Why did Picard Violate the Prime Directive in Nemesis??

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by The Overlord, May 20, 2014.

  1. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You bring up some excellent points, which the movie utterly fails to answer.

    -Yes, where the heck did Shinzon get his hands on thalaron? For that matter, where did he get B4?

    -Where did he get that huge ship? How could he have had it constructed right under the Romulans' noses? Who built it? The Remans? When would they have had the time, being, you know, slaves and all? I'd think the Romulans would keep records on the Remans' activities, wouldn't you?

    -What was the intention of the thalaron? It was obviously for Earth (which reinforces the theory that the Romulans were the ones who supplied it), but then why all of a sudden do the Romulans worry that Shinzon will destroy Earth? Isn't that, like, what they were planning all along?

    -Why does the Scimitar (and her Scorpion fighters) even look like it does? The Remans don't have any ships of their own, they're slaves! And if the Remans built it, what would their incentive be to make it look absolutely unlike any Romulan ship ever seen? Are the Remans ship designers when they're not hauling dilithium at the crack of their masters' whips?
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    He didn't build it under the Romulans' noses. Remember, he had Romulan backers. As established at the start of the film, the Praetor and the Senate wished to continue the detente with the Federation that had existed since the Dominion War, but Suran's faction in the Romulan military wished to resume their policies of conquest and aggression. Shinzon won their support because of his impressive combat record in the DW and because he promised the militants that he would restore the Romulan Empire to an aggressive footing. So they provided him with the resources and backing to prepare for the coup, and presumably that included the thalaron technology. Remember, it was a Romulan traitor, Senator Tal'Aura, who deployed the handheld thalaron weapon that assassinated Praetor Hiren and the rest of the Senate.

    Historically, the best way for an outsider to overthrow a regime has often been to ally with those within the society who already want to overthrow it -- ideally, make them do the work and then seize the fruits of their victory for yourself, like Cortez did when he "helped" the Mexica overthrow the Aztecs and then took over as their new master. That's what Shinzon did here: offered the Romulan militants support for their coup, got them to install him as the new Praetor in the belief that he'd serve their ends, then turned on them and pursued his own agenda.
     
  3. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, it was built under someone's noses, because the Romulan renegade faction didn't represent the Senate or presumably most of the main Romulan military who took their orders from the Senate.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, I think Suran had most of the military behind him. After the coup, we didn't see any Romulans fighting against the takeover -- not until later when it became clear that Shinzon was betraying them. Yes, the military nominally answered to the Senate, but that doesn't mean they couldn't plan treachery behind the Senate's back. History has its share of examples of militaries overthrowing their own governments. A well-known recent example was the 1999 Pakistan coup where the Pakistan Army and its chief of staff General Pervez Musharraf bloodlessly overthrew the elected government and instituted martial law.
     
  5. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A better example is what happened in Thailand just two weeks ago: the military becomes so disgusted by the conduct of their leaders that they basically sent them all to their rooms with no supper.

    I always got the impression that the Romulan military (and also the Tal'Shiar) was a political institution unto itself, sort of like America's military-industrial complex, but with the added scariness of not having any sort of dependable loyalty to the government. I always figured that was actually the whole point of the military answering to "the Praetor" instead of the Emperor: The Star Emperor may nominally be the head of state for Romulus, but since he depends on the military to ENFORCE his government, he only has as much power as the Praetor allows him to have.

    In that case, Shinzon didn't become the leader of Romulus so much as he became the leader of the military junta that had temporarily ousted the existing government. The Shinzon's junta had yet to appoint a successor government probably led to the power vacuum that Donatra hoped to fill, and was able to convince some of her fellow generals that getting rid of Shinzon would work in their favor when the new government was finally assembled.
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I guess those would be a package: when you murder the entire Senate and take over as the dictator-for-life, you get access to all sorts of secret projects, and can have your pick. At least if the local Secret Service was the agency that helped you into power.

    We don't know how long Shinzon had been in control of Romulus before the hero-specific events of the movie unfolded, thanks to the magic of editing. He might have been rummaging through Tal'Shiar closets for months before inviting the Federation over, as news of the coup would travel slowly from the hyper-isolationist Star Empire.

    But the Reman activities would involve building warships. After all, Data says Starfleet intelligence credits Remus with weapons factories.

    That Shinzon says "he" built it at a "secret" yard can be interpreted in many ways, but I'd prefer that 1) Shinzon in the role of an experienced military commander from the field was an advisor when a bunch of Reman slaves under Romulan supervision built the vessel and 2) all Romulan yards are secret (both against foreign spies and domestic ones), and this one was just a tad more secret than the others, perhaps because the thalaron weapon was not intended to be public knowledge even within the military.

    The two venues of explanation would be that the Romulans had a different target planet in mind originally, or that the Romulans who worry about Earth are different from the Romulans who built the ship with the intent to destroy Earth.

    Perhaps one faction helped Shinzon break free and another took advantage of this? Perhaps the two Fleet clowns who argue for an alliance with Shinzon at the beginning are not in close cahoots with Tal'Aura who uses thalaron to assassinate the Senate, despite the suggestive scene?

    Clearly, the thalaron weapon calls for massive special gear, which might dictate the design of that ship. And once you have the massive thalaron gun there, and the massive ship to carry it, things like disruptor banks and fighter bays can be an afterthought.

    Still, the ship does look as if it were not designed for any specific mission. Thalaron bombardment calls for stealth (remember the multi-minute charge-up), so the ship has a cloak. But she shouldn't need heavy ship-to-ship armament in that case; modern weapons systems are deliberately designed so as not to encourage the operators to engage in foolish fights when those are contrary to the operating doctrine (no anti-aircraft weapons on submarines). And the fighters are compatible with neither ship-to-ship fighting nor Armageddon bombardment.

    The thing does look like a customized floating center of operations for an Evil Overlord. Perhaps Shinzon's allies wanted their domesticated Spartacus to have that sort of thing, so that other factions of the Romulan military could not defeat him - and pulled crazy new "doctrines", "plans" and "official orders" out of their asses to justify the building of such a ship for "military" purposes.

    Lots of nods of agreement there.

    ...I trust no Remans were actually liberated in the coup, no members of the middle classes were inconvenienced, and Romulus will quickly recover from the putsch at the highest echelons, what with having a long tradition of backstabbing.

    Timo Saloniemi