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Old September 9 2008, 06:06 PM   #23
Sci
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Re: Difference Between Earth Starfleet and the UESPA?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
I don't see how that makes sense, because the Federation is just that, a confederation of sovereign nations cooperating for mutual benefit and defense.
Erm.... No. If it was, it would be called the "United Confederation of Planets." That it is called the "Federation" means it is exactly that -- a federal state.
Ben Sisko said onscreen in "Battle Lines" that the Federation is "made up of over a hundred planets who have allied themselves for mutual scientific, cultural and defensive benefits." It is a federal republic -- I didn't mean to imply otherwise -- but it's one where the individual worlds are still largely autonomous.

After all, we're talking about whole planets, each one of which would have billions of citizens, thousands of regional and cultural subdivisions, etc. Look at how difficult it is to govern even one large country on the surface of a single planet. Imagine how much harder it would be to do that for an entire planet. Now imagine how exponentially harder it would be to do that for a hundred and fifty planets at once, especially when they're separated by vast distances in space and whose populations belong to whole different species with different values and priorities.

Trying to regulate all that with a single, monolithic government would be like herding cats. It's totally beyond the realm of practicality. The only way a system like that can work at all is if the individual worlds take the bulk of the responsibility for their own governance, economy, and internal affairs, with the federal government limiting itself to matters of mutual concern such as interstellar trade and diplomacy, overall defense, and so forth. Maybe a better analogy would be the US under the Articles of Confederation -- a federal union, but a loose one in which the states retain much autonomy. Nothing more is practical on an interstellar scale.
I would certainly agree that the Federation Member States retain considerably more autonomy than the constituent parts of most federal republics in existence today. But by the same token, I think that the Federation government is a bit more powerful than a mere alliance or confederation; it's pretty clear, for instance, that the Federation gets to conduct foreign relations for its Members without actually consulting them. If Andor objected to the Khitomer Accords, it's obvious that they still have a legal obligation to abide by them and that the Federation as a whole doesn't have to listen to them, and has the legal authority to use force to compel obedience to Federation law.

The Federation is definitely a federal republic, and its Members are much more autonomous than tends to be the case in real-life federal republics. But by the same token, the Federation is a state and retains all of the powers of one, and has far more legal authority than even the US under the Articles of Confederation.
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