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Old June 25 2013, 07:14 PM   #42
Charles Phipps
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Yeah, but that's the problem -- the characters figured out too early that they shouldn't recklessly interfere, so we didn't get to see them making interesting mistakes. Sure, they screwed up royally in "The Communicator," but as a result of trying not to interfere, rather than as a result of well-intentioned intervention or cultural imperialism.
It'd be different if Malcolm had left behind his communicator and returned a year later to find that a bunch of Space Nazis had used the technology to cripple their enemies missile defense before invading. Yeah, here it's FOLLOWING the PD that screws everything up.

But not necessarily in the same form. In the ENT era, they seem to be treated as the actual Orion government -- though at this point I haven't quite figured out how that might work. But by the TNG/DS9 era, they seem to be more of an interspecies crime cartel distinct from Orion as a government; Silent Weapons shows an Orion homeworld whose government is evidently legitimate.
Good point. I liked Orion in Silent Weapons as it was a lot less sleazy and Mos Eisley "wretched hive of scum and villainy" than I'd seen it in my head. More Vegas meets Swiss Bank.

Well, they haven't joined yet. They've just entered into an economic treaty. As of the end of ACOF, the Federation only has one member beyond the five founders, namely Mars. The process of bringing in new members is a thread I'm exploring in book 2 and probably beyond that.
I look forward to reading it.

You know, that might've been an interesting way to take that story: Archer decides to pretend he's the vanguard of an alien invasion, in order to push the factions to come together. Thus he'd sacrifice any hope of good relations between Earth and their planet in order to save the people of the planet. (And it was awkward for me to reference that episode when they never gave the planet a name. Although maybe that was appropriate, since the warring factions probably gave it different names.)
Sadly, they already played this premise for comedy at Roswell in DS9. :-)

Of course, a serious version might be the "Day the Earth Stood Still" with Trek. Two planets are going to nuclear war and Archer decides to prevent it. There was a novel called "prime directive" which played around with that (though it was actually a Lovecraftian nuclear warhead-eating alien).

Although that wouldn't really have worked. History shows that alliances against a common enemy don't really resolve existing enmities, just put them on hold until the common foe is defeated. The US and the USSR were worse enemies after WWII than before it. And while racial tensions in the US subsided during the war, they flared up with a vengeance when it was over.
True, though it might have just got them talking. It's often been stated that two nations will remain rivals until they decide they hate someone else worse.

So a lot of the chaos and conflict of the 20th century could've been avoided if the winners in WWI just hadn't been such jerks.
Agreed. Sadly, a historian, its depressing to find out 90% of history consists of Earth's people being scumbags.

I've never agreed with that interpretation. They didn't just end the war because Odo gave them the cure, they ended it because he agreed to return home to stay -- and because he linked with the head Founder and shared with her his trust in the Federation, his certainty that they would not become a threat to the Dominion and would not allow the Klingons or Romulans or others to invade it. Basically he proved to her that, despite what Section 31 had done, the Founders were waging the war based on a faulty premise, i.e. that the Federation posed a threat to them.

I'll always remember something my father once said -- not the exact words, but the general concept -- about the strange cultural blind spot that perpetuates so much violence, the double standard people use when thinking about oppression and coercion. So many people think, "If anyone tries to oppress or invade our nation, we will just fight back all the harder until we are free. But if we oppress/invade them, it will break their spirits forever and they won't dare to fight us anymore." It never occurs to them that their enemies will react to oppression or violence the same way they would, fighting back harder rather than being defeated. Even though that's pretty much always what really happens.

The Dominion would never have ended the war based solely on the threat of annihilation. The Federation wouldn't have, so why would they? Maybe they would've backed down long enough to get the cure, but if they'd genuinely believed the Federation was still a threat, they just would've broken the peace and launched a second war. Peace was only possible once they realized the Federation wouldn't harm them if they didn't harm it. Everything the Dominion did was out of fear and mistrust of "solids" -- and Odo ended the war by letting the Female Shapeshifter and the Great Link experience his trust in the Federation, his love for a "solid" woman.
My own father, as an insurance salesman, actually had a different view of the matter. His general viewpoint was that wars tended to be resolved via surrender when one side or the other's leaders started to suffer for the loss. As the golem said in "Going Postal."

"When Banks Fail, It Is Seldom Bankers Who Starve."

Your view is very much in line with Star Trek and how I'd prefer to view it. However, an alternate interpretation is the Founders had nothing to lose by the Dominion War (900 billion Alpha Quadrant citizens being nothing to them, same with their own troops) until they, personally, were at risk.

In that VERY cynical take, it was the realization they should just cut their losses and preserve their position.

Which isn't at all Star Trek.
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