Star Fleet and Genocide

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by The Overlord, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    There have been a few times where the Federation was complicated genocide, in I Borg, the Picard was considering using a weapon that would have destroying the Borg Collective, before deciding not to use it and during the Dominion War, Section 31 infected the Founders with a virus, but there is some debate as to whether Section 31 is taking orders from the Federation Council.

    So do you think Star Fleet would be capable of genocide? What if the Federation was under attack from aliens that were similar to say the Daleks from Dr. Who, who hate all other forms of life and wish to commit galactic genocide, would the Federation destroy that alien race?
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Kirk never had trouble annihilating single-member species such as the Salt Vampire, Vaal, Landru or the Doomsday Machine. And the only thing that stopped him from destroying the entire species of Space Amoebae was that he could only access one individual. Nothing about this appeared to be contrary to his 23rd century Starfleet general orders.

    In TNG era, Starfleet specifically wanted Picard to erase the Borg species and chided him for the failure; it also sponsored the plan to erase the Founders (issues of deniability aside) by providing the necessary resources. So that seems to cover the 24th century as well. Sure, Picard prevaricated about killing the Crystalline Entity, but he could have had sound tactical reasons for not killing his captive without interrogating it first; Kirk and Spock really dropped the ball there with the Space Amoeba.

    However, the bigger the threat, the less likely that it could simply be destroyed. The Daleks seem to be exceptionally capable of bouncing back (at least in the most recent Who series), so Starfleet would no doubt have to invest massively in researching them and their weaknesses; this might well reveal means to defeat the Daleks without completely removing them from existence, and such means might well be more economical and achievable than outright slaughter.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In all the shows they tend to veer wildly from a very humanitarian attitude to a variation on "screw us and we will screw you right back" - basically modern US foreign policy.

    Starfleet seems to follow the maxim "tread softly and carry a big stick" - especially in the first few seasons of TNG the Enterprise-D seemed like a luxury hotel in space, but Picard was regularly almost conceited about it's tactical capabilities.
     
  4. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Salt Vampire and the Space Amoeba were threats to his ship. He really didn't have much of a choice. Vaal and Landru were machines, not people and not representatives of a species.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    How so? There's always the choice of giving up.

    Indeed, several episodes across the shows featured our heroes claiming they had sworn to defend the ideals of the Federation with their lives if necessary. So, when the push comes to the shove, they don't have the guts to die?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. TheRoyalFamily

    TheRoyalFamily Commodore Commodore

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    The Federation has more than just Enlightened Humans in it. The Vulcans are a big influence, apparently, for the Prime Directive. The Vulcans, Andorians, Tellarites, etc, would not let an existential threat exist if they could help it. It's only the majority-human bridge crews (which reflect the Western 20th-century liberal attitudes of the writers much of the time) that seem to have problems with any of that. Heck, the Admirals that are often antagonists or foils for Our Heroes tend along the more pragmatic lines of dealing with problems. Did Sisko get any sort of punishment at all for rendering a planet uninhabitable to human life, while there were still humans on said planet? Not that we ever see.
     
  7. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Give up and be killed? Was the Space Amoeba even sentient? The Salt Vampire was in the process of killing Kirk when it was shot. The Space Amoeba had killed billions.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    All of which is irrelevant to the question of whether Starfleet could enforce a policy of non-genocide. Yeah, it could, even when its starships come under attack - it would just call for the skippers to have the courage to withdraw or to commit suicide.

    The particulars of the policy would be a separate issue. Do only nicely behaving sentients deserve protection? Today, we don't think that way - we allow deadly, senselessly man-eating predators to multiply and take back lands that at one point were tamed by man. We can afford to; it's difficult to see why the Federation could not as well.

    Absolutes never make for good policy, though. The Federation has shown that it is willing to erase species if those pose too big a threat to too big or important a part of the UFP. It has also claimed it doesn't want to expand at excess cost to others, although the exact cost varies from case to case. In cases like Vaal or Landru, no Federation interests were in danger, other than the throwaway lives of Kirk and friends, or further trespassers of their ilk. In cases like the Eminians, though, there was a threat or fear thereof that failure to intervene would hurt UFP assets other than trespassing starship crews. And in case of the Space Amoeba, the threat was clear and present and modified by the fact that the enemy was a vile nonhuman beast evoking no sympathies.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But it is relevant to the examples you gave of genocide in TOS.
     
  10. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not sure how you interrogate a single-cell organism...
     
  11. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    you can, it's just a very one-sided interrogation.
     
  12. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    [​IMG]

    YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!
     
  13. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's relevant to the definition of genocide. The near-extinction of the North American bison wasn't genocide. Buffalo are not sapient beings.
     
  14. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    No, Section 31 acted on their own to infect the Founders. It was after Dr. Bashir found the cure that the Federation Council decided not to share it with the Dominion. Odo made the comment that seemed like a rather tidy arrangement that while the Federation openly comdemns genocide they're willing to let a race die that they could save.
     
  15. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    hey, Archer established the precedent.
     
  16. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Okay, but then at what point does the Federation consider genocide an acceptable response to deal with an enemy?

    The Federation never seemed to consider genocide as a response to conflicts with the Klingons, Romulans or Cardassians.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    That sort of dodging doesn't work in the Trek universe, where it's not really always possible to tell whether the victim is sapient even after fairly careful study. From the point of view of many of the Federation's enemies, eradication of Homo sapiens would not count as genocide by such impracticably narrow terms.

    And the only reason the bison slaughter wasn't genocide was that it failed - otherwise, a genus would have been killed. So the charge against Man would be attempted genocide there.

    That must vary from enemy to enemy. Some enemies can only be defeated through genocide: e.g. the Borg are a single individual and defeating that individual means utter and complete destruction of the genus. Many other dire threats to the Federation have also come from a species consisting of a single individual, one that cannot be negotiated with, delayed, redirected or evaded - say, V'Ger.

    This nicely serves to highlight what a meaningless term "genocide" really is. Sometimes it describes the killing of a single being or a small group in the accusatory sense, sometimes it describes the killing of trillions in the dropping of charges sense, because it puts irrational weight on the degree of completion of the act.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Probably Timo, it also varies from time period to time period. Depends on what kind of mood the Federations is in.

    If the influential Vulcan representative to the Federation council in in the beginning stages of Pon Farr (and also in denial), you might want to screw with the Federation some other time.

    :)
     
  19. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    I couldn't stand the Section 31 genocide plot on DS9. The worst thing about it was that parts of the Federation wanted it to succeed. Is this Federation even worth saving?

    The Founders had every right to annihilate humanity after that point.
     
  20. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    Yep.

    Would you be happy as a citizen to see the Federation government fall and be replaced by either the Dominion, Klingons, Romulans or the Cardassians?

    While I think the Federation takes the whole "we are explorers" things a little too far and encroaches on other species territory (see Cestus III), the Dominion kicked in the door and deserved whatever ass-whuppin' the Federation could dish out. Including the destruction of the Founders.

    Same thing goes for the Borg.
     

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