Was Ben Maxwell right about the Cardassians?

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by The Overlord, May 11, 2012.

  1. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    This is often a source of confusion - but "Journey's End" described a situation that only passingly involved the DMZ. The premise of that episode was that a fixed border would at long last be drawn between the two expansionist powers, UFP and CU; that a DMZ would be drawn "along the border"; and that the shape of the border would be simplified by ceding some UFP worlds to CU and vice versa. The populations of all the ceded worlds were to be evacuated (Nechayev said the colonies would have to be "moved", and she wasn't talking about moving entire planets), but the Dorvan V folks ultimately decided to stay on their formerly-UFP world and become Cardassian citizens. We never heard of them again...

    Dorvans being UFP, and furthermore not being the descendants of ancient settlers, is clarified in Nechayev's briefing:

    That these people are UFP citizens is not explicitly stated in dialogue, but Picard later insists that the planet is "still Federation territory" when Gul Evek makes threats.

    As for the lineage of the Dorvans, their leader says they left Earth 200 years prior in search of the perfect new home. Nothing indicates they would have been stuck in a spaceship for that time, though; probably they moved from place to place. After all, the UFP had the chance to warn them about the risks of settling on Dorvan V, apparently just prior to them making that ill-conceived decision.

    That shouldn't be proof of anything, though. In "Rules of Engagement", we learn that Klingons routinely cloak even their nonmilitary shipments. Probably they do this to keep the enemy guessing, or at least annoyed. Doesn't mean they would be up to anything, beyond their usual "everybody is an enemy even if otherwise proven" mentality.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Well leaving Earth 200 years ago, would date it to shortly after the Federation was founded.
     
  3. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    Maxwell was right, of course. His actions definitely slowed down Cardassian efforts to fortify their border with the Federation and their ability to launch an offensive strike.

    So officially the Federation frowned upon Maxwell's actions, privately they were probably applauding what happened.
     
  4. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    Thanks Timo. :) I couldn't recall what details were mentioned in the episode about the Dorvan colonists. I do recall the Dorvan leader mentioning that one Picard's ancestors had been involved in past conflicts with his family's ancestors, but not much specific beyond that.
     
  5. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    yes, he was right.


    He took the wrong actions and approach but his overall point was correct.
     
  6. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    Wouldn't be the first time...that too happened to Dukat when the Central Command tried to pass the blame for Cardassian activities in the DMZ off on him.
     
  7. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    When they left Earth =/= when the colony was founded.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...Although if we wanted, we could still claim that it was. That is, a ship leaving Earth 200 years ago might have spent 180 years at sublight (or low warp), with the colonists in cryosleep as was customary for the time (Harry Kim describes a cryosleep colonizer from as late as 2210). They would awake at their promised land - only to meet a Starfleet vessel whose captain would tell them that it would be a really bad idea to set shop down there because the Cardassians were right next door, but that as UFP citizens, they had the right to do so nevertheless.

    How so? He destroyed two warships and one transport that may or may not have been contributing to the escalation effort. Hardly a devastating loss, considering what we later learn of the scale of the Cardassian military. And nothing in his actions was indicated to have the consequence of discouraging the Cardassians; to the contrary, at the conclusion, the villains of the week learned that Starfleet would not inspect their shipments.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Mott the barber

    Mott the barber Commodore Commodore

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    Agreed.
     
  10. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    He may have only destroyed a few craft but he brought the entire area of space to the attention of Starfleet and the Federation. Plus he blew the cover on them using dampening fields on science and transport vessels.

    Which is why the Cardassians stage their later attempt from Galorndon Core, nearly three years later.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    One wonders... There had been a goddamned war in the region until 2362 or so, and the Federation had not paid much attention. Why should a mere "incident" change things? Especially when the UFP apparently had deliberately chosen to ignore this region, and to give the Cardassians a lot of rope to hang themselves with.

    And the "secret shipments exposed" thing still concluded in Picard demonstrating that the shipments could continue with impunity.

    One might compare this to the late 1930s where the Nazis were caught red-handed on many an issue, and Mussolini gave them a serious slap in the wrists diplomatically. The suspicious paramilitary activities still continued, the distribution of supply assets for an extended naval raiding campaign (a close analogy to the Cardassian effort) proceeded at full steam, and standing policies regarding Germany were considered to remain standing, the recent victory over that nation still fresh in mind (again a decent analogy to the Cardassian situation). And the surrounding nations were not weak by any military standard - discounting the immediate buffers like Denmark, Poland and Romania, each and every one of them individually outmatched Germany in everything but audacity - so a degree of complacency was certainly warranted; all the more so in the case of the UFP.

    Given how much the Cardassian Union was indicated to be an underdog in "The Wounded", an invasion timetable of three years of preparation cannot lightly be declared a "delay". For all we know, it was a move ahead of the original schedule.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    uh, are you saying that the UFP should have been complacent because they had the advantage? It would seem that complacency would soon cause that advantage to disappear.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Not really, if the Cardassians were the local Panamians. You'd need at least three centuries of complacency to lose your lead and your astropolitically advantageous position in such a case.

    "The Wounded" did show that Cardassian warships were made of cardboard, and that few in the UFP (or even Starfleet) had as much as heard of these bad guys being bad. If anything, the UFP would have gained a strategic advantage from ignoring these upstarts, thus denying them the status of "my enemy's enemy" amongst the other UFP two-penny enemies. And if the threat did increase, the Cardassians would nicely serve as an interstellar example when Starfleet easily defeated them with one shuttlecraft. Just as happened in "Chain of Command".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    I too always had the idea that the Cardassians were fundamentally a weak enemy of the Federation and were only a real threat when they could

    1) Conduct operations in their own backyard like the Bajoran sector or mass large numbers of ships like in "Chain of Command"(and even the the Enterprise had no problems dealing with them).

    or

    2) Could find a powerful ally like the Dominion to carry their water for them.
     
  15. Mr_Homn

    Mr_Homn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's a shame they never brought Maxwell back for Ds9. Would have been cool to see O'brien break him out of a prison, or even just get some valuable insight from him, and allow him a chance to redeem himself in some way.

    A wonderfully talented actor like Bob Gunton, playing such an interesting and layered character like Ben Maxwell... A character that just so happens to be incredibly relevant to DS9's overall story... AND one of O'brien's closest comrades.. Huge missed opportunity.
     

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