Crazy Eddie wrote:
It's not as if the Federation is just Super America and can one-for-one transplant American logic into Federation governance; more to the point, we know for a fact that we can't because the Federation's future history depicts the United States as having been blown to smithereens in a nuclear war its population barely survived.
We know TNG's Earth history had 600 million casualties due to a nuclear World War 3 in the 2050's which is different from TOS's Earth history of the "last World War" in the 1990's only having 30 million casualties and the implied history that a nuclear holocaust was avoided. It could very well be in TOS that you can transplant American logic into Federation governance but in TNG it's more like a United Nations-style government. Different continuities, different outcomes.
If we're going to completely divorce TOS from TNG+ (I'm perfectly willing to do that, BTW) then we have to recognize that a lot of what we understand about the TOS Federation is actually a retcon and the nature of the Federation itself could be considerably different than its TNG depiction.
To begin with, it ceases to be a problem to consider that the Enterprise actually belongs to UESPA, with "Starfleet" being merely a colloquialism (along with "space central"). In that sense, UESPA would be an Earth organization and the Federation would be more analogous to the United Nations. That, finally, would explain a lot of the shenanigans we see in TVH and TUC where ambassadors from supposedly hostile species keep showing up and having and highly public arguments with the president. It would also help to explain why Vulcan has an "ambassador" to the Federation despite Vulcan being a member, and why in TMP Vulcan has an embassy on Earth.
I'd have to check back through TOS and the TMP movies how often Kirk referred to himself as "representing the United Federation of Planets" and such, but off the top of my head it seems to me we could make a case that the Enterprise was an Earth vessel under UESPA authority all along and only worked directly under the Federation's legal sanction when explicitly ordered to
I disagree, though, that TNG is more like a United Nations style government. I think it's more the opposite, TNG is a more coherent pan-galactic superstate while in TOS each planet was a sovereign member of a galactic partnership and non-Federation members like the Klingons still got to have their say but didn't get "membership privileges" as such. This is basically what Azetbur was alluding to when she called the Federation a "homo-sapiens only club." The idea of the Klingons being bitter about their lack of status in the Federation would be incredibly weird in that regard, UNLESS you interpret it such that the Federation is not cohesive enough to be a state of its own and is actually a collection of many sovereign powers that use it as a vehicle to settle disputes. Like the U.N., it only has as much authority as its peacekeepers can feasibly enforce; unlike the U.N., it's peacekeepers are a bunch of astronaut badasses from the UESPA.