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Old August 6 2010, 06:52 PM   #9
Re: Worldbuilding: New member integration in the UFP

T'Girl wrote: View Post
A immature culture could have a brand new warp drive (maybe warp two) and not receive from Starfleet a recommendation to be good candidate for any form of contact. If they live in remote section of the galaxy with no nearby inhabited systems, the Federation might wait as long as possible before finally initiating first contact. Hopeful of a internal change. In extreme cases, Starfleet could covertly sabotage a new cultures warp drive program. Remotely prevent a warp field from forming around a experimental ship, hack into computers and steer scientists down reasonable blind alleys. If a drone is used for the first warp flight, it could simply be "disappeared."
I don't see SF intervening to sabotage people.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
If the information was classified by a government that was distrustful of it own citizens, followed by multiple administrative turn over, it possible that they simply "forgot" about the existence of the Federation.
Entirely possible, but this is why the Federation comes back and says "Hi!" every so often.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
There might also be the risk, once the contact team becomes known to the general public, of creating a cult of personality centered on them. If a interstellar contact team were to be revealed to modern America, far from creating some form of "mass hysteria," a more likely result would be instant celebrity status and intense public fascination.
Excellent point. This is why the contact team, as a personnel matter, is trained to limit as much as possible the chances for that happening, IMHO.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
While having local leadership involved in the first contact in some way would be one aspect of the procedure, relaying upon the the politicians of the moment as the sole point of contact might be a large mistake. Simultaneous contact with members of the academia, scientists in astrophysics, prominent (and responsible) cultural leaders should be involved as well, and again simultaneously. If a first warp flight was achieved by a private group (like whoever was backing Cochrane) they might be the perfect ones not only as part of the mix for a structured first contact, but maybe as the sole initial contact as well.
I considered that. The problem is that, as the UFP would be well aware, that is incredibly, inexcusably poor diplomatic practice, regardless of culture. It should be noted that even if Observation Teams (a la Insurrection) look and feel like anthropology expeditions, FC would be at its core a diplomatic act. As a general rule, foreign powers do not make contact with private parties and non-state actors before making formal contact with their governments, if it can be avoided at all. That's a pretty unbreakable rule on Earth, it would be strange if the UFP didn't hold to it.

Now, the UFP may well, 5 minutes after finishing up the meet with the global political strata, meet with private parties (with the consent or at least acquiescence of the governmental authorities), I agree. But diplomatic courtesy demands that you limit your contacts to governments at first.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
This might be a golden opportunity for some early honesty on the part of the Federation, both that there are big bad species out there, there are the Ferengi and also that there are multiple options besides joining the Federation. The Federation can be a friend and a partner, never a superior or a parent.
I agree - there'd be a briefing as to who's in the area, but I also think that the UFP would be very careful in the speed at which it lets the information out. I can only imagine the planetary freaking out that occurs when people learn about the Borg!

T'Girl wrote: View Post
The Federation's assistance should never be contingent upon joining the Federation.
Agreed. I never meant to imply that, from the UFP perspective, it was. The locals probably presume otherwise though, despite UFP protests.

So far as FDS nudging towards a single world government: This has the side benefit of fulfilling a condition for UFP membership, but that isn't the point. The reality is that planets without it tend to be "Meat for the Grinder" on an interstellar scale.

Potential problems with the UFP nudging, though?

1. They tend to work with what they got. This means they both can unintentionally seem to "endorse" some pretty horrid practices, and the FDS-led habit of "working with the situation as they find it" means that while they prefer unification happening peacefully, there are legions of cases where...Peaceful ain't how it happened.
2. There's the always-present risk that contact happens too fast for the locals, and diversity becomes a monoculture of the strongest culture at First Contact.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
5. The educational system more fully melds local knowledge and traditions and customs with Federation knowledge
This sounds more than a little scary. This procedure could eventual lead to a "Federation Clone World." Traditions and customs need to be vehemently non-melded.
Absolutely. Poor choice of words on my part. My intent is that local knowledge is melded with Federation knowledge (for example in the sciences), with Federation knowledge (and just as importantly, access to UFP databases like Memory Alpha - because my God, it'd be a planetwide case of learning too much, too fast, of "Too Much Information" if you just gave out full access in one move!) being introduced first in and through universities, then secondary schools, then primary schools over time, perhaps over generations, so that local knowledge isn't lost and local customs and traditions can hold up.

It would turn the stomachs of many here on TrekBBS, myself included to a point (I like the idea of knowledge being free), but I'd see knowledge being introduced only with the consent of those "in control" such as planetary governmental and religious authorities - not an "all or nothing" thing, but very carefully delineating what can be introduced to a population over time in what areas. I could see most religions, for example, having no problem with knowledge of warp physics or astronomical knowledge...But they might want to hold back on letting knowledge about the Q filter out, while theologians figure out a response. (Yes, I am saying that the Federation would reluctantly assist in censorship. Not because they like it, but because it would be a necessity. The simple fact of the matter is that to unleash everything at once, on principle, would rip most societies apart. Censorship of anything may often be distasteful to "liberalized" minds such as ours, but the Federation has no interest in seeing First Contact (or the introduction of new things after FC) cause revolutions or societal upheavals. That rarely ends well for the planets that undergo them, and, purely self-interestedly, it probably leads the locals to blame the Federation for introducing everything.)

The UFP wants to introduce the new folks to all the wondrous knowledge they have on offer, but they have no interest in the introduction of said knowledge causing societal havoc or the overturning of societal structures. If the knowledge impacts the evolution of the society, okay. But it's okay only while it remains an evolutionary process.

1. Every national (or supra-national) government gets diplomatic representation from the UFP of some sort, including consular representation.
When Humanity first traveled into space, Humanity didn't, Russia did. When Humanity first traveled to the moon, Humanity didn't, America did. If the breaking the light barrier is analogous to breaking the sound barrier, it not hard to imagine a world with a wide diversity of technological levels and (I'm sorry) civilization levels. So why would the Federation contact the entire world?/QUOTE]

Can you imagine the reaction (politically, diplomatically, strategically) if you only let some nations on Earth have contact with Extraterrestrial Life, while denying the rest of the species knowledge of that fact, or contact with the ETs?

Come on, T'Girl. I don't generally call out a fellow poster directly, but while I know you enough to trust that you mean well, that sounds more than a little disingenuous. You and I both know that if that were done or even suspected to be occurring, and it were even suspected that there was "preferential treatment" happening (as it inevitably would be suspected), all hell would break loose. Not even because of the fact of contact, but because of the possibility of advantages to be gained in a political/military sense.

You could easily start global war, a war with national survival at stake for every nation, simply because the "have nots" would do their damnedest to start the war they figure is coming anyway as soon as the "haves" integrate the knowledge they suspect the ETs are giving, regardless of whether any knowledge is actually being given! And my running guess is that alliances would collapse in the runup to any such war, meaning that basically nobody would be uninvolved. Given that First Contact (generally) means the possibility of FTL travel, what kind of weapons do you think would be whipped out by any nation with the capability? Catapaults?

No, it'd be a war involving "special weapons release", as it's called. "Special weapons release", for those not familiar with the jargon of grand strategy, is a fairly antiquated (I believe they're more...honest nowadays), "let's not scare the reader" way, of saying "the use of deployed nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons". And even if a nation didn't have "special weapons" at the point of First Contact, they'd go from capable (and for those not T'Girl reading this who might not know (because T'Girl, I'm presuming you know this), on Earth it is basically presumed that every developed nation (that is, every First World nation, plus plenty of nations that maybe politically don't win the First World title but are nonetheless "developed" countries), and a good number of developing nations, is capable of developing them successfully within weeks, months at most, of the decision being made) to "hiding them in the basement" (a political decision away from deployment) within weeks. And it would take more than a few weeks for the situation to react to First Contact and head towards war. Plenty of time for everybody to talk peace while building weapons for Armageddon in secret and moving them to deployment locations. Or building more, if they already got em, and deploying those. And since at least one nation on this planet has the capability to travel FTL, I doubt I am alone in presuming that we're not talking fission weapons, phosgene, or natural anthrax as the top of capabilities. Think more fusion weapons, VB or worse in war gasses, and engineered biological weapons...As a starting point.

That applies whether the situation on a world is totally peaceful, or whether it is Cold War tense, or somewhere in between. First Contact would make the situation (even more) tense simply because you have, by the simple fact of First Contact, completely destabilized the system by introducing an 8-million-pound ape of a new element, unpredictable to every previous actor. That new element is the folks that just said "Hi, we're not from around here."

*Breathes* What this all comes down to is that, unless you want to provoke war all over the planet you just said hello to, First Contact is an all-or-nothing proposition. You either let every government in on the secret, or you keep everybody on a planet unaware. (I really disliked First Contact (the movie)'s depiction of Cochrane as basically a guy working out of a garage - the development of FTL travel would require national-level resources at a minimum. More likely, the resources of multiple nations. Hence, as I reply, I'm specifically declaring Cochrane to be a unique case in my view, not one repeated by anybody else who's developed FTL since.) You can't dabble it out piecemeal as nations become ready. You can talk to the Great Powers first and have them set up the meeting which has every other government in the room, but you talk to the Great Powers as a group, even, and only on the topics of "We noticed your FTL activity", "We exist", and "We'd like to talk to every national government on your planet, all in one room and behind closed doors, as soon as you can arrange it". (Any and all other topics wait until you get all the governments in the same room, and behind closed doors.) Anything else invites international issues.
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