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Old November 19 2007, 03:31 PM   #16
Dorothy_Zbornak
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Re: "UFP" and "USA"

As a sidenote, it was called the 'Earth Federation' in "Friday's Child", which I always found interesting...
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Old November 19 2007, 04:17 PM   #17
Timo
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Re: "UFP" and "USA"

...But only after the Capellans (or their Klingon wormtongue?) had established the lingo. The Capellans considered Kirk and Spock "Earthmen" alike, and in Capellan view, the political power behind our heroes was "Earth", not the UFP. Had Kirk tried to argue the semantics, he'd have appeared even more of a wuss in comparison with the Klingon than he really was.

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Old November 21 2007, 02:03 AM   #18
Plum
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Re: "UFP" and "USA"

Brill work Sci. Terrific post! Except...

Sci said:
...one could not very well avoid capture by US Federal authorities just by hanging out in Massachusetts.

Depends on where in Mass.

The best part of your post is the progression from a more relevant concept of world government the old show was trying to convey and the digression into US allegory as opposed to UN council over the years. I do think the UN spirit was high around the time TOS was being made (the building in New York was opened in 1967 I believe). People forget how American the UN used to be, after all, Americans created it in the hope that the horror of WWII and any large scale war would be avoided. Star Trek mirrored that sympathy a lot, I feel. The guys who made that show knew what war was really all about, and peace was their answer. The UN was a hope for peace as well.
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Old November 25 2007, 08:58 AM   #19
timmy84
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Re: "UFP" and "USA"

I don't usually reference specific posters, but Sci, that was a great post. Very well written.

The only thing I saw that I would argue with (a small point, and I only mention it because honestly, considering what the original poster was trying to discuss, I would rather discuss this) is I was under the impression the Federation President was elected by the Federation Council, not the Federation as a whole.

It would make sense that way. Out of the major interstellar governments (which of course you believe the UFP is) it is also the largest. A democracy of that size for a single leader to be elected from would be daunting. Billions of people voting on someone. Even if a person attains a supermajority of the vote, billions and dozens of worlds would be disenfranchised in their leadership. And as you mentioned, Federation power seems to vary on a per world basis (more on that later).

Of course, it hasn't been established that Federation Councilors (I believe thats their title) are elected, so being a democracy may only extend to planetary governments.

And speaking of that, leads to a USA UFP comparison. Earth. From what we have seen, I am also of the opinion that Earth is what the District of Columbia was originally envisioned as within the US. A neutral region for the Federal government to convene. Not to the extreme (for example, since DC isn't a state, it does not get 10th Amendment protections), but it explains how the Federation President can declare martial law and have thousands of Starfleet officers deployed across the planet, while Kirk couldn't even be arrested on Vulcan.

Sorry for detracting the original discussion. I just had to put this in.

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Old November 25 2007, 09:55 AM   #20
Sci
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Re: "UFP" and "USA"

Thanks to Plum and timmy84 for their kind words!

Plum said:
Sci said:
...one could not very well avoid capture by US Federal authorities just by hanging out in Massachusetts.

Depends on where in Mass.
True. I suppose it depends on whether or not the Vulcan government knew that Kirk and Co. were on the planet. It's entirely possible that the Temple authorities kept their presence quiet until Kirk and Co. had already communicated that they were returning to Earth for court martial.

The best part of your post is the progression from a more relevant concept of world government the old show was trying to convey and the digression into US allegory as opposed to UN council over the years. I do think the UN spirit was high around the time TOS was being made (the building in New York was opened in 1967 I believe). People forget how American the UN used to be, after all, Americans created it in the hope that the horror of WWII and any large scale war would be avoided. Star Trek mirrored that sympathy a lot, I feel. The guys who made that show knew what war was really all about, and peace was their answer. The UN was a hope for peace as well.
That's a really interesting point -- that at one time, the UN had major backing from the US, and was seen as being a very "American" institution. It's too bad that things have come to a point of late where the UN and US are so often seen as having contradictory goals, because I really think that at the end of the day, their basic goals -- the maintenance of international peace and the implementation of international law -- remain the same.

timmy84 said:
The only thing I saw that I would argue with (a small point, and I only mention it because honestly, considering what the original poster was trying to discuss, I would rather discuss this) is I was under the impression the Federation President was elected by the Federation Council, not the Federation as a whole.
Well, there's no direct evidence either way, canonically. Our only clues as to the president's determination come from "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost" on DS9. The scripts contain the following information on the subject:

From the script for "Homefront:"

DEEP SPACE NINE: "Homefront" - 11/04/95 - ACT TWO 25.

25 OMITTED

26 INT. PRESIDENT'S OFFICE - DAY

Sisko and Admiral Leyton ENTER to find PRESIDENT JARESH-
INYO sitting at his desk. We can see the Eiffel Tower
out the window behind him. Jaresh-Inyo is a Grazerite,
a willowy, contemplative, humanoid alien only recently
elected to the office of President. Grazerites are
evolved from herbivorous herd animals and as such loathe
violence and confrontation. Sisko's carrying a twenty-fourth
century briefcase, which he places on the ground by his
chair.

LEYTON
Mister President, I'd like to
introduce Captain Sisko. <SCENE SNIPPED>
Then, towards the episode's finale:

DEEP SPACE NINE: "Homefront" - 11/04/95 - ACT FIVE 55.

50 CONTINUED: (5)

The President sits down in his chair, crushed under the
weight of his responsibility.

JARESH-INYO
I never sought this job. I was
content to simply represent my
people on the Federation Council.
When they asked me to submit my
name for election, I almost said
no. Today I wish I had.

Leyton's getting impatient.

LEYTON
We appreciate your feelings,
Mister President, but we don't
have time for regrets. You
accepted the job and now it's
yours.
Later, in "Paradise Lost," we get this snippet of information:

DEEP SPACE NINE: "Paradise Lost" - REV. 11/14/95 - ACT FIVE 44.

ACT FIVE

FADE IN:

38 INT. ADMIRAL LEYTON'S OFFICE - DAY

As before. Leyton and Sisko face each other across
Leyton's desk. Sisko keeps his phaser trained on
Leyton.

SISKO
Admiral, don't you realize what's
going on here? Even if you win,
even if you do manage to oust
Jaresh-Inyo, you still lose. We
all lose.

Leyton remains cool and firm in his convictions.

LEYTON
I can't say I agree with you.

SISKO
Do you think the other Federation
worlds are going to sit back and
let their President be replaced by
a military dictatorship?

LEYTON
Hardly a dictatorship, Ben.

Sisko can't believe what he's hearing. He's having a
hard time controlling his righteous indignation.

SISKO
Overthrowing a legitimately
elected President and giving
Starfleet direct control over
the government? Sounds like a
dictatorship to me. And I'm sure
I won't be the only one who thinks
so.

But Leyton isn't swayed. He's convinced what he's
doing is right, and that sooner or later everyone will
agree with him.

LEYTON
There'll be some dissenters at
first. But they'll fall in line
once they realize strengthening
Earth is the first step toward
strengthening the Federation.

DEEP SPACE NINE: "Paradise Lost" - REV. 11/14/95 - ACT FIVE 45.

38 CONTINUED:

SISKO
And if they don't agree, what
then? Are you willing to risk
civil war?
(off Leyton's reaction)
If the Lakota fires on the
Defiant, you'll be opening a
Pandora's Box that may never be
closed.
So, we see a consistent reference to the Federation President being elected.

This, combined with the fact that the office is referred to as "President," strongly implies popular election. It doesn't establish it definitively, but -- a head of government who is determined by a legislature is usually called a "Prime Minister" or "Premier," not "President." In fact, usually when a head of government is determined by a legislature, there is a separate head of state -- usually a ceremonial monarch or elected ceremonial president -- who has the legal authority to formally appoint that head of government ("Prime Minister") on the basis of who can command the support of the majority of the legislature. That's why, for instance, Kevin Rudd of the Commonwealth of Australia is called "Prime Minister-designate" rather than "Prime Minister-elect."

I'm not aware of any situation where someone whose full formal title reads "President of the [Formal Name of the State]" is actually determined by the legislature. The closest I can think of is the Italian Republic, where the Prime Minister's full title, translated to English, is "President of the Council of Ministers" (the Council of Ministers being the English translation of the formal name for the Italian Cabinet), in contrast to the Italian President, whose full title, translated to English, is "President of the Italian Republic." The President of the Italian Republic himself is popularly elected.

The full title of the Federation President, for the record, was formally established as "President of the United Federation of Planets" onscreen in Star Trek IV, when the President gave a speech over subspace telling ships to stay away from Earth. What's interesting here, though, is that the character is referred to as "Council President" in the credits. The term "Federation Council President" or "President of the Federation Council" has no basis in dialoge or canon, but people have sometimes taken the obviously contradictory credits at face value. (One wonders if they also accept Star Trek VI's credits' misspelling of Uhura's name. )

So while the idea of the Federation President being elected by the Council is possible, I find it highly unlikely. The terminology is inconsistent, there are several references to his being elected, and there is no other head of state referenced who would be capable of appointing him on the basis of the majority of Councillors' confidence -- no Federation Monarch or Governor-General, so far as we know.

The Federation government does bear resemblance to parliamentary systems insofar as the President and Council share much more power than under US-style presidential systems, but the preponderance of evidence seems to indicate US-style popular elections.

It would make sense that way. Out of the major interstellar governments (which of course you believe the UFP is) it is also the largest. A democracy of that size for a single leader to be elected from would be daunting. Billions of people voting on someone.
True -- but, there again, presumably the UFP has the technology to efficiently count all the votes. (I mean, really, if they still haven't been able to come up with a reliable way to count by the 22nd Century, I'd be scared for the future of civilization!)

Even if a person attains a supermajority of the vote, billions and dozens of worlds would be disenfranchised in their leadership.
Yes, but that's an inherent feature of any democracy, because, simply put, there's never going to be a situation where everyone gets their way or gets what they want. That's unavoidable, and it's there in both presidential and parliamentary systems. Even if someone gets a supermajority in the Federation Council (which would, under your scenerio, be more accurately called the Federation Parliament), for instance, there are still going to be billions of Federation citizens who would prefer that someone else be the Federation President (who would, under your scenerio, be more accurately called Federation Prime Minister). There's no system of government where the selection process for the head of government isn't going to lead to billions of people not being represented by the eventual leader.

And as you mentioned, Federation power seems to vary on a per world basis (more on that later).
I'm not sure about that. It certainly seemed to when Star Trek IV was made, since the creative intents evolved over time, but the preponderance of evidence seems to point towards a federal republic-type of government, and I can think of a number of ways to reconcile the apparent discontinuity between ST4's having Kirk and Co. evade capture by staying on Vulcan and later films' and eps' depictions of the Federation as a more unified state.

Of course, it hasn't been established that Federation Councilors (I believe thats their title) are elected, so being a democracy may only extend to planetary governments.
True. I think we can accept the term "Federation Councillor." It hasn't been canonically used, but it's often used in the novels, and I see no reason not to use it here.

And speaking of that, leads to a USA UFP comparison. Earth. From what we have seen, I am also of the opinion that Earth is what the District of Columbia was originally envisioned as within the US. A neutral region for the Federal government to convene. Not to the extreme (for example, since DC isn't a state, it does not get 10th Amendment protections), but it explains how the Federation President can declare martial law and have thousands of Starfleet officers deployed across the planet, while Kirk couldn't even be arrested on Vulcan.
Well, I don't see any evidence that United Earth is meant to be seen as having any separate legal status than any other Federation Member. If nothing else, the ability of the Federation President to declare martial law on Earth but inability of the Federation government to force extradition of Kirk from Vulcan almost one hundred years earlier doesn't necessarily imply separate legal statuses. It can imply evolving realities of power politics as theoretical legal authorities become actual realities over time (just like the theoretically sovereign US government sometimes didn't have full control over its states until after the Civil War). Or it could imply that the Vulcan government was breaking Federation law. Or it could imply that the legal status of Vulcan is different from other Federation Members. And, on top of that, the President's ability to declare martial law on Earth doesn't imply an inability to do so on other Federation planets.

If we start to go towards artistic intent, Ronald D. Moore, in posting about the writing of "Homefront"/"Paradise Lost," said this about the UE government and about the selection of Federation Presidents:

<<IN "Homefront" the President said he never sought this position. DOes this mean the Federation president is Appointed? Why no election? And why does the Federation President put Earth into a state of Emergency? Does earth not have it's own Government like all the other members of the Federation?>>

We assume the Fed President was duly elected, but that he reluctantly was induced to run for the position. As for the Earth Govt vs. Fed Govt issue, this was something we wrestled with in the story break. We wanted to tell the story of an attempted military coup of the Federation and that meant dealing with the Fed president. However, that meant the troops "in the streets" had to be on Earth and that Earth itself had to be under martial law since the Fed is headquartered on Earth. We discussed having the Prez "federalize" the Earth defense forces or supercede the authority of an indigenous Earth Govt, but the story kept getting too complicated and we didn't want to start mentioning all these other players and organizations that we weren't going to see. So in the end, we skirted the issue of who actually governs Earth. Personally, I think there is an Earth Govt that operates like more powerful versions of States do in the US system, but this is all VERY murky water. Gene was pretty smart back in the 60s when he decided not to discuss the exact outcome of Earth's political/social/economic future and we've come about as close to doing just that as I think we should.
So apparently the intent of the writers was that the President is popularly elected and that United Earth continues to exist within the UFP -- which is, after all, as its name dictates, a federation.


If you're interested, a number of novels deal with the nature of the Federation and United Earth governments, and are quite good reads, in particular the following:

* A Time to Kill by David Mack
* A Time to Heal by David Mack
* A Time for War, A Time for Peace by Keith R.A. DeCandido
* Articles of the Federation by Keith R.A. DeCandido

Kill establishes that Jaresh-Inyo was in the final year of his first term during "Homefront"/"Paradise Lost," and that Leyton's tricking him into declaring martial law led to the election of Federation Councillor Min Zife of Bolarus to the presidency, with his term commencing in 2373. Heal establishes that when the Federation President resigns or dies while in office, the Federation Council appoints one of their own as President Pro Tempore for one month, while a special election is called. War/Peace establishes that the President is popularly elected from a list of candidates submitted to the Federation Council. The full Council then votes on whether or not the candidates submitted are qualified and offers them official candidacy. Election Day involves every Federation citizen voting, and it takes a week to count all of the votes, with the count being conducted by two independent auditing firms. The President is elected for a term of four years, with no term limits, and works closely with the Council, appointing Councillors to the Council's various committees (referred to as "sub-councils").

For more detail, read Memory Beta's article Federation Presidents.

The ENT novel The Good That Men Do, by contrast, gives comparatively little info about United Earth's government, but it does establish that UE has a Prime Minister (Nathan Samuels), which is consistent with the short story "Eleven Hours Out" in Tales of the Dominion War. A related novel, Starfleet Corps of Engineers: The Future Begins, makes reference to a United Earth President, but this is consistent with the idea that UE is a parliamentary republic like Ireland or Italy.
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