In This Review

Soviet Military Policy Since World War II
Soviet Military Policy Since World War II
By William T. Lee and Richard F. Staar
Hoover Press, 1986, 263 pp
The Myth of Soviet Military Supremacy
The Myth of Soviet Military Supremacy
By Tom Gervasi
Harper & Row, 1986, 545 pp

The enormous differences-in basic assumptions, solutions, interpretation of facts and policy conclusions-among analysts of Soviet military policy cannot be better illustrated than with the simultaneous appearance of these two books. Lee and Staar, writing from the Hoover Institution at Stanford (with a foreword by William Van Cleave), are the "hard-liners" in the debate. They rely heavily upon the Soviet military literature and see an unrelenting and thus far successful Soviet drive for military dominance in Europe and over the United States. Gervasi's point of view is almost the direct opposite. Relying essentially upon Western sources, it argues that "in almost every category of military equipment the United States and its Western allies hold a substantial lead and an enormous lead in quality over the East." The first book takes on the Carter Administration, the second the Reagan Administration. Neither, to this reviewer, is as persuasive or as credible as the works of the International Institute for Strategic Studies or the Brookings Institution. But they do illustrate, only too well, that polemicists on either side have ample brick and mortar with which to construct their cases and, to give them credit, both these books do their respective jobs very well.