Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by King Daniel Beyond, Aug 2, 2014.
Never thought of it that way before.
I'm pretty sure it would be considered an act of war though. Especially with the whole blowing up a science vessel while doing it.
Seems the Federation council didn't see it that way. Otherwise they probably wouldn't have bothered with the Klingon ambassador trying to extradite Kirk into Klingon hands. Or that was their attempt to keep the "peace". The "peace" that will not be "as long as Kirk lives".
The assumption of the hostility is both hot and cold wars with a period of mutual dislike and distrust going back to Archer's time. The actual hostility starting only when the Klingons and Federation borders start to cause each other direct problems, rather than the two attempting to ignore each other over the neutral space between them prior to whatever planets were annexed by the two sides sometime around 2220 or before. So from 2151 to 2211, there may have been incidents, but the two sides probably just didn't interact that much after Enterprise and the Romulan War. But after that, something happened to make the hostility a real problem. A problem enough to make Spock comment on it as a thing they'd been dealing with up to the 2290s and the destruction on Praxis.
Even then, it seems like the Federation (or at least the humans) were not all that much of a threat to the Klingon until the proposed Four Years War and some technological improvements to shields and weaponry make Starfleet powerful enough to engage the D7 battlecruisers with a good chance of beating it (the Enterprise seems to be able to handle one easily enough while undamaged).
Though perhaps the older ships that are similar in design to Enterprise were garbage scows. The power to weight ratio might be favorable for combat ships and explorer that don't have to tow that much stuff.
We might also argue the reverse: the Klingon Empire might have been hitting an all-time low at the time of ENT, having had their foreheads baldy bumped by the Vulcans with their superior ships and tactics, and wading deep in self-pity and Kahlessian fanaticism without the means to lash out at their opponents. Only in the early 23rd century would they get their act together again, fielding quality weapons in practical numbers - against a "unified" opponent consisting of many low-tech civilizations that mainly just hobble the few truly combatworthy member civilizations.
I could see Klingons as fairly bipolar, not personally but culturally: whenever the Empire is doing well, it starts infighting for the spoils, and then follows a period of underachievement that is only ended when something again unifies the feuding Houses - say, a powerful Chancellor, an inspirational religious movement, a novel weapons technology or a new opponent.
Not just Garth, but Kirk too was implied to have served in a war before becoming primarily an explorer:
...One of course is tempted to ask what sort of an environment would allow young Jim Kirk to rank among the finest - a Federation tangled up in major wars, with fighting going on everywhere, or a Federation living in peace, with combat experience the privilege of the few who stir up trouble at the frontier.
Perhaps his victory over the Romulans and brush with the Klingons over Organia warrant that title?
Or some action he did before becoming captain of the Enterprise that warrented Pike hand picking him.
Organia wasn't exactly a triumph of strategy and tactics.
It's curious that the one piece of supposed brilliant tactics by Kirk that does get a mention in the episode is his victory over Romulans. Since Romulans have been out of the picture for a century and would only have been participating in fights in the last year or two, this sort of establishes that Kirk was a warrior until very recently.
Unless we argue that the "explorers" of "nowadays" regularly defeat Romulans, Klingons or Tholians in isolated incidents like that, and real soldiers used to fight 24/7 for decades at an end...
Or then the UFP has been at total peace for so long that people get to be famous military heroes by doing well in a simulated fight, in this case in a brilliant re-enactment of an old battle against Romulans.
Doctor Marcus's comment could also be interpreted literally; the UFP Star Fleet may in fact be only 100 years old by the time of TWOK. The time gap between 2161 and 2185 might allow for the continued expansion of UESPA as well as the "national" fleets of the UFP to continue operations in joint fashion but nonetheless as separate entities until 2183 or so when the Star Fleet became a "combined service" as mentioned in "Tomorrow is Yesterday".
Well, Kirk did stop the Romulan attack near Earth Outpost 4 ("Balance of Terror") and outfox a fleet of Romulan destroyers near Gamma Hydra IV ("The Deadly Years"). In addition, the dialogue toward the end of "Whom Gods Destroy" established that Kirk used the Cochrane Deceleration Maneuver to defeat a Romulan ship at Tau Ceti, a move referred to as a classic battle tactic. The last of these examples was never shown in TOS, and suggests an encounter not fully illuminated in TOS-proper.
It should be added that "The Enterprise Incident" occurred well before "Whom Gods Destroy", so Kirk can be credited (secretly?) with having stolen the new-and-improved Romulan cloaking device. All of these examples would allude to Kirk being an outstanding military commander, even if only a Cold Warrior.
The issue this creates is that Kirk has become an explorer within the past year only, having been a warrior before that. But we supposedly watched the transition happen, and saw none! If Kirk's "primarily an explorer now", but keeps on doing the very same things he did in the first season, potentially five years prior, we are left scratching our heads at what "explorer" and "military commander" mean for Kirk and Garth, and why either should care to bring up the distinction.
If Kirk's actual military heroics were in the more distant past, it would be easier to believe in a Four Years War or the like. The implication of the dialogue and the two distinct career stages mentioned there is that the quoted (and partially televised) success against Romulans would be a very tiny thing compared with what Kirk had been doing before, meaning the earlier line of work would probably indeed have involved a full-blown war.
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