Vandervecken, you still haven't explained why the gun/flashlight argument is specious. I would like to hear your reasoning for rejecting that defense.
I could just as easily repeat--again--that no one has explained how warp 10+ drive that results in a cloaking effect, or ship materials that result in a sturdier ship and healthier crew that result in a cloaking effect, are classifiable first
as cloaks. I'm also waiting for someone to write, yes, it is consistent with the intelligently fleshed-out Federation we know in Trek for it to deny itself such advancements because they produce a cloaking effect as a side effect. Well, someone other than DonIago.
It's not a defense. It's an absurdity. You might as well say that a car is a lamp because it has headlights. Sometimes--in fact most of the time--objects do
have an obvious first purpose, and a gun is one of them. Do you really think there is anything like a significant fraction of sensible adults--let alone a majority--who think a gun with a flashlight built into it is a flashlight as much as it is a gun? Do you
Treaties, as all laws, must exist in a real world of real consensus viewpoints and tangible facts. They don't exist in some theoretical vacuum where we get to propose anything at all to shore up a weak argument.
Phasing here isn't even close to being the gun with a flashlight attached, where in that metaphor phasing is the flashlight and cloaking is the gun. Phasing, insubstantiality, is something wholly different
from invisibility to eyes and sensors, and carries with it a completely different range of possible applications. The first thing that occurred to me is exploration of the interiors of worlds. In the real world, for example, we know a TONLOAD more about our near galactic vicinity than we really know about the distant interior of our own world.
I would be disingenuous myself if I didn't write, at least once in this wrangle, that it's pretty obvious to me that some people posting to this thread want the Federation to be weakened or to weaken itself, or see some nobility in a political unit needlessly straitjacketing itself into a Luddism that isn't even required by the Treaty with the Romulans. I'm fairly sure that some folks see the Federation as a stand-in for the real-world nationalities that they would like to see castrate themselves technologically (and certainly militarily), or imagine are obliged to do so.
I just don't see how many times we can restate this. It is PAINFULLY obvious that simply limiting all technological development that might happen
to produce a cloaking effect was NOT what the Feds had in mind when they entered into the treaty, and they'd have to be Pakleds to so restrict themselves. I doubt that the Romulans would ever have seriously approached the Federation to demand adherence to the treaty in such circumstances; they'd know that the idea is laughable. Starfleet should simply have done its phasing experimentation as out in the open as they could without giving away secrets, because as far as I'm concerned, they had nothing to hide.