Finished this yesterday, and really enjoyed it.
Poli sci geek that I am, I'm especially intrigued by the differences in how the Federation government functioned in the 2160s vs the 2380s. In particular, the Federation Commission reminds me (intentionally, I'm sure) of the European Commission and the Council of the European Union (aka, the Council of Ministers). The Federation at this point is a slightly stronger version of the E.U. in some ways.
I'm also intrigued that Thomas Vanderbilt is the President of the Council of the United Federation of Planets, rather than being President of the United Federation of Planets. I'm wondering what the substantive difference in executive powers are between the two offices; to make a comparison, the old President of the United States in Congress Assembled
(aka, the President of the Congress) under the Articles of Confederation was a very different office than the President of the U.S. You would think that this would mean that Vanderbilt was, in essence, the Federation Council's presiding officer rather than an actual head of state and head of government; yet his role in the novel is virtually identical to that of the Federation Presidents in other novels and films/episodes. He's even referred to as the "commander-in-chief" of the Federation Starfleet.