Federation, Klingons or Romulans - who was the most powerful?

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Strange Citizen, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. Strange Citizen

    Strange Citizen Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Hi all. :)

    First off, before I begin, I'd like to say that although the Romulans' military power in comparison to the others is worth discussing as well, I personally think it is already slightly better established - at least between the Federation and the Romulans.

    For example, it's made clear in a fair number of TNG episodes that any serious conflict (such as a war) between the Federation and the Romulan Empire would be disastrous, presumably for both sides. This implies they are roughly on an equal footing. So there's not much doubt there. As for whether the Klingons and the Romulans are equally matched to each other or not, that is less clear. Any thoughts on this would be interesting.

    Here's the meat of the issue I have, though. The Klingons' military power in comparison to that of the Federation is never really talked about much. Now, one could say that this is because it's a non-issue, given that they are allies in the TNG era and onwards (apart from that brief period for a year or two in DS9). However, this is a problem when it comes to one particular episode. I'm talking about Yesterday's Enterprise.

    This is something that has always bothered me, mostly because the reasons for it are never really made clear: in Yesterday's Enterprise, the Klingons are on the brink of defeating the Federation. What are the reasons for this? I don't remember it ever being explained.

    As for how it relates to the 'normal' universe, one could say that the brief conflict between the two powers in DS9 pretty clearly establishes that they are evenly matched, unless I'm remembering that incorrectly. But it's still never made entirely clear throughout any of the series which of the two is more or
    less powerful.

    In a nutshell, and bringing back the Romulans here as well, I find it hard to believe that all three powers are simply at almost the exact same level militarily speaking (in terms of both quality and manpower), because it just doesn't make sense - with territories that size, there would have to be differences, surely? Also, we know their ships are most definitely not always evenly matched.

    Hopefully should make for an interesting discussion.
     
  2. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In terms of their smell, it's the Klingons hands down.



    :)
     
  3. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    According originally to "The Emissary" set in 2365 the Federation and the Klingon Empire had still been at war 75 years earlier (i.e. 2290). According to “Yesterday’s Enterprise” and Lt. Castillo the Federation and the Klingon Empire “were negotiating a peace treaty when I left.” (2344).

    With ST VI: TUC (2293) the premise had apparently changed. “The Emissary” was still okay in the big picture of the Grand Unified Theory, but because of TUC’s retroactive continuity the statement of Lt. Castillo know somehow looked weird. I find the whole idea that the Klingons could possibly have had the patience to come to the negotiation table, leave it, wage war, come back, leave again, wage war etc. - for a period of at least 50 years! – to be somewhat hard to believe, considering the Klingon temperament featured in TNG (They are a race of warriors, not negotiators, right?).

    There is an alternate explanation but it’s not very popular here, to say the least.

    The accounts of Guinan and Sela in “Redemption II” – explaining to Picard how Sela could possibly be the daughter of Tasha Yar – do not match what actually happened in “Yesterday’s Enterprise”. Shortly after finishing “Redemption II” its director David Carson stated that events in “Yesterday’s Enterprise” took place in a “parallel timeline” (“parallel universe” in 2008). Of course events in a parallel universe don’t necessarily need to match events and their chronology in ours, thus it’s possible that in the parallel universe of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” the Federation and the Klingon Empire were still at war in 2344 while they had already achieved some kind of peace treaty 50 years earlier in ours.

    Bob
     
  4. grendelsbayne

    grendelsbayne Captain Captain

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    I would say the war in DS9 is not a very good barometer of the comparative strength between the Klingons and the Federation. It was short and relatively low impact - mostly relegated to ship-to-ship battles and very minor invasions. The Federation didn't really have their heart in it and the Klingons were mostly focused on their invasion of Cardassia (which was supposed to be a front for the Dominion, who the Klingons clearly considered the more dangerous enemy).

    I'd be inclined to say that the Feds and Klingons probably were more or less evenly matched during TOS. The Klingons would have hit a low point around TUC (almost everyone on both sides in that film seemed inclined to believe that attacking the Federation was basically a hail mary move). Then the peace treaty is signed and the Klingons stopped wasting the vast majority of their resources and efforts constantly trying to thwart the Federation. Over a century, this could have made them much more powerful than they originally were. The Federation would grow more powerful as well, but due to its nature would usually only devote its resources to military power when it clearly has no other choice - something that doesn't really happen until the Federation/Cardassian War. That war may be a more interesting barometer (in combination with the later klingon war) - for some reason, the Cardassians were apparently strong enough to be a major threat to the Federation - enough of a threat to make the DMZ an attractive option, despite the fact that the Feds never ceded inhabited planets to their enemies before. Yet the Klingons seem capable of walking all over the Cardassians. Part of that is because Cardassia is in revolution, yet the military seems relatively intact... Unless it was the obsidian order that made them so dangerous?

    Overall I'm inclined to believe the Klingons may truly be stronger than the other powers in the 24th century (though there is no smoking gun), possibly because of the peace with the federation. Which of course doesn't really explain Yesterday's Enterprise at all, since they never signed a peace treaty in that world. Maybe the Klingons just got lucky with their Hail Mary pass? A succesful surprise blitzkrieg into the heart of the federation could potential hamstring Starfleet while at the same time providing the Klingons with the resources they needed to get back on their feet. After that, 50 years of war is plenty of time for momentum to shift significantly in almost any direction imaginable.
     
  5. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There is a school of thought that the Federation wasn't losing that war, Captain Picard out and out lied to Captain Garrett as to the current state of events because he wanted her to voluntarily take her ship back to it's certain destruction.

    Picard lacked the ability to simply order Garrett to return to her own time, he told her of the surrender of the Federation to the Klingons immediately after she told him that she intended to stay in the 24th century.

    Honest persuasion didn't work, so Picard employed deception.

    While powerful, I never believed that the Romulans were as powerful as either the Federation or the Klingons.

    Any "peace" resulting from the events of that movie might have lasted about as long as it took the ink to dry on the treaty.

    It would agree with the overall Trek history if the conference shown at the end of TUC had little long term impact.

    :)
     
  6. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    :wtf: ?!? The "other" Picard may have been a bumbling captain (compared to his XO) but he didn't act out of character. Can we please take a look at the actual context of the scene, you are referring to?

    GARRETT: No, I suppose not. You don't belong in our time any more than we belong in yours. To be honest, Picard, a significant number of my crewmembers have expressed a desire to return, even knowing the odds. Some because they can't bear to live without their loved ones, some because they don't like the idea of slipping out in the middle of a fight. But I have told them that in the here and now, the Federation needs another ship against the Klingons. And we'd better get used to being in the here and now.

    PICARD: But if you go back, it could be a great deal more helpful. The war is going very badly for the Federation, far worse than is generally known. Starfleet Command believes defeat is inevitable. Within six months we may have no choice but to surrender.

    A closer look at the tactical display in the war room reveals 9 red Klingon markers opposite only 4 white Starfleet markers which I think brutally and sufficiently illustrates how bad the war is going for the Federation.

    There's is neither proof or hint that Picard violates his first duty to the truth. He persuaded Captain Garrett but didn't deceive her.

    Agreed, The Making of Star Trek states that the Romulan Star Empire encompasses several star systems, but also says that the Klingons are more “powerful” than the Romulans.

    Interestingly, both “Errand of Mercy” and “The Day of the Dove” seem to describe the Klingon situation to be comparable to Japan just before it entered war against the USA (= UFP).

    So everything our protagonists did in ST VI: TUC accounted for nothing?

    Looks to me that the Khitomer Accords were successful. “Camp Khitomer” is apparently inspired by “Camp David”, and the “Khitomer Accords” by the Camp David Accords which ended hostilities between Israel and Egypt.

    I really don’t see the need for double-guessing when the obvious inspirations (and their positive consequences) are crystal clear.
    One of the intentions of ST VI was to showcase the foundation laying of the Federation-Klingon Alliance seen in TNG and beyond. ;)

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
  7. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    Including alternate realities/parallel universes in comparison makes things much harder.

    Maybe in the "Yesterday's Enterprise" timeline, there was no Praxis incident and the Klingons were much stronger, not having to overcome that calamity and also not having a similar Khitomer Accords.

    When asking this type of question, simple fleet strength is not enough, though. Sticking to the "Prime" storyline, I think the Federation is the most powerful, enough to beat them both in a war.

    Does this mean the Federation would conquer them? No.

    The Federation is rarely, possible never, an aggressor and would be fighting a war of defense with possible assualts on the enemy holdings only to stop their ability to attack the Federation. The basis for this is the Federations strong economy and it's greater ability to recruit/rebuild as opposed to the Klingon and Romulan capability. In other words, the Klingons and Romulans, due to their hunter/conqueror or imperialistic attitudes are already fielding as much ships as they can while the Federation has an exploration and defense force that can be greatly expanded if the need arrises.
     
  8. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Exactly. This would explain Mara’s statement / justification in “Day of the Dove” – “We have always fought. We must. We are hunters, Captain, tracking and taking what we need. There are poor planets in the Klingon systems, we must push outward if we are to survive.” – and how the Battle of Donatu V 25 years prior to TOS remained “inconclusive” (suggesting equal Klingon and Starfleet strength).

    According to the original premise of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” events took place in our universe but the point of timeline divergence was in 2344 when the Enterprise-C failed to “return” (from the future) to the Battle of Narendra III (probably to buy one or some Klingon outpost survivors the time to escape and to live to tell the real story, i.e. that the Romulans had been the attackers and not Starfleet). I.e. everything that happened before 2344 was the same that happened in our universe.


    How comes? Relocating events in “Yesterday’s Enterprise” into a parallel universe (“Redemption II” provides the canon means) enables us to skip a bunch of weird rationalizations, we’d otherwise have to come up with, insisting it’s just an alternate timeline of our universe. The advantages are
    • No need to explain why there is still a Federation-Klingon war in 2344
    • No need to explain the strange Starfleet uniforms of 2344 that have no chest insignias
    • No need to explain why the latest phaser in 2344 is still the 80 year old TMP phaser (which had been already surpassed by others)
    • No need to explain how Tasha Yar could have possibly been overlooked by Romulan intelligence after having been taken captive according to “Redemption II”
    • No need to doubt the reliability of the Enterprise-D’s conference lounge wall sculpture display prominently featured in the first four seasons of TNG.
    and last but not least
    • Tasha Yar is keeping her “meaningful death” at the Battle of Narendra III (as intended by Ron D. Moore and David Carson and still as late as of 2008!)
    Bob
     
  9. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Which would be weird considering The Wounded had a single federation starship kicking the crap out of the Cardassians and the reason the federation didn't want a conflict with the Cardassians being because they were still recovering from Wolf 359.
     
  10. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That single Starfleet ship destroyed a single Cardassian warship of unknown capacity and smaller size (by crew count), the other Cardassian ships destroyed by Maxwell were supply ships.

    Per Picard, the Federation/Cardassian war killed millions.

    :)
     
  11. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah and Picard owned the standard Cardassian warship pretty easily with the Enterprise.
     
  12. grendelsbayne

    grendelsbayne Captain Captain

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    I'd say this is a perfectly reasonable position, but it is still worth making the distinction between potential power and actual power. The Federation probably has the potential to scale Starfleet up to a height that the Klingons would not be able to match, but that doesn't mean that they're more powerful than the Klingons until and unless they actually do so. It's not like the process is as simple as flipping a light switch - building ships and training crews takes a lot of time, especially since the Federation generally focuses on larger, more complex ships with larger crews.
     
  13. grendelsbayne

    grendelsbayne Captain Captain

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    The outcome of a single battle between 1 Federation starship and 1 Cardassian warship is essentially meaningless unless you have a whole lot of background information to go along with it.

    For instance, how many of those warships did the Cardassians have? (The Klingon fleet has tons of small BoPs which couldn't possibly stand up to the Enterprise 1 on 1 in a fair fight, but that doesn't mean the Klingon fleet is weak) Was that the most powerful type of ship they had? Was it old or state of the art? How many ships comparable to the Enterprise did the Federation have? (We are talking about the flagship of the fleet here - most Fed ships we see are significantly smaller)

    What kind of tactics did the Cardassians use? Is it possible that three cardassian warships working together present a much larger danger than three cardassian warships working alone? (Or perhaps, larger than three Federation starships working together?) Is it possible that the Cardassian fleet had an abundance of highly intelligent commanders, and that the one facing the Enterprise just happened to be on the lower end of the tactical intelligence scale?

    Etc, etc...
     
  14. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Starfleet's functions aren't only militaries. In TUC, Klingons are in trouble because they allowed too much ressources into army. So, the UFP has a more balanced ressource allocation, but that implies Stafleet has a lower military potential.

    A planet joins the Federation by a peaceful and voluntary process. Klingon and Romulan empires are used to invade and conquer planets. Romulans and Klingons are also ready to die in battle (or to eliminate thousand of soldiers in Unification), so they play harder in dirtier when they at war.

    The UFP also tends to protect itself by containment. Neutral zones are prefered to heavy weaponry.
     
  15. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    When did we see the Romulans doing this?



    :)
     
  16. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    They tried to do that with Vulcan and Remians are a conquered and enslaved people.

    The circumstantial evidence is also pretty strong:
    - Why would they call themselves a Stellar Empire if their territory was only Romulus and Remus and they didn't have any desire to epxand it.
    - Considering the militaristic and authoritarian style of its regime, the Romulan Empire clearly don't use the peacefull and friendly way of expansion used by the UFP.
    - Their military activities were clearly not based on simply patrolling the Neutral Zone. Plasma torpedoes and cloaking devices were not created for defense and casual patrolling.
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Given the size of the "invasion force" it seems that there was someting else going on with those three ships in Unification.

    Whether the reman are a completely new alien species, or an off-shoot of the colonizing Romulans is open for debate. If they are a type of Romulan, then they weren't invaded or conquered. Enslaved yes.

    The existance of a Romulan Senate might indicate a democratic system is in place. Planet might have peacefully joined, as opposed to being force into the Empire.

    And we heard of a senator who was concidered a "man of the people." So senators might be elected from the general population.

    Being called a "Empire" might not have any more meaning than being called a "Peoples Democratic Republic."

    While I do feel that the Empire is smaller than the Federation, it could still be several dozen star systems with Class M worlds.

    There are fans right here on this board that believe that the Federation possesses a top down power structure, with the Council having the power to legally over-ride decisions made locally by the Members.

    By all appearances the Romulan do have a civilian government.

    Not quite that clear.

    My own country employs stealth aircraft and ships, and for decade used ECM.

    How is a plasma torpedo really so different than a photon torpedo? By the episode The Deadly Years the Enterprise was already able to handle multiple direct hits.

    Plasma torpedoes were already yesterdays technology.

    :)
     
  18. varek

    varek Commander Red Shirt

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    Although not canon, in the books after the Borg invasion the Federation had to assist the Romulans with food. So, the Federation was definitely in a stronger position than the Romulan Empire. The Klingons sometimes needed help, but they seemed to manage with less.
     
  19. TheAdmiralty

    TheAdmiralty Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It's always seemed to me that the Klingons/Romulans had very powerful weapons (especially the Romulans) but were less technologically advanced, so their shields/sensors and other things like that wouldn't be as good. The TOS era did seem more evenly matched.
     

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