What I'm saying is this: if one abandons the principles for which one is fighting, what is the point of fighting for them?
What principles do you think the Federation and Starfleet abandoned? They never claimed to be pacifists. They tried to reach out diplomatically to the Dominion. They did their best to avoid war, while the Dominion was doing its best to sow discord among the Alpha Quadrant powers and had planned an assault against the Federation long before the UFP was even aware of the Dominion.
Frankly, I just don't see any principles that were abandoned in the name of defending said principles.