Deranged Nasat wrote:
Every few decades some coalition of frustrated nobles or officers are insisting the Romulans stop playing nice with the neighbours or hiding quietly behind the neutral zone and prepare to expand. There’s usually a strong dissenting voice, too, of course - but the expansionist movements keep cropping up. Expansion as an end in itself even seems to override hatred for aliens - the Romulan senators and officers in “Nemesis” were all for pushing past the borders and a new boost to the military might of the RSE, but had no desire to exterminate Earth.
I'm tempted to say that things have actually been improving vis-a-vis the outside universe. In the 22nd century, Valdore saw nothing wrong with launching a genocidal attack against a Coridan that hadn't done anything to the RSE, and only began to question (question) this after there was talk of doing a repeat attack, all the while not questioning the necessity of massacring the populations of enemy colony worlds. In the 24th century, after some vacillation (and after the decapitation of the previous non-crazy RSE government) Donatra ended up going out with her ships to stop Suran substantially on the grounds that the destruction of Earth would be a horror, that his "sins" (her word) would shame Romulans. Without the coup, there's no reason to believe that the Senate would have authorized military action against the Federation, never mind a decapitation event on Earth. Plus, even before that you had a growing number of top political and military leaders who were defecting to the Federation, and a popular movement in favour of reunification with the Vulcans.
This leaves aside the Rihannsuverse, possibly novelverse character of Ael, who as Empress may have triggered a fairly intimate rapprochement with the Federation. It takes something pretty significant to explain how Nanclus was able to sit in on a classified Federation briefing to the UFP president how Starfleet would raid the Klingon homeworld if the RSE wasn't pretty impressively friendly.
All of which is to say that I think there's a fair possibility towards fairly close and friendly Federation-Romulan relations. Via the Vulcans the two powers have more in common than either does with the Klingons, and there have been multiple efforts from multiple different sources (the military, the colonists, the homeworlders, the politicians) to try to get out of the pointless cold war.
Extrapolating wildly, if the IRS does hold the northeastern half of Romulan space, that ]might
indicate that it holds more the colonial frontier. Judging by the Rihannsu novels, which suggest that the colonials are more liberal and humane in the idealized Romulan sense than the homeworld might like, descended from the Ship Clans which were never that invested in the myths brought by the colonists, well. Thoughts?
If we consider the starchart on the Senate floor, as “Taking Wing” draws attention to - one of the Romulans’ biggest frustrations is always shown to be that in modern centuries they’re constrained by the neutral zone and other superpowers, chiefly the Federation.
Romulus' thwarted expansion really is all Earth's fault. DS9's "Past Tense" proves it. With Earth leading the way and keeping interstellar politics peaceful, the Coalition held together; with Earth devastated, the Romulans advanced at least as far as Alpha Centauri, moving past Draylax, Benzar, and Bolarus and coming within close range of Tellar, Andor, and Vulcan itself. I can feel for the Romulans: all their meticulously laid out plans thwarted by an upstart species that within their lifetime had been a compliant Vulcan protectorate.