In This Review

Soviet Ballistic Missile Defense And The Western Alliance
Soviet Ballistic Missile Defense And The Western Alliance
By David S. Yost
Harvard University Press, 1988, 405 pp
Missile Defenses And Western European Security
Missile Defenses And Western European Security
By Robert M. Soofer
Greenwood Press, 1988, 174 pp

After all that has been written on strategic defense, it would seem hard to contribute to the debate. Yost does so, however, and as is characteristic of his thoughtful writing, he does so by basing his conclusions for Western policy on a meticulous and richly documented treatment of Soviet missile defense programs. Soofer's is a brief for missile defense, both strategic and tactical, "to deny the Soviets the benefit of their nuclear and conventional superiority." His book has the virtue of making its premises explicit-for instance, that a transition toward defense is not as dangerous as is often assumed because the Soviet Union would have no more incentive to launch a first strike then than now, and that before Moscow matched NATO's missile defenses, NATO would have time to improve its conventional defenses.