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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old May 11 2012, 12:17 AM   #1
The Overlord
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Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians? He started his own private war against the Cardassians because he felt they were gearing up for a war against the federation. Ultimately the Cardassians did go to war with the Federation again during the Dominion war. Before that the war, the Federation often acted like Nevile Chamberlain, giving the Cardassian Union territories in exchange for a peace agreement the Cardassian government had no intention of honoring.

So did Ben maxwell have the right idea, but only used the wrong methods? Should Starfleet have taken greater notice of his concerns regarding the Cardassians?
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Old May 11 2012, 12:47 AM   #2
Undead
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Re: Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

"The Wounded" seems to imply that Maxwell was at least partially right about the Cardassians being underhanded, but employed the wrong solution in taking his own initiative. However, that the Feds and the Cardassians agreed to exchange some border worlds and to establish a DMZ doesn't necessarily mean these agreements were the same as Chamberlain's attempts to gain peace by appeasing Germany. We don't have enough of a context for what went into them.

TNG and DS9 both support the notion that there were plenty of individual Cardassians who disagreed with their government's devotion to militarism, and that even guys like Damar (who early on was a vocal supporter of the alliance with the Dominion and believed it would ultimately help Cardassia) could switch sides when they realized they had accepted a position that was more disadvantage than advantage.
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Old May 11 2012, 01:44 AM   #3
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Re: Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

Unicron wrote: View Post
"The Wounded" seems to imply that Maxwell was at least partially right about the Cardassians being underhanded, but employed the wrong solution in taking his own initiative. However, that the Feds and the Cardassians agreed to exchange some border worlds and to establish a DMZ doesn't necessarily mean these agreements were the same as Chamberlain's attempts to gain peace by appeasing Germany. We don't have enough of a context for what went into them.

TNG and DS9 both support the notion that there were plenty of individual Cardassians who disagreed with their government's devotion to militarism, and that even guys like Damar (who early on was a vocal supporter of the alliance with the Dominion and believed it would ultimately help Cardassia) could switch sides when they realized they had accepted a position that was more disadvantage than advantage.
In the treaty that established the DMZ, human beings who left earth before the Federation was even founded had to give up their homes to the Cardassian Union in exchange for a peace treaty that the Cardassian Union that they seemed to have no intention of honoring. Even when the agreement was amended to allow those people to keep their homes under Cardassian rule, the Central Command did everything it could to chase the Federation colonists out of those territories.

To me, that's not far off from Chamberlain giving Hitler the Sudetenland in exchange for a peace treaty that hasn't worth the paper it was printed on. It makes the federation diplomats look extremely weak and ineffective when the Federation is bending over backwards to keep this treaty alive, when the Cardassian government violated it whenever they felt like it. The treaty only lasted 3 years (2370 to 2373) before another war occurred, that's how ineffective it was.

Also some Cardassians opposing their government's military policy, didn't really do anything to stop it. Clearly a lot of Cardassians did support this policy. A lot of Cardassians were very happy when they first joined the Dominion, including Damar, its only after a couple of years of being treated like second class citizens did they change their mind. Also Damar didn't seem to have a problem with Cardassian military policy during the occupation of Bajor. Some Germans disagreed with the military policy of the Nazi government, but clearly enough Germans supported it, so those who disagreed ultimately had no ability to stop it.

Ben Maxwell have been wrong in his methods, but considering the federation's dealings with the Cardassians over the next decade, he may have been right when he said the Federation is run by ineffective bureaucrats.
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Old May 11 2012, 02:01 AM   #4
SchwEnt
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Re: Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

Yeah, Maxwell was right about the Cardassians. Picard comes to that realization during the scans of the Cardassian vessels and in the end gives Gul Macet a warning.

So Maxwell was right in that his suspicions were proven correct, the Cardassians were arming.

Was he correct in how he responded to that treaty violation? That's a different question...
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Old May 11 2012, 04:48 AM   #5
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Re: Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

He hit the nail right on the head about them. Its too bad all he had was a Nebula class straship at his disposal, I for one would have loved to see him send half of their empire to hell singlehanded.

Would have made for a great episode. The Cardassians need to be sent to Hell.
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Old May 11 2012, 08:54 AM   #6
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Re: Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

Gowron wrote: View Post

Would have made for a great episode. The Cardassians need to be sent to Hell.
The Dominion saw to that.
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Old May 11 2012, 09:46 AM   #7
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Re: Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

Tom riker also knew what they were up to......ok they fleet the were building was used to attack the dominion but the original plan might have been the federation
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Old May 11 2012, 01:26 PM   #8
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Re: Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

You can be completely right yet do so at completely wrong time.

Winston Churchill was right about both the Russians and the Germans years and years before anyone agreed with him. Yet because he was advocating war at a time when people desperately wanted peace he came off as a war monger and was shut out of decision making.

Picard himself stated that Maxwell was right. That the Cardassian bases could only be where they were to threaten the Federation, yet Picard admitted that the reason he did not board the Cardy transport was that it would've resulted in war. And he thought the current peace was in the interests of both them and the Federation.

What I wonder about was what happened to Maxwell? I figured he was courtmartialed and thrown out of Starfleet (I don't see imprisonment as being that likely as it might've been an embarassment).

One wonders though.

When the Federation was at war with the Cardassians just 7 years later give or take and suffering a manpower shortage did they retroactively drop the charges against Maxwell and ask him to return to action? That sounds like it would made a good Strange New Worlds short story.
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Old May 11 2012, 02:39 PM   #9
Timo
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Re: Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

It would also be interesting to learn if Maxwell's actions made any difference.

We learn in "Chain of Command" that Cardassia was indeed preparing for a war of conquest, or at least a war involving the raiding of UFP outer holdings as a "counter-invasion" measure, and by the time of that double episode had achieved the strength needed for the maneuver. Did Maxwell's uncovering of this escalation alter its pace one way or another? Did it have an effect on Starfleet's counterplans? Nothing in "Chain of Command" indicates that this would be the case.

We can speculate that the revelation slowed down the invasion plans, and possibly made Starfleet more timid as well - or that the Cardassians hastened pace so as not to lose the element of surprise, and the Federation realized this and resorted to various desperation measures since the "fleet spread thin" problem from "The Wounded" would not be solved by conventional means. But the episodes don't really touch on that. We get a plot of apparently unrelated Cardassian subterfuge in "Ensign Ro", and that's it.

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Old May 11 2012, 03:37 PM   #10
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Re: Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

The time period in which the treaty was negotiated should probably be looked at when comparing it to history. The treaty was signed based on an armistice signed in 2367.

Its entirely possible that the Federation looked weak in the treaty as many Admirals pointed out to Picard that the Federation could not cope with another sustained conflict so soon after the events of Wolf 359. So, the Federation may have pushed for peace and the Cardassian Union was more than happy take it since they likely wouldn't have won that conflict and probably knew it.

What recent and demoralizing massacares had the Brits suffered when Chamberlain made his consessions to Nazi Germany?
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Old May 11 2012, 03:46 PM   #11
Timo
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Re: Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

Well, WWI for starters. Most of the vets were still alive.

Did the Cardassians miscalculate? If Starfleet believed itself not ready to stop a Cardassian invasion, why was there no such invasion? Or alternately, when such an invasion was seen in "Chain of Command", not long after, why was Starfleet perfectly capable of stopping it? "We're spread thin" might be diplomatic doubletalk for "let's see if they dare"...

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Old May 11 2012, 03:51 PM   #12
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Re: Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

Timo wrote: View Post
Well, WWI for starters. Most of the vets were still alive.
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Old May 11 2012, 04:51 PM   #13
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Re: Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

Knight Templar wrote: View Post
Picard admitted that the reason he did not board the Cardy transport was that it would've resulted in war. And he thought the current peace was in the interests of both them and the Federation.
It was also no small coincidence that it was his orders, that whatever the cost, he was to preserve the peace

The fact that Maxwell was right is what makes it such a good story, because it's apparent that he alone was perhaps the one captain in the entire fleet who, when placed in that situation, would let the singular chink in his armor, of having had his family massacred, put him over the edge into what might otherwise be an unthinkable development, a rogue Starfleet captain

Had any other captain found out about this, it might not have come to what it did. It just so happened that the guy who found out was the one guy who couldn't let it rest in the purview of the diplomats, hence why he calls Picard a beurocrat

I doubt history would look upon Picard as a fool, & as events unfolded, I doubt Maxwell would have continued to be criminalized, in light of the future actions of the Cardassian military. One thing is certain though. Picard himself paid personally for the absense of action taken against them, for had Starfleet's guard been properly up, I can't imagine them being gullible enough to fall for the metagenic weapon ruse, that directly resulted in Picard's torture, at least not fall for it badly enough that they'd only send a 3 member recon team, which they only did in order to keep the operation covert & secret, & might not have been how they would've operated, had they taken the hostile intent that Maxwell uncovered more seriously
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Old May 11 2012, 05:41 PM   #14
Timo
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Re: Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

18 years is not the same as the same year.
It used to be, back then...

But then technology changed, and so did our ideas on the passage of time.

had Starfleet's guard been properly up, I can't imagine them being gullible enough to fall for the metagenic weapon ruse
Hmm... I for one think that the very alertness of Starfleet is what made them misjudge so badly. Had there been complacency or self-assurance rather than this terrifying certainty that the Cardassians were up to something, a more objective reaction to the metagenics disinformation might have followed.

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Old May 11 2012, 10:28 PM   #15
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Re: Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

Timo wrote: View Post
Hmm... I for one think that the very alertness of Starfleet is what made them misjudge so badly. Had there been complacency or self-assurance rather than this terrifying certainty that the Cardassians were up to something, a more objective reaction to the metagenics disinformation might have followed.

As I see it, a more measured approach is usually taken by people who are prepared for an enemy, & therefore expect more strategy. Whereas, haphazard or hasty plans are thrown together by people who have been lax, & are suddenly in a position to have to deal with an unanticipated threat. Haphazard, like pulling the flagship commander from his command & rushing his minimal team into an ill-advised recon mission trap, into what otherwise would have been considered enemy territory, instead of just a treaty violating border crossing

Had they followed up openly & vigilantly, on the events Maxwell had uncovered, it's possible that the relationship between the two militaries would've been more conflictual, prompting either Starfleet to be more strategic about their plan, or perhaps more forceful about addressing it properly, or it would have altogether created an environment where the Cardies never would have been willing to hatch the ruse to begin with & risk a militaristic response

Apparently "We'll be watching" wasn't good enough. They needed to be doing something about, imo
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