R. Star wrote:
First Flight did imply Archer came up through the program as a pilot. Though yeah, as lacking as he was in areas of diplomacy and common sense at times, you really got the feeling the only reason he got the job was plain old nepotism, since his dad built the engine.
You'd think though, if Archer wasn't qualified to do complex diplomatic negotiations they'd send an ambassador or something who was along with the crew though as an adviser to help out with that. Though as you mention, his track record for listening to T'Pol wasn't that great... why should he listen to one of his own people?
It was great that they showed the crew evolving and becoming more accustomed to deep space encounters... but at the same time, the lack of planning was just ugh... at times. NASA meticulously plans -everything- with contingencies for every conceivable scenario. While naturally you can't anticipate every situation by the nature of space exploration, but that really never seemed to excuse the fly by the seat of the pants approach Archer took, just lunging forward into any given situation.
Although the show was the most realistic of all five and tried to extrapolate current NASA designs to not make it look too futuristic I totally agree that it wasn't realistic in terms of planning the entire NX deep space mission.
Yet I also think that this would be dramatically inferior, a setup with humankind stumbling into deep space without being totally ready (Archer quickly scrambled his crew together, not all hardware yet installed) it leads to more interesting stories. Having a not-so-perfect captain, more of a John Doe than a larger-than-life Kirk or Picard, was in my opinion quite refreshing.
About your point concerning diplomats, didn't Archer become friends with Shran precisely because he was so blunt and direct?