preventive war

noun Military.
an attack against a possible enemy to prevent an attack by that enemy at a later time.
Also called preemptive strike.

1630–40 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Example sentences
But a preventive war is not an ounce but a ton of prevention.
For powerful countries to adopt a principle of preventive war may well set an example that can have catastrophic consequences.
But, in my opinion, there is no such thing as a preventive war.
Faced with shrinking means, great powers are thought to have few options to stave off decline short of preventive war.
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