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Old June 23 2012, 12:36 AM   #1
Stoek
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Food for thought regarding Typhon Pact

The other day after reading and commenting in the thread about Trek Books at 2.99 I went to amazon and did a search and came upon one that was non fiction that was co-edited by David Gerrold. It included himself and others writing about various aspects of TOS. There was one article which I really enjoyed, the author talked about Trek as a kind of metaphor for the US trying to make sense of it's role in the world as a Superpower, post world war two. There was a bit towards the end though that really caught my attention... "The U.S. is no longer a superpower facing another superpower, but a superpower with multiple rivals and challenges on a new field of threats and opportunities, contending with the real limits of military might, economic strength, cultural capital and moral suasion." So is it just me or does that not seem to perfectly sum up what the Typhon Pact storyline is about? I'm also curious to know if any of the people involved in writing the various TP related stories have ever read the article in question (The Prime Question by Eric Greene) and if so (or if not) what influences would they be willing to share that has shaped how they approached the idea of a rival to the UFP that is not simply yet another monolithic Empire?
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Old June 23 2012, 06:40 PM   #2
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Re: Food for thought regarding Typhon Pact

But isn't the Pact the opposite of that? I mean, they WERE smaller powers nibbling away at the Federation, but now they've combined into a bigger power to rival the Federation. It's a bit like the 'Axis of Evil' nations all ganging up against the US in a formal team....
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Old June 23 2012, 06:52 PM   #3
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Re: Food for thought regarding Typhon Pact

No, Stoek is right. The whole post-Destiny, Typhon Pact situation has always reminded me of the post-superpower era for America. There have always been a lot of less powerful nations that resented the dominance of America and the USSR, that didn't like being held hostage to the superpowers' agendas, even when they were allied with one or the other. And I think there have been some attempts to organize regional groups that could fill a post-Cold War power vacuum and take responsibility for their own concerns without needing America to police the world, but they haven't been too successful yet (which is a shame, since there are parts of the world that would be much better off if they could take care of their own problems without American meddling). So the specifics are different, but the underlying political and historical factors are very similar.

And the "Axis of Evil" rhetoric is as silly a caricature in the Trek context as it was when President Bush used it in real life. Because the Pact governments have every right to want to defend their self-interest and be strong enough to be safe from domination by the agendas of a more powerful nation. Just because they're the Federation's political rivals doesn't mean their only goal in life is to blow up planets and drown kittens. They're just nations that are defending what they see as their national interest and autonomy. Some of them are willing to employ more violent methods toward that end than others, but the core purpose behind the Pact is a legitimate one.
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Old June 23 2012, 07:32 PM   #4
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Re: Food for thought regarding Typhon Pact

Christopher wrote: View Post
There have always been a lot of less powerful nations that resented the dominance of America and the USSR, that didn't like being held hostage to the superpowers' agendas, even when they were allied with one or the other.
Meaning they weren't allowed to rape and pillage each other like they wanted to more often than not.

And I think there have been some attempts to organize regional groups that could fill a post-Cold War power vacuum and take responsibility for their own concerns without needing America to police the world, but they haven't been too successful yet (which is a shame, since there are parts of the world that would be much better off if they could take care of their own problems without American meddling).
American "meddling" has brought more peace, freedom and justice to the world than any other power in human history.

And the "Axis of Evil" rhetoric is as silly a caricature in the Trek context as it was when President Bush used it in real life. Because the Pact governments have every right to want to defend their self-interest and be strong enough to be safe from domination by the agendas of a more powerful nation.
Does that include when the Cardassians "defended their self-interest" by invading, subjugating, occupying and raping Bajor?

Not in any universe I would want to live in. That the Federation DIDN'T "meddle" to stop that oppression is a moral failure on the Federation's part, just as were incidents like Turkana IV where they let a colony fall into ruin and anarchy to preserve their precious "Prime Directive".

Just because they're the Federation's political rivals doesn't mean their only goal in life is to blow up planets and drown kittens.
Funny, seeing as how every one of the Pact powers has either attacked the Federation directly or one of it's allied powers. They got aggressive individually, got their butts handed to them, so now they're trying it collectively, as recent events have shown.

If the Pact is an Axis, it's the WW II Axis powers in the 24th century. Rogue nations looking to carve out their chunk of lebensraum at the expense of their neighbors.

And most recent events, again, bear that out with their
.

They're just nations that are defending what they see as their national interest and autonomy. Some of them are willing to employ more violent methods toward that end than others, but the core purpose behind the Pact is a legitimate one.
You presume their national interest and autonomy is legitimate. And even if it were, the Federation has done nothing at all to them other than turn back their aggression time and again. Does that justify espionage, sabotage, theft, murder and terrorism?

The Pact is pretty much turning out to be exactly what many of us predicted: the next major threat facing the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.
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Old June 23 2012, 07:59 PM   #5
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Re: Food for thought regarding Typhon Pact

I wrote a whole long response to your post, but then I realized it's just the same old kneejerk argument for the thousandth time. So why bother? If you haven't understood what the Pact is really about even after reading Plagues of Night, if you've only seen the negative side of the Pact and ignored the positive side that the book spent a great deal of time developing, then you'll never open your mind to an objective and unprejudiced view.
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Old June 23 2012, 08:14 PM   #6
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Re: Food for thought regarding Typhon Pact

Meaning I've made a good case and you can't dispute it effectively, so you're playing the "I'm not going to bother" card.

What legitimate interest gives the Pact the right to sabotage Federation research? Spy on their engine research programs? What legitimate interest gives them the right to do what they've done recently?

What have the powers of the Pact done to show themselves legitimate and good citizens of the local galactic community? Every last one of them has engaged in unjustified aggression against either the Federation or an ally within recent memory.

For that matter, the Breen alone are notorious for their use of slave labor, general treachery, and most seriously their willing alliance with the Dominion against the Federation.

Yes, it is a lot like real life...the UN is supposed to be this great civilizing international presence, but at best it's ineffective and at worst it legitimizes outlaw states and rogue nations that have no moral right to exist, all the while failing it's moral duty to stop genocide and other evils around the world. Only in the case of the Pact, it's actively engaging in the evils.

Maybe we DO understand the Pact, Christopher. We understand what it really is, not what starry-eyed idealism would LIKE it to be.
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Old June 23 2012, 08:32 PM   #7
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Re: Food for thought regarding Typhon Pact

Ian Keldon wrote: View Post
Meaning I've made a good case and you can't dispute it effectively, so you're playing the "I'm not going to bother" card.
No, meaning I've already disputed it in great detail dozens of times in the past, but you're not willing to listen, so why repeat an effort that's already proven to be futile?
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Old June 23 2012, 08:43 PM   #8
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Re: Food for thought regarding Typhon Pact

Ian Keldon wrote: View Post
Meaning I've made a good case and you can't dispute it effectively, so you're playing the "I'm not going to bother" card.

What legitimate interest gives the Pact the right to sabotage Federation research? Spy on their engine research programs? What legitimate interest gives them the right to do what they've done recently?

What have the powers of the Pact done to show themselves legitimate and good citizens of the local galactic community? Every last one of them has engaged in unjustified aggression against either the Federation or an ally within recent memory.

For that matter, the Breen alone are notorious for their use of slave labor, general treachery, and most seriously their willing alliance with the Dominion against the Federation.

Yes, it is a lot like real life...the UN is supposed to be this great civilizing international presence, but at best it's ineffective and at worst it legitimizes outlaw states and rogue nations that have no moral right to exist, all the while failing it's moral duty to stop genocide and other evils around the world. Only in the case of the Pact, it's actively engaging in the evils.

Maybe we DO understand the Pact, Christopher. We understand what it really is, not what starry-eyed idealism would LIKE it to be.
Your world is very black and white isn't it ? Team America, World Police as good guys, obviously, but the whole 'Axis of Evil' thing is ridiculous. I presume you don't see America's (and much of the West's) unconditional support of Israel as being in any way responsible for the problems in the Middle East ?

I agree that the UN is pretty hopeless at times - it hardly covered itself with glory in the Balkans for instance.

In the Typhon Pact, the Romulan leadership in particular is a long way from the mustache-twirling villainy that you seem to see. In the real world, Soviet Russia was literally terrified of the West and the whole cold war intelligence effort was driven by responding to the perceived threat rather than being simply aggressive. How different is the Romulan situation ?
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Old June 23 2012, 08:50 PM   #9
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Re: Food for thought regarding Typhon Pact

It's also arguably renegade factions within the Pact that are causing the trouble. Should the entire Pact be blamed for that? And if so, should the entire Federation be blamed for what Section 31 is up to?
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Old June 23 2012, 11:28 PM   #10
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Re: Food for thought regarding Typhon Pact

shanejayell wrote: View Post
It's also arguably renegade factions within the Pact that are causing the trouble. Should the entire Pact be blamed for that? And if so, should the entire Federation be blamed for what Section 31 is up to?
Exactly. It should be obvious that Kamemor, head of the strongest single nation within the Pact, is sincerely and legitimately striving for peace, but she's being undermined by the Tal Shiar and the Breen. It's incredible to me that anyone could read Plagues of Night and still cling to the delusion that the Pact is a unified, monolithic entity with a pure evil agenda. There's never been a book that more clearly illustrated the tension between the moderate and militant factions within the Pact.
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Old June 24 2012, 12:00 AM   #11
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Re: Food for thought regarding Typhon Pact

Ian Keldon wrote: View Post
What legitimate interest gives the Pact the right to sabotage Federation research? Spy on their engine research programs? What legitimate interest gives them the right to do what they've done recently?

What have the powers of the Pact done to show themselves legitimate and good citizens of the local galactic community?
Have you read Plagues of Night?

Yes, it is a lot like real life...the UN is supposed to be this great civilizing international presence,
No, it's not. The United Nations is supposed to be a neutral international forum for the peaceful resolution of disputes and the launching of joint ventures -- and a mechanism for the permanent members of the Security Council to legitimize their relative dominance over other nations. And it includes every country in the world because we, the United States, wanted it that way when we set it up. We didn't set it up to be another level of government, or to be something that we could use against other countries; we set it up to be a place where we could all go to try to avoid war. Nothing more, nothing less. We designed the U.N. to be a tool of its members, not a force in its own right. If that means having to deal with brutal dictatorships as equals -- well, that's our own damn fault and our own damn choice.

but at best it's ineffective ... all the while failing it's moral duty to stop genocide and other evils around the world.
Let's not sit here and play innocent. The United Nations is a tool of its members, not a force in its own right; we designed it that way. (And when someone did try to turn the United Nations into an independent political actor on the world stage that exerted its own will, his ass got assassinated -- possibly by the U.S.) The U.N. cannot do anything the United States or the other P5 members don't want it to do.

So if the U.N. fails to act, it is either because we, the United States, don't want it to act, or because the majority of the world's countries don't want it to act.

Maybe we DO understand the Pact, Christopher. We understand what it really is, not what starry-eyed idealism would LIKE it to be.
I dare say that someone who has actually written Star Trek novels about the Typhon Pact and participated in the story-planning for Star Trek: Typhon Pact novels has a better understanding of what the Pact is than some guy on the Internet.
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Old June 24 2012, 12:13 AM   #12
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Re: Food for thought regarding Typhon Pact

Heck, don't just take my word for it. Let's go to the source. From Keith R. A. DeCandido, the author who created the Typhon Pact along with Marco Palmieri:

KRAD wrote: View Post
The idea was to come up with a logical outgrowth of the devastation we got in Destiny. The Pact didn't come together in order to become an antagonist to the Federation. Quite the opposite: they were inspired by the Federation. In the wake of the Borg invasion, the powers are all less than they were, but as allies they can shore up each others' weaknesses.

As Sonek Pran said at the end of A Singular Destiny when the Pact formed, their motivation is not dissimilar to that of the humans, Vulcans, Andorians, and Tellarites who formed the Federation.
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Old June 24 2012, 12:30 AM   #13
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Re: Food for thought regarding Typhon Pact

Ian Keldon wrote: View Post
What legitimate interest gives the Pact the right to sabotage Federation research? Spy on their engine research programs? What legitimate interest gives them the right to do what they've done recently?
Concerns over the Federation's development of a quantum sliptream FTL drive that would make warp drive obsolete and theoretically allow Federation forces to make first strikes are legitimate.

For that matter, the Breen alone are notorious for their use of slave labor, general treachery, and most seriously their willing alliance with the Dominion against the Federation.
The Federation's allies in the Khitomer Accords aren't exactly flawless, you'll note. The Ferengi have a reputation as overly aggressive and unscrupulous merchanters who kept the female proportion of their population naked and uneducated until recently, while the Cardassians were rigid brutal imperialists whose desire for universal dominion triggered a catastrophic multi-quadrant war and even now the Klingons are still trying to conquer independent species for their own aggrandizement.

What does it say about the Federation that these are its key allies? Yes, they are reforming their ways to various degrees and in various ways, but still.

Ian Keldon wrote: View Post
Yes, it is a lot like real life...the UN is supposed to be this great civilizing international presence
It is.

The United Nations can't solve the world's problems right now, sure. That's because the United Nations wasn't designed as a world government. It was created as an international organization that was supposed to encourage dialogue and cooperation between different states, with the aim of promoting a better future. The UN can function only with the resources it was given, and in many cases--the run-up to the genocide in Rwanda being a case in point--it isn't given enough resources to achieve its necessary tasks.

Complaining that the United Nations isn't an effective world government misses the point entirely.
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Old June 24 2012, 01:08 AM   #14
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Re: Food for thought regarding Typhon Pact

No, the UN wasn't designed by its founders to be a useful and effective planetary government. And it may well be that the permanent five of the Security Council would prefer that it never become that. And it may also be that a lot of our smaller member nations would also prefer it that way for their own reasons, some with more nefarious reasons than others.

Doesn't mean it has to stay that way forever. Or that it should.

Meantime, back to our scheduled Trek debate...
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Old June 24 2012, 01:18 AM   #15
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Re: Food for thought regarding Typhon Pact

DEWLine wrote: View Post
No, the UN wasn't designed by its founders to be a useful and effective planetary government. And it may well be that the permanent five of the Security Council would prefer that it never become that.
I completely agree, except that I'd tend to replace "may" with "certainly."

Arguably the closest we ever got to that was Bill Clinton. According to Strobe Talbott (one of Clinton's former Deputy Secretaries of State) in his book The Great Experiment, one of Clinton's goals was to simultaneously strengthen the United Nations and other international institutions and to strengthen the U.S. role in those institutions. Clinton's idea was that as the United States became less powerful relative to other nations, it could continue to maintain a position of leadership and influence through its role in international institutions if those institutions themselves become more influential -- something roughly akin to how the United Kingdom still wields a great deal of power and influence through its veto-holding status on the Security Council, even though it is hardly the world superpower it once was, but on a larger scale.
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