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Star Trek and Syria

April 3, 2013

Foreign Policy has an interesting piece about what Star Trek can teach us about foreign intervention. Okay, it’s dated 4/1/13, but I’m inclined to take it seriously – and not only because its author, John Arquilla, teaches at the United States Naval Postgraduate School. At any rate, he wouldn’t be the first person to make the connection to Captain Kirk and company.

In the world of Star Trek, the Prime Directive served as a check, but not an unthinking ban, on intervention. And so there were many interventions and counter-interventions. My favorite was in the original series, the episode “A Private Little War,” when Captain Kirk ordered Scottie to make some flintlock muskets for the bow-hunting hill people of a planet where he had once tarried because the Klingons were arming the other side with these relatively advanced weapons. Kirk intervened, but only after much soul-searching, and in a proportionate way that established a balance of power and at least kept the Prime Directive in mind.

Would that all interventions in our world were undertaken as thoughtfully.

Read it all here. Agree, disagree, argue about it!

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