Klingon Empire/Diplomatic Guide

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The following is an excerpt from Academy Course XEN170 guest lecture by student teacher Ensign Leland Bishop. Ensign Bishop stresses that the views below are his own and not to be taken as official Federation policy.

A Diplomat's Guide to Klingons

Good evening, everyone. Tonight I would like to take a moment to talk to you about our allies from the Beta Quadrant, The Klingons.

One very important point to make regarding our understanding of Klingon behavior (or lack thereof), is that it is fundamentally flawed and stems from the misconception that Klingon society is a “warrior culture.” Depending on your particular definition of what a “warrior culture” is, that notion ranges from the silly to the absurd. I can't speak for all of you of course, but I think it's a fairly safe assumption to make that most people unfamiliar with Klingons picture a race of iron-hard killing machines. A society that trains it's young men and women to solve their problems with violence. Most people assume upon coming into contact with a Klingon for the first time, that they are in the presence of a puissant gladiator who has been bathing in the blood of his enemies since he could lift a Bat'leth. This notion is helped along by the fact that the Klingon himself may tell you that very thing. The Klingon is not “lying” to you per se (as I'll attempt to explain in a moment)... But you would be foolish to believe them.

Think of it this way. If we really believe that Klingons are constantly murdering each other and others over the slightest provocation, why are there any Klingons left? Imagine a village that has ten male Klingons in it. Now simply apply that “warrior culture” template you've cultivated over the top of those ten men. If (as we persist in believing) there were a prevelance of duels to the death and blood fueds among them, within a very short amount of time most of them would be dead and almost certainly the rest would be maimed to some degree or another. Maybe one or two is capable of fathering children after all this carnage? How many children are they supposed to have to compensate for all this death? No, I submit that the reputation for bloodletting is largely something that the Klingons themselves cultivate and that the mistake we Terrans have made in believing them has led to more bloodshed than the Klingons themselves ever would have initiated on their own.

So if they don't just randomly go about hacking each other up, why do they act as if they do? My theory is that the Klingon propensity for posturing and braggadocio exists primarily to curb violence and prevent it. If a complex pecking order can be quickly established as to who COULD murder who if it came to that, then no actual knives need ever be unsheathed. Upon seeing a group of Klingons who don't know each other meeting for the first time, you will notice a great deal of unpleasant behavior to be sure as they jockey for position... But nine times out of ten, homicide will not be one of them. In fact this system of mock challenges establishes order much more quickly among Klingons than anything we are usually capable of. Soon order is restored and Klingon society gets on with the business of BEING A SOCIETY.

If we can accept this basic premise, then two conclusions spring to mind almost automatically. Going forward I would caution anyone who has to deal with Klingons to remember them both.

First: Any form of Diplomacy entered into with a Klingon should not be approached with abject terror. Many has been the young Diplomat who went pale at the distasteful things that were described to him about his possible fate. But again, when the Diplomat ran away, the Klingon ambassador did not leap on his back and snap his neck... He simply laughed about it with his friends. We are just as likely to resort to lethal violence as any Klingon would be, we just brag about it less. Indeed, ancedotaly, there have been a great many unofficial reports of the Khitomer peace process that state that some of the delays in the ratification of the treaty came from the UFP side. Our delegates simply couldn't wrap their heads around the fact that Gorkon might genuinely desire peace and wasn't chasing them around the room with a scimitar. We must remember that (tenuous as it may sometimes be) we ARE allies now. Klingons respect a comerade in arms. It's a small point but an important one. However! This leads me to...

Second: With almost no other species we have encountered is it more important to show deference and humility than with the Klingons. But doesn't that contradict point one? Not at all. And therein lies the key to every diplomatic stride we've made with The Empire. As I stated we should never be fearful of the Klingons, but a little showing of our collective bellies to them never hurts. Flatter their egos and play to their weaknesses! If a little grovelling wasn't in a good Diplomats repetoire then he should hang up his dress whites!

A quick example of this before I wrap things up to show just how effective this strategy can be:

Let's imagine that there's a Klingon controlled system that we'd like to have some trade with. We apporach the Klingons with a wide and sweeping series of trade deals that encompasses an almost total fusing of our two economies together in that region of space. Wether or not those trade deals would actually benefit the Klingons (in most cases they would considering the state of the Klingon economy) is beside the point. The point here is that we're seeking to make the Klingon government feel uncomfortable. Not surprising that anyone faced with such monumental change would feel a bit uncomfortable... What do the Klingons do? Well we could reasonably expect that they'd go into defense mode. They'd accuse us of attempting to wreck their economy, of being no better than Ferengi, threatening military action... We could go on and on... But you get the point.

Now here's the important part. In our early days of contact with the Empire, we tended to get just as surly in return. How dare they accuse us of such things??? We would bristle right back at them instead of backing down. The result? Years of needless war because niether side wanted to lose face.

But what do we do now? We simply apologize to the mighty Empire! It's really a simple as that. We assume our proper role (in their eyes) as the second banana in this alliance. We shiver at the thought of crossing swords with their “mighty navy” we beg for even a small chance to make some of the glorious goods of the Empire available to the unwashed masses. The Klingons like nothing better than lording it over someone they feel they've gotten the better of and more often than not, their egos bolstered again, they will feel inclined to be generous. Perhaps they could allow us to set up shop on one of the planets in that system... If we behave ourselves.

And do you see what has happened? If the system had four planets worth settling on we have now gained 25% of our original goal. Sure, that doesn't sound like a great percentage until you reflect that the Empire has gained exactly 0% of it's goals, which were to keep us out. In the past a military solution may have gotten us a higher percentage... But at what cost to life on both sides? I'll take 25% with no casualties any day of the week.

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen, a thumnail scetch of some of the current thought in regards to our relations with the Klingon Empire. I hope you've enjoyed our time together as much as I have. I bid you a fond maj ram.

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