Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Roboturner913, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. vulcan redshirt

    vulcan redshirt Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    In general we only see the operations of a small part of starfleet, not the federation itself, so we don't really know how it is meant to function. It could function like the EU, where centrally decided edicts filter right down to the laws of the land in a rather petty manner, or be more like the UN (which is what I have always assumed the federation to be modelled on) where internal issues are not tightly constrained, beyond a few issues of basic law such as 'humanoid rights', a non-aggression pact (enforced by the absorbsion of a world's military into starfleet) and probably a ban on dictatorships, and decrees restricting trade of certain banned goods. A model like the EU, or even where the member worlds would be like the states of the USA would seem to contradict the non-interferance policy.

    Although, given that the federation is run from Earth, likewise starfleet, the federation is in effect, a human empire, where members do seem subservient to human policy.

    The federation does seem eager to admit as many newly 'ready' worlds as soon as possible, which would make it expansionist in nature. For example, although i was window dressed as an issue of taking care of a weak race, for the greater good, in the face of a tyranny, the federation's attempts to admit Bajor was probably initially about squeezing the Cardassians, instead of actually looking out for the bajorans, then with the wormhole, it became a military strategic necessity. Sussing out of places like Kesprytt and Malcor would seem to be an attempt to ensure that these worlds never become a threat to the federation by remaining independent. The prime directive, with respect to places like that seems to be more a way to duck responsibility, rather than to actually 'protect' these worlds.

    So IMO Garak and Quark are right, and that the federation is tolerated (or liked) by its population seems to be to do with the way that the apparent freedoms and needs of the 'man on the street' are respected.
     
  2. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This!


    Yeah, and why are we taking Garak's and Quark's words as gospel, anyway? Garek is a stone cold killer ex-spy who wasn't exactly reformed at that point, and Quark was the 24th century Archie Bunker!
     
  3. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    The Federation definitely had its own self-interests that motivated its actions and priorities. DS9 was good at exploring that via the outside perspective.

    But it wasn't taken to that extreme, and it wasn't a goal unto itself. One can be forgiven for thinking otherwise when the lead characters could get so preachy about it, but to suggest that the Prime Directive is or should be more important to the Federation than the drive to explore and expand is taking things to an extreme that wasn't demonstrated on the show. That would be the tail wagging the dog.

    The bottom line of the PD is that it was a self-imposed rule that kept our heroes from taking the easy way out in many a situation. Their greatest limitations weren't defined by what they could do, but what they would do.
     
  4. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Old Mixer, Picard&co let a whole species be destroyed rather than interfere - and they were proud about it. In Redemption, the Prime Directive was more important than the future survival of the federation.
    The Prime Directive was most definitely taken to that extreme - which was repeatedly demonstrated throughout the shows.
     
  5. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Picard may have chosen to act in this fashion based on the Prime Directive, but there are only a handful of examples of enforcement for violations of the Prime Directive: Omega Glory and Into Darkness. Indeed, Into Darkness is the only example of punishment for violation of the Prime Directive. Without JJ Abrams' interference, there would be no examples of enforcement of the Prime Directive for preventing the extinction of a species. The ethics of interference in extinction would be entirely debatable, and not clearly punishable.
     
  6. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Bad thoughts, the truly insane actions Picard, Janeway, etc undertook in the name of the prime directive clearly state both its extreme formulation vis-a-vis interfering in the 'natural evolution' of species and its place as a first rank moral imperative.

    The fact that the prime directive is a legal imperative, enforced and punishable by law as well, is implicit in this. If anything, the legal punishments shown in the shows/movie are mild by comparison to the degree it dictated the behaviour of the characters.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2013
  7. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    "Redemption" is a particularly bad example of your point...staying out of another planet's civil war is a very sensible example of the Prime Directive at work...and while observing the letter of the PD, Picard took shrewd, proactive measures to keep the Romulans from aiding the Duras side.

    Letting species die is the extreme example...clearly interpretation of the PD became much stricter somewhere between centuries, as in Kirk's time, it didn't seem to be a violation to save an inhabited planet from a natural catastrophe if you didn't reveal your presence to the natives ("The Immunity Syndrome", what they were trying to do before things went awry).
     
  8. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Let's discuss Redemption:
    Picard knew the Duras family to be treacherous and to be working with the romulans; if the Duras family would have won the civil war, the klingons and the romulans would have formed an alliance and come after the federation - which means bye bye federation.
    On the other hand, Gowron was the legitimate leader of the klingon empire, recognised by the federation - which would make the Duras family little more than outlaws with a big gun.

    So - the federation is both within the letter and spirit of any non-absurd law to help Gowron - unless helping another civilisation against terrorists/outlaws is also against the prime directive.
    And the federation's prospects, indeed, its survival heavily depended upon the outcome of the civil war. Meaning, there's nothing sensible about the federation staying out of the civil war.

    What does the federation do?
    Invokes the prime directive to stay out of the war.
    And the actions actually undertaken by Picard, far from being as efficient as advertised, should be useless. After the romulan warbirds were detected, Sela could have called Picard and demand of him to stop wasting her time; she has a civil war to win and afterwards, quite a few federation planets to burn. Followed by her continuing her supply run without using the cloak and the romulans openly helping the Duras family. You see, the fact that the federation proved the romulans were helping the Duras family is of no consequence; everyone in the Duras family already knew it and supported it.
    But the writers needed a 'clean' solution, that respected the prime directive, regardless of its realism; and so the romulans inexplicably fled.

    Another similar situation was presented in The circle (same type of order from the federation, but Sisko acted more sane).
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2013
  9. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Captain Tracy was arrested for killing large numbers of natives, and not apparently for violating the PD. It was obvious from the start that he had been interacting with the natives, yet initially there was no concideration of arrest. Discussion of a arrest came only after Spock discovered the native bodies.

    My read is that it wasn't the PD that kept the federation out of (what they thought) was purely a Klingon civil war, but rather "non-interference" in a foreign cultures private matter. Once it was confirmed that it wasn't internal, a standing mutual defense treaty came into play.

    Except it wasn't the Duras family fighting chancellor Gowron. It was the Duras family's coalition fighting Gowron's loyalist coalition. Once the Duras sister's connection to the Romulans was confirned, the Duras sisters no longer possessed a coalition. Their support among their former allies disappeared. The allies would switch over to Gowron, or simply stand to the side.

    Why would the Romulans continue to aid one isolated family?

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That the others in the Duras coalition did not know about the romulan help is unsupported - and not really plausible:
    Unless all in the Duras coalition except the Duras were fools, they already knew they were receiving outside help from the romulans - the supplies were on a massive scale, providing the necessary provisions for entire sectors.

    PD with different (but nevertheless quite similar - non-interference taken to the extreme) provisions for pre and post warp societies or PD and another law - same difference.

    Also, as per this PD for post warp cultures:
    If the Duras were seen as outlaws/terrorists, the federation should have intervened from the start (assuming a sane PD).
    If the federation recognised the Duras some legitimacy, it could not intervene regardless of whether the Duras asked and received help from someone else (including the romulans); in this case, it's their business whom they ask and receive help from.
     
  11. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    You continue to grossly misinterpret the Prime Directive. It was precisely outside interference on the part of a rival power that enabled Picard to take action. While it was an internal matter, it was very sensible not to get involved...that sort of thing is the "no-brainer" excuse for having something like a Prime Directive. But the Prime Directive doesn't prevent the Federation from protecting its interests from enemy actions, particularly when those actions involve the Romulans breaking treaties with the Federaton (crossing the Neutral Zone).

    Protecting the Gowron regime from an internal uprising was something that the Federation didn't want to get involved in. Protecting it from a Romulan invasion was.

    You like to imagine an extreme interpretation of the PD that obviously wasn't exercised in the examples that you cite.
     
  12. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Old Mixer, it was an internal matter inasmuch as the legitimate government catching terrorists is an internal matter.
    Also, it was NOT a romulan invasion. It was romulan help given to one faction in the civil law which, while having no legitimacy, was nevertheless given legitimacy by the PD.

    The PD most definitely prevents the federation from protecting its interests against enemy action - Redemption is clear on this point.
    And only the romulans artificially withdrawing at the end can give the illusion of the contrary. The federation's actions, without the writer's support (which alone dictated the romulan withdrawal), were utterly useless.

    BTW, the neutral zone is between the federation and the romulans, not between the klingons and the romulans. And during TNG the romulans crossed the neutral zone every other tuesday with impunity.

    You'll have to come with something beyond the slogans without support from the episodes to convincingly argue that the PD was not insanely applied in those episodes.
     
  13. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    It wasn't a fight against terrorism, it was a shooting war between rival factions for control of an empire.

    The Romulans turned away because they were exposed and the Federation fleet would have been within its rights to attack them under the circumstances. And their exposure would have caused the Duras faction to lose support.

    And it seems like you're the one who's sloganeering. This seems like some kind of crusade on your part. I'm back to wondering what show you're watching.
     
  14. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As I repeatedly said - Duras' faction either had legitimacy or it didn't; if it didn't, it was composed of outlaws/terrorists whatever the weapons they had.

    If it had legitimacy, it had the right to seek help from anyone - including romulans -, which would remain an 'internal matter' of the klingon empire.
    If it didn't have legitimacy, the federation could have helped Gowron from the beginning.

    The 24th century PD gave Duras's faction legitimacy - and the federation didn't intervene, despite its survival being decided in the civil war too.
    As per the PD, whatever Duras's faction did - whatever a legitimate political entity does that does not directly involve the federation - , including seeking and receiving help, was an internal matter of the klingon empire - aka the federation had no right to open fire on the romulans. Meaning, Picard's actions were an useless joke.

    And the one who's sloganeering is still you.
    You may call crusading you continuing to come up with fuzzy logic and me pointing out its inconsistencies; I do find it slightly annoying how you continuously try to not read my posts in order to miss the point.
     
  15. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    What it comes down to is a difference in knowledge of how the Prime Directive, interstellar laws, and interstellar treaties apply to this situation in the Star Trek setting...and despite all the evidence in the episode itself, you continue to insist that you know these things better than the writers or the characters within the setting.

    On a real-world level, I take offense at such a loose interpretation of terrorism.

    And I'm starting to feel that I'm giving your posts legitimacy by responding to them, so....
     
  16. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Considering the extent to which the trek PD concept is flawed and the actions of the characters due to it, the writers didn't give much thought, if at all, to the PD; they just put a 'Picard saved the day' in the episode and supported it with non-sensical behaviour of the players.
    That's why all you have for arguments are slogans.

    And my posts gain 'legitimacy' by them being logically rigorous and self-consistent. Qualities your posts decidedly lack.
     
  17. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I always thought the Prime Directive and the need for exploration conflicted. Honestly, any time you even enter a sentient beings system there exists a chance for contamination. No matter what precautions you put in place.

    See: The Omega Glory or Who Watches the Watchers.

    Plus, you are actually violating others territory in the name of exploration. The Federation has decided that their need for knowledge outweighs a cultures right to know what is happening on their own planet.
     
  18. The Librarian

    The Librarian Commodore Commodore

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    The thing with Redemption is that (a) there was no solid proof until fairly late at the Romulans were involved, at which point the Federation did intervene, and (b) shooting at each other is a completely normal way for Klingon factions to establish legitimate government. Intervening on behalf of Gowron undermines his position by showing he needs outside support instead of relying purely on that of Klingons.
     
  19. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    Give me one example from my posts of something that qualifies as a slogan. Do you even know what a slogan is?