This has always bothered me; I want to stress first that the Klingons as a fleshed out race are a brilliant addition to the Star Trek Universe, I love their honour bound warrior code and the various examples of this being abused in the various seasons to manipulate an Empire despite their strong codes of ethics... Regardless, in Star Trek Insurrection Riker & Deanna express disgust at the Son'a for subjugating and integrating two races into their society, despite the fact the Federation's greatest non-member alliance was with the Klingons from the early-mid 24th century.

With the Klingon's imperialist conquistador like attitude and the federations apparent example as a true liberal utopia, how could their relationship ever progress beyond basic niceties?

  • One assumes that a key goal of the alliance is to stop the Klingons being quite so beastly to the planets within their sphere of influence. – Valorum Dec 18 '17 at 1:38
  • Yeah but, why would they require such a close alliance in order to do that? – Chris Bradley Dec 18 '17 at 1:47
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    "the federations apparent example as a true liberal utopia" ... the "apparent" is crucial here. After all, you hear the stories from the Federation side ... Perhaps the Federation and the Klingon Empire are closer than they might appear at first glance, just using different strategies (Klingons use direct force, Federation is more like "root beer", to quote Quark, not to mention agents like Section 31). – Daniel Wessel Dec 18 '17 at 18:05
  • Indeed, "You know, in some ways you're even worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation. You're more insidious. You assimilate people and they don't even know it." as Michael Eddington once said. I suppose it could be an overall over arching dream to one day include the entire Klingon Empire and enforce a subtler touch on them... – Chris Bradley Dec 30 '17 at 19:32

Strategic alliances do not necessarily require shared values

An alliance works if there is a shared goal that is of sufficient importance to outweigh any disagreements on other matters.

A real world example of that is the alliance of the USA and Britain with the Soviet Union against the Axis in World War II. The political leadership (and much of the population) of both the USA and Britain were firmly opposed to the Soviet Union, but they made a successful alliance in order to defeat their common enemies.

There are a large number of quotes attributed to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and it is often hard to be sure if they are genuine or not. For example, he is quoted as saying:

  • If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.
  • I'd form a alliance with the devil himself if helped defeat Hitler.

Whether he actually said those things or not is beside the point. They are accepted as truisms with the meaning The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

I don't find it hard to believe that the Federation could make an alliance with a regime that they had a moral objection to.

  • Do you not think the Klingons are much closer to the Federation than the Soviets ever were with us? I mean, fair enough during a war, cold or hot, but with the Federation, they supported the Klingons through a lot from the change of power to the civil war. They exchanged officers and their vessels docked at their facilities for repair, resupply and R&R... Could you see the Soviets doing that with the US or Britain following the war? – Chris Bradley Dec 18 '17 at 2:07
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    @ChrisBradley They did do those things during the war, in other words while their alliance had strategic value. – Blackwood Dec 18 '17 at 2:11
  • Through the war, yes, but not following it. The Federation was not in a war in the years leading up to the Cardassian/Dominion Alliance, but thank you for your answer, I'm enjoying the conversation! – Chris Bradley Dec 18 '17 at 2:50

It bears mentioning that in Yesterday's Enterprise, a protracted war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire almost destroyed the Federation. As Picard says to Garrett

The war is going very badly for the Federation, far worse than is generally known. Starfleet Command believes that defeat is inevitable. Within six months, we may have no choice but to surrender.

While these events never came to pass, the Klingons were still a threat. On some level, it's probable that Starfleet was aware of the severity of the threat the Klingons posed. As long as they were allies, the Federation had some degree of control over that threat.

  • I did consider that, but by the time of Way of the Warrior in DS9, the Federation appears to have the Klingons in a stalemate and continues to go about it's business despite the clashes with the Klingons. In fact, the Klingons seem content with a cease fire as in the episode the Federation's 16 ships were seen as reinforcements enough with DS9 to take on the sizeable Klingon fleet attacking the station. It still doesn't seem, to me, to explain why they are as close as they are, rather than just loose allies. – Chris Bradley Dec 30 '17 at 19:30
  • Valid but remember, the Klingons were gearing up for an invasion of Cardassia-they probably wanted to keep casualties and damage to their fleet to a minimum. Also, one of the ships protecting DS9 had been designed to fight the Borg AND the station itself was a formidable obstacle to overcome. That last point is particularly important when you consider that the DS9 crew suspected the Klingons wanted to control the wormhole. Taking DS9 is a lot easier than destroying it and replacing it with a Klingon station. – geewhiz Dec 31 '17 at 22:36
  • That's a fair point. I suppose the Klingons may never have expanded during the time of the Alliance before the issues with the Cardassians as well. – Chris Bradley Jan 2 '18 at 1:05

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