This chapter examines justificatory theory of international law in relation to government officials, with particular emphasis on the decision to go to war. It uses “officials” to refer to key officials of the executive branch, such as the president, prime minister, and top cabinet ministers, when they act in international cases on behalf of their state. The discussion guides decisionmakers in adjusting obsolete rules on self-defense rather than rejecting them and risking disorder as other decisionmakers abandon the basis of world order. It explores these ideas by analyzing of the 1990 Gulf War, the 1999 bombing of Serbia by NATO, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
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