The Prime Directive

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by the_shark, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If she is the rank of Commaner, and the position of first officer, it's almost impossible that this is her first time in command.

    Have you considered have her be a more junior officer? Maybe a young Lieutenant, the third or fourth officer in the chain of command?

    Then she could be more inexperienced, and unsure of how to handle the emergency that's confronting her. During TOS they were always sending the senior officers down to a planet.

    Especially if it's a relatively small ship, there might only be a small compliment of officers to start with.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  2. Kelthaz

    Kelthaz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Alright, serious response time.

    Your officer messing with a war by giving one side absolute power is the most severe violation of the Federation's laws and principles. Yes, the Prime Directive can be violated at times based on extenuating circumstances, but your scenario is very black and white. I can't imagine a worse crime that could be committed by a StarFleet officer outside of treason. I would expect being kicked out of StarFleet at the very minimum and life in prison as the most likely outcome.
     
  3. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not so sure. If you evaluate the tactical and supply situation, you could make the case that the fall of the leader (if he was in a poor position) was pretty much a forgone conclusion. Did the actions actually shift the balance of power on a planetary scale? Or is the action likely to be no more than a blip in the grand scheme of things?

    Then you have the "what's worse?" scenario. You have a group of Starfleet officers being held that have not only high-tech trinkets with them but also the "know how" to basically shift the balance of power if conditions become dire enough. Or you help someone else, creating a possible shift in power, but leaving the technological status quo in place.

    They try to show the Prime Directive as a clear-cut law when in fact it is very murky based on the evidence we've seen across the various shows.
     
  4. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This sentence, all by itself, basically throws the Prime Directive out the nearest window.

    If this is a star fairing species, even if they have no warp drive "at the moment," then one of the biggest reasons the PD exist, to protect primative species from the certain knowledge that intersellar life exists, is void.

    Also, this star fairing species (one faction) has taken a Starfleet captain prisoner, maybe even hostage, after shooting down a federation shuttlecraft. That's an openly hostile act against the united federation of planets. Possibly even an act of war.

    Their technology, and their knowledge, can't have fallen to far if they can still shoot down a 23rd/24th century Starfleet shuttlecraft.

    The Commander is now on much firmer legal grounds for her actions.

    :)
     
  5. Paradon

    Paradon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Look at how our government is acting. They install regimes to power in other countries all the time, so they will make policies that benefit the U.S. and nobody gives a shit no matter how many people die in the process. It seems all the government, even the U.S., are always corrupted because that's what happen when you give that kind of power to people; the kind of power which gives them the authority to determine the outcome of people fate. Absolute power corrupts absolutely! More than likely, the Fed will look the other way if it benefits them.
     
  6. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I concur. Given the Federation's nature, there'd probably be some sort of investigation. After all, a foreign leader was killed. Perhaps even an official Board of Inquiry. But the Commander's actions certainly would appear to be justified in these circumstances.
     
  7. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    The PD also forbids Starfleet officers from interferring in the internal politics of another race. i.e. The Klingon Civil war.
     
  8. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^ Yet another example of how the directive has changed over the years. In TOS it only applied to pre-warp civilizations, and was to prevent cultural contamination. "No identification of self or mission. No interference with the social development of said planet. No references to space, other worlds, or advanced civilizations.", McCoy, Bread And Circuses. Interference was allowed as long as it was done 'behind the scenes', without the planet's population learning about it.

    By the time of TNG, the directive had changed to become a catch all excuse for inaction.
     
  9. antiquityscion

    antiquityscion Commander

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    I say first, re-watch TOS "A private little War," (and it's quasi sequel TNG's "Too short season," if you imagine Jameson is actually Kirk :p), TNGs " The Vengeance Factor," "Attatched," Enterprise's episode "Shadows of P'jem," and 'Detained." These episodes have elements similar to what you are writing about.

    The follow up questions I have are:

    1. Exactly how advanced are the aliens? Warp capable? Subwarp capable? 20-21 century space travel equivalent? Obviously they are not pre-20th century equivalent, otherwise they couldn't shoot down a shuttle. If they are aware of extra terrestrial life, and even had FC with the federation and other races, space faring, and just aren't as technologically advanced as the Federation, the Prime Directive is not so hard and fast, IMHO.

    2. Was the leader that was killed the leader of those holding the Captain hostage? If so, like someone else said, that could be an act of war against the Federation, and they could be justified in taking proactive action.

    3. Which side in this war on this world is the villain? The hostage takers or are both sides equally villainous because they have been at war so long? If so, then it seems that one side or the other would eventually gain the upper hand, anyway, so it sounds like it doesn't matter which side wins the war. In fact, you could even argue by allowing one side to win, the federation helped their society. If you have 2 tyrannies at war for years, a lot of people die. If you only have one tyranny ruling, less people die. Machiavellian for sure, but sounds like the lesser of 2 evils.

    Bottom line is this: Is the concern that there is true hindrance to the development of the society, or is it just a moral dilemma because one side of the two (both sides being equally bad) gained the upper hand, and some Starfleet admiral is wringing their hands because this first officer assisted one side, to gain the freedom of the captain?

    If the former, then that is more serious. That really is up to you, as a writer to decide, really. But you have to make clear why and how it affected this society negatively. If it is basically a situation where 2 sides, one just as bad as the other are warring, and the feds get caught in the middle, and the first officer is a sympathetic character, you are going to really have to make a case why she needs to lose her commission and do jail time, otherwise your readers will be angry with the result. Unless that is your intent to begin with, then that is different.

    If it is the latter, I would say the first officer actually had a no win scenario, did the right thing, and shouldn't be kicked out of starfleet. Reprimanded for sure, for breaking protocol, possibly even demoted, maybe even 30 days in the ships brig a la Tom Paris, but no dishonorable discharge and\or jail time on a penal colony. But if the Captain actually punishes the first officer for saving his\her life, then the captain is going to be seen as an a-hole by the reader.
     
  10. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The PD won't allow them to interfere with anyone's internal politics without permission, yes. When Km'pec asked Picard officially for aid he had to do it.

    Also, keep in mind the greater context of the Civil War: Gowron was not recognized as the official Klingon leader at the time and for a culture as martial as the Klingons if he won the leadership because of Federation aid it would've weakened his stance after the war was over. Once it was proven the Duras were getting outside aid it destroyed THEIR position too.
     
  11. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not interferring in the Klingon's politics is more likely because the Klingon Empire is a sovereign nation, and not because of an part on the prime directive.

    Also because the civil war was initially thought to be between two rival Klingon political factions. Once there was proof that there was an outside force involved, Gowron was able to invoke a pre-existing treaty with the Federation.

    He was unable to do this while the Federation thought everything was internal.

    :)
     
  12. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    My understanding of the Klingon Civil War once Romulan involvement became appaerant because of the Federation blockade. (The Federation didn't take sides, it just prevented outside interferrence in an internal matter). Support for the Duras collapsed as the general perception amognest most Klingons is that the Romulans are without honour who attack you whilst they are supposed to your ally.
     
  13. Paradon

    Paradon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    The reasons for not interfering and taking sides is because we don't know for sure what that might do to other civilizations (countries), and most of the time it's going to turn out bad, more or less (look at all the terrorist threat the U.S. has gotten over the years and genocides that we helped started in other countries). I think it is misguided to trust the politicians (or in this case the Star Fleet officers) to make those decisions for us whether or not we should get involved in foreign wars or nation building because these people are not enlightened or wise and knowlegeble enough to foresee any future problems that may arises. This sort of stuff is not an exact science...the same is true for psychology...because people problems and behaviors is very, very complex and a lot of things play roles on what choices we make and it's not certain why some people choose to do things that they do, even if you ask the perpetrators, they might not even know for sure what the problem really is themselves. And plus now we have pissed off Romulans by exposing them. The Romulans didn't do this on their own, the Klingons (Durass sisters) asked them for help. We shouldn't take sides and try to police everyone. We can't do that all the time and you can't force people to swallow the stuff you think is right. These things take time and we have to show our good intention by not getting involve with anybody. We can try to change their opinions by diplomacy and economic incentive which works better since no one dies and economic incentives help improve their people's living standards. Angry people can be made happy again, but you can't bring back dead people, according to Thomas Jefferson and Tsung'su. If the Federation and U.S. stick to this believe by not getting involve, more and more people will start to listen and probably model their constitutions after the Founding Fathers, or in this case the Fed's Constitutions. Switzerlands is the only country that has never had any terrorist attack because they have chosen to remain nuetral and never taken sides or get involved in any foreign wars. If you want people to listen and not having to worried about getting your country bombed to bits, then taking a nuetral stand is much better. We later see the Romulans plotting in secrecy to destroy the Federation by assasinating all the Senators and giving the power to Shinzon so he would do it for them. They have even gone so far as planning to kidnap Picard and replace him with a clone of him. So now the Fed also have to put up with pissed off Romulans. And by making the Klingons our ally, I'm sure other alien powers (for example, the Romulans), that were the Klingons' enemies, wished that the Fed would also suffer the same fate. It doesn't make any sense by signing the peace treaty with the Klingons and then trying to prevent outsiders from interfering in Klingons politics. They are already knee deep in shit. That's jut bad policies.
     
  14. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    ^You do realise that there are alternatives to the US style of government, the other most common being a Parlimentary system. And in the case of ST, what limited evidence we have seems to indicate that by the mid 22nd Century Earth had a parlimentary system of government, i.e the title Minister being used. Though it doesn't mean they don't elect a head of state as well as head of Government.
     
  15. Paradon

    Paradon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    They have president which represents all the Federation worlds and not a prime minister. If I'm correct, they probably also have senators, which are representatives of different worlds.

    I'm not a U.S. citizen, but IMO the Roman form of government is much better than any other type of system, which the Founding Fathers model the infrastructure after. Even a lot of the laws that are currently being used in the U.S. are almost the exact duplicate of the Roman laws, but a lot of them are also ripped off from English old laws.
     
  16. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But Earth's own government appears to be mixed. United Earth is a parliamentary republic - a President as head of state, and a Prime Minister as head of government. This is wholly separate from Federation governmental structure, which has a President as both roles. (Delegates from Federation worlds, Earth included, are Councillors.)
     
  17. Mr Silver

    Mr Silver Commodore Newbie

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    Yeah but there are no politicians. The Federation has its own set of base laws with only some "traditional" and cultural respective planetary laws still in effect.

    As far as Earth is concerned in Star Trek. Its a utopian planet where human rights are observed in every corner. People are free to live whatever lifestyle they choose (as long as its legal) and as a result, they've eliminated all major social and economic problems and crime is at a record low (it probably still occurs, but not at the frequency it does in our current time period).
     
  18. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Regardless of the form of the federation's government, any persons in the upper levels of that government, forming policy and making decisions, would be a "politician."

    Problem is, we've seen so little of Earth, it really is hard to definitely state that it's "a utopia." At best, Earth might be a generally pleasant place, kind of in line with the present day western nations. Not strictly speaking a paradise, but still okay. But even in the 24th century, there could be a segment of the population who don't fit into the societal norm. It's almost inevitable. How will Earth's greater society treat these people.

    Bele: "We've got your kind penned ... into little districts, and it's not going to change."

    That's basically what we have now. Problem is the "as long as its legal" part. Don't get me wrong, enormous societies will need rules to exist. But there is the threat that "politicians" will take those rules beyond the minimal necessary, and the minimal possible.

    You have to admit, all that would make Switzerland a crappy ally.

    :)
     
  19. Paradon

    Paradon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    I just like to add that...I'm sure there are legislators, people who make laws and policies. they would be considered politicians.
     
  20. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I'm as big a fan of including info from the novels as anyone, but we should specify here that the President of United Earth, Prime Minister of United Earth, and representatives of Federation Members being called "Councillor," are all from the various non-canonical novels published by Pocket Books.

    For the record, Pocket has established that each Federation Member gets a single Federation Councillor; the manner in which that Councillor is chosen is determined by the Federation Member in question. Andor, for instance, has their Federation Councillor chosen along with the rest of the Andorian Cabinet on the basis of which Andorian political party wins a majority of seats in the Parliament Andoria, while Betazed's is popularity elected. When Bajor joins, its Federation Councillor is appointed by the First Minister with the ratification of the Chamber of Ministers. Etc.

    Absolute hogwash. There will always be politicians, because there will always be a need to make decisions as communities. As long as that is necessary, there will be someone or someones making decisions on the community's behalf. As long as civilization itself exists, there will be politicians.

    Actually, the evidence seems to be that Federation Members all retain their own local governments with a great deal of autonomy within the Federation's wider political system. The Federation is, after all, a federation.

    Also, we've seen Federation politicians. Spock's father, Ambassador Sarek, is clearly a politician. (Diplomacy is a form of politics.) The Federation Presidents seen in Star Trek IV, Star Trek VI, and DS9's "Homefront"/"Paradise Lost." And, frankly, every time we saw Picard or Sisko take a stance that affected larger policy -- from Picard defending Data's rights as a sentient being in "A Measure of a Man" to Sisko persuading the Federation to go to war with the Dominion in "A Call to Arms" -- we saw our own Starfleet heroes being politicians. Politicians, after all, are not inherently horrible creatures or some sort of awful thing. Politicians are simply people who have chosen to make the question of how power ought to be distributed within society their profession.
     

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