Thread: The Typhon Pact
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Old July 19 2009, 04:13 PM   #82
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Re: The Typhon Pact

rahullak wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
No offense, but nonsense. The entire galaxy saw the Federation conquer and occupy Tezwa. I promise you, I promise you, that war cost the Federation a lot of respect from other governments (just like Iraq, the war it was based on, has cost the U.S. a lot of respect from other governments). The Federation lost the inherent right to claim the moral high ground when it planted its flag over Keelee-Kee.

And as I've noted several times, it would be very easy for someone without a pro-Federation bias -- especially if their bias is actively anti-Federation -- to interpret UFP foreign policy as being very manipulative, controlling, self-serving or, expansionist, or even oppressive.
No offense, but very narrow-minded. You seem to only look at the few instances of "manipulative, controlling, expansionist or even oppressive" events involving the Federation.
1. Don't confuse my arguments with what I'm saying the Typhon Pact would argue.

2. About the Federation, I am only saying that it's nonsense to argue that the Federation doesn't conquer or occupy. Because it has. You can't claim that someone doesn't do something when, in fact, they do something and have done that something very, very recently.

3. When I'm "only looking at the few instances of 'manipulative, controlling, expansionist or even oppressive' events involving the Federation," I am presenting an argument that I suspect someone who is not enamored of the Federation might make. I'm not necessarily saying that that's the only accurate evaluation one could make of the Federation (though I do think that it is an accurate evaluation -- just as I think that the pro-Federation evaluations are also accurate).

What about all those 150 planets that are independent and prosperous?
Well, they may well be prosperous, and they may have a high degree of constitutionally-protected autonomy as a result of the Federation actually practicing federalism, but they are not independent. The Federation is a state, not an alliance. Its Members agree to give up their independence in return for the benefits of being a Member. We know this because the Federation Council can make binding law over Federation Member States (TNG: "Force of Nature"), the Federation President can conduct foreign policy for the entire UFP without seeking all 150 worlds' governments' support (Star Trek VI, DS9: "The Way of the Warrior," Articles of the Federation), the Federation possesses its own military (Star Trek), the Federation President can declare martial law on a Federation Member State's territory without that Member State's government's consent (DS9: "Homefront"), the Federation has a set of territory over which it governs (all of Star Trek), etc. It possesses all of the legal traits and powers of a state.

So while it Member States can secede if they want (Spock's World, A Singular Destiny, Full Circle, Losing the Peace), once they're in, they're not independent anymore. Autonomous, sure, but not independent.

So, there was one incident in Tezwa....a statistical outlier. Granted, a major blow. But still ONE incident.
All it takes is one time to make a claim that something is never done untrue. I can point to all the people I've never murdered in my life, but if I murder one person, just one, then that's it: I'm a murderer. I've committed murder, and I can't point to everyone I haven't murdered as evidence that I don't commit murder. Clearly, I do commit murder, even if it's only happened once.

And all it takes is one time, one bad choice, for the Federation to lose its credibility as a leader in sentients' rights in the eyes of other cultures. Add to that a history of using the Prime Directive to justify allowing other cultures to go extinct (TNG: "Pen Pals," "Homeward") or to justify allowing cultures to be conquered and occupied (the Cardassian Occupation of Bajor, which the Federation knew about in advance but did nothing to stop, as established in Terok Nor: Day of the Vipers), and you have a recipe for a lot of cultures looking at the Federation and seeing it as being self-serving and imperialistic.

It is a biased perception? Sure. All perceptions of the Federation are biased. Is it unfairly biased? Probably. But it's not a bias that lacks logical weight. There is evidence to back it up.

It's all in how you look at it.

Do I share that opinion? No, I do not. But I can understand a character that might, and why they might (just like I can understand people who have similar opinions towards the U.S. in real life).

And the Federation did resolve the issue and quickly ... and forced their rogue President and his cabinet to resign ...
Nobody knows about that, remember? It was a secret coup. Starfleet forced Zife to resign at gunpoint (and then Section 31 assassinated him in secret). So far as the rest of the galaxy knows, Zife either resigned because of the reasons he cited in his Farewell Address or because the Tezwa occupation went badly.

Now, someone from, say, Ventax (a world whose government is predisposed to like the Federation and want a good relationship with them, since the UFP apparently saved them from being conquered by the Klingons and later exposed the false "Ardra") might well look that Zife's resignation and say, "Well, clearly he resigned because the Federation does not normally engage in conquest and occupation. When it did so against Tezwa, Zife was breaking Federation law and cultural norms, and his resignation proves that the UFP is good because he couldn't stay in power afterwords -- he lost all domestic support." Meanwhile, someone from Tezwa might look at Zife's resignation and say it only happened because the occupation didn't go well for the Federation.

And, indeed, someone else might say that we both have blinders on because we've only been talking about Tezwa. They might argue, for instance, that the Federation in fact conquered and occupied Cardassia during the Dominion War (Cardassia: The Lotus Flower having established the presence of Federation troops referred to as "peacekeeping forces" that found themselves in violent conflict with Cardassian civilians on several occasions). Why should that not be counted?, they might ask. You and I would both probably argue that the mitigating circumstance there is the Dominion War and the need for the Federation to occupy Cardassian space to both help Cardassia rebuild and to ensure Federation security from a nation that had several times gone to war against the UFP.

But then an anti-Federation POV might counter with the fact that the Federation did not similarly demand a right to occupy the Breen, claiming that as evidence that the Federation targeted Cardassia for occupation and the installation of a puppet government but didn't so target Breen because they could actually resist the Federation. An anti-Federation POV might also cite the Dominion War as evidence of Federation imperialism -- it was the Federation that started the war by mining the Bajoran Wormhole -- a wormhole that was not Federation territory at the time, thereby provoking the Dominion into firing the first shot.

Any intelligent species capable of thinking and willing to think long-term would likely consider all its options and in evaluating a potential alliance or joining another political entity,
You give far too much credit to the role of rationality in politics.

It would be not be easy for someone without a pro-federation bias to resist weighing the definitely larger rewards against the potentially smaller risks in joining the Federation compared to joining any of the other imperialist-oriented powers of the Alpha quadrant before the Borg invasion or before the Dominion war.
Again, are you really sure that it's a definitely larger reward and definitely smaller risk in joining or allying with the UFP? That, right there, is a pro-Federation bias you have.

Let's say, for instance, that there's a culture that was built on eating their own babies en masse in order to alleviate food and other resource stresses in a pre-Industrial age (such as the one described in the story in that link); they've developed industry but have kept the baby-eating because it was such an important part of their culture. Now, let's be frank, here: The Federation would probably never offer the Babyeaters aid of any sort so long as they were, y'know, eating babies. The Federation believes in sentients' rights, and eating sentient offspring pretty much violates that whole principle. Now, to the Babyeaters, eating babies is not only morally right, it is the very definition of being morally right. Literally -- their word for "morally good" translates literally as babyeatful. To be willing to eat your own young means that you are willing to sacrifice for the good of your society, to care about your neighbors' welfare. To end the practice of baby-eating would end their very basis for their culture.

Meanwhile, the Typhon Pact comes along and say, "Hey, that's none of our business. You do with your people what you think you need to do. We just want to make sure millions of your people don't die of exposure. Here are some prefab homes. Yeah, you can use them as baby slaughter houses if you need; I know the Federation didn't want you to for their prefab houses, but we don't mind."

To the Babyeaters, joining or allying with the Federation would threaten the very basis of their culture, their identity. It just would. There's no way around it. The Federation has a completely incompatible value system with theirs, and the Federation would always be trying to persuade them to change their value system if they were to ally with them and would absolutely not accept them as members unless they stopped being so babyeatful. Meanwhile, the Typhon Pact just helps them out and makes no demands of them -- other, perhaps, than sending the T.P. some of that nice dilithium they have instead of the Federation.

Which would you ally yourself with if you were a Babyeater? If you're a Babyeater, which of these two groups -- the Federation or the Typhon Pact -- is more babyeatful?

Now, that's a really extreme example. But the point remains: To a lot of people, the Federation looks like a culturally homogenizing agent. Like Quark and Garak in "The Way of the Warrior"'s famous root beer scene, they see the Federation as a threat to their cultural integrity, to their own national identity. They do not want anything to do with the Federation. It's not that they want war, or even think the Federation is bad. But they want to not be part of or allied with the state that they've seen subsume culture after culture after culture.

They have a bias.

Meanwhile, the Typhon Pact comes along and doesn't ask them to join it (meaning that it doesn't expose them to the huge level of syncretism that Mr. Laser Beam pointed out T.P. members expose themselves to). It just asks for an alliance or a beneficial trade agreement.

There are going to be a lot of worlds that will chose to side with the T.P. over the Federation. That's just how it is. Not everyone likes the Federation or views it as being less of a threat (culturally if not militarily) than the T.P.

And, as I've noted several times, not all of the Typhon Pact worlds have any histories of imperialism that we know of. Heck, so far as we know, the Gorn and Tzenkethi have never conquered or occupied any other worlds, which actually makes them one better than the Federation in that regard.

I'm not saying every independent world will think that way, either. Clearly, there are probably going to be just as many who do not think the Federation is a threat to their cultural identity, or who think they can manage it, or who are just plain pro-Federation for all of the very good reasons you cited.

But we all know and understand the pro-Federation POV. I'm trying to illustrate how an anti-Federation POV might operate.
"Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism, as I understand it." - George Orwell, 1946
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