In This Review

The Middle East Military Balance, 1999-2000
The Middle East Military Balance, 1999-2000
Edited by Shlomo Brom and Yiftah Shapir
MIT Press, 2000, 477 pp

A product of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, this once-annual volume has reappeared after several years of absence and offers the usual mix of analytical essays and tabular data. Unfortunately, it lacks the high quality of some of its predecessors. First, the essays attempt to cover too much -- a wide array of bilateral and multilateral balances in too short a space. Furthermore, the authors devote a great deal of attention to the acquisition of technology but little to sociological or doctrinal matters. They also include an essay on airpower using arcane weighting methodology that will confuse some readers and leave others unconvinced. The tabular data is only as good as the reputation of the authors, who are solid Israeli experts in their field. But without some greater knowledge of sources and methods, one is no more disposed to believe this book over other main sources of technical military data. A useful reference work, but the exceptional quality of previous volumes in this series leaves this book in the shadows.