Why is the Federation so dumb?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Jared, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. bullethead

    bullethead Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    THIS. I'm tired of the Federation learning of a threat and then doing nothing until it's too late. You know things are bad when the guys who created a bioweapon to genocide an entire species in charge of an interstellar empire are the most competent, logical, and clearminded people working for the good guys.
     
  2. Danger Ace

    Danger Ace Commander Red Shirt

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    Respectfully, untrue. "Logic" is merely consistant method by which one reasons and assesses (there are many branches or "schools of thought"), Furthermore, "diplomacy" is always done with purpose and in accordance to a set or code of principles (logic) so "Diplomacy" IS a process of "logic" in that it is a means to end (as Spock says in Star Trek VI).

    I don't. Diplomacy usually comes down to either a "quid pro quo" or as an uliteral act. Sadly, we cannot assume facts or circumstances not entered into evidence by the writers so we can only infer, at this point, a unilateral act.

    The DS9 episode "Statistical Probabilities" is an example of how a logically derived at solution of unilateral action can be wrong.

    That doesn't hold up though as this only restricted The Federation. Klingons and Romulans still had it. The Cardassians were likely not bound by the treaty. The Gorn, Tholiens, Dominion, Borg, etc. were not bound by this treaty. So the Federation still had the same, if not greater, threat of rogue vessels employing cloaking devices to their constant disadvantage.

    Except the episode "Pegasus" is all about there being no such lawful exceptions or exemptions.

    Can't assume facts not in evidence - we can only go by what the writers gave us ... not what they didn't.

    Your point being?

    Untrue. In "Balance of Terror" it is stated the Romulan ship ran on impulse engines and that the cloaking device took a lot of energy. In the "Enterprise Incident" it is said the Romulan Star and Klingon empires had exchanged technology and ship designs and is the first instance of Romulans displaying warp speed capabilities. All-in-all, it was a pretty equal trade all things considered.

    Such as? Cloaked ships were continued to be used because they gave a consistant level of advantage - why continue to use a device that has a stated high level of energy consumption)?

    And why continue to write it in if it does not motivate or enhance the drama?

    To be honest, even RDM (back in the old AOL forum) said it was a bit of bad patch of writing (my paraphrasing as I did not archive the "Ask RDM" folders but he was quite open and prone to honest self-evaluation <-- My opinion).

    Based on? Where and what was the quid pro quo?

    Again, with all due respect ... can't really say that. TOS, TNG and DS9 mirrored, by design, contemporary real world dynamics. It has even been promoted as such - that is how it satisfied the most basic tenents of sound drama in terms of relatability and relevance.

    I would also add the reasons and points I make previously in this post.
     
  3. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And nothing suggests the Feds were the only ones giving up anything. It wasn't important to mention what the Rommies gave up, just the Feds side of things.

    That the Feds responded in kind. They captured the Romulan tech and took a ranking officer captive. Arguably more damage done than what the Romulans did in Balance of Terror by wrecking some minor outposts.

    You misunderstand, when Balance of Terror was written the idea was the Impulse still meant FTL, just less than Full Warp Drive. The Romulan ship had FTL, that one ship just didn't have full Warp capacity. The story wouldn't have made sense otherwise.

    Because the Romulans couldn't develop anything better.

    It's Iconic to Trek, mainly.

    Like I said, I'm happy the Federation isn't the same bland Space Military Dictatorship most unoriginal sci-fi series use.
     
  4. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    That's the first time I heard anybody refer to the criminals from Section 31 as competent, logical and clear-minded.
     
  5. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Really? There are actually a lot of jingoistic, proto-fascist types on the TrekBBS who attribute all sorts of virtues to Section 31.
     
  6. Danger Ace

    Danger Ace Commander Red Shirt

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    You mean aside from the Klingons and Romulans using cloaked ships while the Federation has none? Even if the Romulans or Klingons gave up something it would still have been an idiotic, needlessly self-hobbling concession for the Federation to make. As presented, there was zero common sense or wisdom to it


    I disagree. What was it that motivated the Pegasus experiments? Some in Starfleet feeling the Federation had put themselves at a disadvantage.

    So, it would have been in the interest of the story to mention a reason why or concession gained to further illustrate why the experiments were wrong.

    As it was, one could not help but agree and sympathise with the rogue elements within Starfleet - which is also why Section 31 has been so warmly embraced by so many.

    In kind? Hardly. The Romulans came in and massacred ... the Enterprise did not.

    Those "minor outpost" were established by treaty to monitor compliance and were populated. The Romulans crossed into Federation space, destroyed outposts and murdered people without provocation.

    The Federation, on the other hand, was provoked (by the actions shown in "Balance of Terror") to obtain a cloking device in order to study and neutalize that advantage it represented.

    So, what is expressly said in one episode (Balance of Terror) is thrown out while what is not stated in another episode (Pegasus) is supposed and given weight?

    "Iconic," yes ... but it still has to serve a purpose and justify itself. It does so by being a device to create tension and suspense - for it to do that it has to be shown or implied to be an effective advantage.

    Heroes are only as great as the obstacles they overcome. To claim the cloaking device was of no consequence is to diminish the stature and accomplishments of our heroes.

    In effect your arguements equate to "cutting off one's nose to spite their face."

    What does the Federation not being a military dictatorship have to do with anything?

    Are you suggesting the opposite of a military dictorship is a body that agree to foolish, unreciprocated treaty clauses? I agree that would be an atypical virtue.
     
  7. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe if you're a warmonger.

    Some guys just wanting to violate a treaty that kept billions from dying in a pointless war for something that wasn't much of an advantage anymore anyways.

    Maybe, but it's hardly something a person can't realize on their own.

    They both violated the Neutral Zone and came close to provoking war. It's a bit of a culture clash because to the Romulans "Balance of Terror" was apparently the standard thing to do (test the waters) whereas to the Feds it's barbaric.

    I'm not throwing out what BOT said, I'm clarifying it. "Impulse" still meant FTL, just a less powerful one. Without FTL the ship couldn't have gotten around so much in the first place.

    It's not of NO consequence, just one that they work to overcome without copying it.

    That talk about how the TNG Feds not being as militant as the 20th century.

    No, the opposite is a Polity that tries to avert major wars that would kill billions when there are other options that don't leave them crippled.
     
  8. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Your pattern of conjecture is nearing legendary.
    Logic is all about scope. When a policy is made, in one scope it may not appear logical while in another it may appear so.

    You don't? Not logical enough for you? Pick a side and stick with it. In one respect it doesn't make logical sense for the Federation to turn away from a tactical advantage. DS9 demonstrated the need to use it, and a sensible policy made it possible. In TNG there was no such agreement with the Romulans; cloaking devices were deemed "dishonorable" and thus banned. But in DS9 it was a cop-out. It doesn't matter if you're borrowing a cloaking device or employing your own--it's still being used. Ownership is ultimately irrelevant. In the case of the Romulan cloak, they're supposed to "turn it over" when done. This "limits" its use by the Federation. Well, the Federation could impose its own internal policy on the limited use of a cloaking device, as I'd outlined previously. THAT makes logical sense. And screw the Romulans if they get offended by a superior cloaking device in Federation hands (transphasic cloak is like having an atomic bomb in 1945).


    You're forgetting that there is a clearly defined scope of the Federation. "Federation Space". It's not Klingon, Romulan, or Cardassian space. It's a zone of trust with those worlds and species that are members of the Federation. If everybody is roaming about Federation space with cloaking devices... well, you just can't "traffic control" the place. You get these sensor ghosts all over of cloaked ships wandering about... which one is friendly and which one is a Romulan warbird that breached the Neutral Zone? That's my point. The Federation doesn't want to deal with that kind of risk.
     
  9. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^

    What are you two even arguing about at this point? :p
     
  10. bullethead

    bullethead Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Why is having a contingency in place for dealing with people who overtly stated their intent to take over the rest of the galaxy and impose their system of beliefs on people bad? For that matter, why does supporting pragmatism equal jingoism and facism? Especially when, in the context of Trek, Section 31's existence seems to be justified by the Federation's demonstrated incompetence and the fact that most of the galaxy seems to be populated by douchebags?

    Also, ignoring the questionable TrekLit material (YMMV) does wonders for providing a more balanced view of Section 31.
     
  11. Danger Ace

    Danger Ace Commander Red Shirt

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    No warmongering. Just the opposite in fact as history has shown us that the biggest invite to war is one side feeling the risk is disproportionately small in relation to the percieved reward. Which is partly what the Romulan Commander and Spock were both speaking to in the episode "Balance of Terror."

    No, that's an unfortunately shallow interpretation that I'm sure a great many writers would find dispiriting (especially from a fanbase that was once known for it's uncommon sophistication and ability to handle relatively complex storytelling).

    I would politely suggest that perhaps you should review both episodes and then review your statement for correctness.

    Respectfully, your "clarification" is based on what?

    "Ockham's razor" states the hypothesis with fewest assumptions should be chosen. Everyone of your response has been based on assumption while my central thesis has not, therfore, I would humbly assert mine is in superior position.

    Not true. Many examples of the TNG era being just as militant as the TOS era (plus an extra dash of smug haughtiness and hypocrisy added to taste).

    Again, we know from history the tragic irony of war coming about precisly because oneside attempted to avert conflict through appeasement, and when that policy fails it usually comes with a price tag many times more than it would have been if situations had been delt with more succinctly.

    Just look at the situations of Iran and North Korea for modern examples.

    Please demonstrate where what you say is in conflict with what I have said and how it fits with the claim "Diplomacy is not rooted in logic." All you appear to say is one man's logic may not be someone else's yet concedes there is a logic on both sides.

    Please illustrate where I have flip-flopped.

    So how does this go against or even apply to what I've said?

    All of what you say occurs after the time of "Pegasus." The fact that exceptions were negotiated after the episode only furthers my point that in and of itself the Federation's ban on cloaking technology was short-sighted and ill-reasoned in the first place.

    :guffaw:

    Perhaps this little tutorial will help explain things.

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y[/yt]
    :beer:

    It's not.

    It doesn't.
     
  12. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Now I tend to perfer the TOS federation as it was less arrogant and naive, but to answer your question becuase their "contingency" was to commit genocide.

    Not only that but it wasn't anywhere close to a justified response seeing as at that point the Dominion was just like every other empire the Federation clashed with heck the "people who overtly stated their intent to take over the rest of the galaxy and impose their system of beliefs on people" pretty much describes the Romulans, Klingons, and Cardassians and all three of them sent disguised spies into the federation to disrupt it and the federation never decided to commit genocide against them.
     
  13. bullethead

    bullethead Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think it's fairly justified after the Founders wiped out New Bajor, declared that they would impose their order on the galaxy, caused the destruction/crippling of the Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar, created a slave race that was addicted to drugs, and attempted to cause a war between the Federation and Tkzenthi. Aside from a few examples like Odo and Laas (who were deliberately flung out into space), the entire species apparently supported xenophobic and expansionist policies and refused to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the conflict. In a case like that, genocide is the only practical contingency.
     
  14. Danger Ace

    Danger Ace Commander Red Shirt

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    The Federation was just as prone to the option of genocide in dealing with the Borg and that was without any known link to Section 31 which illustrates the federation has always shown that it is willing to go "nuclear" when they feel sufficently provoked or threatened.


    I, for one, disagree.

    Though it wasn't known to the AQ allience but the one of the goals of the Changelings/Dominion was genocide of humans showing paranoia can be justified and valid in terms of survival.

    One underlying foundational aspect of many peoples argument seems to be a belief that a civilation somehow has a duty to commit what amounts to be suicide should the price of their survival appear too brutal or harsh to any degree - to me, that is an unrealistic and untenable point-of-view.

    So untenable that RDM and others (credited previously in this thread) had to try and retcon things with the invention of "Section 31" - a creation I, as fan since September 1966, wholeheartedly approve and endorse.

    I do not view myself or other likeminded souls as "warmongers" or "jingoists" or anything else other than realists who undestand that there are times when a people can only be as civilized and "honorable" as circumstances are pragmatically percieved to allow.

    The mounting evidence and trending data did, in my opinion, allow for Section-31 to draw certain inferences and logically conclude that infecting the Changlings was a justifiable and reasonable course of action when waging a war of survival (as opposed to one fought for territorial or material gain).

    The Changelings/Dominion refused to negotiate and had stated ambitions of subjugation and supression of the AQ (and unbeknownst to the Federation genocide of the human race). So both during and in hindsight we see that Section 31 did not operate without thought or reason - that there was merit to their methods and rationale.
     
  15. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And the Cardassians apparently massacred a federation colony and the Klingons planned to use poisoned grain to take out a federation colonization effort.

    So did the Klingons, Cardassians, and Romulans

    So they cripples intelligence agencies of their rivals, big deal. Not really a good justification for genocide

    Again not really a good justification for genocide

    And The Romulans tried to start wars between the future founding members of the federation.

    Which is something said about the Romulans

    The Klingons had to be forced to make peace with the federation once by the Organians basically threatening to smight them and then becuase of the environmental issues on their homeworld after Praxis exploded and even then it took the sacrifice of the Enterprise-C to make it seemingly permanent and then Gowron came along an screwed that up.

    And the Romulans didn't seem to use diplomacy much in their dealing with the proto-federation and they didn't have any trouble violating the treaty that ended the war they fought the early federation a century later

    And yet when their other rivals pulled similar stunts the federation didn't use genocide against them, especially when there WASN'T a war on.
     
  16. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And the Federation has consistently shown the Romulans that open war with them would not be a good idea. They had a Treaty with them for over 50 years wherein the Romulans had the Cloak and the Romulans still did nothing.

    Hey, if something works and keeps billions from dying for over 50 years and there's little hint of any further war and the Feds have not lost respect from any of their peers, why mess with it?

    The Romulan Elder Centurion in BOT even says that this is what they do, test to see if the enemy will be willing to defend themselves. If not, then it's war. The Enterprise hunted them down and destroyed them, which discouraged the Romulans from further invasion.

    That without FTL, the Romulan ship wouldn't have been able to go anywhere fast enough for the plot to work. Impulse back then just meant "Less powerful FTL".

    Though not enough to discourage the warmongers.

    Except being willing to negotiate and compromise does NOT always fail, and billions alive are better than billions dead.
     
  17. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    "Appeasement" is a term often abused, thrown about by commentators who seem to have no idea what it actually means. Appeasement and diplomacy are certainly not the same thing -- and given that the Federation kept sending its most powerful ship, the Enterprise-D, to confront the Romulan incursions beyond the Neutral Zone in early TNG, I think it's safe to say that the simple fact that the Federation made a concession to refrain from using their own cloaking devices, does not constitute appeasement.
     
  18. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Not nearly as overused as the term warmonger.
    As for the meanings of the words appeasement or warmonger - apparently, they elude you.

    Apropos that - you keep calling the keetle black, pot.

    It is not "a" concession; it is a concession one would only give after a devastating defeat. Your euphemisms cannot change this.
    Not helping Poland against dictatorships is a relatively small concession by comparison.
     
  19. bullethead

    bullethead Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the problem here is that you're looking at each individual action in a vacuum, instead of building a cohesive pattern of behavior. Each action taken by the Dominion demonstrated their hostile intent and unwillingness to negotiate with solids, things that cannot be ignored. While the Klingons and Romulans also engaged in some of these behaviors at various times, the main difference between them was the fact that they were ultimately individuals, with numerous conflicting opinions that gave the Federation opportunities to find people willing to engage in diplomacy and resolve issues peacefully. Not only that, the fact that those nations were comprised of individuals fighting for individuals meant that their leadership had to be concerned about the ramifications of their actions, because it could lead to others trying to take their positions.

    With the Founders, 99% (or more, all we know is ~300 infants were sent off into space) of the population is in constant contact with each other. There are no factions of Changelings, pre-Odo's return at the end of DS9; they all buy into the idea that the Dominion is the best solution to the problem of solids attacking them (which appears to be totally justified, given how the Founders insist on infiltrating and undermining every nation they don't control). They are accountable to no one but themselves, because they are at the top of the Dominion, which allows them to callously create life to be expended crushing those that don't bow down before the Dominion. They have committed acts of slow motion genocide with the Teplan Blight (which I didn't mention before because Section 31 didn't know about that when they made the virus). The Founders view everything a zero-sum game: either you obey them or you die.

    In that light, the choice to genocide the Founders is a logical, if tragic, decision. If the Founders were willing to not be dicks, I bet there could've been an actual peace process between them, instead of years of cold war that eventually went hot.
     
  20. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Indeed. But as you pointed out in another thread, jingoists will call mass slaughter virtuous and paying even a small price for peace appeasement.
    Last time this "the enemy is Hitler and everybody who is against us is a Chamberlain" rhetoric has been used in the real world it served as propaganda that justified the rape of a Middle Eastern country.

    Let's keep in mind how Trek actually approached the Romulans since the very beginning, with empathy. Empathy doesn't mind you are a weak, tree-huging pacifist, it just means that you try to understand your enemy. First because the opposite, de-humanizing him, just makes it easier for you to commit atrocities against him, second because any good general has to try to think like his enemy does.
    Same with the Klingons. They are fucking blood(wine) drinking predators and the last guys you would want over for dinner ... but peaceful coexistence without giving up your ideals (think about the ending of DS9 when Ross and Sisko refuse to celebrate among so many corpses and pour out the bloodwine) is nonetheless possible.
     

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