MISCELLANEOUS

dated October 14, 1953: Dangerous Neurosis:

Dr. Robert Oppenheimer set off a scintillating metaphor about how the atomic race would soon be like two scorpions in a bottle, each capable of killing the other, only at the risk of his own life. But the armaments race is not a good subject for metaphorical treatment. The image of two scorpions in a bottle is (a) a radically false picture of the atomic situation, and (b) it is an unmistakable symptom of a dangerous American neurosis. The picture is misleading because the world is not in the least like a bottle, and the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. are not now, and can never be, just two separate entities together enclosed in the bottle. The world does not consist of just two self-contained powers, each armed with weapons of annihilation. It consists of many powers, great and small, who have vital interest in atomic warfare and who will have an important say in the whole business. The notion that the U.S. and the USSR are bottled up face to face alone with one another is a neurotic illusion.

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