As far as the claim that the novels are depicting the Federation as facing too many violent crises...
For the record, TNG and DSN very firmly established that between 2293 and 2369, the Federation:
- Was the victim of the Tomed Incident, in which thousands of lives were lost and in which the Romulans were involved (TNG: "The Neutral Zone," "The Defector," "The Pegasus")
- Was embroiled in a series of border wars with the Cardassian Union that lasted decades, ending only in 2367 (TNG: "The Wounded," "Journey's End," "Chains of Command," et al)
- Was embroiled in a war with the Tzenkethi Coalition (DSN: "The Adversary")
- Suffered an attack from the Tholian Assembly that destroyed a Federation Starbase in 2353 (TNG: "The Icarus Factor")
- Suffered a breakdown in relations with the Klingon Empire that would have resulted in a Federation-Klingon war were it not for the sacrifice of the Enterprise-C to protect Narendra III
- Was attacked on several occasions by the Ferengi Alliance, both before and after official first contact (TNG: "The Battle," et al)
- Found itself embroiled in a new cold war with the Romulans (TNG: "The Neutral Zone," "The Defector," "Face of the Enemy," et al)
- Was targeted for assimilation by the Borg Collective (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds")
- Became involved in the Klingon Civil War (TNG: "Redemption")
Mind you, this is just what's established in the canon for the TNG era.
This is something I've found interesting in pondering Federation history, and the general logistics of running an intersteller state that spans 8,000 lightyears. That's an absolutely humongous
space (a fact which I am understanding even better these days, now that I've started playing around with Celestia; thank you, Christopher
, for mentioning them in your annotations!).
It seems to me that the Dominion War was surely the exception rather than the rule in terms of scale of Federation wars. DS9 showed us fleets of overall 100 ships during the war. But recall how many ships they sent to intercept Borg cubes during their first two incursions into Sector 001: fewer than half that. And that was considered to be a sizable fleet.
It seems to me that most of the conflicts you list, Sci
, were probably relatively minor conflicts in terms of an 8,000 ly state. All you need is three or four starships at a time on the Cardassian border who end up shooting at Cardassians, who fire back, and then you have a border war. Very bad for the people involved, and in the area, but not very disruptive across the Federation, partly because they simply don't need many resources. (One of the authors, I can't remember who, suggested something like this to explain why the Cardassian border wars could've been going on in the early years of TNG without making the whole Federation seem like it was at war.)
The Tzenkethi can be explained similarly. Perhaps it was more concentrated or whatever; given that we only really hear about it from Sisko and Leyton, we might surmise that the war wasn't extremely widespread. And it needn't be long to be traumatic. (See the Falklands for precedent.)
The Ferengi incidents could've been primarily incidents similar to Maxia Zeta, or isolated incidents of piracy (which do seem to happen, due to Orions and Nausciaans, et cetera).
And the Tholian and Tomed incidents could easily be isolated, like
My point: it woud not be surprising to me if most of these conflicts had very few reverberations throughout the majority of the Federation, and might present a distorted view of the level of conflict present in Federation history. On the other hand, when you're in proximity to these conflicts, either spatially or temporally, they're big deals.