View Full Version : Old Vulcan Proverb
03-24-2002, 12:33 PM
In the beggining of Star Trek Episode 6, after the meeting that determined Cap't Kirk would escort the Klingon ambasador, Spock gives the following words of wisdom to the space man:
"...Theres an old vulcan proverb that goes 'Only Nixon could go to China'..."
Any ideas on what Mr. Spock was trying to say?
03-24-2002, 12:47 PM
Search engine is your friend: What's the source of the adage: Only Nixon could go to China (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=74370&highlight=vulcan+nixon+spock).
03-24-2002, 01:45 PM
Before becoming President, Richard Nixon was widely perceived as a stern anti-communist. If a liberal Democratic President had tried open up relations with communist China, he'd have been attacked and vilified by many on the far right (perhaps, even by Nixon himself) for being so on communism. But since Nixon's anti-communist credentials were impeccable, he could make treaties with Chairman Mao, without anyone questioning his patriotism.
Well, when the Klingons first tried to make peace with the Federation, a lot of people on the Federation side were skeptical. If a "peacenik" diplomat on the Federation side tried to make a pact with the Klingons, hawks within the Federation would have been skeptical, and many might have viewed that diplomat as a traitor.
But since James T. Kirk had spent his whole career battling Klingons, and since his hated of Klingons was well-known, HE was in a perfect position to negotiate a peace treaty, since nobody in the Federation could view him as a coward, a weakling or a "Klingon lover."
Point is, people often accept or even embrace proposals from their allies that they'd NEVER accept if propose by their enemies.
03-24-2002, 01:47 PM
While I do not know of the source of the adage, I do know it's meaning.
Nixon was the chief partner of red baiting anti-communist Joe McCarthy in the U.S. Senate. He made a career of tarring people with the label of communist and assassinating their characters thusly. (For the politically active on this board, I have no opinion on whether Nixon's "conviction" of Alger Hiss was true or not, nor do I care.)
He created such a climate of anti-Red hysteria, that had anyone tried to do what he did with opening diplomatic ties to China, they risked being destroyed by Nixon and his cronies as too chummy with the Red Chinese. So of course only Nixon could go to China, as he had poisoned it for everyone else.
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