Scotty and his military comment

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies XI+' started by Charles Phipps, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Since when is James T. Kirk a scientist?

    Because with some of the ways he felt with the stuff you brought up he didn't seem to be using any scientific solutions to the problems, in fact they seemed more like military solutions.
     
  2. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Coming late to this, but hey, since the 70s NASA has been the military's bitch, at least with respect to the manned program. The entire manned program post-Apollo and -Skylab was with the orbiter, and once they started compromising on the design and the costs went up, they absolutely needed DoD dollars, which is why the payloads were disproportionately military, and also inflicted some other design changes with regard to payload capacity.

    With this in mind ... NASA is being used to wage war, because it provides the means for DoD to pursue its objectives. If you're doing a PATRIOT GAMES hit and want to see the action from a satellite, guess who probably placed it there?

    All of this is at a total remove from the Apollo era, when the military's space program was essentially shuttered (no Manned Orbital Lab, instead eventually Skylab, no Dyno-Saur, instead the Orbiter, after a fashion.) So you have NASA, which was kicked into prominence to reply to an international political situation, going from a fairly military-free program into one that was dependent on military support, in less than a decade.

    So, to get back to the main line of questioning ... if we can have this kind of upheaval, who knows what could have gone on in Starfleet during a century or a decade, stuff that didn't fit into any of the told backstories (and I'm not EVEN going to try to fit UESPA into the Starfleet/Fed thing, because that makes it sound like a civilian program got folded into a military one, and we wouldn't be having THAT in an evolved future, would we?)

    Moreover, we're in a unique situation with seeing character stuff over a long haul with some ... so you have their perceptions changed not just by their experiences, but by what they know or have learned about others. I don't for one minute believe the TUC Kirk of 'let them die' infamy is genuine, or even heartfelt (in this, I totally agree with Shat's notion that he is instantly embarrassed for even blurting it, and think Meyer's cutting was a very shortsighted choice), but he certainly was capable of feeling that for a short time in extreme instances.

    But Kirk seems to me to be much more about beating HIMSELF up over things that went badly over the long haul, not about carrying grudges. maybe that is because he won so often that he didn't have to carry grudges, but that is a key aspect to how I see his character, informed somewhat by the novels but principally from Shatner, Coon & other key TOS creatives. So when TUC is used as a Starfleet equals military argument, are we assuming it is a change in the trek universe due to meyer or a change in the Federation? If the latter, do we assume that the SFS-TUC era -- which I think of as the X-FILES/TRUST NO ONE era of TREK, since you have some serious surveillance going on with McCoy after Genesis and a real serious paranoid tone in SFS and then again in TUC -- is driven by events we don't even know about, but are enough to make the whole 23rd century seem very retro-20th when looked back at from 237_? (I suppose the abramsverse is kind of stuck in something like this, since it doesn't really put across any of the boldly going stuff with conviction, but uses buzzwords like 'armada' and 'enlist' that push much more conventional MIDWAY/RAMBO buttons vis a vis the military.

    When we see the TOS era from the TNG one, there is the usual distancing with 'cowboy diplomacy' and the like, as if, 'yeah, that was before we were civilized' was the mindset. But is it really valid? Just because the frontier era had better color, music, editing and fight scenes doesn't make it less civilized or evolved. In fact, you can probably find as many examples of Kirk NOT doting on the military POV as you can the opposite, such as when he is telling Garth that he thinks of himself primarily as an explorer now. And Kirk goes out of his way to avoid blowing up ships after he has damaged them, same as Picard, though he may have to do some 'kirk strategy' in order to reach that point, instead of just having a vessel 80 times more powerful, which seems the TNG way of taking out the other guy's defenses.

    Both of them show similar colors when dealing with hopeless hatfield&mccoy situations - see PRIVATE LITTLE WAR and SYMBIOSIS for the closest parallel -- and yet Kirk is perceived by more viewers as a warrior than an explorer, even when he has made choices that define him not as strictly impulsive or combative but actually answerable to his conscience in nearly all instances. In a real military, could Kirk manage to pull half of this shit and even stay in the service as the guy phasering dust mites off the EXIT signs at HQ? Just the political damage he'd do to his superiors in taking the rules and making them work for his ethics would make him untenable in no time at all, because even when you win big, you make enemies, and therefore he should have the biggest enemies (or the greatest volume of them anyway.)

    To me, the fact that Kirk prospers (to some degree) in his career suggests he works for a group that has a military structure applied to a civilian organization, rather than the reverse. And it would follow that there could be aspects of that organization that are the CAPRICORN ONE-style secret portions, a la sec31, which could report to a higher or more secret or inner gov't WHILE technically being a part of the civilian org. A lot of Starfleet's perception as military could just be how the government elects to portray them ... defenders when you need starships built, explorers when you don't ... and there is even Roddenberryesque justification for this, since he seems to think that solutions to all things come from going out there, so that means you get your military and tech and resource stuff answered by going boldly, and therefore your point guys for this are the civiilian science guys who understand chain of command and can also fire phasers, if and when there is a need to do so.

    I suppose you can put up so many alternate scenarios that pretty much any grand unified theory would be useless ... reconciling Jellico with TNG only works for me because Jellico is what I always knew they needed but figured they had been afraid to show ... then you see Ron Tracey and you wonder 'did this guy snap like Decker or was he always this much a mess?' and there you have a Starfleet that seems dangerously unenlightened, one where maybe you COULD make captain in an insanely short period of time without assassinating your way up the chain of command, but would anybody be willing to serve in that situation, especially with the ethical issues associated - which takes us up to PEGASUS, which seems entirely 23rd century or earlier in its outlook (outside of Picard, who of course has the high ground because he has the best posture.)

    I had such a concise clear idea of what I was writing when I started this, and now I have no idea what that neat point was ... damnit!
     
  3. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    IMMUNITY SYNDROME he uses scientific premise to destroy the thing, not extra torps. A lot of the time he uses solutions based on human nature or his ability to shape opinion, stuff that LEADERS can manage, whether they are military or not.

    I don't for a second believe any of that Abrams stuff about Kirk being some genius level IQ unless he is supposed to be an idiot savant, especially going by his blissfully blank assholishness at the start of this last movie.
     
  4. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    "Military problem" is what happens when an experimental Russian submarine torpedoes one of your patrol ships and you have to hunt it down and sink it

    "Starfleet problem" is what happens when a genetically modified flying siberian tiger eats the entire population of Pittsburgh and you have to calculate its hunting patterns in order to track it down and kill it.

    The solutions are similar, but "ravenous man-eating beast from hell" isn't usually thought of as a MILITARY problem.

    Besides, Kirk's main job is to run the Enterprise and implement solutions; 90% of those solutions are invented by Spock, who is -- let's face it -- the patron saint of spacegoing scientists.

    Just because he's a genius doesn't mean he isn't an asshole. Good character comes from experience, having to overcome adversity, and having to accept total failure and then pick yourself up and move on. Accepting failure is something Kirk has never been particularly good at; it is, in fact, his singular character weakness. But having to deal with it from time to time pushes him on the path to maturity, something STID went out of its way to show IMO.
     
  5. Herkimer Jitty

    Herkimer Jitty Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    1966.
     
  6. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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    Bullshit. They DID discuss it. They got cut off by Cartwright.

    I don't think you're clear about what a strawman is. They were discussing a possibility, and Spock had nothing to do with the conversation anyway.

    Which is also pretty stupid, but there you have it.

    You are offering your opinion as evidence.

    Yeah, except the two officers which you want to ignore because your opinion trumps them.

    And he's probably not wrong -- not entirely, anyway -- but I wouldn't trust Picard's opinion on this any day. The man's an idealist.
     
  7. solariabsg25

    solariabsg25 Captain Captain

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    Actually, your assessment is quite correct.

    Starfleet never probably put up a big sign somewhere saying "We're the military!" There's probably nothing anywhere in the Federation Charter or Starfleet Organisation that says "These people are part of the Military Command" or "These are part of the Science Branch."

    Even in the Meyer Trek that you regarded as too militaristic only mentioned the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, and I also remember reference somewhere to Starfleet Intelligence.

    I believe that for a long period, it was the military mindset that ran the show. They had a war with the Romulans, were on the verge of war with the Klingons, and then had the Romulans attack outposts which could have been a prelude to starting a Second Romulan War - the Romulan Threat was deemed so important they sent the Enterprise on an extremely risky covert black-ops mission that could have been disastrous if the Romulan Interception Force had followed their normal protocols and just blown her out of space.

    The argument of the Marcus's would seem to indicate that the military and scientific "sides" of Starfleet did not always see eye-to eye, the scientific side wanting more labs on ships, the military wanting more phaser banks and photon torpedo stocks. The "kept the peace" line probably indicates that the two viewpoints reached a compromise that was acceptable to both.


    If we look again at the TUC exchange at the briefing, it could be read that yes they were talking of mothballing some of Starfleet. NOT reducing a military though, it's just that a large number of starships were probably engaged in normal border patrols along the Neutral Zone rather than exploration. As Starfleet could handle all the exploration missions as well as this security, what would these, possibly hundreds of, starships do, when the Klingons were no longer a threat?


    After TUC, any military-heads would have found themselves facing a losing argument. Why bigger and more powerful starships bristling with weapons, when the major threats have gone? You must dictate policy on the day-to-day routine threats you may face, not the anomalies such as doomsday machines and space amoeba!

    JJ Abrams also straddles this line.

    The Enterprise appears bigger and tougher than the TOS and possibly even TMP Enterprise. There could well be a confidence throughout Starfleet that ships like her (and larger, I seem to recall that the saucer section debris she almost collided with over Vulcan was larger than she was) could handle anything they came across. In such an environment, the science argument could well hold sway, as they already feel they have their military bases covered.

    The Narada owned them, but once again an anomaly, a one-off threat.

    This would explain why Starfleet appears to have a more scientific/exploration slant in JJ Abrams-Trek, even while it has even more military trappings than TOS (service caps for dress uniforms for example).

    Admiral Marcus appears to be one of the military mind-set old-guard, who thinks that "science" and "exploration" is threatening to undermine the safety of the Federation. He would quite happily have almost the entire Starfleet exist as Akiras and Defiants, with maybe a few smaller ships sent off on research missions, than lay down the keel of a single Galaxy Class explorer.

    We must all also remember that our discussions are not helped by the actions of individual writers

    James Kirk stated "I'm a soldier, not a diplomat."

    But, his main mission is to seek out new life, and new civilizations. By this very mission charter, by conducting First Contact, he MUST be capable of being a diplomat - even if you take just one example, in brokering the agreement between the miners and the Horta in Devil in the Dark, he has acted in that role. It was Kirk, not a Federation diplomat, who attempted to negotiate mining rights in Mirror, Mirror.

    Certainly the TOS Enterprise never had a specific diplomatic/first-contact team aboard, this was supposed to be carried out initially by the Captain, first and foremost, with weeks, perhaps even months, passing before a proper diplomatic team takes over. Kirk must be capable of delicate negotiations, which can be the difference between friendly relations, or having the new race start building warships to destroy the interlopers!
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013
  8. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Who continued to discuss it, prolonging the derail until Spock brought everyone back to business.

    No, they were discussing an extremist totally-out-of-left-field action that was easier to object to in principle than the simple end to hostilities. That's what a strawman is: you attack a position you don't like by assigning to it flaws it doesn't actually have and then denounce that position based on those flaws.

    It isn't OPINION that nobody was proposing the decommissioning of starships; they weren't. She asked the question as a way of undermining the entire concept of disarmament, and Cartwright merely continued that line of thought with a racist diatribe.

    In short, they were both objecting to a proposal that nobody had made; they weren't discussing the nature of Starfleet, they were being dicks.

    Are you confused about what this meeting was about? It was a BRIEFING, not a planning session. It would be no different if she'd popped up and said "Bill, are talking about surrendering to the Klingons?"

    So you trust two officers you've never seen before, at least one of whom is later seen committing high treason... but you don't trust Jean Luc Picard?:vulcan:
     
  9. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    True,but we also saw Kirk frequently ferrying Federation diplomats around, with the idea that Ambassador So-and-So was going to do most of the heavy lifting when it came to negotiating treaties and such.

    In "Elaan of Troyius," for example, Kirk only takes over as a diplomat when the Elasian ambassador is stabbed . . . .

    (If you'll indulge me a shameless plug, I actually play with a similar notion in an upcoming TOS novel. During a diplomatic mission, Kirk initially intends to let a visiting Federation commissioner handle the negotiations, but has to take over when it turns out that the aliens in question respect "explorers" more than "bureaucrats" and refuse to deal with anybody but Kirk . . . .)
     
  10. solariabsg25

    solariabsg25 Captain Captain

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    Greg, there were probably numerous dull missions of this type we never saw, like just ferry diplomat A to alien race B, wait around then take him back to Starbase C.

    The only time we got to see it on screen though was when the representative was inept (Taste of Armaggedon), obnoxious (Trouble with Tribbles) or as you said, when he got stabbed and taken out of the equasion. The writers needed to bring Kirk to the fore.
     
  11. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Total agreement with your entire post, but two things:

    The Abrams Enterprise is about the size of an Ambassador class, actually. The rest of Starfleet's ships are similarly large, which leads me to think that perhaps these larger-sized vessels were ALWAYS there and we simply never saw them until the TNG era. The smaller version of the Constitution class could easily still be in service out there somewhere, but post-Narada craziness meant both the name and the new ship contracts went to the larger vessels instead (say, they built eight of the smaller vessels instead of twelve to save room for two Enterprise-sized ships). The IDW comics imply this as well; Captain Robert April is said to have commanded an Enterprise that was decommissioned just a couple of years before Kirk's ship was built, a ship which in the Primeline would have been commanded by Christopher Pike and Number One.

    But Starfleet still defeated it, not with superior firepower, but by carefully analyzing its weaknesses and exploiting them. That seems to be Starfleet's primary advantage: a single starship isn't all that powerful, in fact Starfleet vessels tend not to be that impressive militarily. But they don't really have to be; they staff their ships with some of the most intelligent and innovative people in the galaxy, people who can devise fifteen different ways to kick you in the balls before you can lay a hand on them.

    As with EVERY anomaly they encounter, the Narada is proof that Starfleet is the triumph of brains over brawn: they don't generally out-fight their enemies, they outsmart them.
     
  12. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Treaties, of course. Mainly because treaties would have the force of law and an official diplomat would have a direct line to the Council which Kirk, as a line officer, might not have. Otherwise, anything that doesn't require the signing of an official legal document between the Federation and some other world, Kirk seems fully authorized to negotiate informal alliances.

    I'll forgive the plug if you hook me up a copy when it's published.:D
     
  13. solariabsg25

    solariabsg25 Captain Captain

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    Exactly, Starfleet is designed to face the every-day mundane threats. Orion Pirates, Klingon or Romulan Privateers, the occasional space-born life-form, with the ability to band together to create a unified front on the rare occasions that an all-out shooting war would start.

    If they designed all their ships to deal with Doomsday Machines and Naradas, then the Vengeance would probably had been one of their WEAKEST designs. Plus, a lot of the science stuff would fly out the window, except for being optimized for combat.

    So okay, a Doomsday Machine would probably be a doddle then, but woe-betide you dealing with a Whale Probe or V'Ger when you need science to overcome the problem and come up with a solution!
     
  14. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And even Starfleet's shooting wars have historically been resolved through clever application of science and trickery. We like to forget that the entire Dominion war was rendered basically irrelevant by Section 31's Changeling Plague and that the Dominion only surrendered in the first place because Odo offered a cure in exchange for a truce; if he hadn't, the Changelings would have simply died and the leaderless Jem'hadar and Vorta would have committed mass suicide.

    The Federation never actually goes to war with anyone unless Starfleet can't find a scientific solution to a problem; when the scientific solution suddenly presents itself, the war comes to an abrupt end.

    And this, if you think about it, is the problem with the Cardassians and the Klingons: they never DID find a solution to those problems, so the diplomats had to step in and deescalate things so that the conflict could linger on for years as a cold war. The Klingon problem was resolved by Starfleet's help with the Praxis Event, the Cardassian problem was resolved by the fall of the Dominion.
     
  15. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Or short-tempered and dying (Metamorphosis). :)
     
  16. solariabsg25

    solariabsg25 Captain Captain

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    The Federation does seem to be technologically superior on the whole to their opponents. Just look at the shock of Gul Macet in The Wounded when he discovered the Enterprise could read the Cardassian ID codes! The Phoenix in the same episode was able to move out of the weapons range of a Cardassian warship and destroy it easily with their own weapons, even after they had already taken a broadside with their shields down.

    I would change your statements though, in the the Federation never goes to war with anyone, NOT because of scientific solutions, but simply because they never start a war - but in the words of John Sheridan always finish it!

    Also I think there was a fear amongst Starfleet that with The Founders gone, rather than committing suicide, the Jem'Hadar may have just gone on a wild, galaxy-spanning psychotic killing spree a'la the rogue Jem'Hadar in To The Death!

    Looking over the entire franchise, the Federation may have made diplomatic solutions, and had major setbacks such as the Borg incursions and the early years of the Dominion War. Have Starfleet ever been mentioned to have LOST a war though? I can't think of any examples!
     
  17. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    If they had, we'd probably be seeing programming about the victors. After all, TREK is not & never shall be GALACTICA.
     
  18. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, they were. The fucking CIC started to say something, along the lines of "well, our non-military stuff is probably going to be unaffected but--" and then was cut-off. Why would he say "but" to the first part, in response to her question, if he wasn't going to entertain the possibility ?

    I think you are so dead-set against the very idea that Starfleet represents, at least partly, the military arm of the Federation that you are unwilling to consider any evidence that it is. As such it makes this conversation futile.

    Did you just try to play the argument from emotion card ? Who cares if it's Picard's opinion or not ?
     
  19. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm pretty sure they lost to the Romulans and were forced to sign the Treaty of Algernon -- agreeing not to develop cloaking devices -- as a concession to keep the Empire from overrunning some disputed colonies near the border.

    I also happen to think that Starfleet was getting whipped by the Cardassians for whatever reason and the Federation decided to cede a bunch of Earth colonies to the Cardassians in the DMZ exchange rather than commit larger material resources to a controversial border dispute; in that case, they didn't loose so much as not-win.
     
  20. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Because "our exploration and scientific programs" is MOST OF THE FLEET. The only thing he could have followed that with is the admission that Starfleet would need fewer ships patrolling the border.

    It's obvious that Starfleet is responsible for the safety and security of the Federation and is called upon by the Federation to engage in combat when needed. It is equally obvious that it doesn't need to be a military organization to do so, and thus there is nothing strange about the fact that it is said not to be.

    On the other hand, you seem so enamored with the idea that Starfleet represents a highly versatile military body that you are seizing on anything at all, no matter how insubstantial, that would suggest it is and then handwaving away anything that claims it isn't.

    No, this is the "consider the source" card. Jean Luc Picard is the captain of Starfleet's newest, most powerful and most advanced ship. Admiral Cartwright is a desk jockey who gets caught trying to assassinate his own president. Between the two of them, do you really have to ask whose opinion is more trustworthy?

    I mean, that's like studying the Cuban Missile Crisis by interviewing Lee Harvey Oswald.
     

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