Hello and welcome to Truth OR Myth, a Star Trek web series that takes a look at the truth or canon information to dispel the myths that have propped up over the years on any given topic. In today’s episode, we’re going to take a look at Cardassian Union and the Inevitable War that was a necessity to bring peace and friendship between them and the United Federation of Planets, I hope you enjoy.
War is never good… The death, the destruction it brings makes one wonder why anyone would even bother. That being said, however, there are some instances where war can bring about a positive change, and make 2 once opposing sides the best of friends. So using this logic one could say that sometimes war is a necessity. And for me, no war symbolizes this more in Star Trek, then the war between the Cardassian Union and the United Federation of Planets.
When the Cardassian Empire joined the Dominion in 2373, it really came as no surprise to me. Having the history they had within Star Trek I felt it was something inevitable, but recently I began to really think about this fact and why it seemed so natural to me.
When I make these videos I always have something playing in the background, that way If I need a break for a moment, I can just turn myself around and get lost in whatever is playing on the old boob tube.
So here I was making the Nebula Class Star Trek Online Beauty shots video and one of Picard’s lines from the end of the TNG episode, “The Wounded,” came to my mind. Springing into action, I put my TNG season 4 disc in the player, found the episode and skipped to the end.
I watched that entire last speech and got the idea for this episode. According to Canon, the Cardassian Union and the United Federation of Planets had been at a state of war since somewhere in the mid 24th Century, which ended about a year before the episode “The Wounded,” so that would mean it ended sometime in the year 2366.
Peace treaty negotiations, including the permanent border between these 2 powers would continue until finally settled in late 2370. Neither side would be completely satisfied with the treaty, and a demilitarized zone, similar to the Neutral Zone in form and function would be set up, and become a hotbed for disputes and violence.
But let us head back to the original war for a second. It’s my opinion that the Federation really didn’t take this war very seriously. After all, we the audience, didn’t really hear much about it at all. It wasn’t like the Flagship of the Federation, who’s patrol and exploration path was near to Cardassian Space, was constantly engaging these little rascals.
And given the nature and strength of the Galaxy Class as portrayed in TNG, really the Cardies were probably more of a nuisance then anything.
There were major engagements however, such as the one Captain Maxwell could not get over, The Massacre of Setlik III. But since the Federation didn’t have fleets of ships for the past 4 seasons of TNG on the verge of taking over the Union, again we must assume the federation didn’t care much.
This is also supported by one other fact, that, of course, being the Borg Attack at Wolf 359, where the United Federation of Planets was completely unprepared for the Borg assault. Something we’re reminded of time and time again.
We know from history, there’s nothing like a war, or the threat of war to spur people into developing wonderful new weapons to destroy everyone, yet here this doesn’t seem to be the case at all. And it maybe this fact that would end up contributing to the Cardassians joining the Dominion.
Think about it, the Cardassian Union is in a War with a Major Power who basically is laughing at them not taking them seriously. Then the Union Begins to fall apart as the Obsidian Order is completely destroyed by their own stupidity, and yet thanks to the Federation exploring strange new worlds and not keeping to itself, Yet another aggressive and evil power has found out all about the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. I’m sure that wouldn’t sit well with the Cardassian People themselves.
Being a proud race, constantly humiliated, it would probably spur on some hate for these damn Feds always interfering. And I can sympathize with their point of view.
Then finally a free-er and yes I said free-er, Cardassian Government is created, the Detapa Council which begins to make sweeping changes to Cardassia, a great move for the Federation… Finally, maybe a true friendship could be developed and established.
But unfortunately, that would not be case.
It is at this point, that with a weakened Government, The Klingon Empire decides to invade Cardassia and a state of war erupts from these 2 very different powers.
Now, of course, we will never know for sure if Gowron started this war because he truly believed, thanks to Changeling Martok, that the Dominion had taken over the Union and was ripe to cause Havoc in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. It could just as easily be that Gowron didn’t need that much convincing as he merely wanted glory for himself. A Character trait he’d display once again later on at the End of Deep Space nines last season.
Either way, however, there’s a new war for the Cardassian people to worry about. And so these proud people, who were taken as a joke by the federation, Forced into an unhappy treaty. Having their way of life Completely changed, making them unsure of themselves and their cultural identity, some might even say they’d view this as a further weakness, are Suddenly thrown into another war, with a race which is ruthless when it comes to war and who’s technology seems to be developed with war only in mind.
The political powers on Cardassia were busy searching for a peaceful way to end the war… Allowing the Klingon Empire to have virtually unopposed access to their space and their colonies. It’s clear to me that Politically the new Cardassian Government knew if it was to survive, that it MUST end the war and somehow keep most of its space in tact.
Just like in our world today, the Cardassian people would most likely be debating the effectiveness of this new Government and it would be seen as a complete failure. Just as Gul Dukat came to realize in the season 4 Deep Space 9 episode, “Return to Grace.”
And to a man like Dukat, who at the times entire personality rests on the pride he has in his people, this was a devastating blow.
So put yourself in his shoes, watching your once great people crumble to dust, while every other major power merely sits by and does nothing, what option are you left with? And of course, the only option is to turn to the enemy of your enemies.
The Dominion was strong, resourceful, intelligent. It’s an approach to the universe was not unlike the Cardassians Original approach. Plus Gul Dukat was also blinded by how he saw his own people. As in that same strong vein as the Dominion, often boasting how once the Unions enemies are dealt with, they’d deal with the Dominion…
That’s right Dukat thought that singly handily the Cardassian Union, Who couldn’t defeat a bunch of peace-loving Space Hippies, couldn’t defeat War Hungry Barbarians, were somehow going to defeat a galactic powerhouse such as the Dominion.
Never the less, the treaty between these 2 powers was ratified, the Cardassian people rejoiced, and the Dominion was welcomed with open arms. And on the surface, it seemed Dukut was right and had made his people strong again. However, with time the cracks began to show.
Day by Day, hour by hour, the reality was that the Cardassian People were becoming a subjugated people. Without firing a shot at the planet, the Dominion had full, no pun intended, Dominion over Cardassia.
With words like partners and peace, and protection, the Dominion had conquered them.
And besides this fact, those supposedly much weaker enemies of the Dominion were holding their own. Not as quickly defeated as the Dominion War Projections had predicted. That meant that the Cardassian people had to watch as their own people were dying and very little was being gained.
Taking DS9 at the end of Season 5 must have been a high point for the Union. They were back in control of Bajor, but what they had envisioned as this great triumph quickly turned sour as the Dominion had no intention of letting the Cardassians have any real control over the Bajoran People. In fact, the Dominion wanted to make them a shining example of its intentions in the Alpha Quadrant, making the Bajorans somewhat of an equal to the Cardassian people.
That’s right a people that forced the Cardassians off their occupied world 5 years prior were now standing up side by side as an equal, I’m sure there were more than a few cardies ticked off by that fact alone.
And of course, a few months later, DS9 falls again back into the hand of the Federation. And was it because of a brilliant attack by a large combined fleet, no… It was one ship, one single ship that was able to stop an entire Dominion Fleet and retake the station.
Not only that, but the true visionary of the Cardassian People, Gul Dukat, was taken prisoner by The Federation, leaving his underling Damar, who was virtually an unknown to the Cardassian people In charge.
Where Dukut had been the face of this new Alliance suddenly it was Weyoun And Damar that would be joined at the hip. It’s no wonder that the Cardassian people began to re-evaluate its position in the Galaxy.
We also know that anyone who challenged the Dominion Way of life, even if it was just saying a single sentence outside the Dominion Norms, would be executed. So the Cardassian people began looking for a change, a hero to lead them out of this dark time.
Someone with the courage to defy the Dominion and finally give the Cardassian People freedom which they had never had before but desperately craved now thanks to their own subjugation.
And that man would end up being the one they all least expected, Damar, a mumbling under his breath, political puppet who drank to hide his shame.
Unfortunately, his life wouldn’t last very long after he decided to lead a rebellion against the Dominion. But in that very short time, he became a true advocate for change, one as honourable as any great leader of the federation had been. He examined his own preconceptions of the universe, his people, and had made the conscious choice that it was time to change, that the old Cardassian was dead, and deserved to be.
And in his name, the Cardassian people would all united and rise up against their Dominion Aggressors and after the destruction of Lukarian City, the Entire Cardassian fleet would switch sides, Joining the Federation-Klingon-Romulan allied force in a bid to save themselves, their homeworld and their people from complete annihilation. And it worked.
Thanks to ODO, security chief and Changeling of Deep Space 9, the war came to end with only a whimper and peace was restored to the Quadrants.
But what of the Union? the destruction done by the Dominion before the end of the war to their planet was devastating. It cost the Cardassian People over 800 million lives on the last day alone to attain their freedom.
Those sort of losses and devastation have a way of making a person or people re-examine themselves, their beliefs and what they truly value and in this case, I believe that would most definitely be their freedom.
We don’t know yet much about what happened to the Cardassian Union after the end of this war. Most likely he federation would end up in charge of the homeworld. Helping the Cardassian People rebuild, reestablish themselves into a democratic society. I even believe that it wouldn’t take very long before the Cardassian Union would want to join the Federation.
In the upcoming season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery, I hope we find some answers to what happened to Cardassia and it’s people. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of those stars left on the federation Flag is that of Cardassia, wouldn’t that be ironic.
And perhaps the Cardassian People, with Burnham, Saru and all the other crew members on board the U.S.S. Discovery will become a shining beacon of hope for a new federation, one much stronger, and less duplicitous then what had been established before. A True Utopia where the high ideals set forth by the original is actually now lived by entirely.
And after this reestablishment through out the Galaxy of the Great Federation. All it’s races coming together again, Maybe Star Trek can finally be taken where no one has gone before once again. With a new U.S.S. Enterprise ready to seek out Strange new worlds in A Galaxy not so far away anymore. Of course, time will only tell.
For now, The Cardassian People and the Cardassian War serves as but a warning. When we as people sit back and view our enemies as a joke. When we as a people sit back and do nothing when great evils take control of our people. When we as a people sit back and hide our fears behind slogans and catchphrases and insults and degrade our fellow humans, nothing absolutely nothing good can EVER come of that… Nothing…
So please take a moment to reflect of this video and think about what I’ve said here and lived the example that Trek has always lead for us… An example that if followed will lead us to stars in peace and exploration, instead of destruction. Let’s all live our best Star Trek Lives…
Thank you for watching today’s episode of Truth OR Myth. What do you think about what I’ve said here? Do you understand why Cardassia did what it did? Do you see the mistakes made by the Federation that most likely would lead to almost it’s entire downfall?
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Thanks again for watching, live long and prosper…