Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by kgartm1185, Jun 6, 2013.
They turn up late to the fight in "Sacrifice of Angels" - much like the Americans
Yah but most people don't know.
I think the answer to this question depends on which time period you choose and how you define "most powerful." Assuming you are talking about the period encompassed by TNG/DS9/VOY, and assuming you refer to soldiers and materiel, I would say the Borg. However, in terms of organization and strategy, it's hard to deny the prowess of Starfleet. Every superpower in the Milky Way that has attacked the Federation has gone home with a bloody nose...or worse.
Problematic with placement are the Breen and Tholians, who seem to be isolationists, the Ferengi who have tech on par with Starfleet and bottomless resources but no real martial ambitions, the Sheliak who seem more powerful than Starfleet but limited in the planets that they can inhabit and the Tzenkethi, about whom we know nothing.
I put Romulans ahead of Klingons because if the Klingons could have conquered the Romulans then they would have done so by now.
While I admittedly lost interest in DS-9 before the series ended, I would have to vote the Dominion as the strongest military power as they nearly conquered all the major powers of the Alpha Quadrant despite the tenuous lines of communication to their occupation force (the wormhole access).
Clearly Starfleet seems to be the largest economic power in the known galaxy and often a large economic power can overwhelm a superior military force through sheer numbers, technological advances and alliances. Which seems to be what happened here.
No what happend was the dominion fleet got cut off and had to reley on a 3rd rate power to maintain it.
If the wormhole had been avalible then it would of crushed the Alpha/Beta quadrent races like insects.
The most powerfull in the milkyway is the Borg. I dont think you can deny that. But the Domnion is deffinatly above the Federation.
Quite frankly though there are vast unexplored areas of the mikyway the dominion were only stmbled on by chance. There may be some other powerfull empires out there.
I also think the Krenim from voyager would have been able to go toe to toe with the Federation.
I suppose the whims or the writers supercede what would seem to be logical. However, unless I am mistaken in thinking the Federation to be the superior economic power, the advantage the Dominion had was in their war footing (production of military assets) and the ready availability of Jem Hadar soldiers (who were both numerous and disposable).
The logical counter to this (as expressed in another thread) would be for the Federation to not only gear up for war production (total war) while using AIs and unmanned assets to do the majority of the fighting. This would also increase productivity as ships could be much smaller and efficient (no need for crew areas). The downside is these ships would be useless for other uses outside of the war. But if the existence of the Federation was truly threatened then survival and victory would be more important than balancing long term value for current resources.
But hey, the Federation always seems to develop some super new technology or find a new super-race to ally with that we might have to take into account. Maybe its more than luck, maybe its cosmic karma that rewards the good empires. ;-)
To do a true analysis we would need to know more about the Dominion's and Federation's overall resources. One race could be constantly on a war footing and thus have a huge advantage at the beginning of a conflict while another have greater overall resources that, once tapped into, would become overwhelming in the long term (similar to the US in WW2).
But the thing is, the Dominion is not on a war footing as the war begins - as per "To the Death", it hasn't fought a credible enemy for two thousand years!
Yet it is obviously the one with the greater overall resources, when even a cut-off beachhead force can (with its own resources and those of a second- or third-rate local power) outproduce the entire Alpha Quadrant so that the mighty Klingon Empire faces 20:1 odds in ship numbers towards the end of the conflict. This despite the Alpha Axis performing several successful strikes against Dominion ship and troop production facilities over the course of the war, including at the very start when the overall balance should be grossly in favor of Alpha forces.
War footing doesn't mean that you are currently or recently engaged in battle but rather that you have a large standing military or dedicate a large portion of your GNP (or interstellar equivalent) to the military in the event of future conflict. As the Dominion government was predicated on absolute rule of the founders and used armed agression as an expansion strategy with genetically bred soldiers and diplomats having unquestioned loyalty . . . I'd say they had a distinct military advantage and war footing at the beginning of the conflict.
Combine that with the fact that they knew of the Federation first and were making plans to deal with them in the future (though the wormhole meant that plan had to be sped into implementation considerably) and the advantage of preparing for War goes to the Dominion. Not only would a directly controlled economy be easier to switch to war production but the existence of substantial Jem Haddar forces to deal with any unrest is already available for military solutions.
Now you add their secretive nature and the changeling asset to create chaos and destabilize races that they target and you have a potentially enormous advantage in terms of military aggression in the early stages of any conflict.
The Federation on the otherhand is a democracy comprised of a large diversity of races, cultures, languages, technologies, etc, which (while expansive) would take time to focus and organize for war production.
But if we were being serious, if the Dominion had existed for thousands of years before the Federation (aka space flight and other advanced technology) then how did they not have such a technological advantage to crush the Alpha Quadrant races like roaches? The superiority of knowledge and technology would be like a US Navy Seal Team with Apache air support implementing a nighttime assault on a community of early Pleistocene era neanderthals . . . game over.
So I guess after the Dominion reached a certain point of advancement they just decided to hold firm and looked upon any future advances with disdain??? Was this ever explained in the show?
But when it's established the Dominion does not wage wars, it follows it's very unlikely to have a large standing army.
Indeed, the very fact that its soldiers are invisible only when not fighting is splendid support for them existing for reasons other than fighting of wars. If your troopers are invisible, nobody can tell they are not there or that there are less of them than the rumors say.
Note that despite all the bluster, the Dominion never manages to send troops to blockade the Gamma side of the wormhole. Instead, they bide their time, then send troops to blockade the Alpha side in a complex plan requiring local allies. If they can't hold an initial advantage even on their own turf, they are unlikely to be in any sort of "readiness".
The dialogue references are to about ten thousand years of existence and two thousand years without credible opponents. That would be an obvious recipe for stagnation - especially as the Founders have every motivation not to teach their subject races how to become superior soldiers or build superior weapons! A police state doesn't arm its police with tanks, lest their barrels be turned against the presidential palace; batons, tear grenades, water cannon and submachine guns are plenty enough to deal with the average mass of disgruntled citizens.
The thing about the Dominion is that it does not decide. It is not the government, it is the subject and the victim. The Founders lead, and it is in their interests to keep the Dominion weak.
It's a devious setup, with a dramatically satisfying Achilles heel. And it's not without historical precedent, as the Nazis made damn sure their military forces were in a subjugated position, deliberately starved of resources and at the mercy of an obscure and inefficient chain of command. It worked very well for a while, and then backfired big time against an actually formidable enemy with enough resources to take losses and make mistakes and still triumph...
As per the shows, the federation, in the last centuries, underwent a period of rapid techological advance.
It should be noted, though, that the federation came up with little in the way of technological innovation during the conflict; apparently, creative solutions to the problem of the week don't scale well to all-out war. Indeed, the breen proved superior in this respect.
The dominion's technological advance could well be slower - due to sociological, etc reasons, even if it encourages innovation.
That's not to say the dominion is not significantly more advanced in certain key areas - ship production - industrial production in general (starfleet apparently barely kept up with the alpha/beta expeditionary force only), genetic engineering; and this is only what we saw.
Or then their reputed prowess in piracy was due to them having developed this energy-deprivation weapon long ago - and, until late in the Dominion War, having used it only sparingly, in situations where victory and total slaughter of witnesses was assured.
If we want to make non-hero crews look good rather than artificially bad, we might argue that creative weekly solutions are constantly being implemented - and canceled out by similar solutions by the enemy. The war might really consist of a long string of tales of ingenuity and unconventional tactics, rather than application of conventional force, and the evident masses of conventional ships and troops might mainly exist as reserves for rapid application whenever a clever use for them is found locally and temporarily.
But the federation failed to develop such a weapon both before and during the war.
About before - it may be a combination of technological inexperience in weapons building (no doubt, existing due to morality reasons - weapons builder must carry a stigma in a society as the federation's) and strategic naivete (especially after the reappearance of the romulans and after the borg). Indeed, this failure is exacerbated in that, during many missions presented in the shows, starfleet was seen acquiring technologies with significant military potential.
Which still makes the breen superior in this respect.
This is based on nothing established on screen - and, if such developments were decisive in the war, they would have been mentioned; indeed, you are making the heroes look artificially good rather than naturally bad.
Even if we assume it true, it would mean federation captains/engineers are, at their best, no better than jem'hadar a few months old.
Who could have known the praised federation creativity can be replicated by genetic memories and a few months practice with them?
It's worth noting that the federation failed to find a solution to the breen weapon - it needed to steal it in desperation.
Anyway one looks at this, the dominion war showed the limits of federation ingenuity - far more restricted than previously implied.
The Federation developed Dominion-proof shields - and we can rest assured that this happened during the war and not before, because an encounter with the Dominion would be a prerequisite for developing such a thing.
Basically, we have the Breen as a one-trick pony, and the Federation as a generally acknowledged stampede of such equines. We can subsequently argue that the Breen developed their one trick before or during the war, whilst we know the Federation developed one trick during the war. At most, this can hint at parity between the powers; in no case does it make the Breen superior.
"It" amounts to the development of a range of useful weapon technologies, in no way falling short of what the Breen have achieved in the same timeframe (once we leave out the one big trick from each side). That the Breen would have some inherent advantage over the Federation in developing weapons remains to be demonstrated, beyond this one-trick pony race with a photo finish.
The actual achievements notwithstanding, it would be very interesting to know whether the Breen have inherent advantages or disadvantages there, and what those might be. But the Breen are too much of a mystery for that. Are they a "militant" species? Having an active piracy segment does not necessarily establish such, as pirates could be outcasts, operating against the norms of the society. Are they a "ruthlessly centralized" species? Piracy might actually be a counterindication to that, although I'd speculate it takes an iron-gripped government to keep the great Breen secrets (the suits, the nature of the homeworld, the superweapon) from leaking out. Are they an "exceptionally imaginative" species? A distinct possibility, considering how they not only manage to keep those secrets, but seem to have developed political teflon armor as well, suffering no known consequences from their participation in the Dominion War.
Nor is the "weekly hero achievements don't represent the big picture" model. And for a very simple reason: most of the Trek universe remains outside our TV screens. This is especially true of the Dominion war, where we were stuck at a quiet side theater (much like the Washington/Richmond theater in the Civil War) for most of the war.
Why comment, if they are the only thing that ever happens? It would be pretty natural for the Star Trek universe to operate like Star Trek shows it operating, even when the camera isn't present. While Sisko is at the focus, we know Picard is out there, too. Why not ten thousand Picards commanding ten thousand ships? Some have good days, some have bad days. Unlike Picard during his decade in the limelights, some die, on or off camera. On the average, the universe trundles along.
At their best, they might live; at anything less, they might die. And Kirk and Picard had off days, too. It would simply be a game of numbers, with more fighting days and more enemies to fight grinding down the Kirks and Picards little by little.
Well, that's the problem you lamented a few lines earlier: in Trek, stuff gets forgotten, even though it could easily be written down and translated into an expert program. Why waste 45 minutes coming up with a solution to a hole-in-space or a pissed-off god when you can look up how Kirk did it? And this applies both to the Federation, with a proud 200-year tradition of daring adventures, and the Dominion, with a more sedate but 10,000-year tradition...
It is also worth noting the Breen failed to find a solution to anything, while the Feds at least tackled the phased polaron beam shielding problem.
This I could agree with, but moderated with the above. Not only did the Feds learn how to protect their ships against ppbs, they learned how to see the Houdinis, how to save somebody hit with the ppb poisons, and how to smoke out and kill Founders - all Founders! That's about the amount of ingenuity you get in a season of TNG, although admittedly spread out over several seasons here.
The federation managed to come up with shields efficient against dominion weapons only after it obtained a dominion ship.
It managed to develop a countermeasure for the breen energy weapon only after it obtained the weapon.
Both achievements were highly publicised; despite them only coming about due to reverse-engineering - without such help, federation engineers proved unable to solve the problems.
And you claim other achievements, of comparable scale, were not mentioned as not being important enough?
As for the breen, they managed to find a solution to passing through federation/romulan/klingon shields easily; that's quite a bit more than the federation can say about its creative energies. An 1 trick pony beats a 0 trick pony.
The federation not managing to integrate the many technologies with military potential it encountered - due to whatever reason (adventure seeking tradition, social stigma or strategic naivete) - remains a grave failure.
As for the ten thousand Picards - they proved to not be better overall (good days + bad days) than ten thousand genetic memory jem'hadar with a few months of experience. Unimpressive.
PS - the federation found out how to smoke out founders AKA find them despite their shape-shifting? Not really.
S31's virus was quite the bio-weapon, indeed. But no named starfleet character would claim or even accept it being called federation.
Starfleet personnel did, indeed, manage to see Houdinis; which was seen as quite the breakthrough (as in, not a standard day's work) and not followed by the dominion negating this achievement the next day.
Apropos that episode, starfleet was still unable to decode dominion transmissions when it was over - after months of trying.
"That's about the amount of ingenuity you get in a season of TNG, although admittedly spread out over several seasons here."
You forgot to add "coming from the crew of a single ship".
There was a LOT more then the crew of a federation ship working on the problems during the war - and failing to solve them.
And they kicked butt - much like the Americans.
You're all wrong.
Think you'll find that this is the most powerful military fella in Star Trek;
Given they're vulnerable to Civil War muskets, that's a matter of claim.
Civil war muskets that they conjured into existence themselves. As far as we know, only Q can kill Q.
Robert Q Lee disagrees.
Separate names with a comma.