^ The Federation/Cardassian war was a decades long skirmish over border territories and there was no clear cut victory.
The Klingons launched a cowardly and unprovoked attack on a reforming Cardassian Union and... actually I've done this rant already. So I'll move on to the substance of NG's
What is being argued here is that the Federation lacks the necessary...willpower to make the hard choices for example it was easier for the UFP to condemn the actions of the KE than it was to forcefully stop their aggression (and since the Klingons turned on the Feds anyway it was an unforgivable lapse on Starfleets part). So there maybe some serious concerns over the Federation's staying power in the minds of some of her allies/neighbors.