I’m a big Star Trek: The Next Generation fan. I like other great works of science-fiction, there is a lot of real-world lessons to learn from it.
My minor in college was military history and strategy. I love military history. History is always repeating itself, all you have to do is know history and keep your eyes open enough to recognize it when it is happening again. If you can do that, you will know what to do to address your current problem, either by emulating the successes or avoiding the failures of the past.
So, Star Trek was running a marathon on BBC America and I was watching it.
It is interesting to follow the arc between the Federation and the Cardassians given current geopolitics.
The Federation sign a treaty with the Cardassians and the Cardassians are always fucking violating it. It’s not hard to understand why. The Federation doesn’t like violence. No matter how egregiously the Cardassians violate the treaty, the Federation exemplified by Picard refuses to blow the fuck out of the Cardassians.
Even when Picard s tortured, the Federation takes its lumps and slinks away. They do this with the Romulans too.
The Cardassians know a simple truth the Federation refuses to admit, a treaty is only as good as the character of the people signing it. If one party has a shitty character, you need something else to back up a treaty. That something else is usually force.
The Cardassians are people without honor. They know that if they violate words on a piece of paper, the Federation will not attack them, so they have no motivation to abide by the treaty. There is no consequence for their illegal actions.
Most people are aware of the quote by Theodore Roosevelt: “speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”
Having a big stick is important, but if you are unwilling to smack anybody with the stick, nobody will fear your big stick and you might as well not have it.
The Obama administration was a great analog to the Federation. The people at the top spoke of lofty ideals, but really they were corrupt and cowardly, and they let an enemy without honor violate treaties without consequence.
Now Trump is in office, and he’s reminding the world that we have a big stick, and they should fear it because he’s perfectly willing to beat a motherfucker down with it.
This lesson exists everywhere. Why is property crime out of control in California? Because there is no force to back up the words on paper that is the law. If you can rob a store for $950 and get a ticket, why not rob the store.
At the very end of the day, you need to be able to say to a person “you will do what this piece of paper says you will do, or we will break your fucking skull.” If you can’t do that, the paper is meaningless.
From criminals to countries, it is the same. There needs to be consequences for bad acts and those consequences need to come with force.
If you don’t want to listen to me, just watch how the Cardassians and Romulans treat the Federation.