ratio of strength between two sides innterms of numbers and quality of weaponsnis no guide to ability to win or to deter annattack; a fact demonstrated by thenGerman victory in the West in 1940 andnIsrael’s victories over the Arabs in fournwars. The efifectiveness of arms dependsnon who is using them; planning andnstrategy counts as much as numbers, ifnnot more.nIn Mearsheimer’s view, the ability tondeter a conventional attack is largely anfunction of strategy, and very much anmatter of preventing an enemy fromnacquiring the ability—or the belief in hisnability—to make a blitzkrieg strategyneffective. In his use of the term “blitzkrieg,”nMearsheimer is a bit idiosyncratic,ngiving it a definition narrower thannthat which is usually used. To him, anblitzkrieg is a strategy aimed at a quicknvictory through paralysis and disruptionnof enemy forces rather than their destruction.nMearsheimer lumps all effortsnto win by destroying or encirclingnenemy forces together as variants ofn”attrition,” thus using “attrition” in anbroader sense than usual. Ironically,nMearsheimer’s juggling of definitions,nwhich is not really very usefiil, has theneffect of denying die German conquestnof Poland in 1939 the tide blitzkrieg—nthough that was the very event that lednto the coining of the term. Some ofnMearsheimer’s historical evaluations arenalso surprising and questionable, e.g.,nthat mobility and the use of tanks innwarfare do not, in themselves, favornoffense over defense. The experience ofnboth World Wars and Korea seem toncontradict this. Even in cases wherensweeping armored ad^^nces are impossible,ntanks have often made a decisivendifference in enabling primarily infantrynforces to advance. Mearsheimer’s attemptnto refute such critics of NATO’sn”forward strategy” and advocates ofn”mobile defense” as Edward Luttwak,nmay also be founded on a narrow readingnof the historical record. Mearsheimernclaims that there are only threencases on record of a blitzkrieg beingnstopped by a mobile defense of the sortnurged by Luttwak. The record showsnquite afewmore, notably von Manstein’snvictory in South Russia in 1943. It is alsonby no means true that the Soviets’nstrategy against nazi Germany in WorldnWar II was one of simple attrition,nthough here Mearsheimer’s odd definitionnmay obscure his meaning.nM.earsheimer, however, accepts thatnthe Soviets would like to be able tonlaunch a blitzkrieg in Europe. He is &irlynoptimistic in his assessment of theirninability to do so. The Warsaw Pact,nwhile possessinganumerical superioritynin men and arms, is not strong enough tonmake NATO’s defense hopeless. (He dismissesntheir ability to launch a “standingnstart” or “bolt from the blue” attack.)nMoreover, the terrain and urban sprawlnin Germany are not too favorable tonSoviet aims, canalizing an attacker’snmove into three relatively narrow andnidentifiable targets. Unlike many commentators,nhe maintains that “NATO isnreasonably well-deployed to meet anSoviet blitzkrieg,” and that even thennnforces of Britain and the Low Countries,nwhose abilities have been widely doubted,nshould be able to fulfill their responsibilities.nTraditional characteristics ofnthe Soviet forces, such as their extremelyncentralized control and the lack ofnencouragement, or even aspiration, forninitiative in the lower ranks, are notnfavorable to the quick exploitation ofnopportunities needed to effect a blitzkrieg—though,nhe stresses, the SovietnArmy is a formidable enemy. Further,ntechnological changes such as thendevelopment of precision-guided munitionsn(PGMs) and the introduction ofnin&ntry-fighting vehicles, tend to reducenthe possibilities of a blitzkrieg. ThoughnMearsheimer cautions against claimsnthat such weapons are about to make thentank obsolete, they will force tanks tonoperate more cautiously and make themnmore dependent on slower, and lessblitzkrieg-orientednarms. In general, thenproblems &cing the attackers are growingnmore complicated. PGMs will notncause a revolution in warfere, but theyni21nAugust 1984n