One thing no-one appears to have pointed out in that "Prime Directive Meeting" is Picards strange line - "in a situation like this, we have to be cautious. What we do today, may profoundly affect the future. If we could see every possible outcome...". He's the Captain of a bloody starship and is probably changing the future on a daily basis. Is he this unsure about every command decision? Hardly the attitude you expect in a leader.
I didn't mention it, because it is precisely the textbook justification for the Prime Directive. I thought that was self-evident.
Consider TOS: A Piece of the Action
. One instance of cultural contamination, in the form of a single book, radically altered the development of the Iotians
, in a way that was totally surprising to Kirk, Spock, and McCoy:
Memory Alpha wrote:
Prior to the Non-Interference Directive going into effect, the Earth vessel Horizon visited the planet and left behind a book called Chicago Mobs of the Twenties in 2168. This book became so influential among the population that they completely mimicked the criminal underworld society of Prohibition-era Chicago on Earth.
Picard would have been taught this at the academy; in that context his statement there is perfectly reasonable, as a reflection of his training.