Lessons to be learned from Spock

Even with the death of Leonard Nimoy, some of his material is startlingly relevant in Iran talks.

Jared Rogers-Martin

The death of “Star Trek” actor Leonard Nimoy last week coincidentally occurred at a pivotal time in U.S. foreign policy history. Empty-handed, Secretary of State John Kerry approaches the United States Senate’s March deadline to reach a nuclear nonproliferation deal with Iran.

Lt. Commander Spock, the “Star Trek” character that made Nimoy famous, often found himself in similar scenarios aboard the fictional USS Enterprise. The Enterprise’s journey through space revolutionized television programming in the 1960s by offering social commentary on political statecraft through visions of the future, most noticeably about the Cold War with Russia.

Nimoy embodied a very specific part of the social commentary that made “Star Trek” so famous. Lt. Commander Spock was a half-human, half-alien who sought to repress all emotions in order to approach diplomatic missions with an austere adherence to logic and reason. Spock’s placid nature often saved the day by pacifying Captain Kirk’s cowboy diplomacy tactics in meetings with the antagonistic Klingons.

The talks with Iran need a Spock-like presidential voice to quell the heated political opposition coming from both sides of the Senate’s floor. Right now, congressional fears about Iran’s nuclear program only breed resentment and mistrust.

In order for Kerry to find a truly diplomatic and fair resolution, it would be wise for us to remember the calm logic of Nimoy’s Spock so that we might all be able to “live long and prosper.”