In This Review

The Strategic Defense Initiative: Shield Or Snare
The Strategic Defense Initiative: Shield Or Snare
Edited by Harold Brown
Westview Press, 1987, 297 pp
Star Wars: The Economic Fallout
Star Wars: The Economic Fallout
Edited by Rosy Nimroody
Ballinger, 1988, 234 pp
Strategic Defense and Arms Control
Strategic Defense and Arms Control
Edited by Alvin M. Weinberg and Jack N. Barkenbus
Paragon House, 1988, 263 pp
Star Wars and European Defence
Star Wars and European Defence
Edited by Hans Gunter Brauch
St. Martin's, 1987, 599 pp

For anyone who has missed the SDI debate and wants to catch up, the Brown volume is a useful primer. In their careful chapter on the macroeconomics of SDI, Barry Blechman and Victor Utgoff estimate the opportunity cost of a comprehensive defense as equivalent to a $570 annual tax surcharge for citizens earning $30,000 to $50,000. The Nimroody book, the result of a Council on Economic Priorities project, presents a still sharper conclusion, arguing that the Reagan SDI program "harbors . . . serious threats to the economy," especially if early contracts build political momentum behind the program. Weinberg and Barkenbus make clear their moral preference for a defense-dominated nuclear world-specifically for a defense-protected arms build-down-but they are fair-minded enough to report their surprise that not all their contributors agreed; indeed their own epilogue is as good a synthesis of the defense-offense arguments as there is anywhere. The Brauch volume disaggregates the European reaction to SDI in country-by-country chapters-helpful source material, if probably more than most readers will need.