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Lwaxana Troi is desribed on TV Tropes as a "Betazoid Ambassador to the Federation". On the Memory Alpha page, she is named "a Betazoid Federation ambassador", and elsewhere that she "represented the government of Betazed".

I cannot recall any particular line of dialog from either TNG or DS9 that establishes exactly for whom and to whom she was an ambassador. Was she an ambassador of the Federation or of Betazed? Or both? Was she an ambassador to the Federation, Betazed, or other planet(s)?

If the answer is that, as TV Tropes seems to believe, she was the Betazoid ambassador to the Federation, then why would a member planet have an ambassador to their "national" government? Would this not be the equivalent of Florida having an ambassador to the United States?

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    @Jeeped Betazoid is a member of the Federation. The US is not a member of the UK. – Paul L Jul 7 '16 at 19:32
  • I see your point; I guess I was confusing ambassador with UN representative. – Jeeped Jul 7 '16 at 19:35
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    I wouldn't be surprised if the Federation were somewhere between the UN and the USA in terms of powers and autonomy. Maybe like the UK a little bit. In fact, it might be a lot like the UK where some planets/members (like Earth/England) are completely governed by Federation law while other planets/members (like Betazed/Scotland) are perhaps more recent members and have some devolved powers and/or autonomy in certain areas. I think the word "federation" is meant to be weaker than "union". – Todd Wilcox Jul 7 '16 at 19:43
  • In the TNG episode Dark Page she was an ambassador to the Cairn. And in Manhunt she was attending a conference where the Antedeans were going to be invited to join the Federation. – Xantec Jul 7 '16 at 19:46
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In short, she was the ambassador to whoever she needed to represent Betazed to. From Memory Alpha:

An ambassador was the official diplomatic representative of one government or political entity to another, or to an organization of political entities. Ambassadors also functioned as the heads of embassies. Customarily in the United Federation of Planets, ambassadors represented the Federation to non-member worlds, and sometimes member worlds had ambassadors to represent their worlds to the Federation itself. (TOS: "Journey to Babel") ....

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    "the ambassador to whoever she needed to represent Betazed to". More specifically, Lwaxana was an 'ambassador' whenever she wanted to get her way. "the daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, Heir of the Holy Rings of Betazed" etc etc. She blithely threw political weight and social status around for personal gain. – Robotnik Jul 8 '16 at 5:22
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She also represented the Federation

From DS9 "The Forsaken"

Station Log. Stardate 46925.1. We have been honored with a visit by a delegation of Federation ambassadors on a "fact-finding" mission to the wormhole. Fortunately I have just the officer to take them off my hands.

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What is at issue here is your understanding of the situation. The Federation isn't a federation. It's a confederation. Each planet in the Federation is a sovreign governing planet. This means that there needs to be a ambassador that represents Betazed in relations internally and externally to The Federation.

The way Americans are likely to better understand this is the argument between States Rights vs Federal Rights. In the case of the US Federal Rights has won out and each State must adhere to the laws of the Federal Government above their own laws where as in The Federation States Rights has won out and each Planet's Laws take precedence over the Federal laws...

If States rights had won out in the US (or if the EU became a country) they'd have Ambassadors from each state to each state and one for the entire country. So it's not odd that the Federation would have this set up.

Though, more than likely, the writers just wasn't thinking about it and it just so happens that it matches up like this.

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    I disagree with your assertion that Planetary laws trump Federation laws in the Star Trek universe. I can think of two examples off the top of my head: 1) When Bajor was applying for Federation membership, and the long-dead poet was brought forward in time, Sisko pointed out to him that returning Bajor to a caste-system would disqualify it from membership. 2) the Federation colonies in the DMZ were bound by the treaty the Federation had signed with the Cardassians, and were forced to abandon their planets. They remained only by seceding from the Federation. – Paul L Jul 7 '16 at 20:34
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    @PaulL - You are (largely) correct. There are certain common rules that all Federation planets agree to adhere to, including that they shouldn't develop or use certain technologies and that they should attempt to be socially liberal (by being gender inclusive and not practicing slavery, for example). – Valorum Jul 7 '16 at 20:37
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    Confederations have rules to join just as much as Federations. If a Planet doesn't follow those rules then it can't join. The first example is not a question of fed vs state laws so moot. The second can be argued in a number of ways, 1 is that they're colonies and under the law of their home planet. Another is that the Fed can't enforce their treaty on the colonies, but that fed law boots planets out that don't follow treaties...or perhaps fed law is that treaties must be followed or something which would make it a pseudo confed or pseudo fed... One or the other. – Durakken Jul 7 '16 at 20:44
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    @Durakken can you cite any examples from any episodes or movies in which Planetary Law was shown to trump Federation law? You're asserting it as fact in your explanation, but I'm not able to think of any such instances. – Paul L Jul 7 '16 at 20:47
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    @Durakken: Angel I was not a Federation member. – Kevin Jul 7 '16 at 23:02

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