The Military Balance 2009

The Military Balance 2009

Publishing House: Routledge - London

The annual edition of the publication has been launched on January 27 2009, at the headquarters of the International Institute for Strategic Studies , London, and it has been introduced by the IISS General Director, Dr. John Chipman, together with the leading authors of the book.

As it is usually structured, the work presents the capabilities of the national armed forces in 170 states, as well as the potential of the military production. The book analyzes the main development trends of the military and economic situation, the evolutions which may affect the security policy and the commerce with military equipments and other technical means intended for military use.

This edition focuses on some specific topics such as the operations in Iraq, as well as the evolution of the military participation in Afghanistan. Considering the presidential elections which will take place in 2009 in Afghanistan, the authors believe that one of the most important missions of the international troops is to secure the country so that a credible election process might take place.

In Europe, the 60th anniversary of NATO is mentioned, and also the need for the Alliance to enhance its efforts to define the missions objectives and the criteria of success. Also, there is a need to re-examine the NATO membership plan in light of the conflict between Russia and Georgia.

In South Asia, a special place is occupied by the army of China, which has been confronted with numerous internal problems in 2008 (natural disasters, the Olympic Games). Also, there is a bigger tendency for transparency has been observed: during the earthquake, there has been a military spokesman. However, at least in the USA, it seems that the Chinese army ought to be more transparent in presenting its current and future activities.

In Africa, conflicts continue to dominate the debates on security and defense topics: the violence in Congo has led to over 250,000 civilian refugees. Also, there are the issues in Darfur and Somalia, including the matter of piracy.

Of course, there are analyses on the issues that the new American Administration will have to deal with in the field of defense, and so the Pentagon still led by Robert Gates will have to analyze the military issues in the context of the economic crisis which will unavoidably influence the quantum of military expenses.

The book contains 49 charts and comparative data which are very useful and interesting (defense budgets, import contracts for military equipments for different countries and areas, insurgent groups from various countries, UN military operations, etc.). Also, there are several maps (the war Russia- Georgia, Iraq, Afghanistan, piracy incidents in Somalia, NATO cooperation and partnership programs and so on).

Also, a very detailed wall map with the current areas of conflict is included, accompanied by explanatory charts.

The book which has almost 500 pages can be ordered directly from the Publishing House or from on-line bookshops for the approximate price of 400 dollars.


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