Federation Versus The Romulan Empire

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by jmampilly, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. jmampilly

    jmampilly Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    In the post Dominion war and Nemesis era, which major power, the Federation or the Romulans, would win a war? Based on canon (so no information from STO), which side is superior technologically and industrially?
     
  2. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Romulus is destroyed in 2387 as per the prime universe flashforward in Star Trek. The war would be a little one-sided.
     
  3. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    ^The Romulan fleet was supposedly in shambles following the Dominion War, so I'd have to give the advantage to the Federation. The advantage only increases once you factor in the events of Nemesis, as the assassination of the Senate and the division of the Empire into separate factions (with one side being pro-Federation).

    The Romulans were the only AQ species having technology that approached anything used by Starfleet. Their vessels were extremely powerful and highly maneuverable. That they had a cloaking device made them even more formidable. But their ships seemed to lack the versatility of the Federation's vessels, as we see only Warbird- and Valdore-class ships used. It's possible the Romulans had additional classes of ships that were intended for exploratory missions or science expeditions, but they're never shown on screen.

    I don't know what to make of the Romulans' economy. Their people don't seem to be starving as is seen on Cardassia just before and during the Dominion War. But their police state suggests persistent social unrest, turmoil that would only have increased with the growing strength of Spock's underground movement and the seeming dissolution of the Tal Shiar. Recall that Koval was a double-agent secretly working for the Federation in spite of his being the organization's chairman and a member of the Continuing Committee.

    As an aside, I don't buy the Titan novel claims that Koval was assassinated. I think he faked his death and defected to the Federation. Whether a treatment for Tuvan Syndrome was ultimately devised is something I don't know, but I find it hard to believe he'd have allowed himself to be killed by a political rival.

    --Sran
     
  4. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    I don't know that the loss of one planet would crush the Empire. It was certainly a significant blow to the Romulans, but not the sort of thing that would have changed the outcome of a war. In any case, I don't think they'd have beaten the Federation had Romulus remained intact. Starfleet was in much better shape following the Dominion War and would have dispatched the Romulans without difficulty.

    --Sran
     
  5. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    We saw what the loss of a single room full of people did to the Romulan Empire in Nemesis. A sensibly run Empire would survive the loss of their homeworld, but Trek races aren't all that sensible. Even the Federation is repeatedly shown to be Earth-centic enough that if Earth falls, so does the entire UFP.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013
  6. jmampilly

    jmampilly Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I tend to agree with Sran, a single planet, even one as important as Romulus, wouldn't completely disable the Romulan Empire.

    Is Romulus economically weak? We know little about the inner workings of the Romulan Empire, but is it safe to say that most of its resources are diverted to military development, and that a large percentage of its population is living in poverty?
     
  7. -Brett-

    -Brett- Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Considering that the writers won't want to lose one of Trek's most iconic villains, and obviously the heroes can't be conquered, I'd say they'd fight each other to a stalemate. Even if one side or the other is beaten, you could bet that they'll be back to full strength by their next appearance.
     
  8. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Really going by just what's on screen, it's always left vague enough to suit a future plot need about any given power being stronger or weaker than the good guys.
     
  9. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Romulus, with time to prepare. :rommie:

    But seriously, I think Sran is probably right. A sensible Romulan Empire could probably unite its disparate factions and rally against a war-weary Federation, if not to victory at least to a stalemate. The Romulans have always demonstrated an ability to find a way to not lose, even if they don't win.

    On the other hand, who says the Romulans would be sensible? And, who says the Federation would be war-weary as much as battle-hardened.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think onscreen material indicates or even supports this, and Sloan actually tries to convince Bashir of the opposite. It would be easy to believe that the Romulans would lose the least ships, having the wisdom to only partake in fights they can win, and to only deploy ships with serious overkill characteristics.

    Another development probably at odds with what we see on screen. Why should the assassination of the Senate be a rare event in the Empire? From what we hear, backstabbing (figurative and literal) is routine there, and thus unlikely to lead to major splits.

    Which could also be read as them being more survivable on the average than Starfleet ships, which feature a high percentage of old and feeble designs.

    Was Tal'Shiar dissolved? The Dominion thought that "The Die is Cast" represented a blow to the organization, but we saw no actual evidence of a weakened stance later on, in "Inter Arma" and the like.

    Also, the one time we saw Spock's underground movement, it actually served the interests of the Romulan government. That situation need not change, either.

    ...It temporarily vacated the room for use by the true rulers, the military, until they found the next puppets to seat there?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Odo explicitly states that both the Klingons and Romulans are "in no shape to wage war against anyone" in the series finale. I'm aware of Sloan's earlier statements to Bashir, but Sloan was trying to justify the necessity of intelligence gathering on Romulus. And as he had no direct involvement in military operations of either the Federation or the Romulan Empire, it's unlikely Sloan would know much about the capabilities of either fleet.

    The problem with this statement is that we never see another assassination of this magnitude on screen. Romulan politics are extremely complicated, but that doesn't mean the Senate's assassinated every time someone with a grudge decides to act on his feelings. The events of "Inter Arma Silent Leges" suggest that several members of the Romulan Senate had been in place for several years, which argues against the idea that government coup was commonplace.

    I don't know what this means. If Starfleet features several older ship designs, wouldn't that make those ships survivable? I agree that they probably don't have the most up-to-date technology, but to suggest that Romulan ships are more durable because they're newer doesn't make sense.

    I don't understand the point you're making here. Why would Romulan-Vulcan reunification serve the interests of the Romulan Senate? The Romulans weren't interested (publicly) in a relationship with a race that played such a prominent role in the Federation. Now, if you mean that a potential Federation-Romulan alliance would have been good for the Romulans, I completely agree. I just don't believe that the Senate saw things that way.

    There were certainly prominent members of Romulan society who believed in doing whatever it took to ensure the survival of their people (Jarok, Koval, Cretak). And if an alliance with the Federation would have made that possible, there's no doubt they'd have pushed that option. Hell, Koval was nearly killed for his anti-Federation activities while head of the Tal Shiar, yet he ended up working for Starfleet as a double-agent. (Which I believe he continued to do for several years after Nemesis.)

    I agree with this. As Riker pointed out in Nemesis, the Praetor's power has always been supported by the Romulan fleet, suggesting that the military holds the real power in the Romulan goverment, not the politicians.

    --Sran
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Ah, so he does. Then again, what should he know? True, he seems to fit the profile of Strategic Operations Officer, DS9, better than Worf, but that isn't saying much. He's just a dilettante in such matters, especially compared to somebody so closely connected to Starfleet as Sloan turns out to be.

    But the episode also deals with a top level assassination as a matter of dull routine to the Romulans involved...

    No, because the Dominion War is their only relevant combat test. They don't survive it, but modern ships do -> modern ships are more survivable -> Romulans win because they only send their modern ships.

    In "Unification", it provided a perfect excuse and perfect means for rounding up and eliminating forces of dissent. A popular movement that gathers various dissenters and is quite obviously treasonous is a godsend to a government wanting to control its masses, because everybody partaking can be freely executed without any destabilizing effect - the rest of the masses will cheer.

    And in fact, when Shinzon sat in that hall, it was already a case of the military establishing its latest puppet - at least from the point of view of the military!

    Shinzon's later histrionics indicated he saw it differently, but whether any of the Romulans had any reason to actually fear his threats, we don't know. Heck, for all we know, Shinzon was their puppet to such a degree that there was a backdoor to the weapons controls of the Scimitar (but with range limitations, so stopping him from killing Earth was more complicated than stopping him from killing Romulus)!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    I'll accept that a portion of the masses will cheer, but everyone? The problem with Trek is that we're never clearly shown what the average Romulan citizen thinks of its government. I think it's reasonable to assume that younger generations would see things differently than their elders (this seems to be the case in every civilization), but I have no idea who trusts the government and who doesn't.

    The position of officers like Toreth is clear, but her feelings are based largely on her father's death or imprisonment by the Tal Shair ("I never saw him again."). Would she feel that way if her father were still in her life?

    Jarok clearly had issues with how the military was addressing matters both domestic and foreign, but what his ultimate motivation for such feelings (beyond wanting peace for his daughter) isn't clear. Was he simply tired of conflict after so many years in the military? Did something happen under his command that made him doubt his place? Or was he going to through something of a mid-life crisis (as Kirk was in TWOK) but didn't have friends or a support system to keep him centered?

    I've talked about Koval a great deal (he's probably my favorite Romulan character aside from Donatra). He's clearly a patriot and wants whatever benefits his people the most, but is he truly a man with righteous motives (king and country before all else), or is he merely an arrogant and misguided individual who believes he's right only because he doesn't have enough sense to listen to anyone else? We don't see enough of his character to know for sure.

    I agree. It actually explains quite well why Donatra and Suran were willing to back him. If they saw him as a way to accomplish what they couldn't by themselves, it's absolutely possible that they'd welcome the removal of the existing Senate in order to clear a path for him. Once they realized that his actions would likely doom Romulus, they elected to stop him from attacking the Federation. That Donatra was able to broker a tentative peace (or at least a truce) with Picard was an added bonus.

    --Sran
     
  14. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

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    I want to say the Romulans would win. However I think the Romulans are more in to posturing and saber rattling instead of instigating an actual conflict. Sort of like North Korea today. They have the technology, and manpower but no one is serious enough to pull the trigger on a war. The closest attempt was when Shinzon was praetor. Donatra and other Romulans supported Shinzon's coup but got cold feet when they realized what the victory over the Federation would look like. Earth's complete annihilation by use of a biogenic weapon.

    It's like they intended to rule Earth and the Federation worlds not kill them all. Makes you wonder what they were thinking when they first supported the coup. You would think casualties in the millions would be implied by the very notion of interstellar war.
     
  15. jmampilly

    jmampilly Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    First of all, the majority of the North Korean military is outdated, its weaponry is all Soviet-era, inferior to the weaponry of its US backed neighbors. Also, its economy is weak, and would be incapable of supporting a war.

    The Romulan Empire seems to be filled with internal strife, as a sustained conflict continued on, rival factions with varying opinions on a war with the Federation would take action against each other. Political instability would grind a war effort to a halt.

    Also, the Federation seemed to be considered one of the three major powers in the Alpha Quadrant before the Dominion War, meaning it was militarily on par with the Klingon and Romulan Empires. It was on par, despite the fact that it maintained a fleet of antiquated vessels, more concerned with exploration than defense. After the Dominion War, the Federation's military is a lot more powerful, with newer, more war oriented vessels.

    If the Federation was on par with the Romulan Empire when it was busy exploring in old ships, could it really be weaker than Romulus after radically improving its fleet?
     
  16. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Captain Captain

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    On Romulus:

    Romulus was originally a colony - I suspect in the aftermath of the destruction of Romulus, the remnants of the Romulan state would settle a new planet - and there is no reason to suspect a warp-capable fleet was damaged by the Hobus hypernova - thus their military power would have remained quite intact.

    The question is simply civilian losses.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...Or was it? Vulcans supposedly do not originate from planet Vulcan (TOS "Return to Tomorrow"), and we don't know exactly how this is evident. Were the origins of life on Vulcan the result of transplanting from some other world? Or, since the TOS episode mentions a transplanting civilization that lived mere hundreds of thousands of years ago, rather than millions, were the already evolved humanoids the thing that was transplanted? Nothing suggests that Romulus would have been the original homeworld, but it's a possibility among others.

    Certainly Romulus could be an ancient colony, at least two thousand and possibly three thousand years old by the time of the eruption of hostilities with Earth. Much would depend on whether other worlds within the Romulan sphere of influence would have been allowed to grow to strength similar to this capital planet; quite possibly, Romulus had true "homeworld" status in every respect, while all other worlds were small "colonies".

    All this said, it's still a matter of "civilian" losses first and foremost: lots of skilled people and leaders dead, lots of industries gone, lots of despair that isn't moderated by the fear inherent in the "military" structure of the Star Empire. But the military would be drastically weakened by these losses, too. I doubt the colonies would have been allowed to have infrastructures or skill sets allowing for the maintaining of a starfleet, so the ships would be on their own - a tolerable situation for a decade, considering the independence of Star Trek ships, but intolerable in longer term.

    Let's also not forget that the Trek empires do not exist in a power vacuum. The Romulan Star Empire might collapse at the first sign of weakness because it's under constant threat from its neighbors. It's a bit of a miracle that it doesn't lose planets every time there's a political scandal or an assassination at the centers of power! (Or perhaps it does - we don't really know what happens in those constant wars between Romulans and Klingons...)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    I don't agree with this at all. If anything, I'd say the Romulans spend less time posturing than most of their rivals, as it's always been their preference to sit back and observe for weaknesses.

    Not appropriate.

    Not sure how you're arriving at this conclusion given that the Romulans were more than willing to wage war against Earth and attack several Federation outposts in the twenty third century. Granted, government and military philosophies can change over time, but to say that the Romulans aren't willing to fight isn't true.

    Casualties, yes. Genocide, no. There's a difference between defeating an opponent and annihilating them. Donatra, Suran, and others weren't willing to participate in the eradication of humanity because doing so would have been dishonorable. It has nothing to do with casualty projections. It's about not taking an action that would mark the Romulan Empire as a pariah government.

    I must say that I'm a little bothered by your seeming disregard for even the implied loss of life in a scenario like this. Why do you believe that it's acceptable to commit genocide simply because it accomplishes a military objective? What's your justification for such an action?

    --Sran
     
  19. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If the Romulans stooped to using metagenic or thalaron weapons, they would win. The Federation would likely not use such weapons in a first strike. The Romulans could potentially use cloaked ships to decapitate core Federation worlds.

    But in a straight up conventional war, the Romulans would at first gain the upper hand due to the cloaks, but if the Federation considered the treaty null and void, and start putting their own cloaks into service, or borrow the tech from the Klingons, thus eliminating the one true advantage they have over the Federation, then the fight is more even, maybe even tipping towards the Federation.

    The Romulans are pretty homogenous whereas the Federation has many worlds and many species to draw expertise upon, and not just humans (IE the Vulcans, Andorians, etc), so I think the Federation has an edge there, tactically and strategically. Regardless, however, the Klingons would probably jump in on the side of the Federation anyway, due to their hatred of the Romulans. If that happened, then the Romulans lose badly.
     
  20. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

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    Wars are not conducted with preset protocols or etiquette that opposing sides are obligated to follow. It's not a sport where there are rules and a referee who will call out violators of each side.

    I never said genocide was acceptable. However if the Romulans wanted a victory, and genocide of Earth would achieve such a goal. What would be the harm in letting Shinzon carry out his plan? Who is going to hold the Romulans accountable when they are ruling the remaining Federation worlds? Donatra and Suran couldn't live with themselves if such a thing happened so they left to fight against Shinzon. However out of the entire Romulan fleet only two ships went to stop Shinzon. Two. I'm not judging the race on a whole but sending so few ships? The rest of military seemed indifferent of the result whether Shinzon succeeded or failed.