Starship of the Federation President

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Dingo, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just because the Council has N^2 powers doesn't mean that the President's own N powers aren't in and of themselves substantial.

    Of course, we're somewhat assuming here since it's not like we have access to the Federation's governing documents.
     
  2. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    You really don't know what you're talking about. It's a marginal detail what the ship carrying the President is called. That's really not an indication of the quality of a story -- it's just a piece of background info. To decide to evaluate all sorts of novels based on such a small thing is just silly.

    And, no, the Federation President is not ceremonial. "Paradise Lost" (DSN) established that the Federation President is the commander-in-chief of the Federation's armed forces. Star Trek VI established that he or she is in control of the Federation's foreign policy.

    It is fair to conclude that there's more sharing of power between the Council and the President in a lot of matters than there is in the modern world in the presidential system the U.S. has. But that's not the same as it being a ceremonial office.

    The novel Articles of the Federation by Keith R.A. DeCandido (TrekBBS's very own KRAD) establishes that the Federation President presides over sessions of the full Council, and may preside over sessions of the various sub-councils (committees); he or she often presides over meetings of the Security Council, for instance. The President usually solicits the participation and counsel of Federation Councillors from the relevant Member worlds or with the relevant expertise when making a decision. The President also nominates all members of the sub-councils, with the full Council then voting to confirm or reject sub-council appointments. So it's a sort of hybrid of the U.S. and Westminster systems.

    Plenty of options would do nicely -- but it's not like the Federation lacks for resources. The Federation enjoys such an abundance of resources that having a Galaxy-class starship permanently dedicated to presidential travel seems to me like it really wouldn't have much opportunity cost, so I see no reason not to use a bit of overkill.

    (My personal hypothesis is that the presidential starship would need to be a bit larger in the event that it is called upon to evacuate and house the entire Federation government -- the President and his/her staff, the full Council and their staffs, and the Federation Supreme Court and their staffs. This, again, is just me hypothesizing.)

    I don't agree with this at all. Traveling within Federation space does not mean that there won't be someone capable of targeting Paris One or Starfleet One for attack. Interstellar borders are much more permeable than land borders are today, and there's no guarantee that there won't be some deranged Federation citizen out to kill the President.

    If I'm the Director of the Federation Security Agency, I'm gonna want at least three Defiant-class starships permanently attached to defending Paris One wherever she goes.

    A completely fair interpretation. Again, the class of Paris One has never been established in the novels; that she's a Galaxy-class starship is just my own personal hypothesis.

    Well, I imagined the presidential shuttles to be Type 11 because Type 11 are the largest possible shuttlecraft. If you re-watch INS, they're quite a bit bigger than, say, the Type 6 or 7 shuttles. Anything larger and we're no longer in the realm of shuttlecraft, but of things like runabouts or captains' yachts.

    The novels do make it clear the the presidential shuttles are small enough that the president's entourage needs to divide themselves between the three shuttles. These craft are only used for short in-system trips -- say, if the President needs to give a speech on Luna for something. The full staff doesn't accompany him or her.

    I don't know why you would say that. The Type 11 shuttlecraft looks like it would fit comfortably onto most buildings' roofs, and I imagine that 24th century cities are built with storage space for small personal craft in mind much the way cities today are built with parking space for cars in mind.

    Though, really, the easiest thing to assume is that the presidential shuttle simply stays in orbit while the President and his/her staff beam down.

    Well, there's really no evidence that the MACOs still exist; when they did, they were a United Earth military, not a Federation military. Personally, I've always just assumed the MACOs were absorbed into the Federation Starfleet when the Federation was founded, same as the Andorian Imperial Guard, Vulcan defense fleet, and United Earth Starfleet. This is the route TrekBBS's Christopher chose to go with in Rise of the Federation: A Choice of Futures, wherein MACOs are described as having been absorbed into the new Federation Starfleet, being folded into Starfleet Security along with security officers from the Andorian Guard.

    I mean, we're essentially running into the fact that starships are not truly ships, nor truly aircraft, but rather share some of the characteristics of both. We do know that Starfleet vessels sometimes use call signs; it's not unreasonable to assume that their normal call sign is just their standard name, but that they adopt a special call sign if the President her/himself is aboard. Such a passenger would by definition make the ship far more important than its sister vessels and oblige it to change its entire mission priorities.

    Not a bad hypothesis, though I don't think the Romulans would ever allow the president's ship to cloak; they only allowed the Defiant to cloak because they thought it in their best interest to be able to counter the Dominion.

    My reason for choosing the Galaxy class was that I think it looks powerful but not hostile -- the round aesthetic to me reads as peaceable and diplomatic rather than militaristic. I would be concerned about what kind of message using an explicitly battle-driven ship like the Defiant class might send, but I completely see where it would have its advantages in terms of keeping the President safe from potential threats.

    It was Vice President Dick Cheney who went duck hunting and accidentally shot his friend, not Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. (As a very witty fellow on the TrekBBS whose name I can't recall said at the time: "I completely believe him when he says it was an accident. If he had meant to kill his friend, he would have used his fangs.")

    This has not been canonically established. The most reasonable thing we can say is that the relationship between the President and the Council is unclear. On the one hand, we do get situations like "The Defector" (TNG), wherein the Council is described as issuing orders to Starfleet. On the other hand, we get episodes like "Homefront/Paradise Lost," where the President is established to be the commander-in-chief of the Federation's armed forces, and Star Trek VI, where the President controls the foreign policy agenda and orders Starfleet to or not to engage in specific missions.

    So the canonical evidence is unclear; that's why the novels featured a system wherein power is more closely shared between the President and Council than we tend to see in the U.S. system.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    And of course, it may be that the President presides over the Council. Whenever Starfleet clears something with "the Council", it's essentially phoning the President's office, and his cabinet is what is known as the Council.

    Onscreen, we lack any and all evidence of what the Council really looks like. We hear it makes decisions, but we never hear of anybody who would be member. We never see a session or an election.

    As for the thread subject, we might want to ask whether the President travels at all. After Khitomer, we haven't heard of such a thing happening, either. Why would a powerful leader go to places when he/she/it can call places, or order places to come to him/her/it? The UFP operates even internally by sending Ambassadors, Commissioners and other representatives with broad powers.

    Granted, the UFP President is the only position in the Trek universe known to be attained through election. We don't know how or by whom, but possibly it takes touring to raise the necessary votes.

    If the President does travel, then I'm all for "generic and unimaginative", because that's what Star Trek is all about: bringing the 1960s, the 1980s, the 1990s, and occasionally the 1950s and 1930s to outer space. It needs to be recognizable, it needs to be evocative of historical precedent. In-universe, we can simply say the UFP goes for retro big time, just like we do today...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. EmperorTiberius

    EmperorTiberius Captain Captain

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    What's silly is that you think that background info and setting of a story in not important.
    Name like Starfleet One takes you right out of the story and suspension of disbelief.

    None of those movies establish that he has significant power at all.

    Instead of creating an original setting based of what's seen on screen, they decided to copy entire American system down to the name of a plane....brilliant.
     
  5. EmperorTiberius

    EmperorTiberius Captain Captain

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    That's not what Star Trek is all about at all. It's Friday, so I'll imagine you've been drinking a bit. Star Trek has never been generic and unimaginative. Of course it's influenced by the time it is written, but it was never about that time in space. Granted there were shades of it in TOS, but even then it was vastly different with black, Russian, women crewmen, various social issues taken on, great design for the time etc.

    If Gene had decide to go with tradition, Enterprise would have been a flying saucer, 6 white men would have been on the bridge, and Kirk would have to contact the commodore flying in tight formation with him for every decision he had to make.

    And Federation has never been retro big time at all. Things like rank have been brought through, and even then, naval ranks. There is no sign of an earth air force or army tradition.

    To put it in perspective, imagine a science fiction writer in the 1500's writing about 20th century. He decides to copy everything from his current time, Kings/Queens/Knights/peasants working the fields.. no imagination.. . How boring would that be?

    Or the US President in the 50's, when they were thinking of call sign for Air Force One, decides to go with hard core tradition and he calls the airplane "Blueskin" like George Washington called his horse....

    400 years of time has to be taken into account when writing these stories and setting details are very important.
     
  6. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    We have very little idea of how the Federation Government works as that is not really what Star Trek is about. And the few glimpses we have seen have to serve the needs of the story.

    In DSN's "Paradise Lost" story, I don;t recall any mention about the Earth Prime Minister being consulated, does that mean he wasn't consulted off screen or that the Federation President has direct power over members world governments?
     
  7. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think it's generally assumed that we saw the Federation Council in session in TVH. If you believe otherwise I'd like to hear your case.
     
  8. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Is it ever established in a canon source that there exists a Federation president? In the TV shows we always see Federation leadership as a council of admirals.

    Based on what we know of the Federation, each planet has their own sovereign leadership, and if there exists an individual who is 'Leader of the whole Federation' he only has the 'Commander in Chief of the armed forces' role and no litigious power.

    Edit: Is the president we see in Paradise Lost Federation president? He seemed to me to be only Earth president. Starfleet leadership is usually implied to be a military meritocracy.
     
  9. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    We saw a Federation President in TVH, TUC and DS9.

    Conversely, we never saw a "council of admirals". We see individual admirals (and sometimes more than one) issuing orders and such, but the hierarchy between them is never shown, though we do know there are Fleet Admirals (Morrow, Cartwright) as well as other (I don't think Kirk was ever a Fleet Admiral).
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, go fuck yourself, you silly little man. And when you're back (remember to wash your hands), do face the facts. Trek has always been about the Navy in space, because nothing else would serve the purpose. Every little detail is derivative: the rank structure, the mission, the formalities, the parlance, indeed the terminology. On that detail is built imaginative drama, with liberties from reality and senses; without the foundation, it would convince nobody to watch another episode.

    It may not always be the US Navy, as the Royal Navy is a strong dramatic precedent - for fiction and fact alike (as militaries by natural default are derivative organizations). Any deviation from the 1960s USN norm takes us even further back in history, rather than forward in time.

    Oh, the writers do take into account the years 1560-1960 all right. But that suffices; too much made-up terminology will just alienate the audience. And alienation and scifi only go together in the written media (I warmly recommend the recent works of fellow Finn Hannu Rajaniemi here); the visual sort is already too rich in fantastic splendor to accommodate more than a token dose of odd terminology.

    In TVH, we saw a random bunch of spectators, a major percentage of whom were soldiers in uniform as pointed out above. Is the Council a demos, perhaps - a gathering of warriors? The two people speaking were Ambassadors by explicit title, and the function of the assembly was to act as a court of (military) law, or at least to hear the verdict of one. Nothing at all connects these scenes to the Federation Council as such.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Did you have this much of a negative reaction to Star Trek VI?

    Apparently, in this case, it's the actual name of the ship and not just a callsign.

    I had to guffaw when I heard this IN THE MOVIE! I think it's more reasonable for the Federation President to ride on Starfleet One than it is for the Klingon Chancellor to ride on Kronos One. After all, we at least know this is a traditional naming convention for Earth leaders (Earth, being a member of the Federation and leaders because more than one US President has used Air Force One).

    It's Friday, but I've not been drinking. These kind of rather simplistic details do show up in Star Trek. I don't think any of us would describe the writers of Star Trek VI as generic and unimaginative. Star Trek V, yes. Star Trek VI, no.
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    It might just as well be the Starfleet tag on this particular enemy vessel.

    When Gorkon hails "This is Kronos One", is he even speaking English? The Universal Translator is muddling the waters somewhere in between the speaker and the audience. Change the setting to the Cold War closer to our time, and you might hear Evil Commies calling their vessel a Kara class cruiser or a Krivak class frigate in plain English, even though that's just a NATO callsign and even the terms "cruiser" and "frigate" are foreign fabrications for the Soviet originals.

    Naturally, the name of the ship may be Qo'noS 1, too. But that's just one option out of many, and perhaps not the most probable of the lot. (Personally, I think Gorkon is calling himself the Kronos One!)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This may be true. However, Memory Alpha only mentions the name, not that it was a Starfleet designation. Of course, when did that stop us from ever second-guessing and reinterpreting the creators intent?

    The Japanese also call their Presidential Aircraft Air Force One (and two)
    Argentina uses Tango 1 and Tango 2
    Azerbaijan uses Baku 1
    Brazil uses Forca Aerea 01 (Brazilian Air Force One)

    There may be more. Here is a list of Air transports of heads of state.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    We should never mistake Memory Alpha for the creators' intent... There are other sources for that, sometimes mentioned as a footnote at Memory Alpha, sometimes not.

    It is fairly safe to guess and second-guess the intent behind ST6, of course, as the movie takes pains to utilize real Cold War elements to their fullest, from obvious ones like the Chernobyl disaster to more obscure ones like the "Don't wait for the translation!" quip. But I sort of trust that "Starfleet One" would have cropped up eventually in aired Trek, and in written Trek like it did, even without the precedent of the movie.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    ^True but it is referred to in dialouge by the President as "this council is now in session" true it doesn't specify that it is the Federation Council. As for Starfleet officers being present, perhaps council members requested that officers be their to advise them on the specifc regualtions Kirk and crew were charged with breaking. It might have been a smaller special Council for the hearing. Why can't starfleet officers be elected as members of the council?

    There simply isn't enough on screen to say.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Fair enough. Having active members of the military as major operators in the government is a big no-no in today's politics in cultures ranging from the US to the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, but that need not be a feature that would survive to the 23rd century. Discrimination against the military may be gone, replaced by increased trust in the better nature of powerful warriors and other potential abusers of power. Such increasing trust is a feature in Earth history as well, after all.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Caped Trek Mod Admiral

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    Too far. Keep the personal crap OUT of this thread. You've earned an Infraction for Trolling. Relevant comments may be made via Private Message.

    Yes, you were provoked, but this probably wasn't the best way to handle it. Infraction for Flaming - comments to PM.
     
  18. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Plus at the end of the movie the "Council" included a 20th century whale expert.

    Timo, there must have been a fast election.

    :)
     
  19. EmperorTiberius

    EmperorTiberius Captain Captain

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    Eh? Trolling? Personal? Provocation? What in the world are you talking about?

    It was a tongue-in-cheek remark about it being weekend and most people drinking and the poster not making much sense. There war nothing malicious about it, just jest. I nicely went over arguments without any sign of trolling, nor would you find trolling in my post history if you looked through my posts.

    Of course, had I known that I would receive a low-class response full of personal frustration, and that the moderators here would treat a friendly joke as equal to multiple rule violations by one of their "Admiral" rank members, I wouldn't have said anything or visited the website at all.
     
  20. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Caped Trek Mod Admiral

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    Take your comments regarding the warning to PM - as for "low-class response", drop it. Now.