Difference Between Earth Starfleet and the UESPA?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by LutherSloan, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    ^That was certainly the feeling I always got from the shows. I always thought that the way that they talked about it and handled things in different episodes made it seem more like an alliance of worlds, rather than one big nation itself.
     
  2. Nerroth

    Nerroth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I really wish that ENT had considered taking a look at how the SFU Federation goes about its early evolution.


    In that setting, there is a distinct division between the Earth ships built in the years prior to the foundation of a unified Star Fleet, and the saucer-and-nacelle designs which were built to supersede them - and the other single-race ship designs.

    The development of the new generation ships not only made the racial ships they superseded (mostly) obsolete, but they were more efficient for a growing Federation to use, as they had more standardized parts for their ships which could be stored at planets and bases across UFP space.

    And while major member worlds (such as Vulcan and Andoria) retained some racial ships 'to facilitate training' (or in the case of the Vulcans, for exploration purposes, since their ships were best suited for such a task) as the overall technology level of the UFP progressed, even they were mostly phased out, and the member worlds turned to older saucer-nacelle hulls as their new National Guard ships.

    And in political terms, in the case of the Federation (and in that of the Interstellar Concordium, another multi-species alliance, which will have some of its pre-unified racial hull designs published in the upcoming SFB Module Y2) the foundation of the unified Star Fleet represented a major shift in the way the allies were bound together - by uniting their chief military and scientific wings under a joint command, the founding of Star Fleet helped forge the UFP into a more closely-knit federation, i.e. by shifting more power and authority to the federal government (as the ISC Navy did for the Concordium).


    (But even then, the relative power and influence of Earth in the UFP, and the durability of the Terran-design light cruiser, saw that design refitted and used in Star Fleet service for several decades afterwards - and the Police used modified Terran vessels for their purposes.)

    Indeed, that distinction between the Terran-designed and unified hulls can be seen with the Republic of Aurora - a lost Fed colony in a distant corner of the galaxy, which ended up building its new ship designs based on the Terran-hull cruisers and frigates it inherited when the colony was lost, as opposed to going with the increased reliance on saucer-nacelle-configuration ships that Star Fleet adopted.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  3. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I would certainly agree that the Federation Member States retain considerably more autonomy than the constituent parts of most federal republics in existence today. But by the same token, I think that the Federation government is a bit more powerful than a mere alliance or confederation; it's pretty clear, for instance, that the Federation gets to conduct foreign relations for its Members without actually consulting them. If Andor objected to the Khitomer Accords, it's obvious that they still have a legal obligation to abide by them and that the Federation as a whole doesn't have to listen to them, and has the legal authority to use force to compel obedience to Federation law.

    The Federation is definitely a federal republic, and its Members are much more autonomous than tends to be the case in real-life federal republics. But by the same token, the Federation is a state and retains all of the powers of one, and has far more legal authority than even the US under the Articles of Confederation.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^^The exact nitpicky details of its government are beside the point, and all the real-world analogies were stated up front to be approximate at best. The point is that there's no reason to assume these worlds would completely abandon all spacefaring operations of their own simply because they were affiliated with a larger government.
     
  5. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Admiral

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    I've always assumed the UFP leant itself more to the European Union/United Nations model of governance or the lack there of sometimes!

    Also, didn't Reeds family, including his father belong to a long line of Royal Naval officers, even after the creation of a more unified Planetary Government on Earth, so why can't that be the case when each of the individual planets joined the Federation, they would keep there space navies as well as having one big fleet.
     
  6. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, yeah, agreed completely. Hell, US states today retain their own defense forces, so there's no reason to think that Federation Member State couldn't retain their own spacefaring operations.

    This is going to sound really nitpicky of me, so bear with me here, but as an anal-retentive Political Science guy, I really can't let this pass:

    It's important to understand that you can't really compare the Federation to the United Nations, because the UN is in no way a government or state. The UN is an intergovernmental organization (IGO), in the same legal sense that, say, La Francophonie or the Commonwealth of Nations are IGOs. It is not a government, it is not a state; rather, it is an organization dedicated to providing a platform for the peaceful resolution of disputes between sovereign states, and for the launching of joint ventures and the facilitation of international law. The United Nations explicitly describes itself as being a tool of its member states.

    Equating the Federation with the UN is a bit like equating it with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; it's just important to understand the distinction between a state and an IGO.

    Interestingly, in 24th Century Star Trek, there are no IGOs, no neutral interstellar organization to which the Federation, Klingon Empire, Romulan Star Empire, Cardassian Union, et al, can go with their disputes. In fact, the only IGO I'm aware of in Star Trek would actually be the Coalition of Planets from the ENT era.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, I just meant that, especially if it was supposed to be argued that UESPA was the Earth-specific combat element of the greater Starfleet, its name would be likely to make use of the usual outwardly expressions of patriotism - "defense", "security", "guard". The local militia would not hide behind the pretense of being for "space probes", it would celebrate its role in spatial mayhem in no unclear terms. Indeed, it would try and outshine the mother organization in that sense, showing that Earth defends Earth with more enthusiasm than anybody else does. Which brings in the patriotism angle.

    Semantic games would probably feature in the greater business of this thread, too: the "United Federation" might in reality be anything but, in a slightly more benevolent way than the People's Democracies or the Holy Roman Empire weren't. In real-world terms, I'm not sure how much "United Federation" originally was a play on the idea of the Union and the Confederation being on the same side, but in Trek-universe terms I could easily see this rather silly and redundant name being the result of an attempt to please the proponents of a loose alliance and a tight federal state alike.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. William Leisner

    William Leisner Scribbler Rear Admiral

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    :wtf: Those are not expressions of patriotism. Militarism does not equal patriotism.
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, but for all practical purposes it does.

    That is, unless you are willing to go militant about your country, you aren't being patriotic for real. Or so will be argued by the militant patriots, who generally have the more commanding voice on this matter. The meek just don't get a break at this inheriting the Earth thing...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. William Leisner

    William Leisner Scribbler Rear Admiral

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    Yes, of course, the militant patriots define militarism as patriotism. That's what they do.

    Doesn't make them -- or you -- right.
     
  11. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

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    The feature films, in particular, seem to imply that the Federation (despite the potential bias) acts as a de facto IGO in such disputes. The Klingon Ambassador demands the extradition of "renegade and terrorist" Admiral Kirk before the Federation Council in Star Trek IV, and the Federation President includes the Romulan Ambassador in discussions around the assassination of Gorkon and its aftermath in Star Trek VI, even though the Romulans aren't directly involved (to his knowledge at the time, anyway).

    OTOH, the subsequent conference takes place on Khitomer because it is "a neutral site," even though it is later known as a Klingon colony, so YMMV...
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Essentially, it does. I mean, what alternative expression is there for patriotism? None that wouldn't be laughed out of court, or dismissed as unpatriotic wussiness. Alas.

    You can be patriotic about all sorts of things, but to express it still calls for you to either wave the flag and sing the song, or then go kill people. And it's very, very difficult to separate the first alternative from an embracing of the second, as all the other possible contents for the inherently rather content-free act of flagwaving tend to be easily dismissible.

    Patriotism as a concept is fine with me. It's just that the word itself can no longer be used the way it was intended, no matter how loud or clearly one speaks. It's ruined for good.

    One might even argue that it is a Romulan site, considering the building has Romulan symbols on the outside, not Klingon and UFP ones. Then again, the interior has predominantly UFP symbols, in addition to the collection of flags on the wall. And the hall is divided in four, after basic colors: a strange green group of human-looking folks with an aurora symbol, and then red Klingons and blue Feds separated by the yellow of Romulans and/or Vulcans in the middle, again suggesting a host/mediator role for the "neutral" Romulans.

    If Khitomer is a Romulan colony, then it would understandably be considered "neutral" here - and it would make sense for the Romulans and the Klingons to quarrel about it in the pre-TNG era, with the ownership changing every now and then.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    :rolleyes:
     
  14. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    And Ambassador Kamarang makes that demand of the Federation itself, not any particular Federation Member State. IGOs can't extradite people; only states (or the constituent parts of federal states) can.

    Well, no, he specifically includes Ambassador Nanclus in discussions of a military attack, which again is a trait of states; IGOs don't have standing militaries like the Federation, and on the rare occasions when they do coordinate military strikes or wars, the constituent soldiers continue to fight under the flags of their own states. In any event, Nanclus's presence is the sort of thing that might happen between two states that are officially or unofficially militarily allied if one is thinking about committing an act of war against a third state. (What WAS odd was including Nanclus in the initial presentation to the President rather than waiting until the President had decided to commit to the attack before revealing that they were thinking about it to the RSE.)

    In any event, one of the defining traits of an IGO is that it is supposed to not be a party to any given conflict -- but in those cases you cited above, the Federation is clearly a party to the conflict, and has IGO to which it and the Klingons can appeal for providing a neutral platform for the peaceful resolution of their disputes. The Federation is very clearly a state in the films -- the Federation President is depicted as having operational control over Starfleet, Starfleet is depicted as being a military, etc.

    Exactly. The Federation is not a neutral IGO, it is a state that is party to the conflict. There are no IGOs in the 23rd Century.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Not on the level of the major "nations", I guess. Doesn't mean the concept couldn't exist at several other hierarchial levels, with e.g. the UFP being an IGO for its members.

    The idea that, say, Capella IV and the Klingon Empire would be considered political entities on the same level is pretty absurd. Both may be analogies to what we today see as a nation, but they just don't hold the same sort of weight. Even Monaco and the United States would be a more balanced pair...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    If I understand things correctly, you're either one or the other, you can't be both.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    But that would depend on the viewpoint, as long as the definition of "nation" was flexible in your universe. The UFP should by all rights be able to define itself as a nation in the context where it interacts with other "major" nations, but as an IGO in the context of interacting with its members or other "minor" nations that are considering joining.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. William Leisner

    William Leisner Scribbler Rear Admiral

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    I was unaware the English language was on trial here. And frankly, I think you've been hanging around Scalia and Alito too long if your hypothetical court puts such emphasis on anti-wussiness.

    Sorry, no. I refuse to cede the word to the neo-brownshirts who insist you must wear a lapel flag pin or else risk being branded a traitor.
     
  19. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Only if you're using the most liberal definition of "IGO." I mean, by that logic, the United States government is an IGO for US states, or the Canadian Parliament is an IGO for Canadian Provinces. It's certainly not a meaningful definition of the term "IGO" if you start applying it to sovereign states' relationships with their federalist constituent divisions.

    In terms of relative power, they aren't. But it's pretty clear that both Capella and the Klingon Empire are sovereign states, possessing a defined territory, the power to make compulsory law within their territory, and the legal monopoly on the use of violence within their territory. Legally, they're both states.
     
  20. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And hunchback assistants are IGO between mad scientists and their creations.

    Hmm. Something looks a bit off...

    Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman