Nerys Ghemor wrote:
How is ceding Cardassian territories necessary? Honestly, I think taking away any ante bellum territory would be a very bad idea for similar reasons to those I outlined in the second part of my response. And I am including the DMZ colonies in that. (Though in the case of those planets, if I were the Federation, I'd lean on Cardassia to institute some sort of home rule similar to what's been done for Scotland in the UK: ultimately answerable to Cardassia Prime, but with a higher degree of autonomy.)
I think it would have been necessary, not only from a strategic standpoint, but also from a diplomatic one. Just because they shared a common enemy in battle, that doesn't mean that the Federation's allies are going going to stop looking out for themselves. The Klingons and the Romulans aren't going to just skulk back to their homeworlds while the Feds put the shattered pieces of the Union back together. All the parties involved lost hundreds of millions in the war, and based on what I know about their respective philosophies and customs, these two superpowers are going to expect something more out of it than just a defeated foe. That's not saying it's the right decision for the long term stability, but it is the realistic outcome.
The Klingons would probably try it but especially given that Martok has the chancellorship, I suspect the Federation could lean on them to renounce their claim. ESPECIALLY if the Cardassians decide to get really loud about Septimus III.
As for the Romulans...whether or not they actually feel said expectation would probably have to do with what they think they can get out of the postwar scenario. I think they could see potential for a bigger prize than a bunch of devastated, resource-poor worlds.
Consider this: if the Federation and the Klingons have to take the whole reconstruction burden on themselves--especially
if the Federation does have to go it alone like I suggested, their forces would be seriously spread thin in the relief and defense efforts. The Federation would essentially be in the position of having to defend its borders AND the Cardassian Union's borders, not to mention be pouring in a HELL of a lot of resources into Cardassia if they decide to go for a full-out Marshall Plan. This after their fleet taking a beating in the War, and having known manpower shortages. Not to mention being psychologically exhausted.
The Romulans have been in the war the least amount of time. Comparatively, they may have fewer losses and more psychological reserves in addition to physical resources. With a heavily-burdened Federation that's having to administer two territories at once, and a pretty beaten-up Klingon Empire, the Romulans could definitely get up to some nasty tricks...things they might have reason to believe would score them a much bigger prize down the line, than anything the Cardassian Union has to offer.