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In the middle of "The Next Phase" a Romulan scientific officer decides to destroy the Enterprise, even though Enterprise was the only ship to respond to their distress call and actually have saved Romulan vessel (and around 100 Romulans) from an inevitable destruction.

I imagine, that attempting to destroy a ship (or kill a person), who has just saved you from a certain death, would be the most vicious and deceitful behavior among entire Star Trek universe. That could only be comparable to Borg (correct me, if I'm wrong). Are Romulans really "that bad"?

How could they make any allies with any other species, with such attitude? I'm not only saying about Klingons, for which (again, if I'm not wrong) such behavior is most disrespectful and we know many examples of Romulan-Klingon ally. I'm also saying, that they wouldn't be able to may any kind of ally. If you're ready to destroy the one, that is saving your live, then you're als able to destroy your ally in any kind of situation -- i.e. you're completely unstable and unreasonable as any kind of ally.

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    Your example given in the episode is a little disingenuous as the science vessel being rescued was in the middle of a very secret military trial, so the Romulan officer mentioned had a very good reason to do what he did - protect the secret. – Moo Jan 3 '15 at 14:31
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    In NextGen, I think the Romulans became analogies for the Soviets in the Cold War and embodied the excessive double crossing and suicidal paranoia that the cold war encouraged. – Mark Rogers Jan 3 '15 at 14:33
  • I think, that both of your comments could become a good full-featured answers to this question. – trejder Jan 3 '15 at 14:36
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    As @MarkRogers stated, the Romulans are analogous of the Soviets. It isn't that the Romulans are necessarily deceitful and vicious as you say, they have their own set of laws and societal standards which differs (quite substantially) from the Federation. They follow their own laws to a "T", but that doesn't mean they are unstable or unreasonable. Their way of thinking just differs so greatly, we as "reasonable people" see the Romulans as vicious. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jan 3 '15 at 15:34
  • I don't believe they're deceiful to just anyone. In the case of the OP's example, the Federation is already established as "the enemy"; that's just the status quo. So there's no way that any clear-thinking Romulan would ever strike up a liaison with them. – Mr Lister Jan 3 '15 at 15:48
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The Romulans are predictable: they always act in their own best interests.

Therefore, on the basis of 19th century ideas of Realpolitk, they may make wary alliances as appropriate.

This idea is somewhat expanded upon in DS9.

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    Expanded upon fantastically, I might add. "In the Pale Moonlight" is probably the best episode of Star Trek ever made, "The City on the Edge of Forever" excepted. It's an episode so dark it practically has an accretion disk. – James Sheridan Jan 3 '15 at 22:45
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    I'm more partial to Rocks and Shoals as the best ever, but Pale Moonlight was awesome. – Lighthart Jan 3 '15 at 22:45
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    There are too many damn good episodes of DS9 to count. – James Sheridan Jan 3 '15 at 23:14

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