“You know nothing, absolutely nothing about them other than the fact that they are a species that is able to cross the vastness of space… You do not know whether that other species is able to exterminate humanity… On the other hand, you could attack them right away…”
If we know so little about them, how would it make sense, even to the most hard-headed of militarists, to “attack them right away”?
You say we don’t know whether they are able to exterminate us. Do we know whether or not we are able to exterminate them?
What are the likely consequences for ourselves, if we try to destroy an advanced alien species and only succeed in provoking them?
“and gain the priceless wartime advantage of surprise.”
I know surprise is an advantage in war. But it’s not always enough to ensure victory.
Please consider the outcome of the biggest surprise attack in history, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. What were the consequences for Germany?