Re: Is Starfleet a political arm?
In many opening hails, Starfleet Captains often say they represent the UFP. They make the initial contact then once it goes further the diplomats and politicians take over.
Starfleets primary mandate is to explore and make contact with new civilisations, if they don't have the authority to meet with alien leaders then they're operating with their hands tied behind their back.
Avatar: Captain Susanna Leijten, U.S.S. Silverfin NCC-4470, Border Service Third Cutter Squadron
Manip by: FltCpt. Bossco (STPMA)