by Mark Moyar Monday, April 3, 2017
article

Related Commentary

by Katherine A. Becker Monday, April 3, 2017
article
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Issue 39

New Military Technologies

Background Essay

by Thomas Donnelly Wednesday, March 15, 2017
article

Featured Commentary

by Colonel Joseph (Joe) Felter (ret.) Wednesday, March 15, 2017
article
by Kiron K. Skinner Wednesday, March 15, 2017
article

Related Commentary

by Max Boot Wednesday, March 15, 2017
article
by Angelo M. Codevilla Wednesday, March 15, 2017
article
by Peter R. Mansoor Wednesday, March 15, 2017
article
by Bing West Wednesday, March 15, 2017
article
Thursday, January 26, 2017

Issue 38

Revitalizing America’s Security

Background Essay

by Peter R. Mansoor Thursday, January 26, 2017
article

Featured Commentary

by Angelo M. Codevilla Thursday, January 26, 2017
article
by Bing West Thursday, January 26, 2017
article
Thursday, December 8, 2016

Issue 37

Putin and Russian Nationalism

Background Essay

by Ralph Peters Thursday, December 8, 2016
article

Featured Commentary

by Josef Joffe Thursday, December 8, 2016
article
by Miles Maochun Yu Thursday, December 8, 2016
article

Related Commentary

by Victor Davis Hanson Wednesday, December 7, 2016
article
by Josef Joffe Tuesday, January 24, 2017
article
by Michael McFaul Saturday, July 30, 2016
article
by Williamson Murray Tuesday, January 24, 2017
article
by Ralph Peters Tuesday, January 24, 2017
article
by Miles Maochun Yu Tuesday, January 24, 2017
article

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Featured Commentary

Challenges And Opportunities Facing The Trump Administration’s China Policy

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Strategika
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

In general, America profoundly lacks interest in communist ideology, a phenomenon Karl Marx would have called “the poverty of ideology.” As a result, our China policy by and large has failed to take into sufficient consideration the primal forces that motivate Chinese communist leadership in foreign and domestic affairs.

Background Essay

A China Policy That Works—For America

by Gordon G. Changvia Strategika
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Last March, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attempted to set American policy toward China for the next 50 years. Washington in its dealings with the Chinese state, he said, would be guided by the principles of “non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation.”

Featured Commentary

Precedents For The New Nationalism

by Kori Schakevia Strategika
Monday, April 3, 2017

Donald Trump has cultivated comparisons between himself and President Andrew Jackson by hanging the portrait of Jackson in the White House, making pilgrimage to Andrew Jackson’s grave, and pointedly emphasizing that he, like Jackson, “fought to defend forgotten men and women from the arrogant elite of his day.” It is a choice distressing to those who associate Jackson with illiberal policies of slavery, Indian removal, and refusing to enforce Supreme Court verdicts.

Background Essay

America Alone

by Williamson Murrayvia Strategika
Monday, April 3, 2017

Both in his campaign speeches and in his initial actions after taking office, Donald Trump has made it clear that he aims in his foreign policy to follow the path of dismantling America’s alliance system of turning away an economy that has emphasized globalization to one that is protected by tariffs, and of pursuing what he called one of “America first.” For many Americans, at least to those with some knowledge of the last 75 years, Trump’s direction appears to be a massive break with the past. It is not.

Featured Commentary

A Foreign Policy To Advance The Domestic Economy

by Mark Moyarvia Strategika
Monday, April 3, 2017

President Donald Trump’s avowedly nationalist foreign policy agenda has been roundly criticized, both in the United States and abroad, for its narrow focus on America’s own interests. Some of the critics see as aberrant the very notion of putting American interests first, warning that it will promote “tribalism” and prevent cooperation among nations. In actuality, every U.S. administration has put America’s interests ahead of those of other nations, and every president at some point acknowledged as much in public, although not as often or as brashly as President Trump.

Related Commentary

Trump’s Nationalism Is Nothing New

by Katherine A. Beckervia Strategika
Monday, April 3, 2017

“Nationalism”—like globalism and globalization—has become a loaded and ill-defined term. The ambiguity, some argue, is intentionally fostered by globalists. So, let us be clear: Globalization is concerned with business opportunities in a transnational and global market, as a prelude to creating worldwide homogeneity.

Background Essay

You Say You Want A Revolution?

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

To paraphrase the Beatles: Well, you know, you’d better free your mind instead; you may want a revolution but ought to settle for some evolution.

Featured Commentary

It’s Not Just The Technology: Beyond Offset Strategies

by Colonel Joseph (Joe) Felter (ret.)via Strategika
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A range of breakthrough technologies are emerging today that have the potential to radically change how we fight and deter threats across all conflict domains—air, land, sea, space, and cyber. Artificial intelligence, directed energy, robotics, and machine learning are just a few examples. 

Featured Commentary

Moving Forward: The Need For Innovations In Technology And Strategy

by Kiron K. Skinnervia Strategika
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Two broad sets of U.S. military strategies during the second half of the twentieth century combined ideas, innovation, and technology in ways that offset Soviet conventional (and later nuclear) superiority in arms and military forces. These strategies also contributed to the overall state of cold war, as opposed to hot war, between the two superpowers. Today, the Pentagon is hard at work on a framework to achieve military dominance over a far more diverse set of adversaries. 

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. 

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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.

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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.