It might. In which case, pre-emption by the
US against a country that does not threaten
us will have been avoided. Once you make
pre-emption a tactic to be used whenever
one country sees the other developing means
of attack, you set the stage for war by
what-if. There are too many what-ifs out there
that never come to fruition to be going to
war over them.
I'm sure that most of us have experienced the neighborhood bully growing up. Some brave soul eventually had to put him in his place and knock him on his rear. It's much the same here only with grownups.
Things don't work that way. The country strong enough to preempt can do it and probably will do it. That is US. Any other country has to face the fight with the preempted country and the likelihood of incurring US's disfavor It is like civilians carrying guns. Doesn't mean folks are just going to randomly blast each other because of mutual deterrence and because wrongful killing gets the Big Guys mad at you, i.e. the State with its police and jails. In this world the US is the State and police. We can preempt or just go squash somebody just because it makes US feel good, as in Kosovo, and it will not lead China to preempt anyone it would not have hit anyway because Chinese calculation is based entirely on what will US do. US is the Big Dog in the neighborhood. We do not set examples for others. Others do or not do based on how we might react, not on how they see US behave.