Saturday, July 18, 2015

Nuclear negotiations

So the negotiations between Iran and the US over what to do with Iran's atempts to enrich uranium to produce enough material for an atomic bomb were in the news this week. For some reason, I was suddenly reminded of this scene from the end of the 1985 movie Spies Like Us:

Negotiations don't necessarily make a good topic for movies; I remember in college taking a course on the Soviet Union that covered in part the negotations in Reykjavik, Iceland in the late 1980s and the professor showed us a BBC TV movie about the negotiations that was not particularly exciting, other than the interesting tidbit about the Americans all going into a specially made soundproof capsule to discuss the negotiations. Apparently the Americans really did have such a capsule.

But when it comes to the movies, most of what passes for "negotiations" involves the "boots on the ground", so to say. That's probably because that's the sort of stuff that makes for interesting drama, and not the stuff that goes on among the professional negotiators. By analogy, think of all those jury movies and how overdone and not true to life they are. That, and how we were able to get a movie like Argo about rescuing six Americans from Teheran while the rest of the embassy staff were hostages, while nobody's thought of making a movie about the actual negotiations between the Carter administration and the Iranians that led to the hostages' ultimate release in January, 1981.

When it comes to nuclear "negotiations", then, it's really all those espionage movies. Ice Station Zebra would be a good example. The same theme also gave Roger Moore probably his best line in all the years he played James Bond. In For Your Eyes Only, the plot revolves around trying to recover a launch code computer for British nuclear torpedoes from a sunken ship. Bond gets it, but with the bad guys surrounding him at a clifftop Greek monastery. So Bond throws it off the cliff, utterly destorying it. "Détente: I don't have it; you don't have it," Bond drily delivers.

No comments: