In This Review

The Iran-Iraq War and Western Security, 1984-87
The Iran-Iraq War and Western Security, 1984-87
By Anthony H. Cordesman
Jane's Publishing (for the Royal United Services Institute), 1987, 185 pp.
Constraints on U.S. Strategy in Third World Conflicts
Constraints on U.S. Strategy in Third World Conflicts
By Stephen T. Hosmer
Crane, Russak, 1987, 188 pp.
Superpower Competition and Security in the Third World
Superpower Competition and Security in the Third World
Edited by Robert S. Litwak and Samuel F. Wells, Jr.
Ballinger, 1987, 320 pp.

Cordesman's careful chronology of what is probably the bloodiest war of the postwar era helps us understand why that war has gone on so long. His policy suggestions are thoughtful reminders that the West should be seeking to end the war on the right terms, not gloating over its prolongation, and that we have been dangerously misled by the oil glut to disregard energy planning. Hosmer's book is narrower than its title suggests-it is about constraints on U.S. military operations-but it is a useful survey of historical experience as seen through the eyes of policymakers: what constrained them, especially their concerns about Soviet reactions, and what induced them to relax the constraint? The Litwak-Wells volume, the product of a series of seminars at the Wilson Center in Washington, seeks to engage perspectives that rarely connect-those who see the roots of Third World insecurity in superpower or East-West terms and those who give pride of place to indigenous regional factors-and does so with an outstanding group of authors.