From Hitler’s Germany to Saddam’s Iraq
The Enduring False Promise of Preventive War
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In August 2017, President Trump threatened North Korean President Kim Jong-un with “fire and fury”; it was a blunt warning of the potential consequences if North Korea continued its drive to develop nuclear-tipped missiles with intercontinental reach. While the rhetoric was more provocative than the typical presidential pronouncement, this episode was just the latest flare-up of the preventive war temptation in American foreign policy.
Preventive war, as a strategy for neutralizing growing threats, is the subject of From Hitler’s Germany to Saddam’s Iraq, the new book by Scott Silverstone, Ph.D., Class of 2016 ASU Future of War Fellow. In the book, Professor Silverstone presents a paradoxical outcome that has plagued preventive war strategies across 2,500 years of history, in which operational military success against rising powers in the short-term most often creates greater strategic dangers over the long-term rather than eliminate them. The narrative cuts through the cacophony of the daily headlines to offer a fresh way of thinking about shifting threats while warning against the false promise that preventive military attacks will solve the problems that haunt our visions of the future.
Join New America for a conversation with Scott Silverstone, Ph.D. along with New America Vice President Peter Bergen.
Follow the conversation online using #20Years200Fellows and following@NAFellows.
Scott A. Silverstone, @SaSilverstone
Class of 2016 Future of War Fellow, New America
Professor of International Relations, United States Military Academy at West Point
Peter Bergen, @peterbergencnn
Vice President, Global Studies & Fellows, New America