Why America Shouldn’t Threaten Preemptive War

Continually pushing for dominance in the backyards of the world’s nuclear powers is madness.

by Doug Bandow
October 21, 2018

As a Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchinson was a moderate conservative. But as the current U.S. ambassador to NATO, Hutchinson seemed to lose her prior restraints. She appeared to threaten an attack on Russia.

Moscow is developing a new cruise missile which Washington claims would violate the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty. If Russia proceeds, said Hutchinson, then the Putin government would be put “on notice” of possible “countermeasures,” which “would be to take out the missiles that are in development by Russia in violation of the treaty.”

She warned that action could come when Moscow had developed its new weapon “to a point where we know they are capable of delivering. And at that point we would then be looking at a capability to take out a missile that could hit any of our countries in Europe and hit America in Alaska.”

After her remarks triggered an international furor she insisted that she was not warning of a preemptive strike. Maybe the problem was just a maladroit expression. After all, the new missiles really don’t change the threat facing America: Russia already is capable of hitting any target in America with its strategic missile force.

But Hutchinson’s remarks were so disturbing because any preventive strikes would ensure Russian retaliation and the potential for full-blown war. The United States avoided taking direct military action against Moscow throughout the Cold War, even during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Attacking the Russian homeland during peacetime would be simply mad.

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However, hubris has dangerously infected America’s relationship with Moscow.

Read more at https://nationalinterest.org/feature/why-america-shouldnt-threaten-preemptive-war-33927