Nerys Ghemor wrote:
To me it cuts to an even bigger issue: is it me, or has the Federation got a habit of making and excusing some pretty shady allies? They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps--and same for a government...
Well, it's not like they have a lot of options. Consider the powers that surround them -- the Klingon Empire, the Romulan Star Empire, the Cardassian Union, the Ferengi Alliance, the Tzenkethi Coalition, the Breen Confederacy, the Gorn Hegemony, the Tholian Assembly, the Talarian Republic. Frankly, the Federation doesn't have a lot of nice folks to make friends with -- the closest would be the Ferengi Alliance.
And besides the point, peaceful and friendly relations are certainly better than antagonistic relations. The Federation ends up in a better position in terms of its security, and it then has the opportunity to influence the internal politics of allied societies so that they're less, well, evil. The Ferengi Alliance began instituting Federation-style reforms within 11 years of making first contact with the UFP; the last two Klingon Chancellors were installed by Federation Starfleet officers... Etc.
An alliance with an evil government is still just the best option.