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View Poll Results: Rate Rough Beasts Of Empire
Outstanding 36 25.53%
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Average 25 17.73%
Below Average 13 9.22%
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Old February 25 2011, 07:30 PM   #346
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Sci wrote: View Post
I don't think there's enough data to know. For my money, I think if she were that incompetent, she would have been assassinated by a rival a long time ago, but who knows what happens from here? It's possible that simply having a Tal Shiar Chairman who's actually running the Tal Shiar rather than scheming to take over the government will mean that the middle levels of the Tal Shiar infrastructure will function better, even if the Chairman herself isn't the best out there.
Perhaps her incompetence in carrying out her own plans makes others see her as a puppet--and they pull her strings accordingly.

Why? There's no evidence that anyone detected the Tzenkethi's operation whatsoever. Further, Section 31's primary mole on Romulus was former Tal Shiar Chairman Koval -- who, in Section 31: Rogue by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels, was playing Section 31 like a fiddle just as much as the Tzenkethi played the Romulans, and who was later killed after the Shinzon coup.
I have not read that book as of yet, so I might be missing something...but from what I have heard of it, Koval was handing them a list of Tal Shiar agents in Federation Space--the "playing" simply came from the fact that the "useless" world being handed to the Romulans wasn't so useless at all.

And of course, Picard and Co. let the deal go through. They just took care of the region's usefulness. So...31 still got the list of Tal Shiar agents--again, assuming I didn't miss anything.

Really, between the way Koval screwed them over in Rogue and the way the Klingons screwed them over in "Divergence"/"Affliction," I'm not convinced that Section 31 is actually particularly competent at foreign espionage.
I admit, you've lost with that. What happened in "Divergence"/"Affliction"? (I know, I'm setting myself up for a "The Internet Is Your Friend, Here" gig, with a link--I say, let's have it.)

Would they? What kinds of evidence of their actions did the Tzenkethi actually leave?
The fact that it all went like clockwork. The events were such a radical change from the status quo that suspicions--and therefore, investigations--are warrented.

The novel Zero Sum Game establishes that the Federation Security Agency is the Federation's civilian intelligence agency and that there is some rivalry between FSA and SI. There is no evidence that either one has exclusively counterintelligence and exclusively foreign intelligence responsibilities.
I see. Frankly, I'm not too conviced that's an efficient structure. Rivalry between two groups technically on the same side is bad enough--but giving both the same duties is redundant, irrational, inefficient, and ultimately detrimental to success of intelligence forces. As it were, that's kind of why our CIA and FBI had set, distinct duties.

Possibly. It's just as likely that they'd all expel the Coalition and then try to draw themselves even closer, though. After all, if they start sharing a lot more personnel and a lot more resources, it will be all that much harder for any one Member State to engage in any covert operations in another's territory.

...For better or for worse, the Star Empire has chosen its course, made its commitments, and now relies upon the Pact's help to function.
But how would the natural paranoia of "are they using us, too?" be toned down? "Perhaps the powers calling for such closer ties are actually planning something!"

I don't think so. To me, it's so obvious that Tezrene is speaking personally, out of anger, rather than speaking for the Pact itself, that it's entirely plausible that Bacco might never inform the Board of Governors of her words that night. Especially since she might view such correspondence as making her look weak.
Actually, I would contend it makes the Tholians look weak. Tezrene is their ambassador. He has a responability--an obligation--to keep his words as being on behalf of his people. Speaking out of turn strongly indicates that the Assembly is incompetent in the way it handles its diplomacy.

If the Pact is sincere in maintaining Peaceful Coexistance (BTW, Sci...that's actually not a Hitler reference. I was trying to invoke Khrushchev.)...it's going to have to make sure the diplomats of its members are reigned in, so they don't act like loose cannons--and start incidents.

1. What radicals have seized power in Egypt? (I mean, except insofar as every political faction in Egypt is vaguely radical-ish from an American POV, even the "Military should run everything and keep getting checks from the United States and keep the peace with Israel" faction.) And what makes that faction radical?
No one--yet. I'm referring, of course, to the Muslim Brotherhood--which, as you know, is the most organized of the Anti-Mubarak forces. That naturally causes me concern that it will end up as Iran did.

2. The Typhon Pact isn't the product of a revolution. None of its internal governments have been overthrown, and none of its member states are facing a popular rebellion. It's really just not a good comparison.
Well, consider: again, radicalism breed energy and aggressiveness. Moderates are, naturally, moderates. It is harder for moderate forces to take up arms, so to speak.

Yeah, but is Average Joe Chinese really going to care about that? He sees a foreign culture infiltrating his own culture, and he may well get angry about that and blame the Americans, irrelevant of his own government's complicity.

And besides, the point is not that any other government doesn't share responsibility, the point is that the culture which is resented for something is not entirely innocent of the things it is resented for. The point is not that the Chinese government is not complicit in the Americanization of Chinese culture, the point is that American culture is trying to spread itself into foreign cultures. The point is not that governments that chose to join the Federation are not responsible for their choices, the point is that the Federation is out to persuade all foreign governments to adopt its democratic values and join the UFP.
Well, I'm curious as to why the Chinese government would want McDonalds in its borders. I would imagine it's because they thought it would catch on with the people.

Aside from that, I see your point. Still...to refer to somethig you've just said, I wouldn't call this a good analogy.

Welcome to nationalism. I mean, at the end of the day, isn't that exactly what you're doing with the Federation and its enemies -- expecting them to own up to their failings but not making a similar demand of the Federation?

That doesn't make you, or any other pro-Federation POV, bad. It just means that we all have our blind spots.
Oh, believe me, I am all too aware of the Federation's failings. Frankly...folks like my friend Nerys Ghemor and I are often harshly critical of Federation policy, as you know.

No. Basic readiness is necessary -- the basic readiness which should always be maintained. But there's a difference between basic readiness and actively preparing for a war. There's a huge difference between the levels of mobilization that entails, and if you're going to avoid provoking the other side, it's important not to mobilize on that level. At least, not so long as the other side isn't mobilizing on that level, at any rate.

...Again, don't err on the side of, "They're going to hit us." That's paranoia and it's not backed up by facts. The other guy is holding a stick that's just as big as yours, and he can't pick up a bigger stick without you seeing. Keep watching him, and keep your stick ready, but don't move to hit him and don't move to pick up a bigger stick yourself unless he starts picking up a bigger stick first. You may end up staring at each other over the fence, but you'll probably both be able to keep from hitting each other.
Where, then, is the line to be drawn? At building up of the fleet? At fortification of Starbases? What would be considered sufficient readiness, and what would be going too far?

After all, if an opposing power is particularly testy (as the Breen and the Tholians seem to be), it could proclaim anything our side does for the sake of readiness as an act of war.

Again, that will depend on the situation. Remember, the Typhon Pact Member States would have to undergo major mobilization if they wanted a conflict, too. Neither side has the resources to successfully wage a war right now, and if either side tried to mobilize those kinds of resources, the other side would know.

That means that neither side has the ability to escalate things without the other side being able to nullify their advantage. And it also means that so long as both sides desire stability, neither side has any particular incentive to escalate things.
Well...the Pact powers were not hit as hard--if at all--by the Borg invasion. That would seem to give them a slight upper hand.

There is no evidence that any Typhon Pact member states have any designs upon Federation worlds.
No, not particularly. I'm simply saying it might work to their advantage to set their sites on particular strategic sites, should, again, escalation occur due to a tragic unanticipated event.

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
This would be a relevant point if the Typhon Pact was product of some sort of multi-civilizational revolution. It's not: the Typhon Pact is, in fact, a very measured and careful compromise by a half-dozen reasonably stable civilizations which have no interest in letting things get out of control. The Romulans and the Tzenkethi, we know from RBOE, are not blindly trusting in the good faith of their new allies; they're carefully watching everything.
And the Breen and the Tholians seem to have major chips on their shoulders, daring the Federation to knock them off. Tezrene's rant, again, either shows the Assembly's incompetence in diplomatic structure and chain of command, or simmering hostility. And of course, there is the Breen's apparent "arms race" with the slipstream drive.
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Old February 25 2011, 08:02 PM   #347
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Where, then, is the line to be drawn? At building up of the fleet? At fortification of Starbases? What would be considered sufficient readiness, and what would be going too far?

After all, if an opposing power is particularly testy (as the Breen and the Tholians seem to be), it could proclaim anything our side does for the sake of readiness as an act of war.
Or, at the very least, an act of aggression.

Just off the top of my head, here are my thoughts on what would be considered prudent actions that are, in my opinion, the least likely to offend:

1. A general rebuilding of the fleet. 40% of Starfleet was destroyed in the Borg Invasion of 2381. It's understandable to want to get it back up to it's pre-invasion numbers. Now, I would recommend a balanced rebuilding (i.e., don't focus on building 1000 Defiant-class or Akira-class starships) but make sure that the ships do have top-of-the-line technology and equipment. Also, don't necessarily build all new starship classes, but new models of existing or "old" classes that have been proven.

2. A general reinforcing/"upgrading" of all Starbases. If you're modifying all over, it makes it harder (note I am acknowledging the fact that there will possibly still be complaints) to claim it's being done as an act of aggression.

3. Promote a program of inspection/examination of planets and materials within the Federation's borders. I'm fairly sure that there are locations that haven't been fully explored or had resources fully utilized/examined.

4. Expand trade deals and other agreements with current allies (this seems to be in the process of occurring).
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Old February 25 2011, 10:17 PM   #348
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

^Excellent. Valeris...were I UFP president, I would seriously consider appointing you one of my top advisors.
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Old February 25 2011, 11:39 PM   #349
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

flandry84 wrote: View Post
While it is lovely to hear everyone advocating peaceful coexistence and the recognition of the TP's aspirations it seems everyone is forgetting one thing.
In the opening pages of ZSG,yhe first book to carry the TP banner,the TP inserted a cloaked Romulan warbird into Sector 001,there to facilitate espionage,sabotage and murder on a UFP facility.The very first act we've seen by the TP was an act of war.Fact.
No, not fact. The first acts we saw by the Typhon Pact were in A Singular Destiny, which took place nearly a year before the opening of Zero Sum Game. And while individual members of the Pact including the Tholians and Kinshaya were engaged in aggressive moves in that book, the very first official, public action taken by the Pact after declaring their existence was to rein in those acts of aggression and formally apologize for them.

And it's irrelevant what order the Typhon Pact books were published in. ZSG came out first because it was finished first. Chronologically, it's the third of the four volumes under that banner title. And the chronologically first book of the four, Rough Beasts of Empire, shows a side of the Typhon Pact that favors stability and moderation. Each book shows a different facet of the Pact, some more disturbing, some more encouraging. The essence of the Pact is that it isn't just one thing.



The one problem that I've had from the start has been the roster of the TP itself.It just seems unbalanced,too weighted in favour of old "threat races".Perhaps as the TP's influence and scope grows they might gain some respectability and credence but so far I find the TP hard to accept as anything but a threat.
Well, naturally the Pact is meant to serve as an antagonist for story purposes. But look around at what universe you're in. This isn't Star Wars or Power Rangers where the bad guys are blatantly, simplistically evil. In Star Trek, antagonists have routinely been portrayed with nuance: they're misunderstood, they can be persuaded to see reason, they have the potential to become future allies, etc. In ST, diplomacy usually works and war is usually averted -- or if conflicts do start, they're often resolved through acts of diplomacy or compassion. Antagonists may not become fast friends by the end of the episode, but they can at least be persuaded to accept grudging coexistence or to take their toys and go home, with the hope of improved relations in the future.

And yes, pretty much all the Pact's members have a history of antagonism toward the UFP or the Klingons -- which is only reasonable, since if they were friendly toward the UFP they might've joined it instead of forming a competing alliance. But aside from the Romulans and briefly the Breen, none of them has ever been portrayed as a major threat or enduring foe. And as a rule, they tend to be more reactive, more concerned with defending their own territory against intrusion, than aggressive or expansionistic. That describes the Gorn, the Tholians, the Kinshaya, and the Tzenkethi at the very least; and I'd say that Romulan history over the centuries since contact has consisted mostly of entrenched isolationism with only intermittent bouts of outward-oriented aggression.

So yeah, they're not exactly friendly to us as a rule; but overall, their psychology seems to be weighted more heavily toward "We just want to be left alone" than "We want to conquer your home and kill your children." So they'll probably only be a threat to the Federation if they perceive the Federation as a threat to them. Which is why I keep saying that the Federation needs to avoid provocative moves like pre-emptively arming for war. Engagement and diplomacy probably won't make friends of the Pact, but should at least avoid making them an active enemy.
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Old February 26 2011, 01:39 AM   #350
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

^ Agreed on all points, adding that ZSG indicated the willingness of both sides to engage in acts of espionage while still having plausible deniability. The story began with operatives stealing data on slipstream. The operation inside Breen space is a success, leading Terzene to accuse a Starfleet vessel of firing on a Breen shipyard without provocation. Bacco's response was to effect, "Why, pray tell, would we devote great effort and resources to destroying one ship. What exactly is so special about that one ship." So that particular confrontation was a stalemate. And I would the imagine the TP powers would be plenty PO'ed that a Starfleet vessel snatched a terraforming device important to future of the Gorn race. They'd likewise have to watch what they say without appearing to endorse genocide.
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Old February 26 2011, 04:02 AM   #351
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Why? There's no evidence that anyone detected the Tzenkethi's operation whatsoever. Further, Section 31's primary mole on Romulus was former Tal Shiar Chairman Koval -- who, in Section 31: Rogue by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels, was playing Section 31 like a fiddle just as much as the Tzenkethi played the Romulans, and who was later killed after the Shinzon coup.
I have not read that book as of yet, so I might be missing something...but from what I have heard of it, Koval was handing them a list of Tal Shiar agents in Federation Space--the "playing" simply came from the fact that the "useless" world being handed to the Romulans wasn't so useless at all.
Rogue made it very clear that the list of Tal Shiar agents Koval was giving to Section 31 was of older agents who were scheduled to be purged. It was, in other worse, a useless list for which Section 31 traded control of an area of space with an incredibly powerful and dangerous natural phenomenon.

I admit, you've lost with that. What happened in "Divergence"/"Affliction"?
They let the Klingons abduct Dr. Phlox from the middle of San Francisco so that he could be forced by the Klingons to develop a cure for the Augment virus, but the Klingons double-crossed them by deciding to just kill Phlox, annihilate all life on the planets on which the virus had spread, and attacking the Enterprise and Columbia in violation of their agreement with Agent Harris.

Would they? What kinds of evidence of their actions did the Tzenkethi actually leave?
The fact that it all went like clockwork.
The fact that what went like clockwork? To an outside observer who doesn't know the Tholians are involved because they haven't read Rough Beasts of Empire, there's nothing to indicate that there was any operation to go like clockwork.

The events were such a radical change from the status quo that suspicions--and therefore, investigations--are warrented.
Oh, c'mon. This is Romulus. Even before Tal'Aurua's death, they'd gone through three praetors in four years, lost their entire Senate, saw their entire slave caste emigrate out of Romulan territory, and had their Empire split in two. Romulus is so politically unstable that the fact that there were major political changes over the course of a year is not itself out of the norm for Romulan politics. There's no reason to think that anyone would look at them and say, "Hey, there was political instability in Ki Baratan. How strange!"

I see. Frankly, I'm not too conviced that's an efficient structure. Rivalry between two groups technically on the same side is bad enough--but giving both the same duties is redundant, irrational, inefficient, and ultimately detrimental to success of intelligence forces.
Do yourself a favor, then: Don't read up on the more than dozen separate intelligence agencies with overlapping missions which make up the United States Intelligence Community; you'll give yourself a heart attack.

Possibly. It's just as likely that they'd all expel the Coalition and then try to draw themselves even closer, though. After all, if they start sharing a lot more personnel and a lot more resources, it will be all that much harder for any one Member State to engage in any covert operations in another's territory.

...For better or for worse, the Star Empire has chosen its course, made its commitments, and now relies upon the Pact's help to function.
But how would the natural paranoia of "are they using us, too?" be toned down? "Perhaps the powers calling for such closer ties are actually planning something!"
It wouldn't, per se. The idea I'm exploring is that perhaps the very act of working more closely with one-another will lead to it being harder for them to manipulate one-another and they'll all realize that. It's sorta like how the U.S. and U.K. work incredibly closely together, and while I'm sure that the CIA and MI6 both spy on one-another to an extent, ultimately no one's too concerned about it one way or the other. We're just too close for it to bother us anymore.

Actually, I would contend it makes the Tholians look weak. Tezrene is their ambassador. He
She.

has a responability--an obligation--to keep his words as being on behalf of his people. Speaking out of turn strongly indicates that the Assembly is incompetent in the way it handles its diplomacy.
Maybe. On the other hand, maybe Bacco doesn't want the Pact to know that she's not sure how to interpret Tezrene's words. Or maybe she thinks that Tezrene accidentally tipped the Assembly's hand and doesn't want the Pact to know that she knows the Assembly has ulterior motives for joining it out of hope to use it to split the Pact in the future. Or maybe... Etc.

Bottom line, we don't know that the Board of Governors is aware of Tezrene's outburst in A Singular Destiny.

If the Pact is sincere in maintaining Peaceful Coexistance (BTW, Sci...that's actually not a Hitler reference. I was trying to invoke Khrushchev.)
I wasn't referring specifically to anything you or anyone else individually had said. I was referring to the general habit people have of associating every antagonistic foreign government with Hitler and World War II.

1. What radicals have seized power in Egypt? (I mean, except insofar as every political faction in Egypt is vaguely radical-ish from an American POV, even the "Military should run everything and keep getting checks from the United States and keep the peace with Israel" faction.) And what makes that faction radical?
No one--yet. I'm referring, of course, to the Muslim Brotherhood--which, as you know, is the most organized of the Anti-Mubarak forces. That naturally causes me concern that it will end up as Iran did.
I see. Bear in mind that Mubarak, as a brutal dictator, had a strong incentive to portray the Muslim Brotherhood as being much more dangerous and radical than it necessarily is (for he needed to justify his suppression of it, and use of anti-Brotherhood laws to deny democracy to Egypt, to the United States). I'm not saying we should trust them per se -- but there are a lot of people who've been studying the Brotherhood who've said it's a lot more moderate than Mubarak portrayed them as being. And certainly everything I've read has indicated that the Brotherhood's leadership is as old and disconnected from the majority of young Egyptians (who make up something like two thirds of the population) as Mubarak was. So I'm not convinced we need to be as afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood as of the extremists who run Iran.

2. The Typhon Pact isn't the product of a revolution. None of its internal governments have been overthrown, and none of its member states are facing a popular rebellion. It's really just not a good comparison.
Well, consider: again, radicalism breed energy and aggressiveness. Moderates are, naturally, moderates. It is harder for moderate forces to take up arms, so to speak.
To a point. But the moderates are already in power in the Typhon Pact states, and there's no evidence of major political instability in any of them save the Romulans -- where a moderate took power as a result of that instability. There's certainly no evidence of a popular rebellion. So I think you're making an exceedingly poor comparison.

Well, I'm curious as to why the Chinese government would want McDonalds in its borders. I would imagine it's because they thought it would catch on with the people.
Maybe, but that's irrelevant to the point, which is simply that the United States has been spreading its culture to other cultures and that this can breed resentment. That's not even a criticism of the U.S. per se. It's just a fact. Similarly, it's pretty much a given that the Federation's ultimate goal is to peacefully and consensually unite the galaxy under the Federation Flag. That's not necessarily bad -- but it's definitely something that can breed fear and resentment and is not untrue.

No. Basic readiness is necessary -- the basic readiness which should always be maintained. But there's a difference between basic readiness and actively preparing for a war. There's a huge difference between the levels of mobilization that entails, and if you're going to avoid provoking the other side, it's important not to mobilize on that level. At least, not so long as the other side isn't mobilizing on that level, at any rate.

...Again, don't err on the side of, "They're going to hit us." That's paranoia and it's not backed up by facts. The other guy is holding a stick that's just as big as yours, and he can't pick up a bigger stick without you seeing. Keep watching him, and keep your stick ready, but don't move to hit him and don't move to pick up a bigger stick yourself unless he starts picking up a bigger stick first. You may end up staring at each other over the fence, but you'll probably both be able to keep from hitting each other.
Where, then, is the line to be drawn? At building up of the fleet? At fortification of Starbases? What would be considered sufficient readiness, and what would be going too far?
I would suggest that the best course of action would be to rebuild the fleet, but to avoid the appearance of doing it in a belligerent or hostile way. Retain the ability to kick ass, but don't let it look like that's the goal.

Build more capital ships like the refit Galaxy class and the Sovereign class. Build more Vesta class starships. Make sure a significant percentage of the ships being built are more combat-oriented ships like the Defiants, but make sure the percentage is not so large that it appears that the primary purpose of the rebuilding is to build up for a war.

And start, as quietly as possible, covertly refitting as many ships as possible, and equipping as many new ships as possible, with the slipstream drive. As Zero Sum Game demonstrated, the slipstream drive gives a significant tactical advantage to Federation starships -- yet it's an innocuous-enough seeming technology that even if word leaks that a much larger percentage of the Starfleet is being equipped with it, that won't automatically be something the Pact can use as an excuse to begin all-out war, because they wouldn't be able to drum up domestic and foreign support for such a conflict by saying, "Well, they're building this new engine...!" without risking being loudly condemned.

I'd also make it a point to increase, as much as possible, military aid to allied or friendly states like the Cardassian Union, Ferengi Alliance, and the Talarian Republic. And certainly to the Klingon Empire.

It would probably be a really good idea to start building up Starfleet's combat capacity deep within Federation territory, but not near the various Pact borders. In Paths of Disharmony, for instance, there was no Starfleet Starbase in orbit of Andor, nor a dedicated Starlfeet fleet based solely out of Andor to defend it. If Starfleet starts putting at least one major starbase in orbit of every Federation Member State's capital planet and assigning a dedicated fleet to the defense of every Federation Member State's major planets, that would go a long way towards increasing defense capabilities without appearing to be there for the purpose of attacking the Pact. Indeed, Starfleet could easily cite the need for such dedicated Member State defenses in the wake of the Borg Invasion -- "Once upon a time, most enemies targeted only Earth, the Federation capital, and ignored the other Member worlds, but in the wake of the Borg Invasion, that's just not the case anymore. So we've got to make sure that there's a starbase and a fleet in orbit to defend every single Member world."

(Frankly, I think that's a longstanding problem with Federation defensive strategies, too, but I digress.)

All that should be combined with attempts at stronger diplomatic outreaches and trade deals. Give them incentives to have peaceful coexistence. Let them see the carrot along with the stick.

Bottom line: The key is to be able to kick ass without looking like that's the goal. Do it slowly, and steadily, and don't give them an excuse to throw the first punch. Make sure that the rebuilding of the fleet seems more like a natural rebuild from the Borg Invasion than a deliberate attempt to prepare for war. And all the while, give them reasons to see how peace is possible and is better. Make it clear that you don't want war and aren't looking for an excuse to throw the first punch, and they're less likely to want to throw the first punch themselves.

[quote]
After all, if an opposing power is particularly testy (as the Breen and the Tholians seem to be), it could proclaim anything our side does for the sake of readiness as an act of war.
Eh, they're testy, but I wouldn't characterize them as particularly so. Neither one acted if they thought their actions would give the Federation a pretext for open warfare. The Breen only acted when they could maintain plausible deniability, and the Tholians only acted when they could do so without violating any treaties. So I reject the premise that either one is so testy as to be looking for any excuse to start a war the way you seem to be claiming.

Well...the Pact powers were not hit as hard--if at all--by the Borg invasion. That would seem to give them a slight upper hand.
Not necessarily. First off, everyone's military was hit hard by the Borg, because everyone was in the Azure Nebula (save the Tholians), remember? And the Romulans were invaded by the Borg, too.

And the other thing is, it's not clear that any of the Pact states' militaries were so large as Starfleet before the Invasion. Even if Starfleet has lost 40% of its ships and personnel, it's entirely possible that Starfleet is so much larger than the other space forces that it still has a sizeable advantage. We don't know.

There is no evidence that any Typhon Pact member states have any designs upon Federation worlds.
No, not particularly.
Then there's no reason to conclude that is a goal of theirs.

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
This would be a relevant point if the Typhon Pact was product of some sort of multi-civilizational revolution. It's not: the Typhon Pact is, in fact, a very measured and careful compromise by a half-dozen reasonably stable civilizations which have no interest in letting things get out of control. The Romulans and the Tzenkethi, we know from RBOE, are not blindly trusting in the good faith of their new allies; they're carefully watching everything.
And the Breen and the Tholians seem to have major chips on their shoulders, daring the Federation to knock them off. Tezrene's rant, again, either shows the Assembly's incompetence in diplomatic structure and chain of command, or simmering hostility. And of course, there is the Breen's apparent "arms race" with the slipstream drive.
That's irrelevant to rfmcdpei's point, which is simply that the Typhon Pact is not experiencing the sort of widespread rebellion to which you previously alluded (Egyptian Revolution, French Revolution, etc.).
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Old February 26 2011, 04:08 AM   #352
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
^Excellent. Valeris...were I UFP president, I would seriously consider appointing you one of my top advisors.
Aww shucks.

Christopher wrote: View Post
Which is why I keep saying that the Federation needs to avoid provocative moves like pre-emptively arming for war. Engagement and diplomacy probably won't make friends of the Pact, but should at least avoid making them an active enemy.
But what would the Typhon Pact consider "preemptively arming for war"?

Would rebuilding Starfleet? Because that's been announced as something the Federation is doing.

Would having the Luna-class starships continuing to explore? Because that's been something Bacco personally assured would happen.

Would mining for more material like topaline? Or expanding the Khitomer Accords? Or continuing to promote Federation membership? Or traveling near the borders of the Typhon Pact? God forbid the Federation pull a Paths of Disharmony!

What the Federation considers to be "day-to-day" average activities and goals (particularly in the post-Destiny universe), like the ones I mentioned, could all be interpreted as aggressive or preemptive preparations for war by the Typhon Pact powers.

However, the Federation shouldn't just stop doing all of those things.

By all means, engagement (especially if its reciprocal) and diplomacy should continue. But that doesn't mean the Federation should just stop doing anything that might offend the Typhon Pact ("No people in history have ever survived who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies.") and it shouldn't mean that they give things over, either.
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Old February 26 2011, 05:01 AM   #353
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Valeris wrote: View Post
What the Federation considers to be "day-to-day" average activities and goals (particularly in the post-Destiny universe), like the ones I mentioned, could all be interpreted as aggressive or preemptive preparations for war by the Typhon Pact powers.
That's not what I'm talking about. That's taking a demonized view of the Pact, portraying them as unreasonably paranoid and looking for an excuse to fight. That's misunderstanding the situation. I wish people would stop trying to define the Pact as The Villains and recognize instead that they're simply other nations, nations that make choices for reasons that are as nuanced as anyone else's.

What I'm saying is that if the Federation actually did choose to relate to the Pact as an enemy -- arming specifically against them, taking pre-emptive intelligence actions to undermine them, the same sort of stupid paranoid decisions that America has too often made, thereby creating enemies for itself that it didn't have to have -- then that will scare the Pact, justifiably, into seeing the Federation as a threat to them, and they'll react defensively and strike back. This is a pattern that Earth's nations fall into all too often -- two sides with no desire to attack one another, each assuming that the other side is a threat and arming defensively against them, so that the other side sees their arming as a sign of imminent aggression, so they respond in kind, and the mutual paranoia drives them to a totally unnecessary enmity. I'd like to think that the Federation is somewhat more mature than that, that they're able to recognize what should be common sense: that if you pre-emptively expect someone to be an enemy and treat them as an enemy, then you'll make them fear you and strike against you in self-defense. So your own fear makes them your enemy when they didn't have to be.

See, what you need to do is put yourself in the Pact's shoes, understand how they see the galaxy and what motivates them, and then think about how the Federation should respond to achieve the best outcome. As long as you think of the Pact only as the Other, you can't really know what motivates them, and it's that ignorance that leads to fearing the worst, and it's fearing the worst that leads to treating someone as an enemy, which tends to make them an enemy if they weren't already. If you learn how the other guys really think and see the world instead of just making fearful assumptions, you have a much better chance of finding a way to interact with them peacefully and safely.
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Old February 26 2011, 11:22 AM   #354
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

But the Pact already sees the Federation as a threat. Why else would they organize all those efforts to weaken and distract and destabilize the Federation, starting with the terrorist attack on Capella IV and the subsequent disruptions to the mining of vitally needed materials on Capella IV and Maxia Zeta IV, with the maneuvering to get Zalda to almost leave the Federation, with the disruption of trade between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.

And that's before the sanctioned attack and stealing of slipstream in Zero Sum Game, and before the Typhon Pact send an ambassador to deliberately provoke the Andorians into leaving and to encourage anti-Federation sentiment.

Considering all of that, the Pact is lucky that the Federation is even still allowing them to send an ambassador. (Interestingly, there hasn't been any mention of a Federation Ambassador to the Typhon Pact, yet).
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Old February 26 2011, 03:41 PM   #355
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Valeris wrote: View Post
But the Pact already sees the Federation as a threat.
As a potential threat, yes. Which is why it would be stupid for the Federation to take provocative action specifically against the Pact.

Imagine two animals confronting each other, trying to protect their respective territories. They're both wary of each other, ready to strike if the other makes an actively hostile move. But if animal A doesn't move toward animal B, if it just keeps its distance and doesn't give the wrong signals, then animal B will just stare and growl until it becomes clear there's no imminent threat, and then they'll both go on their way. It shouldn't be so hard to figure this out. It's a pattern going back millions of years. And no matter how much they dress it up with politics and ideologies and rationalizations, nations pretty much react the same way as animals.

Why else would they organize all those efforts to weaken and distract and destabilize the Federation, starting with the terrorist attack on Capella IV and the subsequent disruptions to the mining of vitally needed materials on Capella IV and Maxia Zeta IV, with the maneuvering to get Zalda to almost leave the Federation, with the disruption of trade between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.
As I've pointed out repeatedly, the Pact is not a monolithic entity with a single agenda. Its members have conflicting agendas, as we've been shown over and over again. Yes, some members of the Pact took those actions in A Singular Destiny, but the other members made them stop and formally apologized for their actions. Yes, the Breen and the Tholians have taken actions to undermine the Federation, but the Romulans and Tzenkethi just want stability, the Gorn just want to solve their own internal problems, and the Kinshaya are so isolationist that they didn't even bother to show up for the tetralogy.

So yes, there are forces in the Pact that are primed for aggression toward the Federation. But there are other forces within the Pact that are not, that are only interested in stability and self-determination. Right now, it's a tenuous balance that could go either way. So if the Federation reacts aggressively toward the Pact, it'll only prove the more militant side right and make it easy for them to win the power struggle. It'll just be giving them an excuse to stir up fear against the Federation. But if the UFP engages with the more moderate side, shows itself willing to be diplomatic and peaceful and respectful of the Pact's self determination -- in short, to do everything that defines the United Federation of Planets' normal philosophy -- then that will give more weight to the moderate side and improve the odds of peaceful relations.

In short, if the UFP treats the entire Pact as an enemy, then they'll lose an opportunity to appeal to the more reasonable, sympathetic forces within it, and may end up alienating them as well. Reducing your opposition to a stereotype never turns out well. Understanding the way the other side thinks is vital to avoiding tragic mistakes. Particularly when the other side has so many conflicting voices within it.
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Old February 26 2011, 11:11 PM   #356
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Sci wrote: View Post
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Why? There's no evidence that anyone detected the Tzenkethi's operation whatsoever. Further, Section 31's primary mole on Romulus was former Tal Shiar Chairman Koval -- who, in Section 31: Rogue by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels, was playing Section 31 like a fiddle just as much as the Tzenkethi played the Romulans, and who was later killed after the Shinzon coup.
I have not read that book as of yet, so I might be missing something...but from what I have heard of it, Koval was handing them a list of Tal Shiar agents in Federation Space--the "playing" simply came from the fact that the "useless" world being handed to the Romulans wasn't so useless at all.
Rogue made it very clear that the list of Tal Shiar agents Koval was giving to Section 31 was of older agents who were scheduled to be purged. It was, in other worse, a useless list for which Section 31 traded control of an area of space with an incredibly powerful and dangerous natural phenomenon.
Frankly, I can't help but wonder, if it were as bad as all that, and that Koval was only duping 31 all along...why they would continue to support him.

It would seem, then, that this was simply one event, in which the two groups played a sort of staring contest, pushing limits.

After all, considering how this deal seemed to end up, the fact that they continued to work with Koval strongly implies that, despite this apparent betrayal, he was the best person to work with. It's for this same reason, frankly, that the U.S. dealt with Mubarak (and the Shah). He may be an SOB...but there aren't any better alternatives.

They let the Klingons abduct Dr. Phlox from the middle of San Francisco so that he could be forced by the Klingons to develop a cure for the Augment virus, but the Klingons double-crossed them by deciding to just kill Phlox, annihilate all life on the planets on which the virus had spread, and attacking the Enterprise and Columbia in violation of their agreement with Agent Harris.
Anyone could have made that kind of mistake, on the grounds that Phlox helping out the Klingons would have been a stepping stone for peace.

Of course...it may have been events such as this which led to 31's characteristic paranoia.

The fact that what went like clockwork? To an outside observer who doesn't know the Tholians are involved because they haven't read Rough Beasts of Empire, there's nothing to indicate that there was any operation to go like clockwork.

Oh, c'mon. This is Romulus. Even before Tal'Aurua's death, they'd gone through three praetors in four years, lost their entire Senate, saw their entire slave caste emigrate out of Romulan territory, and had their Empire split in two. Romulus is so politically unstable that the fact that there were major political changes over the course of a year is not itself out of the norm for Romulan politics. There's no reason to think that anyone would look at them and say, "Hey, there was political instability in Ki Baratan. How strange!"
And then, suddenly, it seemed to stabilize.

Do yourself a favor, then: Don't read up on the more than dozen separate intelligence agencies with overlapping missions which make up the United States Intelligence Community; you'll give yourself a heart attack.
Granted. The US Government is certainly a test case in bureaucratic redundancy--and therefore, inneficiency. However, surely the UFP would learn from the mistakes of the past....

It wouldn't, per se. The idea I'm exploring is that perhaps the very act of working more closely with one-another will lead to it being harder for them to manipulate one-another and they'll all realize that. It's sorta like how the U.S. and U.K. work incredibly closely together, and while I'm sure that the CIA and MI6 both spy on one-another to an extent, ultimately no one's too concerned about it one way or the other. We're just too close for it to bother us anymore.
We've been allies with the UK for a long time, Sci. There's been no reason to fear any manipulation among such long-term allies. However...IF a nation/state allied with us as long as the UK were to betray us in that manner...we would be fools not to keep a sharp eye when dealing with our other allies. "Yes, we trusted an ally--and look what that brought us!"

Paranoia? Perhaps. Foolishness? Decidedly not.

She.
(facepalm)

Maybe. On the other hand, maybe Bacco doesn't want the Pact to know that she's not sure how to interpret Tezrene's words.
You'd better expain that....

Or maybe she thinks that Tezrene accidentally tipped the Assembly's hand and doesn't want the Pact to know that she knows the Assembly has ulterior motives for joining it out of hope to use it to split the Pact in the future.
Which makes it in Bacco's best interests to reveal her words to the Pact. Why would she want to wait?

I wasn't referring specifically to anything you or anyone else individually had said. I was referring to the general habit people have of associating every antagonistic foreign government with Hitler and World War II.
Indeed?

I see. Bear in mind that Mubarak, as a brutal dictator, had a strong incentive to portray the Muslim Brotherhood as being much more dangerous and radical than it necessarily is (for he needed to justify his suppression of it, and use of anti-Brotherhood laws to deny democracy to Egypt, to the United States). I'm not saying we should trust them per se -- but there are a lot of people who've been studying the Brotherhood who've said it's a lot more moderate than Mubarak portrayed them as being. And certainly everything I've read has indicated that the Brotherhood's leadership is as old and disconnected from the majority of young Egyptians (who make up something like two thirds of the population) as Mubarak was. So I'm not convinced we need to be as afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood as of the extremists who run Iran.
Bear in mind, also, Hamas's connection to the Brotherhood--as well as Yusuf Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Brotherhood--who is considered the 9th (I think that's the number) most influential Muslim in the world--constantly making anti-Semitic and anti-Western rants to the effect that Hitler was justified in his "keeping the Jews in check". And of course...he went to Egypt recently, amid great cheers--and the Google exec who had sworn up and down that the Brotherhood would not co-opt his revolution...ended up fearing for his life.

To a point. But the moderates are already in power in the Typhon Pact states, and there's no evidence of major political instability in any of them save the Romulans -- where a moderate took power as a result of that instability. There's certainly no evidence of a popular rebellion. So I think you're making an exceedingly poor comparison.
Once again...the Breen and the Tholians, again, seem a bit more radical than the "moderates" of which you speak.

Maybe, but that's irrelevant to the point, which is simply that the United States has been spreading its culture to other cultures and that this can breed resentment. That's not even a criticism of the U.S. per se. It's just a fact. Similarly, it's pretty much a given that the Federation's ultimate goal is to peacefully and consensually unite the galaxy under the Federation Flag. That's not necessarily bad -- but it's definitely something that can breed fear and resentment and is not untrue.
So...would you suggest there is a solution to this problem?

I would suggest that the best course of action would be to rebuild the fleet, but to avoid the appearance of doing it in a belligerent or hostile way. Retain the ability to kick ass, but don't let it look like that's the goal.

Build more capital ships like the refit Galaxy class and the Sovereign class. Build more Vesta class starships. Make sure a significant percentage of the ships being built are more combat-oriented ships like the Defiants, but make sure the percentage is not so large that it appears that the primary purpose of the rebuilding is to build up for a war.

And start, as quietly as possible, covertly refitting as many ships as possible, and equipping as many new ships as possible, with the slipstream drive. As Zero Sum Game demonstrated, the slipstream drive gives a significant tactical advantage to Federation starships -- yet it's an innocuous-enough seeming technology that even if word leaks that a much larger percentage of the Starfleet is being equipped with it, that won't automatically be something the Pact can use as an excuse to begin all-out war, because they wouldn't be able to drum up domestic and foreign support for such a conflict by saying, "Well, they're building this new engine...!" without risking being loudly condemned.

I'd also make it a point to increase, as much as possible, military aid to allied or friendly states like the Cardassian Union, Ferengi Alliance, and the Talarian Republic. And certainly to the Klingon Empire.
Here, we can agree.

It would probably be a really good idea to start building up Starfleet's combat capacity deep within Federation territory, but not near the various Pact borders. In Paths of Disharmony, for instance, there was no Starfleet Starbase in orbit of Andor, nor a dedicated Starlfeet fleet based solely out of Andor to defend it. If Starfleet starts putting at least one major starbase in orbit of every Federation Member State's capital planet and assigning a dedicated fleet to the defense of every Federation Member State's major planets, that would go a long way towards increasing defense capabilities without appearing to be there for the purpose of attacking the Pact. Indeed, Starfleet could easily cite the need for such dedicated Member State defenses in the wake of the Borg Invasion -- "Once upon a time, most enemies targeted only Earth, the Federation capital, and ignored the other Member worlds, but in the wake of the Borg Invasion, that's just not the case anymore. So we've got to make sure that there's a starbase and a fleet in orbit to defend every single Member world."

(Frankly, I think that's a longstanding problem with Federation defensive strategies, too, but I digress.)
...Yes...however, what of the "Member States" whose capitals are near the Pact borders?


All that should be combined with attempts at stronger diplomatic outreaches and trade deals. Give them incentives to have peaceful coexistence. Let them see the carrot along with the stick.

Bottom line: The key is to be able to kick ass without looking like that's the goal. Do it slowly, and steadily, and don't give them an excuse to throw the first punch. Make sure that the rebuilding of the fleet seems more like a natural rebuild from the Borg Invasion than a deliberate attempt to prepare for war. And all the while, give them reasons to see how peace is possible and is better. Make it clear that you don't want war and aren't looking for an excuse to throw the first punch, and they're less likely to want to throw the first punch themselves.
Again, I would agree. However, I am curious as to how "slow" you would have the build up be.

Eh, they're testy, but I wouldn't characterize them as particularly so. Neither one acted if they thought their actions would give the Federation a pretext for open warfare. The Breen only acted when they could maintain plausible deniability, and the Tholians only acted when they could do so without violating any treaties. So I reject the premise that either one is so testy as to be looking for any excuse to start a war the way you seem to be claiming.
The testing of limits, while seemingly harmless in the beginning, has the increasing risk over time of causing an actual diplomatic incident. A state in question will test a limit in the way you describe, and should there be no sufficient reprisal, they would then proceed to test even further next time.

On that note, I am curious as to whether Tezrene has been reigned in by her government. If not...there is no real reason for her to speak more radically next time--again, to test limits.

Not necessarily. First off, everyone's military was hit hard by the Borg, because everyone was in the Azure Nebula (save the Tholians), remember? And the Romulans were invaded by the Borg, too.

And the other thing is, it's not clear that any of the Pact states' militaries were so large as Starfleet before the Invasion. Even if Starfleet has lost 40% of its ships and personnel, it's entirely possible that Starfleet is so much larger than the other space forces that it still has a sizeable advantage. We don't know.
Again...the Borg's express intent was to destroy humanity. The Romulans and the Tzenkethi were far less relevent to the Borg's agenda.

Then there's no reason to conclude that is a goal of theirs.
I will repeat the rest of my response:

I'm simply saying it might work to their advantage to set their sights on particular strategic sites, should, again, escalation occur due to a tragic unanticipated event.
Recall all the tensions before WWI. All it took was an intrinsically meanigless spark to light the powder keg, because the tensions were so high.


And the Breen and the Tholians seem to have major chips on their shoulders, daring the Federation to knock them off. Tezrene's rant, again, either shows the Assembly's incompetence in diplomatic structure and chain of command, or simmering hostility. And of course, there is the Breen's apparent "arms race" with the slipstream drive.
That's irrelevant to rfmcdpei's point, which is simply that the Typhon Pact is not experiencing the sort of widespread rebellion to which you previously alluded (Egyptian Revolution, French Revolution, etc.).
As I said, those examples were only to illustrate the strength of radicalism vs. the strength of moderation. I did not imply that the Pact is experiencing rebellion--simply that radical factions competing for control with moderate factions run a serious risk, provided the moderates fail to organize themselves in a manner to defeat the radicals.

In the case of the Pact, the Tholians and the Breen are powder kegs. If not tamed, more "incidents" will occur from those Members.


Just to make things clear: I do not suggest that the more moderate factions in the Pact cannot be reached out to. They should be, by all means! I am simply saying that the more militant factions (seemingly represented by Tezrene) must not be ignored, or dismissed as being held in check by the moderates.
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Old February 27 2011, 10:50 PM   #357
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

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Frankly, I can't help but wonder, if it were as bad as all that, and that Koval was only duping 31 all along...why they would continue to support him.
The answer has been supplied: Section 31 isn't nearly as uber-competent as it pretends to be.

None of the terrifying secret services shown on Star Trek are all that good. The Tal Shi'ar and the Obsidian Order famously got p3wned by the Dominion into launching a catastrophically failed attack against the Dominion homeworld, while neither organization has been able to suppress strong dissident movements or secure itself completely against internal opposition. Why should Section 31 be so much better? How could Section 31 be so much better?

The Romulans and the Tzenkethi were far less relevent to the Borg's agenda.
Humans did anger the Borg, yes, and Federation worlds seem to have been targeted for early eradication, but the Borg also attacked the Romulan and Klingon empires. We know that the Klingon Empire suffered very heavy damage, with trading worlds like H'Atoria and the populous Mempa system being destroyed and Qo'Nos itself being attacked. We know much less about what happened in Romulan space--I've made the case that Romulans' inclination towards metaweapons use may have limited damage--but we do know that there were Borg attacks on Romulan worlds. The Romulans had also been attacked by the Borg way back in the Neutral Zone in 2364, and Romulan vessels from both states were involved in the fighting.

Of the classical three galactic superpowers, I think the evidence is pretty clear that the Romulans escaped the Borg invasion with the least damage. "Least" is not synonymous with "no."

As I said, those examples were only to illustrate the strength of radicalism vs. the strength of moderation. I did not imply that the Pact is experiencing rebellion--simply that radical factions competing for control with moderate factions run a serious risk, provided the moderates fail to organize themselves in a manner to defeat the radicals.
That makes your radicalism/moderation paradigm a bit more comprehensible, but your original suggestion that the Typhon Pact's formation is inherently prone to radicalism still doesn't hold.
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Old February 28 2011, 02:22 AM   #358
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Frankly, I can't help but wonder, if it were as bad as all that, and that Koval was only duping 31 all along...why they would continue to support him.
The answer has been supplied: Section 31 isn't nearly as uber-competent as it pretends to be.

None of the terrifying secret services shown on Star Trek are all that good. The Tal Shi'ar and the Obsidian Order famously got p3wned by the Dominion into launching a catastrophically failed attack against the Dominion homeworld, while neither organization has been able to suppress strong dissident movements or secure itself completely against internal opposition. Why should Section 31 be so much better? How could Section 31 be so much better?
Frankly, considering all that, the question should be: Why should, and how could, Section 31 be so much worse?

But anyhow...the thing we have to understand about super-secret orginizations is: they're like Hollywood special effects teams. Their best work is demonstrated...when you see no evidence of it.

So...of course when our heroes encounters evidence of the Order, or the Shiar, or 31, it's because something went wrong. If those organizations are successful in their actions...no one "out in the open" will know about it.

Therefore, it's only natural that most Section 31 tales involving our heroes involve something going wrong in the Bureau's plans. Despite all of that...one cannot take that to "assume" that 31, the Shiar, and the Order are generally incompetent. If they succeed in their plans, we'd probably know nothing about it.

The Romulans and the Tzenkethi were far less relevent to the Borg's agenda.
Humans did anger the Borg, yes, and Federation worlds seem to have been targeted for early eradication, but the Borg also attacked the Romulan and Klingon empires. We know that the Klingon Empire suffered very heavy damage, with trading worlds like H'Atoria and the populous Mempa system being destroyed and Qo'Nos itself being attacked. We know much less about what happened in Romulan space--I've made the case that Romulans' inclination towards metaweapons use may have limited damage--but we do know that there were Borg attacks on Romulan worlds. The Romulans had also been attacked by the Borg way back in the Neutral Zone in 2364, and Romulan vessels from both states were involved in the fighting.

Of the classical three galactic superpowers, I think the evidence is pretty clear that the Romulans escaped the Borg invasion with the least damage. "Least" is not synonymous with "no."
Of course it isn't. However...the comparison still remains that the Klingons and the UFP are in a somewhat weaker position due to that.

As I said, those examples were only to illustrate the strength of radicalism vs. the strength of moderation. I did not imply that the Pact is experiencing rebellion--simply that radical factions competing for control with moderate factions run a serious risk, provided the moderates fail to organize themselves in a manner to defeat the radicals.
That makes your radicalism/moderation paradigm a bit more comprehensible, but your original suggestion that the Typhon Pact's formation is inherently prone to radicalism still doesn't hold.
No, not "inherent", not particularly. But again, it is often best to anticipate and prepare for the Worst Case Scenario. If not...as Murphy's Law indicates, the WCS has, indeed, a greater chance of occuring.
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Old February 28 2011, 02:31 AM   #359
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
So...of course when our heroes encounters evidence of the Order, or the Shiar, or 31, it's because something went wrong. If those organizations are successful in their actions...no one "out in the open" will know about it.
Good point.

Why, then, would Section 31 pick up on the Tzenkethi's assassinations on Romulus? They were subtle, achieved in the context of greater-than-normal turmoil throughout Romulan spaces, and without apparently arousing any Romulan suspicions.
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Old February 28 2011, 03:16 AM   #360
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

^Well, as I said, no one out in the open would know. I would imagine, just as Koval and Sloan has a sort of "understanding" as to the actions of each others' orginization, so the cloak-and-dagger world of espionage has a different sort of "understanding".

Basically, as 31 frequently engages in Machiavellian manipulation of events--more so than SI and FSA--they know what to look for. The deeper you go in the netherworld of espionage, the more you see and understand.

Frankly, on that note, I would imagine the Tal Shiar, had Koval still been alive, would have seen the Tzenkethi plot comming. Sela...I'm not so sure.
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