Warning: this post contains lazy historical comparisons
I haven’t read any of the Trek books so I could be way off on this, but looking at the map of the Alpha Quadrant, it seems that both the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire are spread a little thin.
I know the Romulans semi-collapsed after their star went nova and, according to memory alpha, became the Romulan Free State, so I’ll leave them out and focus on the Klingons.
Here’s what I know [from DS9 and memory alpha and even Enterprise…correct me in the comments if I’m wrong cos there’s a good chance I am]:
The Klingon Empire wasn’t always obsessed with swinging batl’ths [sic] at alien planets, they became more militaristic as they expanded out into space. Actually, I don’t know when exactly the balance shifted, I’m just going off of the conversation between Archer and his lawyer in ‘Judgment’ [same actor who played Martok], where Archer is told that Klingons used to appreciate science and art and medicine more, but the military flashed their platform boots and altered the direction of their culture. From that point on, all the kids wanted to die before they were 25 [preferably in battle, but brawling with their mates also worked] and play suicidal drinking games in between.
After the transition into a conquering force, they used a mixed strategy to expand and build their empire. Colonies were set up on empty M class planets/moons, alien planets were conquered by force and subjugated, other alien worlds were annexed [not sure if they needed to fight these worlds, just offering them economic advantages and giving them freedom to rule themselves could’ve been enough], and…I think that’s it, three types of conquering.
The most direct form was seen or referenced in the original Trek episodes, as well as the Season 4 war with Cardassia in DS9, where the Klingons would blitzkrieg the alien world, execute all government officials, install a Klingon governor to put down any further resistance and then start exporting Klingon TV serials from Q’onos. Continue reading