Abstract In September 2002 the President of the United States issued a new National Security Strategy. Under the impact of 9/11 the authors of this NSS argue that the United States needs to pre-emptively attack rogue states that try to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and have links to terrorists who might use these WMDs against the United States or its allies. This article analyzes this so-called 'Bush doctrine' asking about its legality, justice and feasibility in the present world order. Furthermore, it attempts to show which underlying tacit assumptions the authors of the NSS must make to give their argument for a right to forcible regime change plausibility. To do so the NSS is being contrasted with a realistic utopian concept of an idealized international order in which preventive defense and regime change might seem justifiable.
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