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.
This has never been historically true.
Really? So the United States and the United Kingdom should not have allied themselves with the Soviet Union during World War II -- even thought they may never have been able to defeat Nazi Germany without the Soviet alliance?
I'm not saying that allying yourself with an evil government is ever a good
thing, or that it's ever just easy, or that it won't contain risks and costs and consequences. I'm not saying it will never come back and bite you in the ass. I'm not saying that it's always, or even usually, what liberal democracies ought to do.
What I AM saying is this:
1) Sometimes, in especially dire situations, it is necessary. The US and UK needed the USSR to defeat the Nazis; the Federation needed the Klingons and the Romulans to defeat the Dominion.
2) When liberal democracies DO form alliances or agreements with evil governments, sometimes the result can be that their good "corrupts" that evil government's nature. Does anyone really expect the regime in China to survive as the world becomes more and more interconnected and liberalized? I don't.