Preemptive War

How can first strike advantages lead to war?

Takeaway Points

  1. Preemptive war occurs when the advantages of striking first outweigh the costs of war, thus destroying the bargaining range.
  2. First strike advantages rarely outweigh those costs, so we don’t think preemptive wars occur frequently.
  3. Smaller first strike advantages reduce the size of the bargaining range regardless, so those advantages can contribute to the outbreak of other types of wars.
  4. Preemptive war is distinctly different from preventive war. Do not confuse the two.