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Old February 25 2011, 07:12 AM   #343
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Will the Tzenkethi have anything to say about it? They successfully maneuvered events so that Kammemor became Praetor, but that doesn't mean that their every manipulation will be so successful. And it's entirely possible that the Tal Shiar might end up being much better at its counterintelligence function now that Sela is running it instead of someone who's distracted by his constant attempts to become the power behind the throne.
So you have confidence in Sela's abilities? Because quite a few fans (I'm not one of them, I'm just saying...) are under the impression that she's incompetent--and emotionally unstable.
I don't think there's enough data to know. For my money, I think if she were that incompetent, she would have been assassinated by a rival a long time ago, but who knows what happens from here? It's possible that simply having a Tal Shiar Chairman who's actually running the Tal Shiar rather than scheming to take over the government will mean that the middle levels of the Tal Shiar infrastructure will function better, even if the Chairman herself isn't the best out there.

On that note...the best thing, say, Section 31--or SI, if that "feels" better--can do now is to reveal to its contacts in the Tal Shiar--and, therefore, to the RSE government--that they've been played like a fiddle by the Tzenkethi.
I completely agree; were I the Federation President and made aware of the role of the Tzenkethi in assassinating a Romulan Senator and Romulan Praetor, I'd strongly consider disclosing as much of that information and its verification as I possibly could (without endangering Federation assets on Romulus). (I do say "strongly consider" because there might be some virtue in keeping that as a trump card close to the chest for a while yet, but I digress.)
(Whistle) Well! About time you and I agree on something....
It happens every now and then.

But what makes you think that either Section 31 or Starfleet Intelligence or the Federation Security Agency (the Federation's civilian intelligence agency -- think of it as the CIA to Starfleet Intelligence's Defense Intelligence Agency) has any clue of the Tzenkethi role in the fall of Tal'Aura's government?
Section 31? Knowing them, I'd find it hard to believe they don't have info on it.
Why? There's no evidence that anyone detected the Tzenkethi's operation whatsoever. Further, Section 31's primary mole on Romulus was former Tal Shiar Chairman Koval -- who, in Section 31: Rogue by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels, was playing Section 31 like a fiddle just as much as the Tzenkethi played the Romulans, and who was later killed after the Shinzon coup. Really, between the way Koval screwed them over in Rogue and the way the Klingons screwed them over in "Divergence"/"Affliction," I'm not convinced that Section 31 is actually particularly competent at foreign espionage.

SI, I'm not so sure. At the very least...they'd view all these convenient events surrounding the RSE and IRS with a lot of suspicion, and investigate it promptly.
Would they? What kinds of evidence of their actions did the Tzenkethi actually leave?

(BTW, isn't FSA more akin to the FBI or NSA? I certainly haven't heard of FSA working outside the UFP's borders--and in our time, the FBI and NSA are charged with intel within US borders--the CIA is strictly for outside matters, wacko conspiracy theories to the contrary notwithstanding.)
The novel Zero Sum Game establishes that the Federation Security Agency is the Federation's civilian intelligence agency and that there is some rivalry between FSA and SI. There is no evidence that either one has exclusively counterintelligence and exclusively foreign intelligence responsibilities.

Well, that depends, really. If I'm Praetor of the Romulan Star Empire, I'm inclined to say that it's in the Star Empire's best interests to expose the Tezkethi government's actions to the rest of the Pact and get the Tzenkethi Coalition expelled from the Pact. That would allow Romulus to retain the advantages of Pact membership while removing a rival for dominance within the pact who interfered with its internal affairs.
Yes, possibly. I can easily see why news of the Coalition's scheming would cause all the other members to throw them out. Who knows? It might even become cause for all the members to start viewing each other with suspicion--Are they manipulating us?--and with any luck...cause the Pact to implode.
Possibly. It's just as likely that they'd all expel the Coalition and then try to draw themselves even closer, though. After all, if they start sharing a lot more personnel and a lot more resources, it will be all that much harder for any one Member State to engage in any covert operations in another's territory.

Frankly...for that reason, I would suggest that would also be grounds for Kammemor to pull out of the Pact.
I think that unlikely. For better or for worse, the Star Empire has chosen its course, made its commitments, and now relies upon the Pact's help to function.

Has the Pact's Board of Governors even heard Tezrene's words?
Bacco certainly did. Frankly, for diplomatic purposes, she'd almost certainly point it out to the Pact, and see if they'd disavow the speech for the sake of peace.
I don't think so. To me, it's so obvious that Tezrene is speaking personally, out of anger, rather than speaking for the Pact itself, that it's entirely plausible that Bacco might never inform the Board of Governors of her words that night. Especially since she might view such correspondence as making her look weak.

Certainly. But it's important not to paint the Pact in Hitlerian terms, too. If I were a Federation Councillor, I would argue that we shouldn't treat the Pact as though it's a mere continuation of prior enemy regimes; we should treat it as its own unique entity, still feeling its way around, still trying to figure out how it's going to function, still swayable one way or the other.
It's still a conglomerate of those "prior regimes", regardless of structure. Bad blood is bad blood, regardless of the container.
I was referring to really old hostile regimes, such as the Third Reich, not to the Typhon Pact Member States' governments.

While it's pretty obvious that amongst the Breen and the Tholians, there's a strong anti-Federation sentiment that has achieved enough sway to initiate actions against the Federation that wouldn't lead to war, it's not clear at all yet which factions will ultimately dominate the Pact as a whole. Certainly the rise of the Kammemor government and the Gorn's historic diplomacy suggests that the moderates may yet win the day there.
I wouldn't count on it. In the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the Iranian Revolution, and now I fear the Egyptian Revolution (though, despite myself, I'm still clinging on to hope for an exception to the rule, but not much)--the radicals seized control, leaving the moderates cowering. This was for the simple reason that radicalism breeds vehemence.
1. What radicals have seized power in Egypt? (I mean, except insofar as every political faction in Egypt is vaguely radical-ish from an American POV, even the "Military should run everything and keep getting checks from the United States and keep the peace with Israel" faction.) And what makes that faction radical?

2. The Typhon Pact isn't the product of a revolution. None of its internal governments have been overthrown, and none of its member states are facing a popular rebellion. It's really just not a good comparison.

Well, yes and no. Yes, every Federation Member State has become such by its own free will. But the stated intention of the Federation is to persuade every culture it encounters into adopting its values (when they conflict) and joining the Federation. Eddington was not wrong when he claimed in "For the Cause" that the Federation was sending aide to the Cardassians at least in part because it wanted the Cardassian Union to one day take its rightful place on the Federation Council.

You might draw a comparison to globalism and the spread of American culture through commercial pressures today. The United States is not out to conquer the People's Republic of China, but I can't say I blame the average Chinese person if he feels threatened by the fact that his ancient, beautiful culture is now host to a so many McDonalds franchises.

That's not to say that the Federation is imperialistic in the traditional sense. It's probably the most benign form of "cultural imperialism" imaginable -- and I'd argue that even that term is pushing it, since the Federation seems to hold to a rather loose set of values that allow many difficult cultures to flourish within its borders. But let's not pretend that the Federation agenda is not to convince everyone it meets to join the party, either.
In the case of Chinese McDonalds', the Chinese government is just as culpable in that spread of ideas as American Culture is.
Yeah, but is Average Joe Chinese really going to care about that? He sees a foreign culture infiltrating his own culture, and he may well get angry about that and blame the Americans, irrelevant of his own government's complicity.

And besides, the point is not that any other government doesn't share responsibility, the point is that the culture which is resented for something is not entirely innocent of the things it is resented for. The point is not that the Chinese government is not complicit in the Americanization of Chinese culture, the point is that American culture is trying to spread itself into foreign cultures. The point is not that governments that chose to join the Federation are not responsible for their choices, the point is that the Federation is out to persuade all foreign governments to adopt its democratic values and join the UFP.

Of course not. No one's claiming that the Tholians and Breen are intellectually consistent. They're saying that they have a point about the Federation even as they're blind about their own behavior -- which is often the case with any culture. No culture is perfect, but all cultures have an easier time seeing other cultures' flaws than their own.
Well, it's certainly bitterly amusing that they expect the UFP to acknowledge its own failings, while refusing to admit their own....
Welcome to nationalism. I mean, at the end of the day, isn't that exactly what you're doing with the Federation and its enemies -- expecting them to own up to their failings but not making a similar demand of the Federation?

That doesn't make you, or any other pro-Federation POV, bad. It just means that we all have our blind spots.

Well, that's just the point, though: They're threatened by the fact that the Federation wants them to "love us." There's really nothing the Federation can do to stop that.

Sometimes, hatahs gonna hate. The best you can do is to avoid provoking overtly hostile actions; you can't always expect to be able to convince people to love you and join the party. Let the angry dog eat its bone and it won't try to bite you, even if it growls a bit.
Which assumes there won't be something to distabilize the peace other than UFP actions. In that case, again, preperation for conflict is neccessary.
No. Basic readiness is necessary -- the basic readiness which should always be maintained. But there's a difference between basic readiness and actively preparing for a war. There's a huge difference between the levels of mobilization that entails, and if you're going to avoid provoking the other side, it's important not to mobilize on that level. At least, not so long as the other side isn't mobilizing on that level, at any rate.

Again, the thing to remember is that the Typhon Pact has many different factions within it vying for dominance -- both within its members and between its members. There are many, many different scenarios that could play out.

The Federation may have to give up the idea of ever getting, say, the Tholians to "love them," and certainly the Federation needs to avoid showing weakness. But that doesn't mean that demonstrating strength will be better. Sometimes, the best choice is to do nothing. When nothing happens, tempers have a habit of cooling, after all.

"They will hit us" is not a given. That's the issue.
Again, doing nothing is treading on thin ice, as well. Should there be a circumstance, not under the Federation's control, which breaks down the tense situation--the Federation's lack of stength would not be an asset.
Again, that will depend on the situation. Remember, the Typhon Pact Member States would have to undergo major mobilization if they wanted a conflict, too. Neither side has the resources to successfully wage a war right now, and if either side tried to mobilize those kinds of resources, the other side would know.

That means that neither side has the ability to escalate things without the other side being able to nullify their advantage. And it also means that so long as both sides desire stability, neither side has any particular incentive to escalate things.

Again, don't err on the side of, "They're going to hit us." That's paranoia and it's not backed up by facts. The other guy is holding a stick that's just as big as yours, and he can't pick up a bigger stick without you seeing. Keep watching him, and keep your stick ready, but don't move to hit him and don't move to pick up a bigger stick yourself unless he starts picking up a bigger stick first. You may end up staring at each other over the fence, but you'll probably both be able to keep from hitting each other.

flandry84 wrote: View Post
Ceding planets/sectors to the Typhon pact?
That worked really well with the Cardassian union.
Appeasement never works.
There's no evidence the Typhon Pact has any territorial designs upon Federation worlds.
Well, I could easily see them considering such as a "cure" to Federation Imperialism.
There is no evidence that any Typhon Pact member states have any designs upon Federation worlds.

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
I wouldn't count on it. In the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the Iranian Revolution, and now I fear the Egyptian Revolution (though, despite myself, I'm still clinging on to hope for an exception to the rule, but not much)--the radicals seized control, leaving the moderates cowering. This was for the simple reason that radicalism breeds vehemence.
This would be a relevant point if the Typhon Pact was product of some sort of multi-civilizational revolution. It's not: the Typhon Pact is, in fact, a very measured and careful compromise by a half-dozen reasonably stable civilizations which have no interest in letting things get out of control. The Romulans and the Tzenkethi, we know from RBOE, are not blindly trusting in the good faith of their new allies; they're carefully watching everything.
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