Federation strategy / grand strategy

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Picard578
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Federation strategy / grand strategy

Post by Picard578 » Wed May 16, 2018 8:33 pm

What do we know / can extrapolate about Federation strategy and/or grand strategy? Only thing I can get from memory is that it seems to be a bit Byzantine, if generally less competent than that: namely, avoiding the war if at all possible, playing potential enemies off against each other and generally preferring diplomacy and other non-violent solutions to expending resources for war while still retaining serious capability to duke it out if necessary.

Granted, Federation is generally modelled after United States and not Byzantine Empire, but US generally have classical Roman approach of "we will bury them under ammunition and worry later", which does not fit Federation as shown, especially 24th century Federation.

Thoughts?

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2046
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Re: Federation strategy / grand strategy

Post by 2046 » Wed May 23, 2018 11:08 am

There's probably evolution over time and perhaps even through different civilian administrations a la the US, though we don't necessarily get enough insight on a large scale to know. Certainly there seemed to be some attitude differences between TOS and the TNG era Starfleet, but whether actual significant foreign policy differences existed higher up is unclear. ("Sudden Romulan incursion? Send an Enterprise!" was a consistent thing.)

The mid-2360s paradoxically involved a somewhat space-hippie worldview in the fleet alongside the remains of the Cardassian, Tzenkethi, Talarian, and perhaps other recent conflicts. That said, Picard's standard tack was to shout at Romulans over subspace.

Certainly there's the general sense that hostile foes are to be contained behind treaty walls and that trade and relations would lead to new members. But, that's such a broad brush.

Perhaps more interesting discussion would be pondering what might allow for continuity of foreign policy. Rome, for instance, managed to maintain fairly consistent foreign policy for hundreds of years in some cases, e.g. northern immigration. The US right now is undergoing rapid cultural and demographic shifts to the point that the long-standing support for Israel was virtually absent in the last administration operationally, but back again in this one while at the same time one party is now openly discussing abandoning it. Or, Bush the Younger rejected some aspect of SCHIP as a path to government healthcare, whereas maybe three years later the latter was unilaterally enacted by the other party.

The Federation should, by all rights, be a freaking drunken acid-tripping schizoid madhouse of conflicting ideas and news cycle overload with political shifts every time a new world is admitted. And yet, we got the sense from Nemesis that *Romulus* is the one experiencing large shifts in policy between administrations, not the Federation… but the fact that there is any continuity at all with the Federation is itself notable.

Picard578
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Re: Federation strategy / grand strategy

Post by Picard578 » Fri May 25, 2018 8:06 am

Yes, the problem here is basically that Starfleet operates on Age-of-Sail Royal Navy paradigm (seriously, even the three-tone "captain on the bridge" note/signal is modelled after RN practices). This includes individual ships sailling alone for long time and over long distances. USS Enterprise is basically closer - or was at least intended to be closer - to HMS Beagle than to USS Enterprise (CV-Whatever). Long voyage far away from home, limited support, Captain the highest authority after God and so on. This isolation and independence is not exactly conductive to getting a feel of and analyzing Federation's policy as such. That being said, it might be possible to gleam something by comparisons to Real Life - especially TOS, which was kinda obvious with its Federation = US, Klingon Empire = USSR, Romulan Empire = Roman Empire internally, but more like China for purposes of the show. Later on, Klingons were redefined as Space Vikings, but US - USSR/Russia - China dynamics between the three continued more-or-less intact. Explosion of Praxis e.g. is similar in role to disaster at Chernobyl.

Mid-2360s, as you mentioned, may be similar to 1990s in the real world, with few threats and generally optimistic outlook.

I do not think that Federation would be so quickly shifting ideas - with 150 member worlds and well over 1.000 colonies, any new member will have less than 0,5% of total populace of Federation. Seriously, that is less impact than admission of Croatia created in the European Union. EUs (and US') policy changes will have more to do with mass immigration, especially from culturally disparate peoples - but something like that is nowhere in evidence in Federation. So it is unlikely that admission of new members, if done carefully and not too quickly, will make it even tipsy, let alone a drunken madhouse. Romulan Empire, with far greater centralization of power (and, apparently, significant military influence in politics) would be far more prone to significant policy shifts.

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Re: Federation strategy / grand strategy

Post by sonofccn » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:41 pm

I have to admit I've been greatly influenced by 2046's "space hippie" theory and generally think the Federation at the start of the TNG era was going through its own "End of History" moment. The Klingons were re-purposing their economy after the Praxis disaster and no longer could seriously pursue a Cold War. The Romulans were having one of their periodic isolationist phases where they curl back up inside their borders and pretend the outside world doesn't exist. Leaving the Federation the sole "Power" on the bloc so to speak.

This lack of serious opposition coupled with the thawing relations with the Klingons giving them this sense that everyone was going to join the Federation at some point. That it was the "natural arc" of the universe. In this way "problem civilizations" like the Romulans or Cardassians just needed to be contained and managed. That "everyone" believed in the values and truths of the Federation, even if they didn't know it yet and it would only be a matter of time before peace and justice broke out across Romulus.

Hence the wall of treaties and carrot and stick approach showing off the Federation's teeth, when necessary, but also the benefits as well. Giving the Cardassians industrial replicators, while obviously there was humanitarian concerns as well, would be example of the Federations wealth as well as values. And a taste of what the Cardassians could have if they ever gave up their militaristic ways.

It would also go some ways to explain things like the treaty of Algeron. The Federation isn't trying to gain a serious military advantage over its adversaries and in many ways the concept of "defeating" the Romulans or the Klingons no longer exists but instead maintain a natural balance of power while the natural liberalizing forces have their desired effect.

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Re: Federation strategy / grand strategy

Post by Picard578 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:57 pm

That indeed sounds right. We know there were threats, but nothing serious - apparently, Federation was fighting only "brush wars". Hence why Picard could make the statement that they are explorers, not soldiers. And that would explain why they would believe themselves safe and with no serious threats.

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