Nerys Myk wrote:
A Private Little War and Errand of Mercy weren't exactly wins.
With "Errand Of Mercy" it's a matter of perspective. Kirk was ordered to try keeping Organia out of Klingon hands. Well, that did happen but not in any way anyone could have imagined. Additionally the Organians put a stop to the war the Federation didn't want, but again in no way anyone could have envisioned. It's not a win in the usual sense, but it's not a loss either at least from the Federation's perspective. From the Klingon perspective it's a loss because (if Kor is any example) they were only to happy to fight for whatever they might get out of it.
It also implies both parties would have to go back to the negotiating table to continue arguing about the disputed areas. The Organian Treaty states any disputed planet would go to the side who could prove they could develop it most effectively. Okay, but what does that really mean? Develop it most effectively for who? Either side could develop a planet effectively for themselves at least given there are no inhabitants already there. But if there are inhabitants---such as on Neral in "A Private Little War"---then how is development defined and measured? Evidently the Federation preferred a "hands off" approach in keeping with their non-interference policy, the idea being the native inhabitants could develop themselves best on their own. The Klingons obviously had a more "hands on" notion to fit an evolutionary pattern they favoured: survival of the fittest and most aggressive. Either side has a case within context of their own principles so how is it decided which one is right?
One can argue the Klingons were sabotaging the Federation approach, but Kirk in response sabotaged the Klingon method. The natives are caught in the middle not really of their own making. I do get a sense the Klingons would get bored rather quickly of this game of keeping a level playing field on a backwater planet. Seems to me they used their "hands on" approach with the natives only because they were compelled to by treaty, otherwise they'd have just marched in just as they had intended to do on Organia. I suppose it might only matter if the Klingons really want that planet in that sector.