View Full Version : Foreign Policy: "Preemptive war" confused with "Preventive war"? Forign Policy Issue Resolved?

04-30-2012, 11:39 AM

A preemptive war is a war that is commenced in an attempt to repel or defeat a perceived offensive or invasion, or to gain a strategic advantage in an impending (allegedly unavoidable) war before that threat materializes. It is a war which preemptively 'breaks the peace'. The term: 'preemptive war' is sometimes confused with the term: 'preventive war'. The difference is that a preventive war is launched to destroy the potential threat of an enemy, when an attack by that party is not imminent or known to be planned, while a preemptive war is launched in anticipation of immediate enemy aggression.

Now consider if you will the following quotes from Dr. Paul on the subject.

"(A) war against Iraq initiated by the United States cannot be morally justified. The argument that someday
in the future Saddam Hussein might pose a threat to us means that any nation, any
place in the world, is subject to an American invasion without cause."
– Dr. Ron Paul, March 2002

As you can see... The bolded portion above is clearly more accurate a description of 'preventive' war than it of 'preemptive' war. But since in this quote Dr. Pauls use of either term is not present. Lest look at another quote.

"I think it is the acceptance just recently that we now promote preemptive war. I do not believe that’s part of the American tradition. We, in the past, have always declared war in the defense of our liberties or to aid somebody, but now we have accepted the principle of preemptive war. We have rejected the just-war theory of Christianity. And now, tonight, we hear that we’re not even willing to remove from the table a preemptive nuclear strike against a country that has done no harm to us directly and is no threat to our national security! I mean, we have to come to our senses about this issue of war and preemption ..." - Ron Paul.. 2007 Republican debate.

Again.. Although Dr. Paul uses the term 'preemptive' war... What he is describing is more akin to 'preventive' war.

Could it really be so that all this hoopla and misunderstanding of policy is a simple matter over minced words? Where thanks to policy from the previous administration(s) that arguably used 'preemptive' war as a gateway to both 'preventive' war (as well as precieved endless war), the lines between the 2 words 'preemptive' & 'preventive' have been blurred?

Consider this example...
Assume intel provides information that a foriegn nation is in fact taking steps to attack us... Assume also that in worse case scenario, that attempts of peace talks/negotiations ect with said nation have failed.

For the record (and I would serious like to know your views on this). As a hypothetical example... Which of the following would best describes Dr Pauls foriegn Policy as President of the United States?

a. Wait until we have suffered a physical attack at the potential cost of civialian american lives on our soverign soil before taking to arms. (what most people think and thus have a problem with foriegn policy in this area. Thanks MSM :( )


b. In case of imminent threat.. Gather the Intel, Establish clear goals and objectives, go to congress for a declaration of war, fight it, win it, get it over with and come home. thus eleminating said threat before it reached our soil. (which would fall under the definition of Preemptive war. although to save any confusion I would call it a 'just-preemptive' war)

in lieu of the two words being more clearly defined and obvious mixing up of them...I really wish I could or someone else would ask Dr. Paul this and get the answer-"strait from the horses mouth" as it were-and have it on film for all the world to see. I know there are tubes and quotes abound from Dr. Paul on the subject but if somehow through semantics/rhetoric he himself is mincing the 2 words. then it dosent help.

Can anyone else speak to this issue? and furthermore, If my theory here is correct, then can we somehow get the issue to the powers that be or do something to get it resolved???

05-08-2012, 04:01 AM
Bump...Hello? Any input at all please?

05-08-2012, 04:20 AM
You are making too big a deal about terms I think. Ron Paul explains his position quite well. I don't think anyone is confused because of the "official" definition of the term "preemptive" war.

05-08-2012, 10:31 AM
Considering that TPTB controlled media try to describe every distasteful regime as posing an imminent threat whether they actually do or not, then for all intents and purposes, pre-emptive and pre-ventive in the public discourse are the same thing.

05-08-2012, 10:38 AM
We now operate under the 'Presumptive' War Doctrine. There is money and power to be gained in perpetual war and therefore we can logically presume that we will remain in perpetual war.

05-08-2012, 10:40 AM
I beg to differ seeming as how a lot of folk out there seem to misinterpret Dr. Pauls foriegn policy as a "wait till we suffer an attack before taking action" type of forign policy. The opposition wastes no time in capitalizing on this misconception by the masses to spin it in their favor through fear mongering. Weve all been there... the whole I like Ron PAul except on forign policy crap...:rolleyes:

I think you missed the whole concept of this post... You put too much focus on the definition rather than what the possible misinterpretation means in the publics eyes and the problem it creates in gaining support. Though yes, I completly agree with you that Ron Paul explains this and lots of things quite well... The media and opposition however apparently does an even better job at selling misinterpretation and fear sadly. which leads to many NON Ron Paul insiders from even getting the full scoop. Thought this might help in making some inroads in gaining converts.

On a side note.. I was unaware that asking a question was making a big deal. but hey whatever man. RON PAUL 2012!