Well after the Tal'Shiar/Obsidian Orders failed attack on the Founder world in DSN, the Founders didn't consider those two Empire's to be a threat to them any longer.
Meh, fascist founders were a bit diluded in many things and got a lot of stuff wrong. Romulans sure proved it when they joined the war. Besides, I think that might have referred to the cream of the crop of those intelligence agencies being wiped out, which would weaken them significantly.
The Romulans were originally a minor power, behind the Federation's advances since being defeated and isolated after the Romulan war. In their first appearence ("Balance of Terror"), they had a ripped-off Starfleet ship with a bird painted on it and no warp drive. It was only their new cloaking device and plasma torpedo weapon that made them formiddable. Later they got better, Klingon-designed ships.
What is this about the ripped-off ship? Is this from the novels?
And no way did they have no warp drive. It might have been impusle power, but capable of generating warp fields, otherwise, they could never sustain a star empire.
Zombie Redshirt wrote:
The impression that the Cardassians weren't a major power comes from how easily the Klingons beat them in DS9 season 4. One assumes the Federation would be able to do this too. That they had to join the Dominion to be taken seriously militarily also lends weight to this. The Border War that look place before TNG grays things a bit but I like to think the Federation just didn't put all their effort into it and settled for a doctrine of containment rather than defeating them. Though their losses during the Dominion War clearly leave them as a second rate power and a dependency of the Federation after the war.
I was always under the impression that the Klingon/Federation alliance presented a super power that no one empire in the quadrant would be able to contend with. The impression that the Klingons are weaker than the Federation can be had easy enough from DS9's seasons 4 and 5 where the Federation was pretty much able to check them. Couple that with their losses during the Civil War that took place in TNG. Sloan also mentions that the rate of Klingon casualties during the Dominion War would leave them a second rate power.
You're probably right about Cardassians, but I disagree about Klingons.
They were a superpower in TOS as Daniel indicated, and I think they were a superpower in TNG and DS9 all the way until the end of the war, where they'll need 10 years to get their fleet back on par. Think about what they went through in less than 7 years:
1. Civil war with Duras
2. War with Cardaissians
3. War with Federation
4. War with Dominion
5. Held the line alone against Dominion/Cardassians/Breen
6. We also see Klingon Borg drones, so they must have had some contact with them too.
In all this time, Federation had two encounters with Borg and Dominion. Of course, they'll have supremacy for about a decade or so.
I think it's worth mentioning Yesterday's Enterprise, where Klingons were on the verge of defeating Starfleet. Even though it was an alternate timeline, it was a perfectly valid one.
Then you see All Good Things, and Klingons conquered Romulans. Even though it's just an illusion by Q, I don't think he pulled it out of his bum, he must have based it in reality.