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Old February 25 2011, 07:30 PM   #346
Rush Limborg
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Sci wrote: View Post
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.
Perhaps her incompetence in carrying out her own plans makes others see her as a puppet--and they pull her strings accordingly.

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.
I have not read that book as of yet, so I might be missing something...but from what I have heard of it, Koval was handing them a list of Tal Shiar agents in Federation Space--the "playing" simply came from the fact that the "useless" world being handed to the Romulans wasn't so useless at all.

And of course, Picard and Co. let the deal go through. They just took care of the region's usefulness. So...31 still got the list of Tal Shiar agents--again, assuming I didn't miss anything.

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.
I admit, you've lost with that. What happened in "Divergence"/"Affliction"? (I know, I'm setting myself up for a "The Internet Is Your Friend, Here" gig, with a link--I say, let's have it.)

Would they? What kinds of evidence of their actions did the Tzenkethi actually leave?
The fact that it all went like clockwork. The events were such a radical change from the status quo that suspicions--and therefore, investigations--are warrented.

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.
I see. Frankly, I'm not too conviced that's an efficient structure. Rivalry between two groups technically on the same side is bad enough--but giving both the same duties is redundant, irrational, inefficient, and ultimately detrimental to success of intelligence forces. As it were, that's kind of why our CIA and FBI had set, distinct duties.

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.

...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.
But how would the natural paranoia of "are they using us, too?" be toned down? "Perhaps the powers calling for such closer ties are actually planning something!"

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.
Actually, I would contend it makes the Tholians look weak. Tezrene is their ambassador. He has a responability--an obligation--to keep his words as being on behalf of his people. Speaking out of turn strongly indicates that the Assembly is incompetent in the way it handles its diplomacy.

If the Pact is sincere in maintaining Peaceful Coexistance (BTW, Sci...that's actually not a Hitler reference. I was trying to invoke Khrushchev.)'s going to have to make sure the diplomats of its members are reigned in, so they don't act like loose cannons--and start incidents.

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?
No one--yet. I'm referring, of course, to the Muslim Brotherhood--which, as you know, is the most organized of the Anti-Mubarak forces. That naturally causes me concern that it will end up as Iran did.

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, consider: again, radicalism breed energy and aggressiveness. Moderates are, naturally, moderates. It is harder for moderate forces to take up arms, so to speak.

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.
Well, I'm curious as to why the Chinese government would want McDonalds in its borders. I would imagine it's because they thought it would catch on with the people.

Aside from that, I see your point. refer to somethig you've just said, I wouldn't call this a good analogy.

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.
Oh, believe me, I am all too aware of the Federation's failings. Frankly...folks like my friend Nerys Ghemor and I are often harshly critical of Federation policy, as you know.

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, 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.
Where, then, is the line to be drawn? At building up of the fleet? At fortification of Starbases? What would be considered sufficient readiness, and what would be going too far?

After all, if an opposing power is particularly testy (as the Breen and the Tholians seem to be), it could proclaim anything our side does for the sake of readiness as an act of war.

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.
Well...the Pact powers were not hit as hard--if at all--by the Borg invasion. That would seem to give them a slight upper hand.

There is no evidence that any Typhon Pact member states have any designs upon Federation worlds.
No, not particularly. I'm simply saying it might work to their advantage to set their sites on particular strategic sites, should, again, escalation occur due to a tragic unanticipated event.

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
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.
And the Breen and the Tholians seem to have major chips on their shoulders, daring the Federation to knock them off. Tezrene's rant, again, either shows the Assembly's incompetence in diplomatic structure and chain of command, or simmering hostility. And of course, there is the Breen's apparent "arms race" with the slipstream drive.
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