Ensigns of Command question..

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by los2188, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Well, the whole galaxy, supposedly. Why would Picard keep it a secret? Out of spite?

    Well, generally this is true for modern wars of conquest (which aren't all that common, but certain periods of history have lots of those as opposed to the other sorts of war). If the attacker didn't have both the means and the will to crush you, he wouldn't have started the war. You're most probably much better off if you do not try to defend yourself, or at least give up after going through some motions.

    However, wars rarely exist in isolation. Even if defense of Poland against Germany is hopeless from the viewpoint of Poland itself, it poses advantages for the other enemies of Germany, and therefore for Poland, too...

    But if a nation today feels strong enough to take on another nation, we're generally talking about entities of such magnitude that all but the most powerful alliances will hesitate to step in. History appears to fluctuate in this sense: there are periods where the balance of power is such that any defense is symbolic only and will not directly benefit the defenders, and periods where the sovereignty of a nation will be protected by interested outside parties for reasons that might also be considered symbolic.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    With regards to the OP's question, let's remember that I don't believe it was ever stated that Picard was going to force the colonists to leave. Right up until the end when he destroyed the aquaduct, Data was trying methods of persuasion. There's no indication that he would have forcibly removed them in the end, had they failed to agree.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Right. The whole dilemma driving the story was that if Data was unable to persuade the colonists to leave, they would die. Dramatically, the point of the story was to test Data in a leadership situation, a crisis where he had to persuade humans to trust and follow him -- kinda like "The Galileo Seven" was for Spock. That doesn't work unless the colonists' survival depends entirely on his own ability to convince them to cooperate.

    Let's remember, after all, that the reason Data was alone down there is that he was the only person other than the colonists who could survive the hyperonic radiation on the planet. So nobody else could have come down to forcibly evacuate the colonists. Either they did it themselves or nobody did.
     
  4. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

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    The Humans of Moab IV (Masterpiece Society) are not Federation citizens. So, it does seem evident that not all Human colonies are federation ones.
     
  5. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    It makes no sense to call a colony of Humans, or Vulcans, or Betazoids a Federation colony if they aren't aware of the Federation's existence, let alone participating in the Federation's government.
     
  6. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Unless the Federation considers all colonies within its borders to be "Federation colonies."
     
  7. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    The whole galaxy knew? How? The sheliak had only just told anyone about it, otherwise the Enterprise would have been there much sooner!

    Is that why England surrendered as soon as Germany started firing those missiles at them in WW2?

    I don't know about that. Australia has sent troops to the middle east, and we're not the most powerful nation in the world.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Why would they? That would be the mentality of some ruthless conquering power that believed it ruled over all others by default, but that's not the way the Federation thinks.

    I think we should clarify the terms here before proceeding. A colony, formally, is a physically separate territory or settlement that remains politically subject to or connected with its parent state. That means a colony founded by United Earth before the Federation was founded would be a United Earth colony. However, since that colony would be a political extension of UE, it would thus presumably have become a Federation colony when UE became a Federation member.

    However -- the key that makes something a colony is that it remains politically linked to and governed by the state.
    The folks in "The Masterpiece Society" called their settlement the Genome colony, but they must have been using a more informal definition of the word, like the way it's used when talking about an artists' colony -- an enclave or community of people with shared interests, origins, or occupations. Politically speaking, Moab IV/Genome was not a colony at all, but an independent nation. It wasn't governed by Earth or the Federation; nobody even knew it was there. The Federation would've had no more right to lay claim to it, or any other politically independent human population, than they would've had to annex Bajor or Ferenginar.
     
  9. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The difference there is, the Alamo was a battle between opposing human forces. Sure, it may not have been exactly even, manpower-wise, but still a mere matter of one group of humans against another.

    In this episode, however? It would not have been a battle, but rather a slaughter. It would have been literally impossible for the colonists to beat the Sheliak, because as Data pointed out, the Sheliak could have simply obliterated the colony from orbit. A slaughter like that would be completely pointless when it's so easily avoidable. The human colonists would not be "standing up" to the Sheliak by fighting them; they'd be mindless sheep agreeing to be wiped out. Who would want to be remembered like that?
     
  10. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    I think it's a case of Goshy not wanting to just abandon everything that his colony had worked for. Once it was made clear that they wouldn't be able to do anything, he finally saw sense and realised that their colony was going to be destroyed no matter what, so it made no sense for the people to stay and be destroyed with it.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Because Data would tell them. Clearly, Data was pro-survival, so he wouldn't stay behind and get killed, meaning he'd be an excellent messenger.

    Umm, you're getting the timeline a bit wrong there. England was certain of winning the war already when the first missiles fell.

    It's not as if anybody could strike back at you, though.

    There's the good old joke about the Lithuanian who gets three wishes from the good fairy. Three times, he asks for China to invade Lithuania, for an obvious reason: China would have to march through Russia six times! Buffer nations are an important concept in the waging of wars, and a reason not to go for actual wars of conquest too often.

    True of the Alamo, too. I just pick that as an example because it's one of those events where the defender could have fled, as opposed to the numerous events where the defender had no option but to die.

    I wonder if Gosheven insisted on destroying the aqueduct and all the other achievements before pulling out?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ The Sheliak probably destroyed the colony anyway (even when the colonists evacuated), so I doubt Gosheven bothered with that.

    As for the Alamo: I repeat, there was symbolic value in one group of humans staying to fight another group of humans. The Alamo was much more of a fair fight than this ever could be. Gosheven's colonists attempting to stand up to the Sheliak would be like trying to shoot down a jet airliner, barrelling down the runway where you know it will run you over and crush you, with a BB gun. Or, more to the point, trying to blow up a bomb that is about to land on your house and destroy you, using nothing but a set of firecrackers.

    In any case, the result is the same: What possible value could there be in a slaughter that has literally, absolutely no chance of ever going your way? It's not symbolic, just silly.
     
  13. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    I doubt Goshy was the type to make a sacrifice for the benefit of others like that.

    Then why would Germany attack?

    By that logic, no country would ever go to war with someone unless they are next door neighbours.

    Like I said, I have very little knowledge about the Alamo.

    Who knows.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Well, he did say he wanted to die defending that which was his. It would be "for the benefit of others" only in the sense that others would then enjoy the privilege of watching his statue and reading about his greatness.

    In this particular situation, purely because of symbolism. By the time the V-2 bombardment finally became effective, Germany had already lost the war, and the wise solution would have been to start negotiations with the West before the East overran Germany. But Hitler wanted to negotiate from a position of strength only, and such things would never be available to him again. So it was really just a matter of going down fighting to make a good impression in the history books.

    The logistics of anything else would have been intolerable in most periods of history anyway. But today it's customary to go to war far away, without any sort of ambitions of conquest. Because then any retaliation will face the problem of buffer nations or other logistical problems, unless the initial victim is a superpower itself. And superpowers don't get invaded.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    It seems to me that he meant that he was willing to die if his death had a chance of creating a victory for the colony, so that others of the colony could continue to live there after he was gone.

    But they attacked before that. It was an attack that started the war, after all.

    But we're getting further and further off topic.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    A classic modern era attack at that: a military superpower of the time well prepared to crush its smaller and technologically and doctrinally outdated Polish counterpart. Essentially, a zero-risk endeavor, especially when the USSR had agreed not to take advantage and the UK and France could be expected not to react, either. But Poland did defend - and at the borders, too, where defense was guaranteed to fail, rather than at practical fallback positions. For both symbolic reasons and for reasons of alliances, but mainly out of sheer miscalculation.

    Quite a good analogy to "Ensigns of Command", too. Hitler's might had been theoretically demonstrated even if not practically proven; the Poles had been sold out in treaties, unknown to them; and it could also be argued that Poland was the creation of hardy pioneers, built out of the ashes of a completely destroyed older realm with the same sort of vigor the colonists had demonstrated in the episode, and that this work had taken place in "good faith" conditions where earlier treaties had indicated Poland could finally be rebuilt after its many forced divisions.

    So perhaps not quite so far from where we started after all...

    Timo Saloniemi