When did Cardassia become a military dictatorship?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by The Overlord, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    When did Cardassia become a military dictatorship? Picard mentioned that the Cardassians were a peaceful and spiritual people before the military took over in Chain of Command.

    The Cardassian Union was supposedly formed in the 19th century, so I assumed that is when Cardassia became a military dictatorship, however it was mentioned in the episode "Destiny" that Cardassia had a form of government known as the First Republic in the late 21st century, suggesting a democracy.

    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Cardassian_First_Republic
     
  2. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    It would seem that your assumption that Central Command's foundation coincides with the establishment of a military dictatorship is faulty. The Central Command may have been founded as the operating authority for the Cardassian military, but that doesn't mean they didn't have a republic during that time. The military dictatorship may have been a development that happened in the 23rd or even 24th century.
     
  3. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    It seemed like Cardassia had started the process of annexation of Bajor in the early 24th century, so it seems that the military dictatorship would have been in place before the 24th century.
     
  4. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Sure, maybe it was in place in the 23rd century. Or just in 2301. Who knows?

    Nevertheless, the assumption that the foundation of the Central Command coincided exactly with the establishment of a military dictatorship ruling Cardassia is apparently a bad one. The Central Command was founded in the 19th century; a republic, in name if not in fact, existed in the 21st century. So unless the military was running a republic, it seems that Central Command didn't spring into existence ruling the Cardassian people.
     
  5. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    It is implied that military autonomy has been the norm on Cardassia since the 20th century. I'm paraphrasing here:

    Dukat: "In theory, both we and the Obsidian Order answer to the Detapa Council, but in practice we both operate independantly."
    Sisko: "That doesn't sound very efficient."
    Dukat: "It's worked for four hundred years."
     
  6. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    That Central Command and the Obsidian Order operated independently for four centuries doesn't mean they were dominant over the Detapa Council the entire time.
     
  7. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Gul Madred more or less stated that the Military came to power during his lifetime. Assuming he was the same age as his actor, David Warner, who was about 50 at the time, this would suggest that it happened about 40 years in the past.
     
  8. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    But it does imply the Detapa Coucil had no real control over them.
     
  9. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, that's what independent means. But it was de facto independence, not de jure. The Detapa Council theoretically had the power to control the military, but didn't, either through lack of will to do so, or because they lacked the effective means.

    At any rate, the fact that all three entities were independent doesn't preclude the existence of a republic, (especially since it is clear that a republic did exist) and in fact Gul Madred's dialogue does support the idea that the military dominance of Cardassia's government is a relatively recent development that stemmed almost directly from their need for resources and apparent lack of them at home. Of course, without any control over the military, it's no wonder Central Command took over in the end, especially since they satisfied Cardassian society's needs while they were in power....
     
  10. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    According to Memory Alpha, the Occupation of Bajor by Cardassia ran from 2319 to 2369. That is 50 years. Cardassia maintained a military presence 10 years prior to this. Cardassia was militaristic and hostile, annexing star systems by force years before establishing a military presence on Bajor.
     
  11. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    We won't be able to establish when Central Command took over completely, only that they were definitely in power in the 24th century.
     
  12. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    That doesn't really match up with the timeline, it seems like Cardassia was controlled by the military dictatorship when they annexed Bajor, a process that began in 2318. It seems unlikely that when Cardassia was "peaceful and spiritual" they would not start annexing world with the purpose of stealing their resources.

    I think Madred was talking about the accomplishments in a historical sense, those reforms and programs the military regime instituted could have been either recent or historical.

    Also it is possible, even likely, that despite the military regime's efforts, there is still a lot of poverty in Cardassia and Madred grew up as a poor youth after the military took power.
     
  13. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Simply having a military presence on another world doesn't mean you're a Military Dictatorship. The time the annexation formally happened was probably around the same time the Military took over Cardassia, given how close Bajor and Cardassia are.

    So the military takeover was 50 years ago, and probably there was resistance to this on Cardassia which explain Madred's impoverishment as a youth until when he joined the Military (around when they truly consolidated their power over Cardassia and stamped out most resistance).
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    What Madred really says is that the Military made life better for him. Perhaps that was only for him personally? That is, perhaps Cardassia has wallowed in misery for the past thousand years, but the Military at least cares for its own, and things would be much worse if the likes of Madred could not enlist and raise their standard of living that way.

    But we have examples of Cardassian males who look much younger than their human-equivalent years: Dukat for one hasn't changed a bit between those days depicted in "Wrongs Darker" and those of the main episodes. Madred might well be 120 years old in "Chain of Command" by that standard.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    Not sure how long ago it was, but I believe it happened when Cardassia's natural resources became more and more depleted and they started striping other worlds, like Bajor.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    We don't know for sure if the natural resources of Cardassia ever were depleted. That could simply be a public excuse for a policy the Central Command would have pursued in any case.

    The Dominion certainly appeared to have the technology to make Cardassia Prime productive again - assuming their plans of rebuilding their combat strength while besieged on that single planet in "What You Leave Behind" were realistic. But they appeared realistic to Sisko, Ross and Martok at least.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. Xhiandra

    Xhiandra Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Gul Madred does it indeed point it out to be during his lifetime, but it would seem Cardassians are potentially longer-lived than Humans, which could potentially make it match with the occupation of Bajor; as evidenced by Dukat's longevity in his prime, Garak being both old enough to be Dukat's rival but Zyal's lover (without the age difference raising eyebrows) and so forth.
    It's never stated on-screen (IIRC), but I think we do have to assume Cardassians to have a long lifespan.

    That, or the state of Cardassian leadership has merely been retconned for DS9.
     
  18. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    It's possible Cardassians just don't have taboos regarding age difference in relationships, provided both are whatever age is considered legal adult in Cardassian society. Even among humans of today it's common to find relationships where there's 10-20 years between partners.

    I've always assumed that to be the case.

    Another distinct possibility.
     
  19. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Picard described the Cardassians as peaceful and spiritual before the military took over, so it seems unlikely that the Cardassians would have been involved in the annexation of Bajor before Cardassia became a military dictatorship.

    After all the Cardassians are not an evil race, they are simply people controlled by an evil regime that came about due to desperate circumstances. The Wiemar Republic did not have an aggressive foreign policy, that only changed when the Nazis gained control over Germany.
     
  20. Ketrick

    Ketrick Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Considering that the military had been independent for around 400 years, it's possible that there was no single point when the military took over, but rather it was a process. If this is so, there probably would be a lot of debate among historians as to when the military dictatorship actually began, if the Trek universe actually existed.