No one can deny that the Klingons have come a long way from their original form. Back in the 1960s, the Klingons were used as an allegory for Communist Russia. The foes that Kirk, Spock, and the crew of the Enterprise faced were treacherous, violent, dictators, unafraid of taking advantage of any opportunity, and content to live in a society nearly as oppressed as the ones they so ruthlessly conquered. Women were not considered equals – indeed, they were forbidden from a seat on the High Council, leading a Great House, or ascending to the Chancellorship, save for certain extenuating circumstances. Honor was a small consideration, and trust in short supply throughout.
In the years – nay, centuries – between the 2260s and the 2390s, Klingon society has changed drastically. Women are now considered as adept as men and permitted to hold any station, office, or position available to males. Honor has now become a societal imperative, reversing decades, even centuries, of previous conduct. The totalitarian, “Big Brother”-esque nature of the Empire has give way to a freer, though somewhat more chaotic, oligarchy.
Along with this change, the relationship between the Empire and the Federation has moved from a constant state of hostility to a rapidly and wildly fluctuating political climate. Alliances have been broken and forged in mere moments, spurned by events that neither side could contain or survive alone. From the Organian Peace Treaty to both Khitomer Accords, the Federation has struggled with and benefitted from a complicated and tenuous peace, only notably broken for a brief spat during the earlier half of the Dominion War.
While most in the Federation would rather embrace the Empire as an ally than an enemy, still plainly aware of the Klingon’s military might, some might question the Federation’s policy in this regard. Despite its many social advances throughout the decades, the Klingon Empire still exercises a variety of behaviors antithetical to Federation values, most notable of which is the continued annexation and subsequent oppression of worlds which the Empire feels would be beneficial to its continued existence. Entire planets are stripped bare, and are deemed “protectorates”. Members of these unfortunate worlds are turned into second class citizens of the Empire. Even so, the Federation seeks every opportunity to associate and diplomatically interact with this expanding threat to civilization.
This week’s poll question is, undoubtedly and intentionally, somewhat contentious: Should the Federation continue to associate with the Empire? Is it still a good idea? Or is it folly and inappropriate, given the Empire’s long history of abuses against sentient life? Perhaps you’re of a different mind? Give us your vote, and let us know in the comments section below!