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Old February 26 2011, 04:02 AM   #351
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
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.
Rogue made it very clear that the list of Tal Shiar agents Koval was giving to Section 31 was of older agents who were scheduled to be purged. It was, in other worse, a useless list for which Section 31 traded control of an area of space with an incredibly powerful and dangerous natural phenomenon.

I admit, you've lost with that. What happened in "Divergence"/"Affliction"?
They let the Klingons abduct Dr. Phlox from the middle of San Francisco so that he could be forced by the Klingons to develop a cure for the Augment virus, but the Klingons double-crossed them by deciding to just kill Phlox, annihilate all life on the planets on which the virus had spread, and attacking the Enterprise and Columbia in violation of their agreement with Agent Harris.

Would they? What kinds of evidence of their actions did the Tzenkethi actually leave?
The fact that it all went like clockwork.
The fact that what went like clockwork? To an outside observer who doesn't know the Tholians are involved because they haven't read Rough Beasts of Empire, there's nothing to indicate that there was any operation to go like clockwork.

The events were such a radical change from the status quo that suspicions--and therefore, investigations--are warrented.
Oh, c'mon. This is Romulus. Even before Tal'Aurua's death, they'd gone through three praetors in four years, lost their entire Senate, saw their entire slave caste emigrate out of Romulan territory, and had their Empire split in two. Romulus is so politically unstable that the fact that there were major political changes over the course of a year is not itself out of the norm for Romulan politics. There's no reason to think that anyone would look at them and say, "Hey, there was political instability in Ki Baratan. How strange!"

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.
Do yourself a favor, then: Don't read up on the more than dozen separate intelligence agencies with overlapping missions which make up the United States Intelligence Community; you'll give yourself a heart attack.

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!"
It wouldn't, per se. The idea I'm exploring is that perhaps the very act of working more closely with one-another will lead to it being harder for them to manipulate one-another and they'll all realize that. It's sorta like how the U.S. and U.K. work incredibly closely together, and while I'm sure that the CIA and MI6 both spy on one-another to an extent, ultimately no one's too concerned about it one way or the other. We're just too close for it to bother us anymore.

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.
Maybe. On the other hand, maybe Bacco doesn't want the Pact to know that she's not sure how to interpret Tezrene's words. Or maybe she thinks that Tezrene accidentally tipped the Assembly's hand and doesn't want the Pact to know that she knows the Assembly has ulterior motives for joining it out of hope to use it to split the Pact in the future. Or maybe... Etc.

Bottom line, we don't know that the Board of Governors is aware of Tezrene's outburst in A Singular Destiny.

If the Pact is sincere in maintaining Peaceful Coexistance (BTW, Sci...that's actually not a Hitler reference. I was trying to invoke Khrushchev.)
I wasn't referring specifically to anything you or anyone else individually had said. I was referring to the general habit people have of associating every antagonistic foreign government with Hitler and World War II.

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.
I see. Bear in mind that Mubarak, as a brutal dictator, had a strong incentive to portray the Muslim Brotherhood as being much more dangerous and radical than it necessarily is (for he needed to justify his suppression of it, and use of anti-Brotherhood laws to deny democracy to Egypt, to the United States). I'm not saying we should trust them per se -- but there are a lot of people who've been studying the Brotherhood who've said it's a lot more moderate than Mubarak portrayed them as being. And certainly everything I've read has indicated that the Brotherhood's leadership is as old and disconnected from the majority of young Egyptians (who make up something like two thirds of the population) as Mubarak was. So I'm not convinced we need to be as afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood as of the extremists who run Iran.

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.
To a point. But the moderates are already in power in the Typhon Pact states, and there's no evidence of major political instability in any of them save the Romulans -- where a moderate took power as a result of that instability. There's certainly no evidence of a popular rebellion. So I think you're making an exceedingly poor comparison.

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.
Maybe, but that's irrelevant to the point, which is simply that the United States has been spreading its culture to other cultures and that this can breed resentment. That's not even a criticism of the U.S. per se. It's just a fact. Similarly, it's pretty much a given that the Federation's ultimate goal is to peacefully and consensually unite the galaxy under the Federation Flag. That's not necessarily bad -- but it's definitely something that can breed fear and resentment and is not untrue.

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?
I would suggest that the best course of action would be to rebuild the fleet, but to avoid the appearance of doing it in a belligerent or hostile way. Retain the ability to kick ass, but don't let it look like that's the goal.

Build more capital ships like the refit Galaxy class and the Sovereign class. Build more Vesta class starships. Make sure a significant percentage of the ships being built are more combat-oriented ships like the Defiants, but make sure the percentage is not so large that it appears that the primary purpose of the rebuilding is to build up for a war.

And start, as quietly as possible, covertly refitting as many ships as possible, and equipping as many new ships as possible, with the slipstream drive. As Zero Sum Game demonstrated, the slipstream drive gives a significant tactical advantage to Federation starships -- yet it's an innocuous-enough seeming technology that even if word leaks that a much larger percentage of the Starfleet is being equipped with it, that won't automatically be something the Pact can use as an excuse to begin all-out war, because they wouldn't be able to drum up domestic and foreign support for such a conflict by saying, "Well, they're building this new engine...!" without risking being loudly condemned.

I'd also make it a point to increase, as much as possible, military aid to allied or friendly states like the Cardassian Union, Ferengi Alliance, and the Talarian Republic. And certainly to the Klingon Empire.

It would probably be a really good idea to start building up Starfleet's combat capacity deep within Federation territory, but not near the various Pact borders. In Paths of Disharmony, for instance, there was no Starfleet Starbase in orbit of Andor, nor a dedicated Starlfeet fleet based solely out of Andor to defend it. If Starfleet starts putting at least one major starbase in orbit of every Federation Member State's capital planet and assigning a dedicated fleet to the defense of every Federation Member State's major planets, that would go a long way towards increasing defense capabilities without appearing to be there for the purpose of attacking the Pact. Indeed, Starfleet could easily cite the need for such dedicated Member State defenses in the wake of the Borg Invasion -- "Once upon a time, most enemies targeted only Earth, the Federation capital, and ignored the other Member worlds, but in the wake of the Borg Invasion, that's just not the case anymore. So we've got to make sure that there's a starbase and a fleet in orbit to defend every single Member world."

(Frankly, I think that's a longstanding problem with Federation defensive strategies, too, but I digress.)

All that should be combined with attempts at stronger diplomatic outreaches and trade deals. Give them incentives to have peaceful coexistence. Let them see the carrot along with the stick.

Bottom line: The key is to be able to kick ass without looking like that's the goal. Do it slowly, and steadily, and don't give them an excuse to throw the first punch. Make sure that the rebuilding of the fleet seems more like a natural rebuild from the Borg Invasion than a deliberate attempt to prepare for war. And all the while, give them reasons to see how peace is possible and is better. Make it clear that you don't want war and aren't looking for an excuse to throw the first punch, and they're less likely to want to throw the first punch themselves.

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.
Eh, they're testy, but I wouldn't characterize them as particularly so. Neither one acted if they thought their actions would give the Federation a pretext for open warfare. The Breen only acted when they could maintain plausible deniability, and the Tholians only acted when they could do so without violating any treaties. So I reject the premise that either one is so testy as to be looking for any excuse to start a war the way you seem to be claiming.

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.
Not necessarily. First off, everyone's military was hit hard by the Borg, because everyone was in the Azure Nebula (save the Tholians), remember? And the Romulans were invaded by the Borg, too.

And the other thing is, it's not clear that any of the Pact states' militaries were so large as Starfleet before the Invasion. Even if Starfleet has lost 40% of its ships and personnel, it's entirely possible that Starfleet is so much larger than the other space forces that it still has a sizeable advantage. We don't know.

There is no evidence that any Typhon Pact member states have any designs upon Federation worlds.
No, not particularly.
Then there's no reason to conclude that is a goal of theirs.

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.
That's irrelevant to rfmcdpei's point, which is simply that the Typhon Pact is not experiencing the sort of widespread rebellion to which you previously alluded (Egyptian Revolution, French Revolution, etc.).
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