|About the Book|
I picked this up from a used bookstore in Dayton OH, and was interested in the perspective of the cold war in 1967, following the Berlin Wall, the Cuban missile crisis, Korea and immediately preceding Vietnam. I found the perspective insightful, especially as it relates to US - Russian relations today.If you put a scorpion and tarantula together in a bottle the objective of their own self-preservation will impel them to fight each other to the death. For the moment, no understanding between them is possible. If either stopped fighting he would immediately be killed. From the point of view of each, the basic situation is that the other is trying to kill him. The cold war is not fundamentally a case of the wicked against the virtuous. Fundamentally it is the case of the scorpion and the tarantula in the bottle...There is a world of difference between the task of military liberation and that of military subjugation. The former is self-liquidating: when it is done the troops can march home. The latter involves a commitment of forces to which no end and no limit can be foreseen. Once a nationalistically aroused population has become antagonized by conquest and occupation, to set it free again becomes too dangerous. No task, however, is more unwelcome to a military commander or more demoralizing to his troops than the indefinite continued suppression of a hostile population.Alarmist language impels both sides to arm and prepare. On both sides reasonableness and moderation are discredited- the representatives of extremism tend to achieve the seats of influence and power. Each side is impelled by its own fears to bemonster the other, cultivating the image of a ravening beast, called the Enemy, that is bent on the enslavement of mankind. The situation is made to appear desperate, thereby justifying resort to measures of desperation.By using physical force in such a way as alienates consent one constantly increases the requirements of physical force to replace the consent that has been alienated. A vicious spiral develops that, continued, ends in the collapse of power.On Mao Tse-tungs victory in the Chinese civil war, and the prevailing US view that it represented a coup by the Soviets: Social pressure in the United States began to impose a sever limitation on freedom of speech, and this limitation, tending toe exclude the expression of all but one view of the international situation, isolated the American people from reality. This is what happens in a democracy under the stresses of wartime.On US military spending: In the United States the top staffs of the three military services have to give a major portion of their time, year in and year out, to preparing their requests for appropriations and to fighting their case for those requests through the various committees and subcommittees of both houses of Congress. They find themselves asking the Congressmen for the largest possible budgets on the basis of the magnitude of the foreign danger they have to meet. It is not their business to underestimate that danger. Additionally, there is a vast industrial complex, constituting a substantial part of the nations economy, that depends on Government contracts..On Castro demonizing the US: Every revolutionary regime, to gain the acquiescence of the people in the sacrifices it imposes on them, has to madden them with the specter of a monstrous external enemy.