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Old March 3 2011, 04:00 AM   #406
St. William Of Levittown
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

BrotherBenny wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Hmm.

On that note--let me run an idea by everyone:

What would you say to the possibility that the Section 31 of the 24th century is not the 31 of the 23rd century--and the latter is not the 31 of the 22nd century?

By that I mean that Section 31, having "overreached" and made a significant amount of screwups, is regularly "taken down" (say, by the Kirk Cabal or SI)--and "re-built" by new faces, or lower-ranking agents who escaped the purge. After a short period of being underground, in which it re-grows...it effectively restarts.
Eminently logical.
Thank you, BrotherBenny.

Bishop76 wrote: View Post
I like the idea, but I also tend to like shadowy conspiracy groups, secret organizations, and the like. I think Section 31 is one of the coolest ideas Star Trek has tossed out there in a long time, but it was never really dealt with in a truly fascinating way.
Agreed. Remember, the show's writers had intended for 31 to be an extention of Sisko's now-famous line, "It's easy to be a saint in paradise." They had intended for 31 to basically be one of the major reasons the UFP had it so good.

Interestingly enough, "Inter Arna..." was intended to be Julian's coming-of-age, his own "In The Pale Moonlight," as it were. But his speech at the end unfortunately came across wrong, and ruined that plan.

Even the DS9 episodes involving them were pretty ridiculous. Though I haven't read any of the S31 novels so I can't speak to those yet.
DS9forever wrote: View Post
I think both "Inquisition" and "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" are among DS9's best episodes. "Extreme Measures" is definitely not as good; sort of like a less complicated Inception.

The Section 31 novels Abyss (DS9) and Rogue (TNG) are also excellent.
"Inquisition" and "Inter Arna..." were pretty good. I was pretty disappointed with "Extreme Measures"--such a dissapointing, rediculously easy capture of Sloan.

As for the books: Cloak starts off excellent--but then we're supposed to accept that--


That was a major dissapointment, to be frank.

Abyss is pretty good, but again...the "reveals" about Section 31's alleged past actions are pretty eye-roll inducing to me.

The other two I haven't read that much from. I did read a scene from Rogue in which Hawk points out all the times Picard's bent and broken the rules to do what was necessary. But of course...just when Picard begins to do some soul-searching--Hawk gives him a loophole, and a groan escaped my lips.
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Old March 4 2011, 03:37 AM   #407
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Hmm.

On that note--let me run an idea by everyone:

What would you say to the possibility that the Section 31 of the 24th century is not the 31 of the 23rd century--and the latter is not the 31 of the 22nd century?

By that I mean that Section 31, having "overreached" and made a significant amount of screwups, is regularly "taken down" (say, by the Kirk Cabal or SI)--and "re-built" by new faces, or lower-ranking agents who escaped the purge. After a short period of being underground, in which it re-grows...it effectively restarts.
My suggestion of that didn't seem as persuasive. Possibly because it was suggested in the context of Daniels and his affiliations. But I can see that 31 keeps its numbers small while growing the organization in times of major crisis-- Terra Prime, the Augment Crisis, the Romulans use of cloaking technology, the Dominion War.

That was a major disappointment, to be frank.
Only read Abyss in its entirety. But I'm not sure I buy the premise of the Voyager edition of the S31 series. Yes, the events of "Dark Frontier" would be cause for concern that Seven of Nine would still be a threat. But she'd also be an ideal agent because of her willingness to do what Janeway wasn't (see "Prey").

Remember, the show's writers had intended for 31 to be an extention of Sisko's now-famous line, "It's easy to be a saint in paradise." They had intended for 31 to basically be one of the major reasons the UFP had it so good.
This episode of Star Trek: Odyssey sums it up. "It's people like us that let them have their ideals."
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Old March 5 2011, 11:12 AM   #408
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post

So 31's not "worse" than other intelligence agencies, as far as efficiency is concerned....
Of course it is. Simply noting that legitimate agencies can fall prey to some of its vices as well does not mean that Section 31 is not worse. By way of analogy, Mafia bosses can drink too much, but that does not mean that they are not worse people than honest men who happen to be alcoholics.
As far as alcoholism is concerned, a comparison is warranted--not in other matters.
I'm not sure what you mean here. The point is simply that good and bad people can share a vice, and yet still be good people and bad people. Sharing a vice doesn't mean that all people are actually bad people -- or that bad people are actually good people.

Section 31 is an organization that operates without accountability. It doesn't have any mechanism for detecting when its own agents lie to it, nor does it have any process to deal with it.
As far as you know.
There is no evidence of any sort of system for accountability for its agents, and Section 31: Rogue by Andy Mangels & Michael A. Martin made it very clear that Corwin was going to get away scott-free. Which you would know if you read that novel.

It's an organization that relies upon the assumption that everyone who joins is going to be honest and trustworthy and would never betray them or manipulate them.
Again--how do you know this?
Because that's how they've been depicted time and again in the novels and in the canon. It's how Sloan describes how they operate in "Inquisition" itself.

Sci wrote:
Rush wrote:
Sci wrote:
After all, the only person who knew that Koval had screwed Section 31 over with a bad list was Corwin. And Corwin wasn't very well about to admit that he'd been had to his superiors in Section 31.
You sure Corwin was the only one aware of this?
Yep.
Picard and the others were not aware of this?
Rush, read the damn book.

Yes, Picard was aware that Corwin had been had. Picard had no way of reporting it to anyone. Corwin got away with his own incompetence.

If it's really so stupid--frankly, that is often an indication that there was something else going on.
No, it's an indication that Section 31 is motivated by paranoia and is incompetent.

Sci wrote:
Rush wrote:
Sci wrote:
Nope. I think it's a problem that can only ever be managed, not solved. It's not like the UFP can credibly claim that it's goal is not to unite the galaxy under the Federation banner; all they can reasonably do is try to not to be assholes until they can convince those critics to come around and join the party.
"Try"?
Yes, try. After all, the Federation is not immune to political corruption and crimes against sentience -- witness Min Zife on Tezwa.
Even Min Zife was not arrogant enough to behave in the "a--hole" maneer you describe, towards foreign powers.
WTF? Of course he was. Have you read A Time to Kill? Do you not remember the part where he illegally armed a foreign planet, violated treaty by not informing the Klingon Empire of what he'd done, committed an act of criminal negligence by getting thousands of Klingons killed by the Tezwans, committed an act of aggressive warfare by ordering the U.S.S. Enterprise to conquer Tezwa, and then entered into a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice and frame the Tholian government for the plasma cannons' placement, all the while getting thousands of his own citizens and millions of Tezwans killed?

I mean, how on Earth is any of that not "behaving in the asshole manner" I described?

Could, maybe, possibly, hypothetically, in theory, etc. Doesn't mean it would. Cardassia and Bajor are both far enough away from Ab-Tzenketh and Breen that it's not inevitable.
I was simply raising the possibility, as you did concerning the Typhon Pact leaders "getting together and deciding...", etc.
Yes, but you tend to frame your possibilities in terms of inevitability or high probability. That's what I'm objecting to. I make no claims about how probable my scenario is; you, on the other hand, constantly use language that implicitly discounts other possibilities.

Yep. Like I said, this is the sort of problem that can only be managed. But, again, it's also important not to assume that they will take the worst possible option.
Assume, no. Prepare for, yes. Getting caught with one's britches down is never a good idea--particularly in matters of politics.
Why on Earth would you ever think anyone would not want the worst to be prepared for? That's not the issue.

Depends on what you mean by "brunt of the attack." If the majority of the smaller powers' militaries were part of the expeditionary force at the Azure Nebula, then none of them can be said to have "escaped the brunt of the attack." Their civilian populations might be okay but their militaries might have suffered 40% losses just like Starfleet.
Noted. But what of the massacre of worlds like Deneva, Risa, etc?
So far as we know, none of the Typhon Pact states save the Romulan Star Empire lost any of their planets (though plenty of independent worlds near the Klingon/Romulan/Federation border did). This, again, is not the point, though -- the point is simply that the Typhon Pact states were hit hard by the Borg, too, by virtue of losing so many of their ships at the Azure Nebula, and that as such there's no reason to think they're in a better position to launch a war than anyone else. Indeed, this is explicitly established in Rough Beasts of Empire, where it's noted that none of the Pact states have the resources or inclination for a war.

It is a reason the bureau should be abolished! It was an absolutely horrific, unjustifiable act, completely corrupt and immoral.

But that doesn't mean that it wasn't motivated by a sense of empathy, either. Section 31 was clearly furious at Zife for getting thousands of Federates killed -- given that they were getting ready to glass Tezwa, I doubt they cared that he'd gotten millions of Tezwans killed -- and decided to get revenge upon him for it.

That doesn't make it right, and it doesn't make the organization not hopelessly corrupt. But it does mean that they aren't pure mustache-twirlers, either. They're people -- people who are doing things that are profoundly evil, but still people.
Well, if they were so infuriated by that, driving them to come out of the shadows and take that kind of risk with no benefit to them or (alleged) Federation security...perhaps they're not as "hopelessly corrupt" as you would believe.
I'm sorry, did you just argue that the decision to kill a Federation President makes them not hopelessly corrupt?

I'll happily concede that they're not pure mustache-twirling supervillains. Clearly, they're driven in part by empathy towards their fellow Federates. That does not mean that they are not hopelessly corrupt. Bernie Madoff gave a lot of money to charity; doesn't mean he's not hopelessly corrupt.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Hmm.

On that note--let me run an idea by everyone:

What would you say to the possibility that the Section 31 of the 24th century is not the 31 of the 23rd century--and the latter is not the 31 of the 22nd century?

By that I mean that Section 31, having "overreached" and made a significant amount of screwups, is regularly "taken down" (say, by the Kirk Cabal or SI)--and "re-built" by new faces, or lower-ranking agents who escaped the purge. After a short period of being underground, in which it re-grows...it effectively restarts.
Then I'd start to wonder when Section 31 turned into the Sith Order and when Starfleet became the Jedi.

More seriously -- I do not for one second believe that if anyone could take Section 31 down, that they would not have spread the word far and wide about this horrible thing that existed in the heart of the Federation. Saying that Section 31 could be brought down and then rebuilt, all in secret, is a bit like saying that the Mafia could be brought down and then rebuilt in secret. It's just silly -- no one who brings them down would ever allow them to be secret. They'd be part of the history books, and every Federate would know about them. Bashir would never have been surprised by the idea of their existence.

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Picard and the others were not aware of this?
Admiral Ross was, but not Picard and Janeway so far as I know.
Admiral Ross did not appear in Section 31: Rogue. Nor did Janeway, as Rogue was set in 2372, during Season Two of VOY.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
BrotherBenny wrote: View Post
I like the idea, but I also tend to like shadowy conspiracy groups, secret organizations, and the like. I think Section 31 is one of the coolest ideas Star Trek has tossed out there in a long time, but it was never really dealt with in a truly fascinating way.
Agreed. Remember, the show's writers had intended for 31 to be an extention of Sisko's now-famous line, "It's easy to be a saint in paradise." They had intended for 31 to basically be one of the major reasons the UFP had it so good.
Absolute malarkey. I've read the DS9 Companion, I've read the interviews, and not once do the writers claim that Section 31 is the reason the Federation has it so good.

Interestingly enough, "Inter Arna..." was intended to be Julian's coming-of-age, his own "In The Pale Moonlight," as it were. But his speech at the end unfortunately came across wrong, and ruined that plan.
It was intended to be Julian's moral compromise, Julian's realizing that evil lives within everyone and that there's no such thing as a perfect person who never does wrong. It was supposed to be Julian's chat with Satan.

Behr says in the DS9 Companion that he feels that Julian's speech to Ross at the end of "Inter Arma..." undermines the idea of Julian's own moral culpability -- that he just comes across as self-righteous. Personally, I think the idea of Julian realizing that evil is within us all is preserved by his line at the very end. Sloan appears to him one last time, and he contacts security. Odo replies, but then Julian cancels the alert. "Nevermind," he says. He's realized evil lives within the very heart of the society he loves dearly, and trying to fight it today would be useless.

"Inter Arma," therefore, becomes about Julian learning that, one some level, the Federation itself is corrupt. That's his loss of innocence -- learning that, one some level, his country is evil. It plays nicely into his growing cynicism about the very legitimacy of the Federation seen at the beginning of Zero Sum Game.

But in no case was the idea that Section 31 is the "real" reason the Federation has it so good. Section 31 is the corruption that lives within the heart of even a good society. Section 31 is the Federation's equivalent to, say, the giant multinational corporations that practice wage slavery and oppression against Third World countries today. You might also compare Section 31 to the CIA when it did things like overthrow legitimately-elected governments and replaced them with military dictators in South America.

As for the books: Cloak starts off excellent--but then we're supposed to accept that--
Ah, yes, yet another reason to conclude that Section 31 is fundamentally incompetent! I'd forgotten about that one, thank you, Rush.
Abyss is pretty good, but again...the "reveals" about Section 31's alleged past actions are pretty eye-roll inducing to me.
Their role in arranging the New Beijing Massacre in order to manipulate Locken into joining them, their role in attempting to create their own army of genetically-engineered slaves, or their role in conspiring with the Son'a to forcibly relocate the Ba'ku?

The other two I haven't read that much from. I did read a scene from Rogue in which Hawk points out all the times Picard's bent and broken the rules to do what was necessary.
And that same book notes that Picard, at the end of the day, always submits himself to democratic accountability, whereas Section 31 does not.

Further, Picard tends to break the rules when they become oppressive. Section 31 tends to break the rules designed to prevent oppression.

Enterprise1981 wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Remember, the show's writers had intended for 31 to be an extention of Sisko's now-famous line, "It's easy to be a saint in paradise." They had intended for 31 to basically be one of the major reasons the UFP had it so good.
This episode of Star Trek: Odyssey sums it up. "It's people like us that let them have their ideals."
Utter hogwash -- the delusional self-justifications for tyrannical, corrupt behavior used by people who never really believe in liberty, equality, justice, or the rule of law in the first place.
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Old March 6 2011, 01:07 AM   #409
St. William Of Levittown
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Sci wrote: View Post
I'm not sure what you mean here. The point is simply that good and bad people can share a vice, and yet still be good people and bad people. Sharing a vice doesn't mean that all people are actually bad people -- or that bad people are actually good people.
Which...I do not contest.

There is no evidence of any sort of system for accountability for its agents, and Section 31: Rogue by Andy Mangels & Michael A. Martin made it very clear that Corwin was going to get away scott-free. Which you would know if you read that novel.

Rush, read the damn book.
Sci, unfortunately, not all of us have total access to all information at all times. I have hundreds of Trek novels--and half of them I haven't read yet. You can inform me of what I'm not aware of--fine. But please do not patronize over such matters. As I recall, you do not appreciate it when I appear "condescending".

Yes, Picard was aware that Corwin had been had. Picard had no way of reporting it to anyone. Corwin got away with his own incompetence.
You are assuming that Picard's superiors--whom he would naturally have reported to--were not being accessed by Section 31.

WTF? Of course he was. Have you read A Time to Kill?
Absolutely, I have, Sci.

Do you not remember the part where he illegally armed a foreign planet, violated treaty by not informing the Klingon Empire of what he'd done, committed an act of criminal negligence by getting thousands of Klingons killed by the Tezwans, committed an act of aggressive warfare by ordering the U.S.S. Enterprise to conquer Tezwa, and then entered into a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice and frame the Tholian government for the plasma cannons' placement, all the while getting thousands of his own citizens and millions of Tezwans killed?
Absolutely, I do.

I mean, how on Earth is any of that not "behaving in the asshole manner" I described?
The fact that the conspiracy was done in secret, without the Empire's knowledge.

Yes, but you tend to frame your possibilities in terms of inevitability or high probability. That's what I'm objecting to. I make no claims about how probable my scenario is; you, on the other hand, constantly use language that implicitly discounts other possibilities.
Perhaps I do, Sci. But wording does not change the fact that we are, in the end, both doing the same thing--conducting theoretical scenarios, which are not necessarily supported or disproved by the "facts".

Why on Earth would you ever think anyone would not want the worst to be prepared for? That's not the issue.
Isn't it?

So far as we know, none of the Typhon Pact states save the Romulan Star Empire lost any of their planets (though plenty of independent worlds near the Klingon/Romulan/Federation border did). This, again, is not the point, though -- the point is simply that the Typhon Pact states were hit hard by the Borg, too, by virtue of losing so many of their ships at the Azure Nebula, and that as such there's no reason to think they're in a better position to launch a war than anyone else.

Indeed, this is explicitly established in Rough Beasts of Empire, where it's noted that none of the Pact states have the resources or inclination for a war.
I see. Frankly, Sci, that last line of explanation was all I needed to answer my question. Thank you.

I'm sorry, did you just argue that the decision to kill a Federation President makes them not hopelessly corrupt?
I did not just argue that the decision makes them not hopelessly corrupt. I just argued that it does not make them hopelessly corrupt.

Furthermore, I'd hardly think dealing with corruption "permanently" makes one hopelessly corrupt.

I'll happily concede that they're not pure mustache-twirling supervillains. Clearly, they're driven in part by empathy towards their fellow Federates. That does not mean that they are not hopelessly corrupt. Bernie Madoff gave a lot of money to charity; doesn't mean he's not hopelessly corrupt.
You are assuming he gave out of the goodness of his heart. One could easily argue he was giving in order to secure a "respectable" air on his own part.

I do not for one second believe that if anyone could take Section 31 down, that they would not have spread the word far and wide about this horrible thing that existed in the heart of the Federation. Saying that Section 31 could be brought down and then rebuilt, all in secret, is a bit like saying that the Mafia could be brought down and then rebuilt in secret. It's just silly -- no one who brings them down would ever allow them to be secret. They'd be part of the history books, and every Federate would know about them. Bashir would never have been surprised by the idea of their existence.
First, that actually helps those who would secretly bring them back. The fact that it's been publicized for all it's worth that "they've been taken down", leads most to conclude that they could not be brought back.

Second--consider the political implications of the widespread news that Federation citzens--an element of Starfleet Intelligence, "conveniently" claiming autonomy, mind you--conducted such illegal activities. It would damage relations with allies, and cause even more suspicion among enemies.

Third, if Section 31 really were as incompetent as you claim here:

Because that's how they've been depicted time and again in the novels and in the canon. It's how Sloan describes how they operate in "Inquisition" itself.

No, it's an indication that Section 31 is motivated by paranoia and is incompetent.
It leads one to wonder why the scenario you devise--of their destruction, followed by mass publicity--never in fact took place. How could an orginization so incompetent, without any structure or chain of command, as you point out Rogue indicates--how could such an orginization somehow manage to evade such exposure and destruction?

Absolute malarkey. I've read the DS9 Companion, I've read the interviews, and not once do the writers claim that Section 31 is the reason the Federation has it so good.
From the article on "Inquisition", first three paragraphs:

"Section 31 grew out of a line of dialogue in 'The Maquis, Part II,'" Ira Steven Behr says, still intrigued by the subtext of the words he'd written in the second-season teleplay: "It's easy to be a saint in paradise."

"It came from my growing realization that we could do more with the Star Trek franchise than we'd initially thought we could. It was the idea that we should avoid knocking the Federation and we should avoid knocking Starfleet, but we could knock elements of them."

The theories behind Section 31 are diabolical. "Why is Earth a paradise in the twenty-fourth century?" Behr asks. "Well, maybe its because there's someone watching over it and doing the nasty stuff that no one wants to think about. Of course it's a very complicated issue," he adds, "Extremely complicated. And those kinds of covert operations usually are wrong!"
It would not have been so 'complicated' as Behr would have it, had he not meant what he says there about 31 "watching over" Earth--and therefore, the Federation.

Moving right along...

It was intended to be Julian's moral compromise, Julian's realizing that evil lives within everyone and that there's no such thing as a perfect person who never does wrong. It was supposed to be Julian's chat with Satan.

Behr says in the DS9 Companion that he feels that Julian's speech to Ross at the end of "Inter Arma..." undermines the idea of Julian's own moral culpability -- that he just comes across as self-righteous. Personally, I think the idea of Julian realizing that evil is within us all is preserved by his line at the very end. Sloan appears to him one last time, and he contacts security. Odo replies, but then Julian cancels the alert. "Nevermind," he says. He's realized evil lives within the very heart of the society he loves dearly, and trying to fight it today would be useless.

"Inter Arma," therefore, becomes about Julian learning that, one some level, the Federation itself is corrupt. That's his loss of innocence -- learning that, one some level, his country is evil. It plays nicely into his growing cynicism about the very legitimacy of the Federation seen at the beginning of Zero Sum Game.

But in no case was the idea that Section 31 is the "real" reason the Federation has it so good. Section 31 is the corruption that lives within the heart of even a good society. Section 31 is the Federation's equivalent to, say, the giant multinational corporations that practice wage slavery and oppression against Third World countries today. You might also compare Section 31 to the CIA when it did things like overthrow legitimately-elected governments and replaced them with military dictators in South America.
This all begs for the question, Sci: Why do even good societies have such dark sides? Why do they neglect to deal with them, and purge them?

If it is really true, that there are no "pure" societies, without such dark sides, the question is why not?

Ah, yes, yet another reason to conclude that Section 31 is fundamentally incompetent! I'd forgotten about that one, thank you, Rush.Their role in arranging the New Beijing Massacre in order to manipulate Locken into joining them, their role in attempting to create their own army of genetically-engineered slaves, or their role in conspiring with the Son'a to forcibly relocate the Ba'ku?
Both. You're quite welcome, although I'm not sure you'd want to thank me, as I often point out that Julian, again, only assumes Cole and 31 had orchestrated the massacre. And all we have on the Ba'ku scenario is Vaughn's word that "We know better!"

And that same book notes that Picard, at the end of the day, always submits himself to democratic accountability, whereas Section 31 does not.

Further, Picard tends to break the rules when they become oppressive. Section 31 tends to break the rules designed to prevent oppression.
Both Picard and 31 would claim the same reason for their actions, oppressive or non-oppresive: "Because it was the right/necessary thing to do!"

Enterprise1981 wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Remember, the show's writers had intended for 31 to be an extention of Sisko's now-famous line, "It's easy to be a saint in paradise." They had intended for 31 to basically be one of the major reasons the UFP had it so good.
This episode of Star Trek: Odyssey sums it up. "It's people like us that let them have their ideals."
Utter hogwash -- the delusional self-justifications for tyrannical, corrupt behavior used by people who never really believe in liberty, equality, justice, or the rule of law in the first place.
Those words, beautifully demagogued, do not change the theory behind Enterprise1981's point: the theory that, like it or not, this is an indifferent universe which does not care about "values and principles".

As a political scientist, Sci, surely you are aware of the theories in Machiavelli's The Prince. Values and principles seem well and good, but "if one considers everything carefully, doing some things that seem virtuous may result in one's ruin, whereas doing other things that seem viscious may strengthen one's position and cause one to flourish.

(BTW...contrary to popular belief, a careful reading of Machiavelli's works--even including The Prince--indicates a love of freedom and justice. Note his advice to rulers to basically leave the people alone to run their own lives.)
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Old March 6 2011, 06:41 AM   #410
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
First, that actually helps those who would secretly bring them back. The fact that it's been publicized for all it's worth that "they've been taken down", leads most to conclude that they could not be brought back.
How do you conclude that? Awareness of government death squads in authoritarian/totalitarian Argentina and Poland, et cetera hasn't led modern-day people living in democratic Argentina and Poland to believe that government death squads couldn't exist or to stop being careful about controlling their police and military forces, never mind make their recreation more likely.

Second--consider the political implications of the widespread news that Federation citzens--an element of Starfleet Intelligence, "conveniently" claiming autonomy, mind you--conducted such illegal activities. It would damage relations with allies, and cause even more suspicion among enemies.
That's pretty much unavoidable. Or are you suggesting that the Romulans, the Cardassians, and the other foreign powers Section 31 has likely been acting against haven't noticed anything untoward?

Third, if Section 31 really were as incompetent as you claim here:


It leads one to wonder why the scenario you devise--of their destruction, followed by mass publicity--never in fact took place. How could an orginization so incompetent, without any structure or chain of command, as you point out Rogue indicates--how could such an orginization somehow manage to evade such exposure and destruction?
Christopher's suggestion earlier in this thread that Section 31 is normally a dormant organization, but stimulated recently into hyperactivity by the slew of existential threats that the Federation faced from the 2360s on in the forms of the Borg and the Dominion, fits the facts.

As a political scientist, Sci, surely you are aware of the theories in Machiavelli's The Prince. Values and principles seem well and good, but "if one considers everything carefully, doing some things that seem virtuous may result in one's ruin, whereas doing other things that seem viscious may strengthen one's position and cause one to flourish.
Machiavelli's The Prince isn't especially relevant to modern political science save as a source document; political science has moved beyond that.

24th century human psychology might not have changed to the point where multigenerational conspiracies are viable. Human politics has changed to the point where the particularly cut-throat politics of the city-states of 16th century Italy are no longer, well, all that useful in determining contemporary policy-making. And looking at the online versions of The Prince, I'm a bit struck by the lack of passages which would suggest that Section 31 would be a good thing, unless you're talking about chapter 18 where Machiavelli writes about the need for princes to appear to be good so as to persuade people.

For this reason a prince ought to take care that he never lets anything slip from his lips that is not replete with the above-named five qualities, that he may appear to him who sees and hears him altogether merciful, faithful, humane, upright, and religious. There is nothing more necessary to appear to have than this last quality, inasmuch as men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, because it belongs to everybody to see you, to few to come in touch with you. Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are, and those few dare not oppose themselves to the opinion of the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them; and in the actions of all men, and especially of princes, which it is not prudent to challenge, one judges by the result.

For that reason, let a prince have the credit of conquering and holding his state, the means will always be considered honest, and he will be praised by everybody because the vulgar are always taken by what a thing seems to be and by what comes of it; and in the world there are only the vulgar, for the few find a place there only when the many have no ground to rest on.


One prince of the present time, whom it is not well to name, never preaches anything else but peace and good faith, and to both he is most hostile, and either, if he had kept it, would have deprived him of reputation and kingdom many a time.
From the particular context, though, this looks to have rather more to do with 24th century Romulan politics than anything in the more idealistic, more open, and more pluralistic Federation.

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Old March 6 2011, 08:26 AM   #411
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

I am almost at the end of this novel and like it very much! I am confused only by how the Sisko of the past scences link to the present.....but i am sleepy many nights when i read and may not be giving it enough thought, or missing something. But i very much enjoy the writing style of George III. I love reading Star Trek books. They help me with my attempts at staying clean if that makes any sense. Stay in....away from the city bad people....look to people who are better than me....the more evolved humans in Star Trek.

Overall i very much like this book. But am sleepy and will comment more when i finish it!
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Old March 6 2011, 09:40 PM   #412
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rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
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First, that actually helps those who would secretly bring them back. The fact that it's been publicized for all it's worth that "they've been taken down", leads most to conclude that they could not be brought back.
How do you conclude that? Awareness of government death squads in authoritarian/totalitarian Argentina and Poland, et cetera hasn't led modern-day people living in democratic Argentina and Poland to believe that government death squads couldn't exist or to stop being careful about controlling their police and military forces, never mind make their recreation more likely.
Perhaps not--but the question must be raised as to whether they do still exist. Suspicion is one thing. Proof leading to action to retain suppression is another.

Second--consider the political implications of the widespread news that Federation citzens--an element of Starfleet Intelligence, "conveniently" claiming autonomy, mind you--conducted such illegal activities. It would damage relations with allies, and cause even more suspicion among enemies.
That's pretty much unavoidable. Or are you suggesting that the Romulans, the Cardassians, and the other foreign powers Section 31 has likely been acting against haven't noticed anything untoward?

Christopher's suggestion earlier in this thread that Section 31 is normally a dormant organization, but stimulated recently into hyperactivity by the slew of existential threats that the Federation faced from the 2360s on in the forms of the Borg and the Dominion, fits the facts.
I understand that theory--but still, the fact nonetheless remains that 31 is an expert at covering its tracks, even if they made such embarrasing blunders as the novels let on.

As a political scientist, Sci, surely you are aware of the theories in Machiavelli's The Prince. Values and principles seem well and good, but "if one considers everything carefully, doing some things that seem virtuous may result in one's ruin, whereas doing other things that seem viscious may strengthen one's position and cause one to flourish.
Machiavelli's The Prince isn't especially relevant to modern political science save as a source document; political science has moved beyond that.
Not particularly. He may have grounded his ideas to his "present-day", but it's amazing how relevent they still are--for example, he lays out in Chapter 16 the problem of government "generosity".

24th century human psychology might not have changed to the point where multigenerational conspiracies are viable. Human politics has changed to the point where the particularly cut-throat politics of the city-states of 16th century Italy are no longer, well, all that useful in determining contemporary policy-making.
While literally, that is true, one cannot honestly look at the politics of today--especially in the US--and not call it "cut-throat", in one sense or another.

And looking at the online versions of The Prince, I'm a bit struck by the lack of passages which would suggest that Section 31 would be a good thing, unless you're talking about chapter 18 where Machiavelli writes about the need for princes to appear to be good so as to persuade people.

For this reason a prince ought to take care that he never lets anything slip from his lips that is not replete with the above-named five qualities, that he may appear to him who sees and hears him altogether merciful, faithful, humane, upright, and religious. There is nothing more necessary to appear to have than this last quality, inasmuch as men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, because it belongs to everybody to see you, to few to come in touch with you. Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are, and those few dare not oppose themselves to the opinion of the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them; and in the actions of all men, and especially of princes, which it is not prudent to challenge, one judges by the result.

For that reason, let a prince have the credit of conquering and holding his state, the means will always be considered honest, and he will be praised by everybody because the vulgar are always taken by what a thing seems to be and by what comes of it; and in the world there are only the vulgar, for the few find a place there only when the many have no ground to rest on.


One prince of the present time, whom it is not well to name, never preaches anything else but peace and good faith, and to both he is most hostile, and either, if he had kept it, would have deprived him of reputation and kingdom many a time.
That's one part. But I'm also referring to Chapter 15, in which he lays out the idea that values and principles can be a detriment to the greater good of a society. Some excerpts:

If a ruler [or government] who wants always to act honorably is surrounded by many unscrupulous men, his downfall is inevitable. Therefore, a ruler who wishes to maintain his power must be prepared to act immorally when this becomes necessary.

I shall set aside fantasies about rulers, then, and consider what happens in fact....

[Machiavelli then lists many different and opposing qualities of rulers, "good" and "bad".]

...I know that everyone will acknowledge that it would be most praiseworthy for a ruler [government] to have all the above-mentioned qualities that are held to be good. But because it is not possible to have all of them, and because circumstances do not permit living a completely virtuous life, one must be sufficiently prudent to know how to avoid becoming notorious for those vices that would destroy one's power and seek to avoid those vices which are not politically dangerous; but if one cannot bring oneself to do this, they can be indulged in with fewer misgivings.

Yet one should not be troubled about becoming notorious for those vices without which it is not difficult to preserve one's power [in the case of a "free society", national stability and security], because if one considers everything carefully, doing some things that seem virtuous may result in one's ruin, whereas doing other things that seem vicious may strengthen one's position and cause one to flourish.

From the particular context, though, this looks to have rather more to do with 24th century Romulan politics than anything in the more idealistic, more open, and more pluralistic Federation.
Not really. The Romulans seem to take an exaggerated view towards "Machiavellian" politics, and were he alive to observe them, he would doubtless shake his head in bitter amusement at their amateurish tendencies.

He focused first and foremost on practicality. The Romulans seem to enjoy the game for the game's sake, as opposed to the goal--in Machiavelli's case societal stability, security, and (as The Discourses indicates) freedom.
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Old March 7 2011, 07:26 AM   #413
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

[QUOTE=Rush Limborg;4790420]
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
First, that actually helps those who would secretly bring them back. The fact that it's been publicized for all it's worth that "they've been taken down", leads most to conclude that they could not be brought back.
How do you conclude that? Awareness of government death squads in authoritarian/totalitarian Argentina and Poland, et cetera hasn't led modern-day people living in democratic Argentina and Poland to believe that government death squads couldn't exist or to stop being careful about controlling their police and military forces, never mind make their recreation more likely.
Perhaps not--but the question must be raised as to whether they do still exist. Suspicion is one thing. Proof leading to action to retain suppression is another.

I understand that theory--but still, the fact nonetheless remains that 31 is an expert at covering its tracks, even if they made such embarrasing blunders as the novels let on.
But what evidence do we have for that? So far as continuity goes, all we know is that the late 24th century Federation agency known as Section 31 claims direct ancestry from a pre-Federation 22nd century United Earth Starfleet agency called Section 31. (Pre-Federation, it's worth noting.) The depth in cultural change between the late 24th and mid-22nd centuries measured chronologically is as great as that between the onset of Qing rule that led to the Triads' creation and the end of imperial China. Measured in terms of the volume of space and number of civilizations included, the amount of change is far greater.

Expecting a bureaucracy founded in one polity in one century to remain the same centuries later after radical political shifts, especially if said bureaucracy isn't externally regulated, is unrealistic. With its cell-like behaviour, if anything, mutation should be relatively likely.

Not particularly. He may have grounded his ideas to his "present-day", but it's amazing how relevent they still are--for example, he lays out in Chapter 16 the problem of government "generosity".
He lays out a problem, but the context has changed radically. States are expected to do much more than in erly 16th century Italy: the welfare state is simply a much more effective way of ensuring public and individual well-being, through investment in human and physical infrastructure (education, health care, roads, police, etc), than the decidedly minimalistic approach of Machiavelli's time. In the context of the Federation, which has an economy that, whatever it is, isn't classically capitalist, it's irrelevant.

While literally, that is true, one cannot honestly look at the politics of today--especially in the US--and not call it "cut-throat", in one sense or another.
In the literal way that I was using "cut-throat"--the term prevailing in Machiavelli's time and place--no, it isn't. Politicians don't gang up on each other and send assassins and torturers out while desperately counterbalancing foreign patrons, say. The game may be strained, but the rules remain. Things may be bad, but they could be so much worse.

If a ruler [or government] who wants always to act honorably is surrounded by many unscrupulous men, his downfall is inevitable. Therefore, a ruler who wishes to maintain his power must be prepared to act immorally when this becomes necessary.
The problem, insofar as Section 31 is concerned, is that it operates outside of the control of the established leaders--Ross himself noted that if Bacco pushed things any further, Section 31 would execute her, too. A rogue agency that arrogates to itself the right to assassinate its nominal polity's legitimate leaders isn't what Machiavelli was thinking of.

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From the particular context, though, this looks to have rather more to do with 24th century Romulan politics than anything in the more idealistic, more open, and more pluralistic Federation.
Not really. The Romulans seem to take an exaggerated view towards "Machiavellian" politics, and were he alive to observe them, he would doubtless shake his head in bitter amusement at their amateurish tendencies.

He focused first and foremost on practicality. The Romulans seem to enjoy the game for the game's sake, as opposed to the goal--in Machiavelli's case societal stability, security, and (as The Discourses indicates) freedom.
Why "doubtless"? Whatever their political orientation, Romulans have had a clearly articulated goal of maximizing their civilization's scope for expansion and power relative to other galactic superpowers for centuries. In terms of political economy, Romulus is rather more similar to medieval Italy, with their clan wars and their international implications and their secret polices, than with a securely democratic post-capitalist Federation.

So. Why is Section 31 supposed to survive everything intact?
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Old March 7 2011, 08:06 PM   #414
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
But what evidence do we have for that? So far as continuity goes, all we know is that the late 24th century Federation agency known as Section 31 claims direct ancestry from a pre-Federation 22nd century United Earth Starfleet agency called Section 31. (Pre-Federation, it's worth noting.) The depth in cultural change between the late 24th and mid-22nd centuries measured chronologically is as great as that between the onset of Qing rule that led to the Triads' creation and the end of imperial China. Measured in terms of the volume of space and number of civilizations included, the amount of change is far greater.
Well, we know from Cloak that they exist in the 23rd century. Nonetheless, as a broader answer to your question, even in the instances we see, the only evidence remaining of 31's existence in the end is our heroes' experiences with them. This was emphasized to full dramatic effect in the end of "Inquisition" and the beginning of "Inter Arna..."--the scenes where Sisko informs Bashir that 1) there are no records of 31, and 2) Starfleet has not conducted any investigations at all regarding Sisko's reports on it.

Expecting a bureaucracy founded in one polity in one century to remain the same centuries later after radical political shifts, especially if said bureaucracy isn't externally regulated, is unrealistic. With its cell-like behaviour, if anything, mutation should be relatively likely.
I agree with that--however, the point was that the Bureau was successful in staying in the shadows, with only our heroes' memories as evidence for their existence.


He lays out a problem, but the context has changed radically. States are expected to do much more than in erly 16th century Italy: the welfare state is simply a much more effective way of ensuring public and individual well-being, through investment in human and physical infrastructure (education, health care, roads, police, etc), than the decidedly minimalistic approach of Machiavelli's time.
Ah...I don't particularly agree with that. But that is for another debate.

In the context of the Federation, which has an economy that, whatever it is, isn't classically capitalist, it's irrelevant.

In the literal way that I was using "cut-throat"--the term prevailing in Machiavelli's time and place--no, it isn't. Politicians don't gang up on each other and send assassins and torturers out while desperately counterbalancing foreign patrons, say. The game may be strained, but the rules remain. Things may be bad, but they could be so much worse.
Exactly. The rules remain. The conflict may be differnet. but the rules of the game remain.

The problem, insofar as Section 31 is concerned, is that it operates outside of the control of the established leaders--Ross himself noted that if Bacco pushed things any further, Section 31 would execute her, too. A rogue agency that arrogates to itself the right to assassinate its nominal polity's legitimate leaders isn't what Machiavelli was thinking of.
It depends. Machiavelli was dealing also with dictators which were decidedly not accountable to the people.

Also, all we know about how 31 would treat Bacco is Ross's fears. He isn't exactly an expert--just a man who works with them a lot.

Furthermore, if 31 were to assasinate Bacco, that would increase the threat of their exposure. And considering how she is nothing like the corrupt and unstable Zife, 31 has no reason to assasinate her. (BTW...it's worth noting that KRAD has stated that he made it deliberately vague whether Bacco knew of Section 31. It would be interesting to see her conversing with, say, L'Haan....)

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Not really. The Romulans seem to take an exaggerated view towards "Machiavellian" politics, and were he alive to observe them, he would doubtless shake his head in bitter amusement at their amateurish tendencies.

He focused first and foremost on practicality. The Romulans seem to enjoy the game for the game's sake, as opposed to the goal--in Machiavelli's case societal stability, security, and (as The Discourses indicates) freedom.
Why "doubtless"? Whatever their political orientation, Romulans have had a clearly articulated goal of maximizing their civilization's scope for expansion and power relative to other galactic superpowers for centuries. In terms of political economy, Romulus is rather more similar to medieval Italy, with their clan wars and their international implications and their secret polices, than with a securely democratic post-capitalist Federation.
It is most like the medieval Italy that Machiavelle was criticizing. Perhaps he would hail the late, lamented Empress Donatra, and her society, for her plans which led to order in her state. (Though he would take her to task for naively trusting Tal'Aura in Rough Beasts.) But he would see Romulus as being in a state of breakdown, with no rules of the game to follow.

So. Why is Section 31 supposed to survive everything intact?
I did not say "intact"--simply that remnants would survive, re-build over time, remain underground until paranoia dies down, while growing bit-by-bit, until they finally are restored.

Frankly, I would be most fascinated to see how the Federation undergoes this "cleaning out" of Section 31. I would like particularly to obeserve how they would presume to know that they've gotten them all.

Again, even Jake only hoped they were gone for good. He didn't know for sure.
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Old March 8 2011, 09:49 AM   #415
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
[T]he point was that the Bureau was successful in staying in the shadows, with only our heroes' memories as evidence for their existence.
That wasn't the point I was making, about the extent to which Section 31 had to have mutated over centuries--we've got one data point from the mid-23rd century, suggesting that Section 31's scientists made silly mistakes regarding the Omega Molecule, and that's it.

Exactly. The rules remain. The conflict may be differnet. but the rules of the game remain.
The rules remain, but is anyone playing that variation of the game in the Federation?

Also, all we know about how 31 would treat Bacco is Ross's fears. He isn't exactly an expert--just a man who works with them a lot.
If someone who works with Section 31 isn't an expert ...

Furthermore, if 31 were to assasinate Bacco, that would increase the threat of their exposure. And considering how she is nothing like the corrupt and unstable Zife, 31 has no reason to assasinate her. (BTW...it's worth noting that KRAD has stated that he made it deliberately vague whether Bacco knew of Section 31. It would be interesting to see her conversing with, say, L'Haan....)
Expecting subtlety of that kind from Section 31 may be a bit much inasmuch as their backup plan if all else failed was to destroy Tezwa. Blowing up a class-M planet with a population of billions that had fought a bloody war with the Klingons isn't exactly low-key. How much more so the quiet death of a newly-elected head of state?

And again, the possibility that Bacco might not know about Section 31 underlines this agency's problematic nature. Who died and made it God in its domains?

It is most like the medieval Italy that Machiavelle was criticizing.
Machiavelli was criticizing Italy for its disunity, not the tactics. He'd have preferred these tactics to be displaced, deployed against the "barbarians" then invading Italy.

Perhaps he would hail the late, lamented Empress Donatra, and her society, for her plans which led to order in her state. (Though he would take her to task for naively trusting Tal'Aura in Rough Beasts.)
Donatra wasn't naively trusting; she didn't think she had any choice after Sisko informed her that the Federation wouldn't support the IRS militarily.

But he would see Romulus as being in a state of breakdown, with no rules of the game to follow.[/QUOTE]

Why?

So. Why is Section 31 supposed to survive everything intact?
I did not say "intact"--simply that remnants would survive, re-build over time, remain underground until paranoia dies down, while growing bit-by-bit, until they finally are restored.[/QUOTE]

You're making the argument that fragments of an illegal organization, founded on a decentralized cellular model, would be able to regenerate into its previous form after it was exposed, taken apart legally, and its secret archives made into holoprograms two old friends could watch one evening in a Terran bayou home. One might as well expect Communists to take over most of Eurasia and restore the Soviet Union. It's dead, Jim.

Organizations don't do that. The cells which survive the sweep aren't going to be typical, being likely to be relatively quiet and isolated cells with their own priorities. Again, remember the Triads' mutation from political resistance cells to organized crime networks. Why is Section 31 supposed to be invulnerable to similar mutations?

Section 31 seems like it might not be a very good organization: from what we know of it, it has a record of success that's decidedly mixed. An organization that lurks in the shadows might be cool, but it's also an organization that doesn't have any external oversight, doesn't have any clear source of funding or support, doesn't have a particularly effective bureaucratic structure (how does one cell discipline another?), and doesn't have any explicit legitimacy. The Obsidian Order was protected by its position in the Cardassian constitutional structure until it overreached and launched the fleet to the Omarian Nebula as part of a failed effort to take over. What protection does Section 31 have?

Section 31 can do things, but there's good reason to think it can do fewer things than the late Obsidian Order or the present Tal Shiar, which at least have these things clarified. And going back to the suggestion that started this tangent, there's no reason to think that Section 31 would have been able to discover the Tzenkethi assassinations on Romulus: it would have had to penetrate two xenophobic societies, using what assets, to determine that one possible explanation for recent political chaos of very many is the right one, to say nothing of finding documentary evidence of this that could be used as proof to the skeptical Romulan government.
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Old March 8 2011, 08:57 PM   #416
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

I have a feeling that if any members of 31 remained at large after the the organization was taken down, they would be smart enough to realize that 31 obviously didn't work. If they did decide to continue their work, I have feeling it would probably take a very different form from the 31 we know in the books present.
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Old March 8 2011, 09:43 PM   #417
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Exactly. The rules remain. The conflict may be differnet. but the rules of the game remain.
The rules remain, but is anyone playing that variation of the game in the Federation?
Not in the mainstream--which frankly, is part of the problem. Had the Federation not been as naive and "idealistic" as it is, it quite probably would not need Section 31.

If someone who works with Section 31 isn't an expert ...
That is precisely why 31 is so confident in "using" him. He doesn't really know that much about how they work, so he can't do anything to one-up them.

Expecting subtlety of that kind from Section 31 may be a bit much inasmuch as their backup plan if all else failed was to destroy Tezwa. Blowing up a class-M planet with a population of billions that had fought a bloody war with the Klingons isn't exactly low-key. How much more so the quiet death of a newly-elected head of state?
Except the presidential assasination would be the second in a row. Once is an incident. Twice is a pattern.

And again, the possibility that Bacco might not know about Section 31 underlines this agency's problematic nature. Who died and made it God in its domains?
The Federation did--when it absorbed naive idealism into its psyche. As the Samuel Cogley tale The Case Of The Colonist's Corpse makes clear, the reason Section 31 existed in the first place was to be paranoid for the Federation, so our heroes wouldn't have to be.

Perhaps he would hail the late, lamented Empress Donatra, and her society, for her plans which led to order in her state. (Though he would take her to task for naively trusting Tal'Aura in Rough Beasts.)
Donatra wasn't naively trusting; she didn't think she had any choice after Sisko informed her that the Federation wouldn't support the IRS militarily.
Which says what about the Federation? Bacco was planning to bring the IRS into the Alliance. Apparently, Sisko is claiming that the UFP would turn its back on an ally....

But even aside from all that--what reasoning led her to go to Romulus without anticipating and preparing for a trap?

But he would see Romulus as being in a state of breakdown, with no rules of the game to follow.
Why?
Because, as you said:

Machiavelli was criticizing Italy for its disunity, not the tactics. He'd have preferred these tactics to be displaced, deployed against the "barbarians" then invading Italy.
Romulan politics is similarly chaotic and unstable--leading to Shinzon, and eventually Tal'Aura vs. Donatra...and in turn, the Tzenkethi scheme.

So. Why is Section 31 supposed to survive everything intact?
I did not say "intact"--simply that remnants would survive, re-build over time, remain underground until paranoia dies down, while growing bit-by-bit, until they finally are restored.
You're making the argument that fragments of an illegal organization, founded on a decentralized cellular model, would be able to regenerate into its previous form after it was exposed, taken apart legally, and its secret archives made into holoprograms two old friends could watch one evening in a Terran bayou home. One might as well expect Communists to take over most of Eurasia and restore the Soviet Union. It's dead, Jim.
Looking at Prime Minister Putin, I wouldn't be so quick to jump to conclusions on that....

Organizations don't do that. The cells which survive the sweep aren't going to be typical, being likely to be relatively quiet and isolated cells with their own priorities. Again, remember the Triads' mutation from political resistance cells to organized crime networks. Why is Section 31 supposed to be invulnerable to similar mutations?
Relatively quiet...or relatively clever? Both, perhaps?

And you mentioned organized crime networks. That goes to show that they could well re-organize after all.

Section 31 seems like it might not be a very good organization: from what we know of it, it has a record of success that's decidedly mixed. An organization that lurks in the shadows might be cool, but it's also an organization that doesn't have any external oversight, doesn't have any clear source of funding or support, doesn't have a particularly effective bureaucratic structure (how does one cell discipline another?), and doesn't have any explicit legitimacy. The Obsidian Order was protected by its position in the Cardassian constitutional structure until it overreached and launched the fleet to the Omarian Nebula as part of a failed effort to take over. What protection does Section 31 have?
The Order doesn't seem to abide by the Cardassian constitutional structure. Remember Dukat's line that the Order answers to no one, running its own affairs. So, then, they are every bit as autonomous as 31 is, having no external oversight.


Section 31 can do things, but there's good reason to think it can do fewer things than the late Obsidian Order or the present Tal Shiar, which at least have these things clarified. And going back to the suggestion that started this tangent, there's no reason to think that Section 31 would have been able to discover the Tzenkethi assassinations on Romulus: it would have had to penetrate two xenophobic societies, using what assets, to determine that one possible explanation for recent political chaos of very many is the right one, to say nothing of finding documentary evidence of this that could be used as proof to the skeptical Romulan government.

I think the general thing we can all agree on is that there has been no established resource for describing the extent of the structure, ability, and authority of Section 31. A novel on this would frankly be ideal.

As for the Tzenkethi...they clearly would have had to have infiltrated Romulus, in order to carry out their plans. Therefore, as 31 showed its ability to infiltrate in a similar manner, with the possible assistance of their counterparts in the Tal Shiar, it's not too far a stretch to allow for 31's knowledge of facts which would point towards Tzenkethi involvement.
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Old March 9 2011, 05:06 AM   #418
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

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Exactly. The rules remain. The conflict may be differnet. but the rules of the game remain.
The rules remain, but is anyone playing that variation of the game in the Federation?
Not in the mainstream--which frankly, is part of the problem. Had the Federation not been as naive and "idealistic" as it is, it quite probably would not need Section 31.
Do we know this?

That is precisely why 31 is so confident in "using" him. He doesn't really know that much about how they work, so he can't do anything to one-up them.
And you know that 31 is using Ross and that he doesn't have an accurate perception because ... ?

Which says what about the Federation? Bacco was planning to bring the IRS into the Alliance. Apparently, Sisko is claiming that the UFP would turn its back on an ally....
Was it an ally? Donatra was as reluctant to enter into talks with the Federation and Klingons as anyone, while the Federation, in turn, is justified in being suspicious about entering into an alliance with the weaker half of Romulan civilization. I'd also add that Donatra's willingness to starve her future subjects into submission is worrisome.

But even aside from all that--what reasoning led her to go to Romulus without anticipating and preparing for a trap?
She clearly had her reasons.

Looking at Prime Minister Putin, I wouldn't be so quick to jump to conclusions on that....
Russia isn't a Western-style democracy, but Russia isn't a Communist state. Russia has a mixed economy, with a floating currency and active foreign trade, a reasonably active civil sphere, dynamic mass media, et cetera.

And you mentioned organized crime networks. That goes to show that they could well re-organize after all.
That's not what I or Christopher have been saying. We've been saying that a smashed network is going to reorganize into something notably different. Cf. Russia, if you would. Even with many prominent people from the Soviet era involved, you've still got a very different Russia now than you did a generation ago.

The Order doesn't seem to abide by the Cardassian constitutional structure. Remember Dukat's line that the Order answers to no one, running its own affairs. So, then, they are every bit as autonomous as 31 is, having no external oversight.
It's own affairs, yes. The Order was recognized as having its own affairs by the Cardassian constitutional settlement, with certain limits (i.e. not maintaining fleets of warships). So long as it obeyed those restrictions, it survived. When it tried to overturn these restrictions and failed, it got crushed.

What place does Section 31 have in the Federation constitutional structure? How many people on Vulcan or Betazed or Alpha Centauri accept its chosen methods as legitimate?

I think the general thing we can all agree on is that there has been no established resource for describing the extent of the structure, ability, and authority of Section 31. A novel on this would frankly be ideal.
Agreed. Expecting Section 31 to be capable of miracles is a bit much.

As for the Tzenkethi...they clearly would have had to have infiltrated Romulus, in order to carry out their plans. Therefore, as 31 showed its ability to infiltrate in a similar manner, with the possible assistance of their counterparts in the Tal Shiar, it's not too far a stretch to allow for 31's knowledge of facts which would point towards Tzenkethi involvement.
[i[Why[/i] would the Tal Shiar help out Section 31? How would Section 31 pick out some very particular facts--a handshake, in the case of Dor's infection by Alizome--and give them their actual importance and make the case convincing? Is it plausible to imagine Section 31 to have penetrate the upper echelons of Tzenkethi civilization?

As others have said, political instability is common in Ki Baratan at the best of times. Picking out particular patterns must always be tricky. It would be amusing if Section 31 picked the wrong facts out of the noise and managed to frame someone else. :-)
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Old March 9 2011, 04:49 PM   #419
o'brien's scotch
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

I spent the first half of the book just being depressed over Sisko's new life and despair, but at least it tracked back to what the Prophets told him about being with Kas. Not surprised by Kira's new religious lifestyle, but I hope something happens to spur her back to action. With the original command crew of DS9 (Sisko, Kira, O'Brien, Dax, Bashir, Odo) being spread out all over the place, hopefully we'll get some kind of mission that will get the band back together. It would be really cool to see them reunite after all the changes that have occured.
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Old March 9 2011, 08:09 PM   #420
St. William Of Levittown
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
The rules remain, but is anyone playing that variation of the game in the Federation?
Not in the mainstream--which frankly, is part of the problem. Had the Federation not been as naive and "idealistic" as it is, it quite probably would not need Section 31.
Do we know this?
For the most part. Perhaps I'm being a little harsh on the Federation...buts its intense desire to avoid conflict has the distinct danger of leading inevitably to giving other powers the benefit of the doubt.

And you know that 31 is using Ross and that he doesn't have an accurate perception because ... ?
As I said, killing two presidents in a row is inneficient, self-defeating, and completely asinine. Ross automatically assuming that Bacco's life would be in danger is...innacurate.

I simply said that 31 can easily use the fact that Ross doesn't really know how to "deal with" 31 to manipulate him--much as they did with Bashir in "Inter Arna..."

Was it an ally? Donatra was as reluctant to enter into talks with the Federation and Klingons as anyone, while the Federation, in turn, is justified in being suspicious about entering into an alliance with the weaker half of Romulan civilization. I'd also add that Donatra's willingness to starve her future subjects into submission is worrisome.
"Future subjects"?

Anyhow--what would be wrong with supporting the weaker half? The stronger half wasn't exacly interested in peace any time soon.

She clearly had her reasons.
Which would be...?

Russia isn't a Western-style democracy, but Russia isn't a Communist state. Russia has a mixed economy, with a floating currency and active foreign trade, a reasonably active civil sphere, dynamic mass media, et cetera.
I was pointing out, of course, Putin's past career in the KGB, which frankly gives me pause. But that's for another time....

That's not what I or Christopher have been saying. We've been saying that a smashed network is going to reorganize into something notably different.
Have you and Chris been saying 31 would reorganize at all?

It's own affairs, yes. The Order was recognized as having its own affairs by the Cardassian constitutional settlement, with certain limits (i.e. not maintaining fleets of warships). So long as it obeyed those restrictions, it survived. When it tried to overturn these restrictions and failed, it got crushed.
It got crushed when it got duped into attacking the Founder Homeworld.

What place does Section 31 have in the Federation constitutional structure? How many people on Vulcan or Betazed or Alpha Centauri accept its chosen methods as legitimate?
Section 31 was part of the original Starfleet Charter--

Now, BEFORE everyone jumps on that line, and points to Article 14, Section 31 only giving powers to Starfleet to bend the rules in time of crisis--

Read the novel Cloak. As Kirk points out, the Federation Starfleet Charter has a Section 31 which allows for "an autonomous investigative agency" with broad powers, etc.

I think the general thing we can all agree on is that there has been no established resource for describing the extent of the structure, ability, and authority of Section 31. A novel on this would frankly be ideal.
Agreed. Expecting Section 31 to be capable of miracles is a bit much.
Never did I do so.

As for the Tzenkethi...they clearly would have had to have infiltrated Romulus, in order to carry out their plans. Therefore, as 31 showed its ability to infiltrate in a similar manner, with the possible assistance of their counterparts in the Tal Shiar, it's not too far a stretch to allow for 31's knowledge of facts which would point towards Tzenkethi involvement.
Why would the Tal Shiar help out Section 31? How would Section 31 pick out some very particular facts--a handshake, in the case of Dor's infection by Alizome--and give them their actual importance and make the case convincing? Is it plausible to imagine Section 31 to have penetrate the upper echelons of Tzenkethi civilization?

As others have said, political instability is common in Ki Baratan at the best of times. Picking out particular patterns must always be tricky.
But not impossible.

It would be amusing if Section 31 picked the wrong facts out of the noise and managed to frame someone else. :-)
As Spock unwittingly did.

On that--I find it amusing the logical Spock would make such an assumption. Perhaps there's a story there....
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