Re: Is Starfleet a political arm?
Captains and Admirals in the days of sail might have contact with foreign governments.
ST is sometimes described as Hornblower in space. I.e an 18th Century navy in space.
On the continent of wild endeavour in the mountains of solace and solitude there stood the citadel of the time lords, the oldest and most mighty race in the universe looking down on the galaxies below sworn never to interfere only to watch.