Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by jmampilly, Jul 8, 2013.
Wow, I completely forgot about that!
Strategically thinking, though, the Klingons wanted a surprise attack, and were forced by circumstances to stop at DS9. If they had some territory that was actually bordering on Cardassian space, they could legitimately and covertly sail to that territory and pounce on the Cardassians from there, without losing the element of surprise.
The Star Charts map tries to reconcile with the various dramatic elements by suggesting that Cardassian territory extends "antispinwards" (to the right in the map), just like it does in onscreen charts - but that Klingon territory reaches "spinwards" at the same location, with Betreka as the place where the two collide. And the 18-year struggle over that region left both sides the losers, with the UFP actually becoming the eventual owner.
Those onscreen maps in DS9 show Cardassian space ballooning to the lower right in the Dominion War, in this theory as retribution for past wrongs... But that region is not the Cardassian heartland. In "Way of the Warrior", the Klingons chose the "long route" because they wanted to have the shortest distance of Cardassian-held space between their launching point and Cardassia Prime. And that was the distance between Bajor and Cardassia Prime!
Let's not forget the whole reason Martok showed up at DS9 in force was a charade about deploying forces to help the Federation against the Dominion. A military build up on a shared border would be noticed and responded to after all whereas a fleet deployed to Bajor could be dismissed given the reasoning.
True enough. Although both this episode and "Rules of Engagement" suggest that Klingons conduct their troop movements and even civilian shipping fully under cloak, making it difficult for the enemy to observe troop concentrations or predict maneuvers.
Romulans are capable of cloaking, too, and somewhat obsessive about it often enough. But their troop movements are a concern in "Angel One" - perhaps a deliberate ruse?
Cloaking has rarely been perfect, at times it seem that distant cloaked vessels are easier to detect.
The closer it gets, the harder it is to "see."
In both world wars when Germany invaded France, instead of crossing the common border, the germans entered France through a neutral country. That's where the French border was least protected.
And of course in WWI it was the German invasion of Belgium that technically brought the UK into the war due to the Treaty of London 1839.
OTOH, that's also where there were the most troops facing the Germans - neutral in addition to French, plus British expeditionary forces within a short hop across the Channel... It was the specific nature of defenses and obstacles, rather than their general quantity, that mattered the most.
Are border defenses of importance in Trek? We have seldom seen anybody intercepted at a border, or even observed crossing it. And the most devastating defenses have been mounted deep insystem, with the possible exception of the battle to retake Bajor from the Dominion (because it took a bit of warping after the battle to get to DS9).
It's far easier to defend a 2D border rather than a 3D border.
The Federation does seem to have sensor buoys adjacent to the Romulan neutral zone, that the Romulan take into account. And we have seen interceptions take place.
I my own mind, the borders in Star Trek are more like walls inbetween rooms.
I think it is a somewhat optimistic interpretation of the dialogue in "Face of the Enemy" that these buoys would actually allow the Federation to secure the Zone against intrusion. After all, the Romulan ship in the episode does travel into Federation space quite undetected!
Supposedly, there's a finite rather than infinite risk of getting caught if some spends long enough a time in Federation territory, or goes deep enough, but relatively little risk if one just dashes out of the RNZ area and heads for strategically less interesting parts ("Tin Man", "Visionary", "The Die is Cast").
A wall is difficult to walk through, though. A line in space doesn't present any inherent hindrance to movement...
The difference between 2D and 3D might change quite a few truths about warfare. In 2D, the old rule of thumb is that attack is futile unless you outnumber or otherwise outpower the defender 3:1. In 3D space, it might be that defense is futile unless you outnumber the attacker 6:1! Hence the massive war machine of the UFP still isn't enough to deter all sorts of upstarts like Talarians or Cardassians from making offensive moves - but when the Feds get fed up with that, they can end the nonsense with a very short and very decisive offense.
Herein lies a key point. Whenever we discuss wars between the great powers on this board, we always assume we are talking about a no-holds barred total war along the lines of WW2.
What seems far more common is the Federation gets involved in little border skirmishes with races that in a WW2 scenario it could cream, but who do not justify the resources, blood or treasure to fight a total war.
A real world parallel might be Japan in WW2, who never stood a realistic chance, despite large capable military forces, of defeating the vast economic power of the USA. Despite this defeating them in a total war took a massive naval force, thousands of lives, a Russian invasion, a firebombing campaign and two atomic bombs. The Federation would never resort to the two latter measures, and would prefer a negotiated peace to any of the former.
The Talarians are a great example, I didn't get from the episode that the Enterprise has much to worry about from even three Talarian ships, it would easily defeat them. A small Federation fleet could probably effectively contain their entire military. The Cardassians are again simply a larger example, no match for the Federation in a total war but capable of an effective border campaign to win territorial concessions.
On paper, the US military was vastly superior to the North Vietnamese and their allies, but was still eventually forced to withdraw, due to domestic pressure and a failure to bring a timely end to the conflict. While eventually a revived US military might have won in Vietnam, it was never worth the cost in blood or treasure to do so.
So, in the Trekverse, throughout TNG we see constantly the same thing, on topic, I suspect the Federation has a superior economy and larger fleet than the Romulans, but this would only come into play in a total war. In a more limited campaign to take a few systems and move the neutral zone 50 light years closer to Earth, the Romulans would stand a fair chance of achieving their goals.
The Federation would win:
- The Treaty of Algeron would be nulled and have no standing. Thus, whilst the Romulans will have a brief advantage due to the cloaking device, there is nothing to prevent the UFP from obtaining its own cloaking tech. And we saw in The Pegasus that this is superior to anything (that we know of) the Romulans held.
- The Federation and Klingons are allies. And a major aspect of that alliance is the NATO-esque mutual defence clause. This is essentially why the Federation and Klingons were allied in the Dominion War. The Romulans would be hard pushed to combat and defeat both the Federation and the Klingons.
To the Dominion, perhaps. The Federation bar exceptional circumstances has not been able to ever detect cloaking technology.
In the event of a major war (seem to be what we're discussing) why wouldn't Starfleet destroy one target that is a weapon manufacturing center, and another target that is a important transportation hub and military command headquarters?
This is the same Federation that turned a blind eye to Section 31 unleashing a virus on the Founders and deliberately withholding the cure once obtained. I don't think they'd be above sanctioning collateral civilian damage in pursuit of military objectives. Really a small thing next to genocide.
Sisko basically nukes a planet in 'For the Uniform', and that was just a police action against a bunch of poorly-equipped colonists. And Starfleet Command okays it after the fact.
However, that was more a case of the ends justifying the means. It was retaliatory, none of the colonists are killed, and there's a nice facile conclusion whereby both sets of colonists simply swap planets.
There also seem to be all sorts of bans on the really nasty stuff, like Thaleron radiation and the isolytic weapons used by the Son'a. Why didn't the Dominion basically nuke Federation planets like Betazed? It might be out of character for the Feds, and perhaps the Klingons, but not the Dominion. Therefore, there must be technical or ethical reasons for them not doing so.
Yeah, I don't buy no one being killed in that attack at all. Unless you think the Maquis is so well equipped that there's enough spaceships just laying around for everyone on the planet(thousands if not millions) to get on in an hour's notice.
Actually, the Maquis would be just the sort to be prepared to flee at a moment's notice - they know they are being hunted, after all.
And the population of the planet apparently was quite low, as is typical of colonies in DS9 and TNG: Eddington said that Sisko's actions would turn hundreds of thousands into refugees if Sisko eliminated every Maquis colony out there! Since there apparently are more than two such colonies out there, we're talking about populations numbered in mere thousands...
"Nobody died" might thus be a good approximation, although I suspect there would have been some less hardy individuals, like kids and grannies, who either died of Sisko's toxins or were trampled to death in the evacuation.
I've a problem with this statement. The Treaty of Algeron is mentioned several times, but its terms are never made plain (beyond the Federation's not being allowed to have cloaking technology). We don't know what concessions the Romulans were forced to make in order for the treaty to be signed.
Although the treaty may have prevented the Federation from developing cloaking technology, it's also entirely possible that it contained provisions preventing the Romulans from making significant improvements to their existing cloaks, as well as a developing other weapons that would have given them an advantage over the Federation.
Subspace weapons were banned by the Khitomer Accords: the Romulans were present at this conference. It's entirely within the realm of probability that a similar clause was included in the Treaty of Algeron. Granted, this is an entirely hypothetical scenario and has no basis in fact. But my point in mentioning this is that we cannot assume that breaking the treaty would benefit only the Federation. Treaties are based on compromise and mutual concessions: we don't know what the Romulans were forced to concede; therefore, we can't know how they'd benefit if the treaty were abandoned.
Really interesting topic!
I'm not sure how much of a military threat the Star Empire would be against the Federation post-Nemesis.
Even if they joined the Dominion War late, they suffered considerable losses (including their flagship). However, as others have pointed out, according to Sloan they would be in the best position to threaten the UFP.
But then Shinzon happened. While that upheaval might be overstated, that has to contribute to their diminished influence. If only in political terms. Now they have to deal with the Remans uprising. They have to deal with the political ramifications of being part of a plot to be aggressive against the UFP. Then again, throughout Trek the Romulans constantly engaged in plots to hurt the Federation (brainwashing Geordi to assassinate a Klingon or trying to steal the Prometheus) yet the Federation just laughs it off and forgives them...
Then their sun going nova or being caught in that "wave" from the Hobus star. Yes. They're an interstellar empire and thus...can probably survive that. But the idea that the loss of Romulus and Remus (which was a source of dilithium) would not affect them in any major way is laughable... It would set them back. A lot.
There is no argument that out of the major powers, the Federation got out of all these vents with the best standing.
Having said that....
Barring the Romulan-Earth War and the Dominion War, the Romulans don't seem to usually engage in open military conflicts. They seem to rather use subterfuge, sabotage, manipulation, etc. CIA/KGB tactics to bring down governments. So even with all the set backs they've suffered, the Romulans could still engage in these tactics to "bring down" the Federation.
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