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Old February 24 2009, 07:57 PM   #363
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Location: Montgomery County, State of Maryland
Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

Babaganoosh wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Meanwhile, the novels Section 31: Rogue and Last Full Measure have made it clear that the United Martian Colonies fought a war for independence against United Earth some time before ENT began.
Did they say why, though? Mars may not be as benevolent as you think. Despite what they might *claim*, they may be something other than the Unfairly Oppressed Colony(tm) and United Earth may not quite have been the Evil Dominating Imperialistic Homeworld(tm).
Well, the first thing I'd point out is that colonial wars of independence in world history have fairly rarely been built on false claims. I'm a firm believer that if the majority of a colony's populace favors independence, the "mother country" has a moral obligation to grant it, and has no right to keep that colony.

Of course, we haven't seen the War of Martian Independence--or, as the MACOS in Last Full Measure called it, the Martian Freehold Uprisings. You are completely accurate in noting that it may have been much more morally ambiguous than that. But even if it was, that just continues to prove my point -- that societies' moralities can be ambiguous, shifting things, and that we shouldn't presume conflict and hostility from them because of those very ambiguities.

Posted by ProtoAvatar:
There is a difference between the Falklands Wars and the Dominion War. If the Argentinians had won the war, they wouldn't have attacked the Americans with overwhelming force. The Dominion would have done this exact thing to the Romulans.
You know that. I know that. This does not mean that all Romulans knew that. "In the Pale Moonlight" made it clear that almost half the Romulan Senate thought that, too -- the problem was that the "isolationists," so to speak, had a bare majority. That's why Sisko set out to convince Senator Vreenak, the leader of the isolationists, that the RSE ought to join the war.

Either way, not exactly strong evidence on your part for hostile intent six years and four praetors later.

As for the Nemesis problem: Donatra was part of the coup at first, but she helped Picard when he found out about Shinzon's genocidal plans. The rest of the romulan faction helped primarily because Shinzon hated them and was incontrolable.
That was part of it. And the other part was Donatra making it clear to Tal'Aura and the other Romulan supporters of Shinzon's coup that he was going to commit genocide. Donatra's language in her made it clear that neither she, nor the other Romulans, supported genocide. "A stain on us and our descendants," I believe, were her exact words, if they didn't stop him.

I haven't seen Nemesis in a long time - can you tell where is established that Sinzon's backers in the Imperial Fleet did not know, at first, that he intended to destroy Earth?
The bit above where Donatra revealed to the other Romulans what Shinzon was doing and therefore argued he had to be stopped.

Tzenkethi - it's possible the feds inadvertently started the war, but it's improbable;
No it's not. The Federation is constantly wandering around exploring unknown space. We've seen UFP starships get fired upon by aliens upon entering alien territory all the time. It's entirely plausible that the Federation could have sent a ship into Tzenkethi space and that the Tzenkethi could have reacted by believing the UFP was invading them and that its message of peaceful exploration were lies.

And it's also possible that the UFP might have deliberately engaged in an act of aggression against the Tzenkethi. Maybe they were in desperate need of a planet with certain minerals needed to construct starships for their war against the Cardassians, and so chose to annex a Tzenkethi-claimed world and justify it by noting that it was uninhabited. The UFP does not always do the right thing, as evidenced by, for instance, its willingness to forcibly re-locate Federation citizens from their homes.

The most probable scenario is that the tzenkethi started the war.
No, it's not most probable. We don't have enough information to make any conclusions about what is or is not most probable -- not unless we default into a nationalistic, "the-Federation-would-never-do-anything-wrong" attitude, which, frankly, is no better than the kind of racist chauvinism of the Romulans or Cardassians.

About tzenkethi propaganda - the overwhelmingly probable scenario - their hatred toward the feds is real.
I don't doubt it. I don't doubt that Hugo Chavez hates the United States. But hatred does not equate to belligerence.

Originally Posted by Sci:
I'm impressed you know so much about the Tzenkethi -- especially since virtually nothing has actually been established about them.
It's called logic.
No, it's called an unfounded assumption.

DS9 - Who started the Dominion war? You could assign blame to the Romulans/Cardassians, to the Klingons or to the Feds if you looked hard enough, but the Dominion is by far the main culprit, followed closely by Ducat.
1. A ducat is a form of pre-World War I European currency. Skrain Dukat was the Cardassian Gul who served as prefect of Bajor and, later, military dictator of the Cardassian Union under the Dominion.

2. You say that, but you could just as easily argue that the Federation provoked the war. After all, it was the UFP that was constantly sending ships into Dominion-claimed space and into their backyard. It was the Federation that sent a huge capital ship into the Gamma Quadrant after being warned away, and which then sent in a warship after the capital ship was destroyed. It was the Federation that continued to send ships into the Gamma Quadrant after being told that the Dominion regarded that as deliberate provocation, it was the Federation that damn near overthrew its own civilian government so that it would have a better shot at militarism, it was the Federation that did nothing to stop the Cardassians and Romulans from engaging in attempted genocide, it was the Federation whose citizens harassed the Cardassians in Cardassian space, it was the Federation that amassed a huge fleet in the Bajor system after the Cardassians peacefully chose to join the Dominion in a show of hostility to Cardassian self-determination, and it was the Federation that mined the Bajoran Wormhole, thus impeding the free movement of Dominion ships across neutral space.

I'm sorry, but the Star Trek Universe is not quite as morally simplistic as you're painting it as being.

Bajor signed the nonagression treaty because, at that time, the Dominnion had become too strong - the feds couldn't protect Bajor anymore.
Yes. And that could easily be why other powers, like the Tholians, signed a nonaggression pact -- not hostility towards the UFP, or a desire to see it burn, but simple recognition of their own inability to defend themselves otherwise.

Bajor would have gladly agreed with a Federation request of mining the wormhole at the beginning, when dominion presence in the Alpha Quadrant was scarce.
Apropos appeasement - I'll mention the Maquis - Federation citizens, and the Dominion massacred them.
The Federates hunted them down like criminals - the only possible rationale being that Federation citizens must obey Federation law. But Citizens also have rights - to be protected by one's state, for one. The Federates failed them completly - suddenly, they're not federation citizens anymore when it's not in the fed's advantage.
The Federation's response to their massacre? None whatsoever.
Exactly. Even the Federation does bad things sometimes -- which is why it's not unreasonable to think that the UFP might have provoked the war with the Tzenkethi.

Tholians and Gorn.
The Federates who believed that the borg won't come or that they can be defeated with conventional means should be demitted for extreme stupidity - and that since TNG: Best of Both Worlds.
That may be, but it doesn't change the fact that that belief -- especially as propagated by the fact that the Borg had only ever attacked with small numbers of ships before, and by the fact that Voyager had defeated them several times in the Delta Quadrant (including destroying their transwarp network and, apparently, Unimatrix 01) -- existed, and existed both within and without the Federation, and informed the policy decisions of foreign governments. Don't blame on malice what can be blamed on foolishness.

ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
Sci, when you want to make an ethical or karmic point about the real universe, don't use examples from the Star Trek universe. I've told you before: the trekverse has a moral substrate that doesn't exist in the real world. This is why your examples are meaningless.
One word: Bullshit.

The Star Trek Universe is not somehow inherently more or less moral than the real one. It simply possesses political actors who are more dedicated to the principles of modern liberal democracy than most people in the real world today, from whose POV we see the STU. To argue that the Star Trek Universe "possesses a moral substrate" that the real world lacks is an absurd piece of nonsense you're introducing to try to prevent real-world parallels from being cited.

About UK France Germany Spain etc - they warred among themselves in medieval times. They needed CENTURIES of ethical and philosophycal maturing to even begin to consider an alliance. They needed two devastating world wars, which primarily affected them, and decades of nuclear standoff (a war no one could win) to loose their taste in war. They needed foreign superpowes as incentive to ally themselves in an attempt to compete with these powers.

The Typhon Pact - and extended Khitomer Accords - did all that in 3-5 years.
Agression and xenophobia were defining characteristics for some of the now allied species - these attributes were among the few constants that existed throughout the entire known history of these people. But hey, that was 5 years ago, right? At least, the Federation took a lot longer to coalesce.
And I never said that those states would renounce warfare and violence so completely as Europe has. What I said was, the past is not an automatic indicator of the future. Nothing more, nothing less.

In Nemesis - the romulan traitors wanted power, greater standing, etc. And they were willing to start an arms race with potentially disastruous consequences to achieve that. They were willing to start wars for that.
No. That's the problem -- you can't seem to acknowledge the distinction between the various grades of animosity. They were willing to risk an arms race, yes. They wanted a military build-up, and they wanted to increase their own power. That does not mean that they were willing to start a war.

Politics is not an all-or-nothing deal. It's not a zero-sum game. It's not black and white. There are a lot of degrees of positions to take -- including the degree of wanting a military build-up, but not wanting a war.

Tzenkethi vs Venezuela & Iran - Neither country started a war with the west in the last decades.
And we don't know that the Tzenkethi did.

And bear in mind that Iran has engaged in numerous policy decisions that could easily have led to war if the United States government was less prudent and more impulsive than it has been -- from attacking the US Embassy to sending troops in to attack US forces in Iraq covertly.

And there's nothing fake about Iran's hate for the occidentals. It's just that Iran is too weak to survive even the semblance of a war with the Americans. And it knows that.
Wow. That's an incredibly racist statement that ignores the fact that, to start with, Iran has legitimate grievances against the U.S., including, as Christopher noted, Operation Ajax and the decades of oppression Iran suffered under the US-backed Shah. You're trying to reduce something to pure race hatred, when the reality is that it's much more complex than a mere ethnic squabble.

Gorn - of all the members of the typhon pact, they, indeed, seem to be the most amiable toward the federation. But I'll point out that all their canonical contacts with the federates involved violence,
In response to Federation violations of their rights.

The military cast, at least, is highly agressive.
There's really no evidence for that. We have exactly one instance of actual Gorn aggression in almost a hundred twenty years' worth of story time, and that was when one radical faction of the military caste took power.

And, as said above, their actions in "Destiny" are highly suspicious.
And, as I said above, their actions in Destiny really aren't. Hell, the Cardassians were more reluctant to join Bacco's expedition than the Gorn were, but I don't see you arguing that the Federation needs to fear Cardassian aggression -- even though the Cardassians, unlike the Gorn, actually fought two major wars against the Federation in the recent past, and have a confirmed history of imperialism that the Gorn do not.

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
The Typhon Pact - and extended Khitomer Accords - did all that in 3-5 years.
Agression and xenophobia were defining characteristics for some of the now allied species - these attributes were among the few constants that existed throughout the entire known history of these people. But hey, that was 5 years ago, right? At least, the Federation took a lot longer to coalesce.
You do realize that you're contradicting yourself, right?

How can aggressive and xenophobia be defining characteristics of these civilizations if they're able to come together in the space of three to five years and form a single state?
Just a minor quibble: The Typhon Pact is an alliance, not a state. It's a closer alliance than most, given the common currency, but it's not a state in its own right, either, as Bacco made clear during her press conference. Think of it as being like the difference between the US and the European Union.

I notice that my question from above wasn't answered. I'll ask again: where exactly in the movie is it established that the romulan conspirators didn't know from the beginning about Shinzon's plans about Earth?
Let's go to the script.

Commander Suran, the games are
over. In two days the Federation
will be crippled beyond repair.
Does that satisfy you?

For the moment.

And when I return... you and I
shall have a little talk about
showing proper respect!

Does anyone in this room harbor any
illusions about what he means by
"showing proper respect"?

What's happening to his face?

I want opinions. He is clearly out
of his mind.

But can he complete his mission?

Should he?

Are you prepared to have your hands
drenched in blood? He'll show them
no mercy. And his sins will mark
us all for generations. Is that
what you truly want, Romulans?

I think you should consider that
question now -- or else you may
have a lifetime to think about it
in the dilithium mines.
It's ambiguous.
Hm. Looks to me like the Romulans wanted a military build-up, and he then told them he would do one step more and cripple the Federation. Suran played at being placated by him, and then immediately decided to overthrow him. At this point, Donatra made it clear to them that she believed he would engage in a genocidal war against Earth, and that this was something incompatible with Romulan values.

Gorn - of all the members of the typhon pact, they, indeed, seem to be the most amiable toward the federation. But I'll point out that all their canonical contacts with the federates involved violence, despite the federation's best efforts to prevent that. The military cast, at least, is highly agressive. And, as said above, their actions in "Destiny" are highly suspicious.
Only one episode isn't enough to justify sweeping proclamations about Gorn policy.
Thank you.
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