TP: Rough Beasts of Empire by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Thrawn, Dec 22, 2010.

?

Rate Rough Beasts Of Empire

  1. Outstanding

    38 vote(s)
    26.2%
  2. Above Average

    60 vote(s)
    41.4%
  3. Average

    25 vote(s)
    17.2%
  4. Below Average

    13 vote(s)
    9.0%
  5. Poor

    9 vote(s)
    6.2%
  1. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    This hasn't worked badly for the Federation so far; it's non-zero-sumness is appealing.

    How do we know Ross doesn't know how to deal with Section 31, or that he doesn't know how it works? By all accounts he seems to get along reasonably well with them, to the point of actively choosing to work for them.

    Becoming involved in a Romulan civil war would be bad enough; becoming involved in a full-scale war with the Typhon Pact, even worse. Maybe if the Borg hadn't made their visitations the Federation would have supported the IRS ... Avoiding conflict with the Romulans when it wasn't clear that the IRS could survive indefinitely wasn't a bad decision.

    Donatra's decision-making is something i can't explain. All I know is what you know, that after she learned from Sisko she wouldn't get military support from the Federation against the RSE she opted for a parlay with Tal'Aura and that she agreed to meet the Praetor on Romulus.

    And it's worth noting that Russia in the 2010s is a society directly descended from the Soviet Union, where the KGB had played a major and legitimate role in Soviet society. Again, Section 31 doesn't have anything like that level of legitimacy or recognition or overt power in the Federation, its willingness to knock off inconvenient Federation presidents or blow up inhabited planets notwithstanding.

    But the Obsidian Order chose to attack the Founder homeworld; it wasn't forced to. Tain's broadcast back to Cardassia suggests that he was trying to outmaneuver Central Command, by making the Obsidian Order a victorious military power capable of overturning the fragile balance between the Command, the Order, and the Detapa Council. If the Order had chosen not to risk anything in a bid for power, it would have survived to the present.

    What comparable institutional support can Section 31 claim?

    I've been saying that any attempt by Section 31 to reorganize is going to be partial at best, and will make what's effectively a new organization absent whatever connections and support it enjoyed before its unveiling.

    But that broad? The general definition and Section 31's definition must differ.

    But nothing to bet on.
     
  2. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    The EIB Network
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Frankly, I would contend that the reason the UFP has survived in spite of all that directly involves people like James T. Kirk, who was willing to go against Federation policy in such episodes as "A Taste Of Armageddon".

    Note carefully how in that ep, the ambassador engages in a policy of appeasement and giving the Eminiar leaders the benefit of the doubt--until he gets captured, and Kirk has to educate him in the ways of the real world.

    By extention, Section 31 has compensated in a similar manner--just behind the scenes.

    I am aware of that. I am also aware that, for reasons which I can understand but not sympathize with, Ross's assumptions towards 31 seem to border on overestimating their viciousness in matters of the presidency.

    I understand his reasons for his fear--he was still recovering from being involved in a previous presidential assasination--but I would contend that his agony-filled conscience made him a little...paranoid.

    Then why did Bacco invite the IRS into the Alliance?

    It's funny how she takes Sisko's word for it. She's the ruler of a foreign power--surely she and/or her ambassadors have a direct line to the Palais.

    Connections and support can be rebuilt as well. It may be different in nature, but it can be rebuilt.

    As Kirk noted, the section is very vauge, referring to non-specific discretionary power over non-specific matters.

    Oh, I wouldn't play a game on it--but I doubt we'll know until we return to Julian Bashir, Sarina, and L'Haan, and find out then what 31 knows or doesn't know.
     
  3. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    But you do remember the followup in DC Comics in the early 1990s, when it turned out that Kirk's intervention ended up destabilizing the relationship and killing nearly everyone in the system?

    The Kirk you raise to support your point, incidentally, was opposed to Section 31 to the point of organizing a cell aiming to bring it down.

    Why?

    She made an offer, the IRS chose not to pursue it, then the IRS came to an end.

    I can't explain Donatra's decision-making processes apart from saying that she meant well.

    But, again, will it? How supportive an environment for Section 31 is the late 24th century UFP? Committed to civil rights for all, transparency in governmental affairs, idealistic ... a death squad with a license to kill doesn't fit with that.

    But would those methods be approved of? It's worth noting that every Starfleet officer who came into contact with Section 31 we know of, apart from people like Admiral Ross who joined it, tried to take it apart. Are Federation civilians going to be any more forgiving?
     
  4. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    The EIB Network
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I don't...but to be honest, the comics have a lot of things that conflict with TrekLit, so I wouldn't really consult them unless the events therein are referred to in said books.

    I'm aware of that. Frankly, it's roughly akin to Sloan's point in the end of "Inquistion", concerning Bashir lying in order to get into Starfleet Medical.

    Ah...I believe I already explained it....

    Yet the fact that Bacco made the offer should count for something. Apparently, Bacco thought it would be in the UFP's interests to bring Donatra into the Alliance--why would that change to the point that the UFP would not help out the IRS?

    I'm just saying--she was not an idiot. I find it very hard to believe she would basically give herself up so quickly.

    The UFP's been that way since its founding. And yet 31 survived for over 200 years.

    Well, those methods are what happens when you leave a clause like that vague. Frankly, being knowledgeable of history, one wonders why that clause was left so vague in the first place.
     
  5. Dancing Doctor

    Dancing Doctor Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2006
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I thought that Donatra and the IRS did accept the invitation to join the Khitomer Accords...in fact, I thought it had said that the IRS and the Ferengi were the ones who joined immediately or accepted immediately.
     
  6. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Location:
    Star Trekkin Across the universe.
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    No they had accepted the invitation to come to a conference ABOUT them possibly joining. That just means that both powers sent representatives to hear the Federation out about joining the expanded Khitomer Accords.
     
  7. Dancing Doctor

    Dancing Doctor Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2006
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Ah, okay. I had misunderstood that part.
     
  8. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Which is fine, but there comes a point where you're asking so many questions about the book that you really ought to just read it first.

    Picard did not report the existence of Section 31, nor the story of Corwin being hoodwinked. He was going to, but he was persuaded not to. If you want to know why, you'll need to read the book.

    That is utterly irrelevant. The point of "try not to behave like an asshole" was to acknowledge that the Federation can be susceptible to political corruption and that such corruption can lead the Federation to engage in actions its neighbors might find provokative, not to make a statement about levels of political corruption or provocation. It's wonderful that this time, they were able to avert a war, but that doesn't mean that such an aversion would be possible the next time we see a Min Zife in the Presidential Office (if there is a next time). Thus, the Federation has to try not to be an asshole.

    Not perhaps. You do. And that's what I and others object to -- not talking about possibilities, but using the language of inevitability to talk about worst-case scenarios. When you do that, you're just creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    No, it's not. The issue is that it's important to not think of the worst-case scenario as inevitable, because that just leads to one behaving like an asshole.

    It was already in the novel that this thread is about, so I don't know why you wouldn't have already had that answer.

    How on Earth can you reasonably argue that the decision to assassinate a President does not make them hopelessly corrupt? How can an organization that engages in presidential assassinations not be hopelessly corrupt? In what strange land do you live that murdering a president is not a sign of hopeless corruption?

    Nice to hear it, Michael Corleone. Meanwhile, the real world disagrees with you.

    Indeed, I see no reason to think that he didn't give out of his own sense of generosity, and see no evidence to think it was part of cultivating a respectable air. Generosity and greed can live side-by-side in the same heart, and there's no reason to think that a man can't have a genuine desire to give to charity and try to make the world a better place even as he steals billions from innocent people.

    People are not simple. People are complex. Decency and corruption can live side-by-side in the same heart. The issue is not whether or not they can live side-by-side; the issue is which side outweighs the other.

    No, it wouldn't. Nothing that exposes their existence to the public helps them at all. The best they can hope to do is try to mitigate the damage such knowledge would give them.

    But that's also irrelevant to the point. The point was that your scenario of the history of Section 31 is so improbable as to be effectively nil, because it is inevitable that if Section 31 had been "taken down" in the past, the knowledge of its existence would have been exposed to the public. That Bashir had never heard of Section 31 before "Inquisition" thus indicates that it's highly improbable that it would have ever been "taken down" in the past.

    You mean like what happened when the Church Committee exposed the CIA's various crimes?

    If the United States today is morally advanced enough to expose its dirty secrets, I don't for a second think the Federation has regressed to the point where it will cover up its corrupt elements' crimes as a matter of routine.

    I did not say it has no chain of command, I said it has no system for accountability. In other words, there's no evidence that it has a court-martial system.

    By being mostly inactive and/or constricting its activities to backwater planets throughout most of its existence, as Christopher has said.

    Oh, please. Behr is engaging in creative speculation, in kibbitzing, not describing in detail his creative intent for Section 31. It's a mistake to take kibbitzing and take that to be indicative of the intention for the final product.

    And it's notable that at no point in DS9 was a Section 31 depicted as saving the Federation from something Starfleet couldn't.

    For the same reason they have prisons: Because human beings are morally flawed creatures who lust for power, and some put that lust for power above decency.

    Yes, I am. I'm also familiar with the fact that Machiavelli's point was to describe how a dictator might secure the obedience of a population, not to describe how a society that believes in liberty and justice ought to behave.

    And I'm also aware that you should not conflate securing a government's power with national security.
     
  9. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Going back to RBE....

    I'm about 1/3 through the book now, and I feel the Sisko parts sofar are very well done really. Yes, this isn't the Sisko we left at the end of The Soul Key, but as we can read in RBE, so much has happened to him that it's only natural he has changed.

    And everybody complaining about how it's unlike to Sisko to run away, does anyone remember the end of season 6, how Sisko just took off and went back to Earth because it all became to much for him?

    Perhaps my opinion will change after I finish the book, but sofar I am deeply enjoying RBE.
     
  10. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    The point is that the sort of willing brinksmanship that Kirk engaged in, however it may have ended well in the short term, ran longer-term risks of precipitating disaster thanks to his particular lack of care and scruples. How much more so Section 31, especially when acting beyond Federation borders against the interests of less scrupulous powers?

    Can you unpack your definition of how it's different?

    The damage to the Federation was greater than expected--only a few ships returned to exploration--and Donatra's control of the IRS that much more fragile, dependent on her continued control of military forces loyal to her and the sustained consent of the populations included in her regime, even as the Star Empire was reclaiming its legitimacy ("Look, the homeworld has a Senate again!").

    Well, she did. Rough Beasts of Empire explains Donatra's decision in terms of her desire to minimize the amount of harm to the Romulan people--in both states--of Tal'Aura's praetorship.

    Because it was low-key, yes, not because it was popular or its methods would be acceptable.

    Well, those methods are what happens when you leave a clause like that vague. Frankly, being knowledgeable of history, one wonders why that clause was left so vague in the first place.[/QUOTE]

    Indeed. Proof that Section 31 is exploiting this vagueness to do bad things--trying to commit genocide against the Founders, say--in contravention to basic Federation laws and ideals is not going to serve its cause well.

    Is there any evidence that people in the Federation want a Tal Shiar or an Obsidian Order running amok?
     
  11. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    The EIB Network
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I see. On that same note, Peter David's short story in the "Dominion War" anthology establishes that Sisko's actions in "In The Pale Moonlight" eventually led to another war with the Federation.

    Yes, there are consequences to actions--many of them immense. That does not mean that those actions were not the best ones to engage in at the time.

    I don't understand....

    So...she gave up, rather than take action to reform her own state? Somehow, that doesn't strike me as like the Donatra we know.

    All I'm saying is that I find it so hard to believe that her stated motives were legit. Perhaps I'm being "paranoid" (I would say: rationally suspicious)...but I can't help but wonder if there was something else going on--something that would bring her to that point of rock-bottom desperation.

    Oh, I know--not acceptable by the general populace. However...apparently, a sufficent portion of the Amiralty (including Cartwright) found it all acceptable--and their support supplied a sanction to their activities.

    Not really. But that argument rests on the assumption that 31 neccessarily wants the people's approval.

    The problem, though, is that such facts are frankly important to this argument. Namely: Picards reasons for allowing himself to be persuaded not to. Was it for the same reasons Vaughn gave Bashir? Was he convinced that perhaps, for now, the UFP needed people like those in 31?

    That term is, to be frank, entirely subjective, Sci. One person's "a--hole" is another person's "man of blunt honesty and unyealding integrety, willing to speak the truth to power". As I have repeatedly stated, Tezrene certainly has no qualms about being, as far as the UFP is concerned, an a--hole. In Federation Space, I refer you to the Tellarites and the Zaldans. Among the Federation's allies, quite a few Kilingons are that way.

    No matter how accomodating you are, Sci--if you are uncompromising about some part of what you hold to be the truth--someone, for valid reasons or not, is going to take that and use it as "proof" that you're an a--hole.

    When the issue at hand is the fate of billions of lives...I'm not going to take chances, in order to give others the benefit of the doubt.

    Again, one man's a--hole is another man's realist.

    To be perfectly honest, I was drawn into this thread before it came out, to anticipate how the events in the novel would turn out, for purposes of research.

    After it did come out, I was drawn back into this thread because of the debates herein--many of which are off topic.

    As you have probably ascertained, Section 31 is not exactly On Topic as far as this book is concerned.

    A world where there are no easy answers--there may be simple answers--but not easy answers.

    In The West Wing, you may recall President Bartlett ordered the assasination of a foreign leader. It was not hopelessly corrupt--it was necessary, and he understood that. He hated it, but he understood it.

    Coup d'etats--and assasinations thereof--have happened in real life throughout history--many times because the leaders currently in power were hopelessly corrupt. It was the idealists who engaged in such assasinations.

    Taking an extreme example...were the Valkerie conspirators who attempted to assasinate Hitler "hopelessly corrupt"? He was legitimately elected chancellor of Germany. The power he had gained was given to him--he had decieved Germany, yes, but he did not simply take absolute power by force. It was given to him.

    Oh, I sincerely doubt that. However, I will accept that you and I have two different worldviews which refuse any grounds for common ground of perspective.

    In that case? One might as well say that his rationale for stealing was that he was genuinely sacrificing the well-being of the few for the good of the many!

    Frankly, Sci...the depth of his crime doesn't allow me to give him such a benefit of the doubt. I'm not that generous.

    Some things can be reconciled, some things cannot. In the case of Madoff, if he was truly giving out of altruistic motives--assuming, of course, his motives for stealing were not somehow altruistic, I'd suspect he was schizophrenic.

    In the case of 31, legitimate altruistic desires cause me to take a good look at whether they have a legitimate right to exist.

    I was just allowing for the possibility. I'll accept your reasoning on that for now.

    I'm not entirely convinced that such actions of exposure are "morally advanced". What of all the claims that news of what occured at Abu Grahib and Guantanamo Bay would encourage recruitment of Terrorism, and damage relations with the Muslim world?

    If it has a chain of command how does it follow that the consequences of such a chain--such as punisment of subordinates for innapropriate behavior--do not exist?

    Read the entire paragraph. It states that Behr was referring to "the origins of Section 31". The entire passage establishes that it grew out of Sisko's line in "The Maquis, Part II". And considering how Paula M. Block was one of the authors...I sincerely doubt she'd jump to such a conclusion without legitimate grounds.

    Prisons are there to combat and compensate for corruption in society.

    Jean Jacques Roussau would disagree with you--he was of the opinion that reading between the lines of The Prince unveils the same love of liberty apparent in The Discourses.

    While I doubt I would agree with Rousseau on much, I'd say he was on to something here. Note, for example, Maciavelli's advice for how to rule a formally free society--either destroy everything and everyone in there (which is self-defeating), or go live there (which is absurd).

    There is also his advice for rulers to not infringe upon their subjects' right to keep and bear arms, to not confiscate their property, etc. In short, to let them keep their freedom, and to concentrate on the actual duties of government.
     
  12. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Then follow the old maxim: It is better not to speak of things you do not understand.

    If you don't know what happened in the book, read it before you start drawing upon it to make your arguments.

    Read the damn book.

    Yes, and now we're going in circles. That was my point. You asked what the Federation could do to stop the Typhon Pact powers from resenting it, and I said that the problem is unsolvable. All the Federation can do is manage it, is mitigate the possibility of hostility by trying not to be assholes.

    In other words, there are no guarantees. All you can do is do your best. That's been my point this entire time, before you diverged from the point with a useless digression into the question of whether or not the Federation is susceptible to the sort of political corruption that can increase hostility from foreign states (which it can be) by arguing about the use of the word "try."

    The problem with that logic is that there are no guarantees. You're always taking chances, no matter what choices you make. The relevant issue is not "certainty," the relevant issue is which policy choice is least likely to cause a war.

    The real world often has neither easy nor simple answers.

    Which is an entirely different issue, because that relates to the conduct of foreign relations, not an assassination of your own president.

    I'm sorry, but that's an absurd comparison, because the government of the Third Reich had no democratic legitimacy. Such an assassination would have been an act of revolution, not an act of treason or insurrection.

    You are severely mis-stating the facts of the Nazi consolidation of power.

    Hitler was elected Imperial Chancellor, yes -- but when the Imperial President died, he illegally and unconstitutionally assumed the position of head of state (declaring himself "Fuhrer and Reichschancellor"). To say nothing of the Enabling Act and the Reichstag Fire Act, which were patently violations of the Weimar Republic's Constitution.

    He used the power of the chancellorship to then seize further power by force.

    And you're wrong to doubt it. Murdering someone for corruption is just as corrupt as whatever the crime you're murdering for was.

    You're assuming that a person's psyche is logically consistent and rational. It's not. Everybody has motivations that are logically in conflict with one-another and are mutually exclusive, and anyone who tells you they don't is either lying to you or lying to himself.

    There's no need to invoke schizophrenia when basic humanity will suffice for an explanation. Darkness and light both dwell within our hearts, and neither one destroys the other.

    What of it?

    That's a bit like saying that confessing your crimes is not morally more advanced than keeping your crimes a secret because it might lead to you being convicted of violating the law.

    When agents of the state commit crimes, other agents of the state have a moral and legal obligation to expose their crimes and to impose due process of the law upon the criminal agents, in order to preserve basic morality and the rule of law and in order to help try to prevent future crimes from being committed.

    Exposing the abuses of Abu Graib or Guantanemo was not what damaged relations with the Muslim world or encouraged terrorism. The abuses themselves were what damaged relations and encouraged terrorism, and the only way to stop and prevent such abuses is to expose them.

    By their not being formally organized, obviously. They have a hierarchy where they'll take orders, but there's no evidence they have a process by which they apprehend their members and try them for crimes. The Mafia has a hierarchy, but that doesn't mean it has a real system for internal accountability (beyond "we'll take you out to the woods and shoot you if you rat us out," anyway).

    Which is besides the point. Kindly stop trying to create irrelevant tangents.

    The point is that the existence of a prison, like the existence of a society's dark side, is a consequence of the fact that human beings are morally flawed creatures who lust for power, and that some put that lust for power above decency.

    No, his point there is to give them just enough freedom that they won't rebel, not to give them real freedom. It's the equivalent of advising someone to give a prisoner just enough food that he won't starve, not of giving someone enough food that they're healthy.
     
  13. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    But that isn't an argument in defense of Section 31's chosen methods, and not only because Sisko's initiative took place outside of Section 31. It's arguably a point in my favour: policies undertaken by individuals and bureaucracies firmly under central control and supervision are more legitimate, and arguably less likely to go haywire, than policies enacted by people who exist outside of any control.


    Her thinking processes as described in Rough Beasts of Empire seem sufficiently complete as to need no other explanation, but, hmm. What do you suggest?

    A sanction that Federation citizens knew about?

    One key thing in this discussion is that Starfleet, Leyton's abortive conspiracy aside, is an agency branch of the Federation government subordinate to the civilian branch, i.e. the democratic institutions under the control of the Federation citizenry. The willingness of some people in Starfleet--only some people, note--to let Section 31 do its business exists in the context of the Federation citizenry's ignorance of Section 31's existence and its activities. What happens when Federation citizens do learn of this?

    It does: Once its existence is revealed to the general population of the Federation, as we know happens, Section 31's future chances for survival depend on popular attitudes, on the willingness of Federation citizens to let it grow back.

    Will Section 31 find "ways" to deal with all the people--journalists, Federation councillors, photobloggers who find remarkable things, ordinary concerned people, et cetera--who will not be at all happy with the revival of the agency they despised for its violations of basic Federation principles and see as a real threat to their freedoms and their good name?

    Earlier in this thread, you suggested that the prominence of ex-KGB people in 2011 era Russia constituted a data point in favour of your thesis of the likelihood of Section 31's revival to its former point. It doesn't: 2011 Russia is so different from 1981's RSFSR that the difference is funny. The position that the post-KGB agency does have, however, depends entirely on the willingness of many Russians--and the implicit consent of most--to accept that the former Soviet police-state bureaucracy wasn't irredeemable, and that its alumni shouldn't be hindered in their careers.

    Is the Federation's citizenry so little attached to democratic values?

     
  14. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Exactly. The Russian Federation today is not a real democracy. It's a police state -- in some ways, it's now worse than the Soviet Union, because at least during the Soviet era, the Politburo was a check on the power of the KGB. Today, the KGB -- now known as the FSB -- is in charge of the entire government, has essentially become the state, rather than being a particularly heinous apparatus thereof.

    Don't believe me? If you speak out in Russia against Putin, people will have a habit of turning up at your door and murdering you. When the police show up, they'll have a habit of shrugging and going, "Oh, wait, you want us to find the murderers and prosecute them? What? Oh, I suppose I could try. *yawns* There, I tried. Too hard."

    Russia is not an example of what the Federation should ever want to be like.
     
  15. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Although at the same time, it's important to note that Russia has become rather more diverse. Russia is reasonably globalized, having joined as many of the different political and economic clubs as it wants to, shifting away from Communist economic structures towards something much more capitalist if still too dependent on natural resource rents, and it has a Westernized pop culture. The many fundamental discontinuities between Soviet and post-Soviet Russia remain. difference is that this is all delivered within the post-KGB framework.

    This system works only because Russians accept it. Opposition to the current regime is pretty trivial, since most Russians appreciate the stability and prosperity of the past decade (not necessarily linked to the Putin/Medvedev era, but that's a separate subject). If Russians didn't accept it, well, there've been revolutions recently.
     
  16. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    The EIB Network
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Tell that to all the great reporters and scientists of the world.

    If I don't currently have access to a work...a legitimate alternative would be to ask questions of it.

    Which is precisely why I ask questions of it.

    "Useless digressions" seem to be the whole of this thread now, Sci. Side discussions are hardly "useless"--as you know.

    As to your other point--first, the fact that the opinions of foreign powers are so conflicting and self-contradictory should strongly indicate that you can't seek to "balance out" all those competing desires.

    You say, "All you can do is do your best." I agree on that. What I disagree on is...what one's "best" is.

    Second, your going back to your previous point actually proves my own point in invoking it. (Phew--I think we are arguing in circles....) Namely, it's not as..."simple"...as thinking, "what actions will make me not look like an a--hole?"

    Unless, of course, as Sisko said, a war is one's best chance for survival.

    "Simple" and "Easy" are not the same thing. By that, I mean that many times, an action may be seen as "wrong", with fears arising that it would lead to war. However, it would indeed do what had to be done.

    Is it? Consider:

    Was Bartlett not dealing with corruption, in a senst?

    Was the Valkerie conspiracy not an attempt to murder someone for corruption?


    Not when two characteristics are so blatant in their contradictions.

    Convicted--and "punished" by a war?

    As opposed to severe and intense punishment of the abusers in question, in and of themselves--and to then engage in reforms without publicizing the events in question?

    More along the lines of "we'll take you out to the woods and shoot you if you bring damage to our orginization".

    In this case, Cortin's actions--and attempt to cover it up--would probably be considered as damaging.

    For purposes of efficiency in its carrying out its bidding, it would only make sense that the Mafia--and 31--have mechanisms for discouraging things like that.

    I was pointing out that it was the bringing up of prisons which was an "irrelevent tangent".

    Again, it is apples and oranges, because prisions are meant to combat a "dark side".

    There is a difference, Sci, between giving "freedom", and not taking it away. As Locke would tell you, you can't "give" real freedom. It's a part of mankind's nature--natural rights, if you will. A government could infringe upon freedom, or reverse said infringement, but it can't "give" freedom, because freedom is not the government's to give.

    Furthermore, the Founding Fathers of the US constantly emphasized the importance of allowing a populace to be armed--in fact, I believe it was Jefferson who said that an armed populace is perhaps the greatest preventor of tyranny.

    Perhaps. However, on the other hand: as Dirty Harry, and Batman--and James T. Kirk--would tell you, sometimes bureaucracies and regulations tie a person's hands, and result in people getting killed.

    I'm not entirely certain. Perhaps she's serving as a martyr while allowing her followers to regroup, or something. Basically, I'm allowing for the possibility that she wanted to be captured.

    It's also possible that she had had something planned involving her being in prison, and then someone helping her escape and then, say, assasinate Tal'Aura--but her death (instigated by the Tzenkethi) prevented that.

    I don't know. I'm just theorizing....

    I'd say so.

    Assuming they do--it would damage 31 severely, as unlike the Shiar and the Order, a great part of their strength lies in their secrecy.

    Apparently, that's what Milke and Andy were getting at in The Good That Men Do.

    However, again, if the remnents of 31 play their cards right, and return underground, making sure that no one gains knowledge of their continued existence...public fervor will wane, and the cycle starts over again.

    That assumes they'll find out about the revival. I doubt the newly reconstructed 31 would be so quick to repeat the mistakes which had led to its original "dismantling"--namely, underestimating those who desired to do so.

    My point was simply this: considering the prominence of Putin and others, the possibility exists that they would desire to restore Russia to its "glory days". Putin's diplomatic positioning should be viewed as suspicious, in that context.

    In the same way, underground plans of restoration are not to be dismissed.

    Oh, okay. Remember, Sloan pointed out that Bashir had 1), covered up that he was an Augment; 2), lied, and therefore betrayed what Picard deemed "The First Duty" of a Starfleet Officer; and 3), quite probably would not have confessed to his actions had they not been exposed anyway.

    Sloan's point was that Bashir was right to have done so, because of all the lives he had saved with his enhanced genius--lives which would not had been saved had he followed Values and Principles, and stayed out of Starfleet.

    As the conversation goes:

    SLOAN: How many live do you suppose you've saved in your medical career?

    BASHIR: What has that got to do with anything?

    SLOAN: Hundred--thousands? ...Do you suppose those people gave a dang about the fact that you lied in order to get into Starfleet Medical?

    (Bashir says nothing)

    SLOAN: I doubt it. We deal with threats to the Federation that jeopardize its very survival. If you knew how many lives we've saved...I think you'd agree that the ends do justify the means. I'm not afraid of bending the rules every once in a while if the situation warrants it...and I don't think you are either.
     
  17. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Donatra's death seems to have had nothing to do with the Tzenkethi: Alizome reported as much to the Autarch, saying that as they expected Donatra met her end without any need for Tzenkethi involvement.

    How?

    Why would they do that? Seriously. Do you have any evidence suggesting that there's going to be a restoration of the Soviet Union? This is approaching the territory of the Free Republic conspiracists who told a friend of mine that the collapse of the Soviet Union was just a fake, that the Cold War was still to be won (or lost).

    ... in Russia? Or of Section 31?

    Oh, okay. Remember, Sloan pointed out that Bashir had 1), covered up that he was an Augment; 2), lied, and therefore betrayed what Picard deemed "The First Duty" of a Starfleet Officer; and 3), quite probably would not have confessed to his actions had they not been exposed anyway.

    "Values and Principles"? Why the capitalization?

    The obvious distinction is that while it's far from obvious that discriminating against the genetically engineered--particularly against people who were genetically engineered by their parents, without their consent or contorl--is just, laws against murder remain just.

    And is Sloan really an objective speaker?
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011
  18. nickyboy

    nickyboy Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I am sure when the Typhon Pact was being considered as 6 novel series the 2 stories in this book would have received a novel each which I think would have been better as this novel seemed to be spread a little thin.

    can't wait for DRGIII next 2 trek books hopefully the will carry on the story of DS9 and Captain Sisko
     
  19. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Yeah, but the way you talk, it comes across like you perceive every damn thing as an existential threat and the "last resort" as being, at best, a third or fourth resort.

    Yes.

    No, he was engaging in national self-defense.

    No, they were attempting to engage in an act of revolution in order to, again, engage in national self-defense.

    The key difference, of course, being that in Nazi Germany, there was no functioning court system, no real justice system; there was only the will of the Führer. The Federation, by contrast, had a functioning justice system. Even if one accepts the idea that Zife could not be openly tried for his crimes, the fact remains that the Federation system is built on the idea that if you can't convict someone, you let them go, and that Zife did not pose a threat to the Federation upon his resignation. Hitler's rule, by contrast, was tyrannical and posed an existential threat to Germany, both in terms of state violence against its citizenry and in terms of the war being waged against Germany as a result of Hitler's provocations.

    You can't compare a state where there is no social contract to one where there is. You simply can't compare the two situations.

    Again, you are clinging to the illusion of internal consistency within a person's character. That illusion is false. People are blatantly contradictory; that's just a fact of life. People's motivations are not consistent.

    No wars commenced as a result of the Church Committee Reports. No wars commenced as a result of the exposures of Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay.

    And if anything, if the abuses had been ended and the perpetrators and enablers and others allegedly responsible for the abuses in those cases -- which, mind you, included John Yoo, David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney, and U.S. President George W. Bush -- had been impeached, removed from office, indicted for their crimes, given a fair trial, found guilty, and sentenced to terms in federal prison, we would probably have seen a significant reduction in recruiting by al Qaeda, since it would have taken away from them one of their key pieces of propaganda to recruit people.

    The former didn't happen -- the low-level abusers were punished, the mid-level abusers got slaps on the wrist, and the high-level abusers got away scott-free.

    Of course you shouldn't do the latter. If you don't publicize both the events and your reforms, then people will think, "Abuses happened and they're covering it up." You need openness and transparency, both to prove that things have changed and to send a message to other would-be abusers that they would be in danger if they acted up. It's the same reason you walk the perp in front of the press on the way to the trial: It scares potential criminals.

    You and I are operating on different definitions of "a system of internal accountability." I don't consider an uncodified system without a regulated form of adversarial argumentation before a neutral arbiter and key protections for the rights of the accused to be a system of internal accountability. If your "system of internal accountability" amounts to, "We'll kill you if you piss us off," that's not a system, that's just more criminal thuggery.

    That is irrelevant, because the point is that both are consequences of the morally flawed state of human beings.

    And a dictator -- Machiavelli's Prince -- has inherently taken all freedom away. Machiavelli just advises him to give some of it back for a bit, conditional upon obedience to the Prince.

    In the same way, a particularly sadistic man might totally block a victim's airway at first, but then ease his grasp just enough that the victim can gain a little bit of air if the victim agrees to do what the sadist tells him. Yet the sadist's hands still remain around the victim's neck, and we should not think the sadist therefore a generous man for not completely choking his victim, nor imagine he is acting out of respect for the victim's right to breathe.

    And yet all three actually subordinate themselves to the state in some manner: "Dirty" Harry by virtue of his status as a police officer; Batman by virtue of his alliance with Commissioner Gordon; and James T. Kirk by virtue of his status as a Starfleet officer. None of them truly place themselves above the law the way Section 31 does. And Batman, in particular, subordinates himself to an absolute moral standard that Section 31 disregards -- he never, ever kills anyone, for any reason whatsoever, and will always rescue someone in danger of death, even if they are murderers themselves.

    (Batman, in particular, it might be noted, only works as an extralegal vigilante because systemic corruption in the City of Gotham is so pervasive on every level that the social contract in Gotham City simply does not work, and thus the government has no democratic legitimacy. He is, in other words, a citizen exercising his inherent right to protect the rights of himself and of others, which under normal circumstances is delegated to the democratically-elected government.

    Were Bruce Wayne born and raised in Metropolis, he would almost certainly have responded to the murder of his parents by becoming a police officer rather than a vigilante.)

    Asking why Donatra went to Romulus is a bit like asking why a chess player who know he might escape a checkmate if he makes one particular move and the other player makes a mistake, but that if he does not make that move, he will be checkmated in five turns. The player continues to play because there is no other choice; you either attempt, against the odds, to survive now, or you guarantee your loss later.

    ... did you even read the damn novel? Donatra's reasons for going to Romulus were explained, in detail. It had nothing to do with any daring plan to escape prison.

    I agree that Putin's goal is to re-assert Russia's status as a major world power on the national stage, and to re-assert Russian control of the territories that both the Tzarist and Soviet regimes regarded as their "sphere of influence," and I agree that Russian diplomacy should be viewed through that lens.

    But Putin is nothing if not a Russian nationalist. He was attached to the Soviet Union because it was a tool of Russian domination of the other Soviet republics, not because he had any real ideological attachment to Communism or to the idea of Russian equality with other Soviet nationalities. He's perfectly content to be the new Tzar of Russia (whether he calls himself "President" or "Prime Minister" at any given moment) under a Capitalist rather than Communist system.

    No one's trying to restore the Soviet Union. Putin's goal is to unofficially restore the Russian Empire. That's why the Kremlin now appoints mayors and regional governors. That's why Moscow has created a new position to control the Caucasus-region territories of the Russian Federation -- essentially re-creating the old viceroy position the Tzars had. Putin's goal is Russian imperium, not Soviet union.
     
  20. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    everywhere
    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    finished this last night.

    was disappointed Donatra died. disappointed the IRS ended (but already knew that thanks to SPOILERS...) and was disappointed we didn't get more Tzenkethi.

    on the other hand, it wasn't a bad book.