Kirsten Beyer wrote:
Similarly, in 'Endgame', Janeway had to choose between two options:
- either destroy the transwarp hub, immobilising the borg for, at most, a few years (at most because the borg, with unlimited man-power, could rebuild the transwarp hub; or it could build slip-stream ships; etc), after which time the federation was to be destroyed by the borg (the federation having no chance in hell of stopping even a smallish borg attack - as seen in 'destiny')
- or don't destroy the transwarp hub, keeping the federation a low priority target for the borg, the borg concentrating on other species.
In other words, Janeway had the choice between her peeople and stangers - another situation in which there was no morally 'white' option.
Janeway chose to sacrifice her own people, federation citizens she was sworn to protect - thus betraying her oath as a starfleet officer, to be loyal to the federation.
I'm not going to get into the Picard thing because it's not my particular area of expertise, though I don't find your argument in the least bit compelling.
Regarding Voyager, Janeway and Endgame, however...
While you may find the writing of Engame a little shortsighted, the case as portrayed in the episode was quite clear...
Yes, the Borg had assimilated slipstream previously, but Seven told Janeway (I think in Timeless) that the Borg had abandoned slipstream because they found transwarp more efficient. Could they go back to it if they needed to? I guess. But transwarp was their standard means of FTL propulsion at the time the episode aired.
Janeway chose not to simply use the hub to get her crew home early but to destroy it because as one of only six hubs in the entire galaxy it was believed that to destroy it, rather than use it, would cripple the Borg and prevent them from assimilating lots of people who otherwise might have been assimilated. And the hub was only part of it. The hub was merely a juncture for the transwarp tunnels which were also destroyed in Voyager's attack. The hub the Borg could rebuild, but the transwarp tunnels themselves...I'm not sure we have anything in cannon telling us how those are created...if the Borg did that, or just found them and put them to use.
Slipstream may be less efficient than transwarp, but it's FAR more efficient than mere warp.
If the borg doesn't have transwarp, it will recourse to slip-stream.
About transwarp - from 'Q, who' to 'Endgame' - aka in a few years - the borg built a transwarp tunnel leading into the heart of the federation (sol system)
In DS9 'Lesser evil', after finding out about the dominion from the federation, the borg built a transwarp tunnel to the gamma quadrant - aka in a few years.
Which means - destoying the transwarp hub would 'contain' the borg for 3-5 years, at most.
At no time is the point raised that by doing this, they are going to so totally piss the Borg off that they will direct all of their efforts to ending the Federation. The Borg have known about the Federation, and presumably had those transwarp hubs leading to the Alpha Quadrant for a long time already. Voyager has also seen firsthand that sometimes the Borg shoot themselves in the foot, as with Species 8472 so to decide that the Borg are completely unstoppable would fly in the face of Voyager's experience with the Borg.
You may think that the characters could not have thought otherwise...surely if we do this the Borg will destroy the Federation so maybe we should reconsider how much we want to piss them off...but that was not the argument made in the episode. Janeway's intention was to deal what she believed was a crushing blow to a species that was obviously incredibly dangerous, and for all she knew close off a number of a handful of routes they had all over the galaxy, including to the Alpha Quadrant. She was willing to sacrifice herself, her crew, and their chance to return home early to do that, potentially sparing billions assimilation and but for Admiral Janeway's choice to sacrifice her life in the final attack on the Borg, would have done just that.
But for a moment, let's say, they had thought of it. Let's say Janeway decides that this action, in addition to sparing those who would have been assimilated using this hub, will so enrage the Borg that the Federation will now become the sole target for the Borg. Yes, we saw in Destiny how much trouble the Federation had dealing with the attack. But Janeway would have had faith in the Federation that you obviously do not share. If the Borg are fighting the Federation, they also aren't off assimilating others. I'm pretty sure Janeway would have believed that whatever the Borg threw at them, the Federation would find a way to counter. She'd done it on her own a number of times already in their battles in the Delta Quadrant. So yes, she's putting the Federation at risk, but at a calculated risk she would have believed the Federation would have been in a better place to handle than alot of other civilizations.
Janeway won a few engagements with the borg in the delta quadrant, yes, but all her victories were small-scale:
In 'Scorpion', it was established that the borg has MILLIONS OF CUBES.
In 'Destiny', we saw how a borg invasion against the federation (and everyone else in the alpha and beta quadrants) played out:
The borg, sending only 7000+ cubes (a VERY SMALL fleet, by its standards), BRUTALIZED starfleet (and everyone else); it squashed them as if they were mere insects.
The gulf between the borg's military technology/numbers and the federation's was shown to be hopelessly large by the time of 'Endgame'.
So large that any half-decent computer simulation would show that, in the case of even a smallish borg invasion, starfleet/the federation's chances of survival are so small as to be merely mathematical abstractions.
Janeway essentially gambled that the federation would win a lottery with VERY small chances of winning. And she gambled with the lives of all federation citizens in existence, lives she, as a starfleet officer, was sworn to protect.
As for Janeway's faith in the federation that "I do not share" - having faith that you'll win the lottery tomorrow just because you bought a ticket is both foolish and reckless.
And, of course, 'Destiny' showed that Janeway's faith in the federation was misplaced.
The point about pissing the borg off was not raised in 'Endgame' simply beause the scenarists didn't think the situation through; they just wanted to make a showy return home for voyager and didn't bother with the geo-political implications for the trekverse.
Further, if we accept your premise that the Borg already have a route to the Alpha Quadrant, be it the transwarp tunnels or going back to slipstream propulsion, it is only a matter of time before the Borg come for the Federation so either way, what's the difference? The Federation knows the Borg will come eventually. Presumabely they are preparing for it, and for Voyager to return at this point with all they have learned in their years of fighting the Borg, they might be bringing information the Federation can use in their ultimate showdown
The difference is the borg will come later, not 'now', giving the federation the time to prepare.
When the transwarp hub was destroyed, the federation had no chance in hell of surviving even a smallish borg invasion.
But, only a few decades later, as per old Janeway, the federation will be in a FAR better position to confront the borg.
The good news was that, until the transwarp hub was destroyed, the federation was very low on the borg's list of priorities - since 'Q, who', it only sent TWO CUBES (out of MILLIONS) to attack the federation; barely scouting missions, considering the borg's resources.
The borg doesn't need 'preparations' in order to send a few hundreds/thousands of cubes - it has MILLIONS!
The "ultimate showdown" between a mosquito and a bug zapper!
About what Janeway&co learned - Voyager was communicating with the federation on a regular basis by the time of 'Endgame'; the learned information could be sent easily.
In the given situation, Janeway's job was to keep the federation a low priority for the borg until the federation actually stood a chance against the collective.
In the episode Janeway asks her crew to weigh in on using versus destroying the hub and all of them agree that to spare billions of people they don't even know possible assimilation, it is worth extending their journey as long as it takes. Tuvok is facing a mentally debilitating illness and Seven a possible death, but all agree to risk that to seriously hinder the Borg's ability to assimilate others at will.
Old Janeway travelled back through time in order to bring her crew (specially 7 of 9) home. Her plan involved showing off to the borg anachronistic technology, highly effective against the collective (transphasics&co). Thus, there was a good chance her plan would focus the collective's attention on the federation - which translates into A LOT MORE than one cube participating in an imminent next borg attack.
Young Janeway agreed with the showing off part of the plan.
Yes, the crew's motivation for destroying the transwarp hub was to cut off the borg from the rest of the galaxy.
And they agreed to put their lives at risk in order to accomplish this - as is their right.
What the crew did NOT have the right to do is put at such an insane risk the lives of billions of federation citizens - of the entire federation they were sworn to protect.
It is only once that choice is made that Janeway and the Admiral concoct the idea to further cripple the Borg by infecting the Queen with a neurolytic pathogen that will kill her and do heaven knows how much further damage to the collective to create the possibility that Voyager can have their cake and eat it too...destroy the hub, and get home in the process.
Having the cake and eating it too would mean Voyager getting home and the borg being cut off from the galaxy.
The latter part did NOT come to pass - as the 64 BILLION dead that paid with their blood for this 'cake' can attest to.
Worse - based on information available to Voyager by the time of 'Endgame', that this latter part will not come to pass was eminently predictable. Just as the federation being crushed if the borg ever sent a few thousand cubes was eminently predictable.
You are taking what you would have thought in their place and perhaps what eventually occurred in Destiny as evidence that our characters are criminally negligent or criminally stupid or both. But the idea that this action might have greater ramifications for the Federation in the near future was never on the table here.
Janeway&co were either staggeringly reckless or staggeringly megalomaniac, confident in their own infailibility, when they made the choice to destroy the transwarp hub - given the geopolitical situation of the trekverse.
So yes, they were either criminally negligent or criminally stupid or both.
Of course, it was not the intent of the scenarists to present the characters in this manner. As said, they simply didn't think things through - or care about the larger implications of Janeway&co's actions. Which is why these 'larger implications' were not on the table.
At present, the only way Janeway's decision could be seen as reasonable is if there were CREDIBLE REASONS for her to be sure of the fact that the borg can't use slipstream (to send cubes wherever it wants in the glaxy in little time); can't rebuild the transwarp network (for the next few decades); can't use another 'beyond warp' tech assimilated from whomever for rapid travel.
Needless to say, such 'credible reasons' are nowhere established.