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The right to individual and collective self-defense in international law and politics has always been a controversial issue. Using the example of how the US employs self-defense against Iraq, this book uncovers new dimensions, which lead to innovative and practical strategies and analysis. It takes into account legal norms, politics and scholarly debates on self-defense in the post cold-war world and shows how power, security, polarity and the primacy of sovereign states play out in an international context. Three overarching themes constitute the backdrop, namely international anarchy, unipolarity and the decentralized nature of international law.