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In real life it's the certainty about a nation's intentions that's the bottleneck.

Are you sure about that? The two cases where I think the preemptive strikes might have been most effective (Russia in 1918 and Germany in 1934) are also the cases where the governments were quite outspoken about their aggressive intentions.

That's what I mean. Usually being sure about the intentions is the hard part, and the cases where being sure about the intentions is easy are generally the cases where a preemptive strike is justified.
Silent Cal
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