White's analysis is meticulous but unduly complicated, and disregards the political dimensions of the threat and actual use of force against Iraq. The UN Charter is binding on its signatories in proscribing, through Article 2.4, both actions. After the 1991 defeat of Iraq, following its invasion of Kuwait, there was no longer any authorization to use force in the absence of a Security Council resolution to this effect. The reaction to the 1990/91 invasion and fighting was an application of the rules of collective security under a UN mandate. Thereafter there has been an erosion of the UN'. authority and international law, particularly in 1998 through threatened and real attacks on Iraq, Sudan and Afghanistan (and by NATO in former Yugoslavia). The end of this slippery slope could be a return to the balance-of-power and war system where war is regarded as a legitimate military means towards a political end.