That's exactly the point. Fear keeps them from trying, from going forward, from reaching out. I keep reading "Oh, they should do this, oh they should do that" as if it is just a logical thought process completely unhindered by any sort of emotional ideas. Which, if that is a person's point of view fair enough. But, many humans, and other beings, have emotions and make decisions based upon them; "once bitten twice shy," as the saying goes. So, it isn't lazy writing to say that the Federation splinters and is worried to utilize other technology because they don't know. So, keeping it status quo is their best hope to survive. And that informs their decisions. No, it's not logical, it's not rational. It is deeply emotional and that is where many struggle to make decisions. I applaud those who haven't faced crippling depression and anxiety. But, to think that leaders like Vance wouldn't be struggling with such things misunderstands a lot of human nature.