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Opinion on ONI's actions against the Elites?

OP TheSmallestPond

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Even though The Arbiter and the Elites helped humanity defeat the Covenant, it seems like ONI doesn't really trust them. They have done multiple missions and projects designed to hinder the Elites. Poisoning their main food source, making sure their home planet is in a state of perpetual war, and even attempting to assassinate my favourite character, Rtas Vadum.

Do you think ONI is justified in doing this things to make sure their is not another galactic war with the Elites, or do you think the Elites should be left alone to do their own thing. My personal opinion is to leave them alone, even though I can see the benefits of the more renegade option ONI is committing to.
Just because there is a problem doesn't mean that there is also a solution. Sometimes, there is nothing you can do; and sometimes trying to invent solutions can make things worse.

That is what ONI fell afoul of. They thought that it was plausible for "the Sangheili" to turn on humanity, and therefore thought that there was something they could do to prevent that. There was nothing they could ever do to prevent that though given what the Halo canon has told us about the age, size and power of the Covenant. Yet in trying to do something, quite possible just for the sake of acting, they gave birth to Jul 'Mdama, emboldened anti-human factions everywhere and weakened the Arbiter's capacity to police them. ONi's actions were, in the end, a great detriment to humanity's safety and have actually cost the lives of thousands of humans that would have been alive otherwise.

Looking at the specifics, ONI didn't know how large Covenant space was; they didn't even know where Sanghelios was until 2553CE. They had no idea as to how many colonies there were and therefore absolutely no knowledge whatsoever about what kind of industrial power was out there, what kind of fleets and armies existed, how quickly they could be sent against Earth, and what the political landscape looked like in terms of alliances and infighting. They had nothing. Yet in spite of that, they dived headfirst into a plan that they believed would drastically reduce "the Sangheili's" capacity to turn on humanity? They can't know that, because they have zero clue on just what kind of offensive and future capabilities "the Sangheili " even have. Sanghelios is just on planet out of thousands.

You may have noticed by now that I'm putting Sangheili in commas. Why? I'm doing that to highlight the fact that "the Sangheili" is not a country or a nation or an alliance; it is not a polity like the UNSC or the UEG. It is a species. It doesn't have intentions or capabilities. It is nothing more than a large group of individuals that share close genetics, and that's where the association between them ends. Within this group exists a massive diversity of culture and nationality just as would surely exist within humans. This is important to note, because ONI made this entire group the subject of their already very weak campaign despite the fact that doing such a thing was incredibly wasteful. They should have instead targeted those specific groups that were anti-human, because otherwise they just wasted their resources on people who weren't a threat to them thereby making it harder to actually control those who were a threat. Carrying out their action on all Sangheili was arbitrary, and as equally valid - and as equally useless - as carrying it out against any other random group of people. If some Sangheili have made up their minds that they don't want to kill humans, then what distinguishes them from humans themselves with regards to assessing how much of a threat they are to other humans? When looking through ONI's lenses at the word this way, literally everyone is a threat at all times and needs to be actioned, including humans (Because there's also a chance that any human can turn into a murderer or a terrorist, I guess).

Back to the specifics of their plan, they emboldened anti-human factions and factions opposed to the Arbiter, groups that would never have been a threat on the timescales they had been, had ONI not acted. This is ironic; or maybe another phrase for it is "self-fulfilling prophecy". The servants of Abiding Truth would have been in no position to attack the Arbiter without ONI's weapon shipments. ONI gave strength to this faction, making them look more legitimate than they had any right looking. The Servants, having to take resources from the humans they so despised, were obviously having no luck in getting support from their own people. Yet in supplying arms to the Servants, ONI made them look more successful and that would have helped them recruit; ONI gave them a PR boost. This of course lead to the attempted coup on the Arbiter that caught him completely off guard and almost got him overthrown when others realized that they had a shot at taking down the Arbiter, which would have seen anti-human dictators take control when they never would have. The Arbiter, not expecting his foes to be as far ahead as they were thanks to ONI's treason, was not prepared to face this.

The most damaging result of ONI attempting to mess around in Covenant space was the creation of Jul 'Mdama as a figurehead, to which all of these now emboldened factions crystallized around. ONI embroiled the Arbiter in petty turf wars on Sanghelios with nobody factions like the Servants of Abiding Truth, dividing the Arbiter's power and reducing his ability to police hostile factions outwith Sanghelios, making it easier for Jul to recruit and build his faction which would then go on to attack human colonies. Cleyell, a human colony glassed after Halo 3, might still have existed if the Arbiter had been able to mount stronger pressure on the base worlds of these various factions.

For taking part in the coup against an allied government, and for giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the UEG, those involved in ONI's destabilization plot are all traitors to the state and should be stood before a tribunal.

Then we get to the dumb plot to poison the Sangheili's food supply with what is essentially a glorified weed. I mean this can't get any more silly, but given that people still think that this is a clever idea I need to point out how incredibly unlikely it is that the Sangheili only have one food source; or how unlikely it is for such a crop to spread throughout their space once they realize that one specific strain of grain is poisoning people. Something called import/export freezes would take effect, and ONI's crop would be systematically purged from their logistics. Then everyone would start looking for the culprit who engineered this thing, and there's only two groups sufficiently isolated from the economy, food supply and trade that exists in ex-Covenant space that would be unaffected by the attempted mass poisoning of an entire species and the resulting collapse of the agricultural system throughout ex-Covenant space if this thing successfully spread according to its designers intentions... The UEG and the surviving San-Shyuum. That brings an awful lot of scrutiny down upon the UEG.

I can't tell if the writers intended for ONI to look so terribly incompetent, or if the writers are terribly incompetent at writing a competent ONI.
Whether or not ONI was justified in their actions against the Sangheili post-war is a matter of opinion.
It is also very easy to say that ONI's actions lead to further conflict and was actually detrimental to Humanity, but no one can predict the future.
However it is important to remember this: Humanity was at war, and not just any war it was a 25 year long war that say billions of humans killed in some of the most atrocious ways, dozens of colonies glassed to the point of inhabitability, and very nearly lead to their very extinction.
Another point to remember is that Humanity was fighting Aliens, not other humans, which leads to lower degree of sympathy and making it very easy to demonize Sangheili as a whole.
Sangheili themselves in the post-war have not been inspiring confidence why so many of their species still harbouring contempt towards Humanity and with many factions more than happy to continue Humanity's extermination. Even Rtas would have glassed Earth without a second thought, a fact he makes very clear during Halo 3.
Another thing people tend to forget is that almost all those other factions were not influenced by ONI. The Servants of the Abiding Truth may have been quelled faster yes but they would have still caused problems, as would have other Sangheili such as Jul. The fact that the Arbiter had so few allies during the Servants' attack shows just how the other Keeps viewed the Arbiter at the time.
ONI's intent was never to create another problem for humanity, it was only to ignite a civil war on Sangheilios in order to give Humanity time to rise above anyone else who may attempt to kick it down. ONI had no insurance that the Sangheili would not go back to war with Humanity in the near future and so they took steps.
I see a lot of people ask why ONI doesn't trust the Arbiter, and so I ask why should they trust him? Why should they trust an alien that doesn't hold humanities interest at heart who was responsible for over 1 billion human dead and the highest kill count of any Covenant fleet?
As for Rtas' assassination attempt the detail are not clear. All we know is that 3 ONI prowlers were destroyed while trailing The Shadow of Intent. ONI most likely assumed that Rtas had destroyed them which has put ONI on high alert regarding the Sangheili, as Rtas is a very high ranking member of the Swords of Sangheilios. So far though, no actual assassination attempt has been made.
The elites spent 25 years comitting genocide against humanity. They only stopped doing so because the prophets turned against them. They helped humanity for about a month, and as Ghosts of Onyx showed there was still a sizable number of elites planning to kill humanity after the schism (who thankfully died). And of course there were still groups after who were still anti human.

It makes sense not to trust them.
To me it seems like a pseudo treaty of Versailles situation except there is no treaty to end hostilities (main covenant leaders dead, no-one to deal with) and neither side really won (elites just left the side that humanity was at war with). Humanity is the German Empire of this situation as they are almost down to nothing left to fight with and want revenge for losing BILLIONS of people, hundreds of expensive ships / war equipment and lots of money. Meanwhile the elites are well off (besides knowing that 1000's of years of their history was all for nothing) and could destroy the rest of humanity if they really wanted to put effort into it, which some do and some don't care anymore.

So being human and an RVB fan, I'll say "...when faced with extinction, any alternative is preferable..." (Director) as this mindset seems to match ONI's mentality after the war as humanity could still be quickly killed and so they are doing whatever they can to buy the UNSC more time to rebuild, advance, recruit and wargame for the next war so that they can win outright and not be the losing force.

So I think ONI is in the right for what they are doing since most of the galaxy still seems to want us dead after the war "ended" and the UNSC needs any help it can get.
I see where you’re going anton1792 and you make great points, but I do disagree somewhat. Consider that ONI is now acting from a position of perceived superiority. With the Covenant scattered and no common cause amongst Sangheili - as you rightly pointed out - ONI has on the other hand built a small army of Spartans and can ship them around space on the Infinity, one of the most powerful vessels in the galaxy. From this backstop position of strength it makes sense to come at the Sangheili in two ways:
  1. top down: two warring factions is better than one unified faction that could create that cause the Sangheili lack and turn it on humanity again
  2. bottom up: understand what keeps them alive and find ways to poison it
As EvilKeny28 says, it’s not about whether you trust the Sangheili, it’s about whether you will ever again allow them to be in a position to slaughter humanity by the billion. It’s the oldest adage to keep your enemies closer than your friends, and even in this friendship, I would want the terms to be dictated by humanity, to be certain at all times we keep the ability to destroy the Sangheili before once again becoming victim to their warfare. Sure sowing seeds of insurrection by arming factions is a risk, but a calculated one against the force of a Spartan-laden Infinity.

If, for instance, they ever again developed advanced, threatening technology, I would expect our union with them to devolve quickly. We always need to keep the upper hand now and should do whatever it takes to ensure this is the case. I’d stop short of genocide, but I’d have little compunction putting them back in the Stone Age, and would 100% make sure that if it ever came to us or them again, it would definitely be them getting clipped this time.
Meanwhile the elites are well off (besides knowing that 1000's of years of their history was all for nothing) and could destroy the rest of humanity if they really wanted to put effort into it, which some do and some don't care anymore.

The Sangheili are far from well off. The Kilo 5 Trilogy delves into all the problems they are currently having. They no longer have access to many engineers and much of their equipment is damaged and in disrepair. The Sangheili, by the end of the war, were not self-sufficient as their role in life had been entirely military oriented for millennia.
Also they underestimate Humanity, as revealed in some of the most recent novels they were plans made in case Earth fell, and then there is UNSC Infinity (which is more powerful than a Covenant Carrier).
Both Humanity and the Sangheili were in bad situations by the end of the war, and it is true that the former was in a worse position. However I don't think there would have been any winners had the hostilities continued.
EvilKeny28 wrote:
Meanwhile the elites are well off (besides knowing that 1000's of years of their history was all for nothing) and could destroy the rest of humanity if they really wanted to put effort into it, which some do and some don't care anymore.

The Sangheili are far from well off. The Kilo 5 Trilogy delves into all the problems they are currently having. They no longer have access to many engineers and much of their equipment is damaged and in disrepair. The Sangheili, by the end of the war, were not self-sufficient as their role in life had been entirely military oriented for millennia.
Also they underestimate Humanity, as revealed in some of the most recent novels they were plans made in case Earth fell, and then there is UNSC Infinity (which is more powerful than a Covenant Carrier).
Both Humanity and the Sangheili were in bad situations by the end of the war, and it is true that the former was in a worse position. However I don't think there would have been any winners had the hostilities continued.
I haven't read the Kilo 5 Trilogy but if the elites are that bad off then I'm surprised ONI hasn't figured that out by now (they do have spying capabilities still correct?). But even with both species in bad positions I'd rather humanity be in the better position by almost any means necessary (I would be against flat out genociding the elites as they could be allies once humanity is strong again and could afford to risk a war with them if things turn sour).
You have a heavily militarized, technologically superior state that has stood for over 3000 years on the grounds of theocratic indoctrination, and for 30 of those years they've used their religious beliefs to justify the wanton slaughter of 10s of billions of people in a genocidal campaign unlike any that has been seen before in human history. You would have to be a complete moron to be at the head of ONI and not take steps to ensure the Elites could never rise to threaten mankind again. The Arbiter is just one, uniquely liberal individual in a society that is dogmatically theocratic, no one can possibly expect his side to win in any expedient fashion, if at all, so ONI's attempts to keep Sangheili society weak only makes sense. Immoral, yes, but no one is acting like ONI are bastions of lawful good.
I see where you’re going anton1792 and you make great points, but I do disagree somewhat. Consider that ONI is now acting from a position of perceived superiority. With the Covenant scattered and no common cause amongst Sangheili - as you rightly pointed out - ONI has on the other hand built a small army of Spartans and can ship them around space on the Infinity, one of the most powerful vessels in the galaxy. From this backstop position of strength it makes sense to come at the Sangheili in two ways:
  1. top down: two warring factions is better than one unified faction that could create that cause the Sangheili lack and turn it on humanity again
  2. bottom up: understand what keeps them alive and find ways to poison it
It's a huge failure of ONI to think that they have any upper hand on anyone. A small army of Spartans-IVs and the Infinity are a massive resource drain for a battered post-war entity like the UNSC, which has lost over half of its pre-war population and most of its colonies; which represents a massive loss to its pre-war economic output. That means less available resources and smaller budgets compared to the pre-war days. Existing infrastructure and resources are going to be tied up in rebuilding Earth, and rehousing refugees from across the colonial front line.

The Infinity and the S-IV's are entirely dependent on huge and very fragile logistical networks that wouldn't survive any real attempt to destroy them. A ship the size of Infinity with 17'000 crew-members isn't going to be serviceable to most shipyards in human space given the unprecedented size of such a vessel, and the price tag of its highly experimental technology will make it a costly upkeep. I can't imagine the amount of resources the Infinity is sucking up from the fleet budget just to keep it running, in terms of how many other other vessels the UNSC could field instead. Spartans themselves require Mjolnir armor and augmentations that are extremely invasive and require dozens of hours of surgical time and weeks of post-augmentation observation and recovery. All of this expense is to be loaded onto a smaller post-war budget in the midst of humanitarian crises in UEG space, as well as the continuation of the secession of UEG colonies.

And the result of all these costs? A ship that can only be in one place at one time and is - in the end - still subject to the same limitations as every other UNSC ship: That being the profound lack of intel that ONI has on the Covenant sphere of civilization. In other words, the Infinity is useless if you don't know where to send it. The Infinity is also useless against hardened targets as the Escalation comic showed us when a Covenant defense station gutted the Infinity. The Infinity and the Spartan-IV's are completely overrated by this community.

I've already laid out the problems for the top-down and bottom-up strategies as well. They cannot work, not because they are immoral, or because ONI should trust Sangheili, or any of any of that emotional baggage: They don't work because they are literally impossible for ONI to action them. The problem with ONI after Halo 3 has never been a problem with ethics, law, trust or morality. It has been a problem of practicality, calculation and logistics.

As EvilKeny28 says, it’s not about whether you trust the Sangheili, it’s about whether you will ever again allow them to be in a position to slaughter humanity by the billion. It’s the oldest adage to keep your enemies closer than your friends, and even in this friendship, I would want the terms to be dictated by humanity, to be certain at all times we keep the ability to destroy the Sangheili before once again becoming victim to their warfare. Sure sowing seeds of insurrection by arming factions is a risk, but a calculated one against the force of a Spartan-laden Infinity.
Trust is irrelevant. Whether ONI trusts them or loathes them does not have any bearing on their ability to act on those feelings. This is what is called an emotional appeal, but it is baseless. UrbaneRocket495's and EvilKeny28's arguments are essentially the same fallacy; emotionally laden appeals that do not fit the facts or the canon. I don't care what circumstances would lead to ONI not trusting others. It doesn't matter, because ONI are toothless. The other arguments in this thread amount to pretending that ONI was in any position to do anything.

I will quote what I said in the opening of my first post:

"Just because there is a problem doesn't mean that there is also a solution. Sometimes, there is nothing you can do; and sometimes trying to invent solutions can make things worse."

There was nothing ONI could do about the Sangheili. Nothing. Yes, ONI doesn't trust them. Yes, ONI are right to distrust them after the war. That however is all ONI had any capacity to do, other than say a more nuanced plan to cultivate pro-human groups at the expense of anti-human ones perhaps (Because people don't seem to understand the distinction between a species and a political faction for some reason, even though that distinction has been built into the Halo canon since day one through the Carver Findings).

If, for instance, they ever again developed advanced, threatening technology, I would expect our union with them to devolve quickly. We always need to keep the upper hand now and should do whatever it takes to ensure this is the case. I’d stop short of genocide, but I’d have little compunction putting them back in the Stone Age, and would 100% make sure that if it ever came to us or them again, it would definitely be them getting clipped this time.
This is basically the argument that race relations are a zero-sum game, but once again commits the fallacy that these species are political units like a country and incapable of sub-dividing, intermingling and seeing sub-groups aligning their interests with sub-groups of other races. It also assumes that things like trade, finance and treaties won't make them too thoroughly integrated economically to start another war. There's a big reason why, after two devastating world wars, Western Europe hasn't went for a third and it's because such a war would have destroyed the economies of every western European nation - and thus their ability to fight - before the first shot was even fired.

Demonstrably, in 2558CE - five years after Kilo-5 - the Swords of Sanghelios have largely solved most of the issues described in those novels. The prospect of food shortages talked about by Raia and Jul? Not mentioned since (And it was a stupid issue anyway; as if the San-Shyuum were actually working their fields or something). The problems with technology? They have taken old ships from the War of Beginnings - like Brigantines and Blockade Runners - and refit them to modern standards to enable them to go toe-to-toe with contemporary Covenant ships. The innovation problem? Try refitting 3000 year old designs with modern technologies and equipment without a great deal of ingenuity. Their military strength? Enough to crush what's left of the Covenant, which the UNSC couldn't do despite the Covenant attacking the UNSC on a continual basis after Halo 3. This is not a faction that doesn't already possess "advanced, threatening technology" and yet in spite of that, their relations with the UEG continue to deepen and general Sangheili-Human interactions continue to approach normative levels.
Double post as I hit the word limit.
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There's another gaping issue with all of your arguments, and it has to do with this idea I already highlighted that it is impractical and unrealistic to view a species as a contiguous unit similar to a country that acts as a single political body.

This is wrong

It is not wrong in the moral or ethical sense (Although it can be). It is wrong mainly in the objective sense. It is a fallacy deeply ingrained within popular science-fiction that either doesn't have the screen time to showcase the actual differences that would exist within and throughout an intelligent species of individuals spread across hundreds of light years of space, or which is too lazy to address the issue, or for which the issue is simply not relevant to the plot.

Another way of framing the problem is to ask what relevance a group of anti-human Sangheili has to a group of Sangheili that are not interested in humans or who are keen to do business with humans? The answer is that they have no relevance at all. Their species doesn't mean anything because their species is not a contractual obligation to, or a cultural tie with, or a national identity with others of their own kind.

You only need to look at 21st century humanity to see how fractured an intelligent species is likely to be in this sense, and how almost no one places loyalty to the species above loyalty to their nation. Now take that diversity and difference that exists within one species that share one planet and imagine how bad it would be when said species is spread throughout the stars across thousands of totally different planets, with totally different circumstances, across timescales measured in thousands of years. Do we seriously think it is sensible view the Sangheili as a group, like some kind of a space country that can act as one? That wasn't even true during the Covenant's reign, with Sangheili planets like Hesduros having no ties to Sanghelios; with Covenant worlds falling off the maps for decades according to Warfleet; with Sangheili worlds having different cultures as seen in Halo:Shadow of Intent. So why the hell would it be true after the war? Why does ONI even need to do anything?

Everyone so quickly accepts the validity of the Carver Findings in their support for the Spartan-II program, but then throws them out when it comes to justifying ONI's actions against the former Covenant species. Carver's Findings stated that as human space gets larger the ability of central government to police its borders declines, leading to political differentiation and the development of alternate loyalties rival to those of Earth. This applies to the Sangheili as well, and examples from fiction support that. There is therefore no justification for ONI's actions in targeting the entire species, and no need to either. The problem with anti-human groups is not a racial one. It is an ideological one, and ONI's approach was extremely poor in actually combating it. Instead, it lead to an anti-human bubble that grew, but like all bubbles it was artificially inflated and did not reflect underlying reality.

A group of pro-human Sangheili have no more relation or obligation or susceptibility to a group of anti-human Sangheili than a group of pro-UEG colonists has to a group of insurrectionists from a dissident colony. Punishing both across the entire racial category to deal with the problematic ideological element is wasteful and counter-productive. This is not even the analogy of allowing one bad apple to spoil the bunch. This is more like having thousands of different bunches of apples, and then throwing out all of them because you found a bad apple inside one bunch. Oh, and all those bunches of apples were produced at different times and from all around the globe. They're about as disconnected as one can get, and the only commonality is the species of fruit.

Time on this issue has shown me the total absence of good arguments against this issue. It's always the same lame duck emotional appeals about how bad the war was to humans, or how humans can't trust the Sangheili - which are all totally irrelevant. Or it's about simply being incorrect about what kind of capability ONI has to affect much of anything in Covenant space post-war, and exaggerating the UNSC's post-war military might, and exaggerating the problems faced by the ex-Covenant polities - all of which can be corrected by simply reading the source material. Or simply being flat-out wrong about the nature of Covenant religious devotion and dogma like Roberto jh's post above - which is a simple matter of only having to read one particular page of Contact Harvest and Broken Circle to clear up. It's always the same debunked and outdated talking points from Traviss' novels that get parroted without anyone thinking about them, because hey, Halo authors must surely know what the -Yoink- they are talking about in their writings, right? heh

I don't think people are that gullible though. Over time I've come to realize that a significant part of this denial is connected with wanting that vicarious revenge and power fantasy against the Covenant species that was withheld during the Nylund-Bungie story arcs for so long. In this sense, given that ONI's actions are both surplus to requirement and also practically infeasible for it to pull off, I think nothing of it as being anything else other than a cynical power fantasy for some people. They will defend it tooth and nail in spite of all the contrary evidence because it emotionally means something to them, and that's why despite all the recent canon since Glasslands having proven them wrong, people still blindly defend it as if this is still 2011 canon.
If anything the Elites are justified to retaliate against Humanity.
i think ONI is being too agressive with their espionage we should do our best to mend wounds and improve relationships with the various species of the covenant
anton1792 wrote:
A small army of Spartans-IVs and the Infinity are a massive resource drain for a battered post-war entity like the UNSC.
No evidence of this. Yes it's lower numbers than they had, but it's higher impact + higher survival rates = higher efficiency.
anton1792 wrote:
The Infinity and the S-IV's are entirely dependent on huge and very fragile logistical networks that wouldn't survive any real attempt to destroy them.
How so? There's no indication they are dependent on any such thing.
anton1792 wrote:
And the result of all these costs? A ship that can only be in one place at one time and is - in the end - still subject to the same limitations as every other UNSC ship
All ships in the universe can only be in one place at one time - this doesn't make them all equal. The Infinity is far from equal, with greater armaments and navigational capabilities than any other UNSC ship, as you well know.
anton1792 wrote:
The Infinity is also useless against hardened targets as the Escalation comic showed us when a Covenant defense station gutted the Infinity.
It was hit multiple times by a PLANETARY GLASSING BEAM and survived. That's not "useless", it is uniquely powerful and resilient, something humanity could well have done with during the war.
anton1792 wrote:
I've already laid out the problems for the top-down and bottom-up strategies as well. They cannot work, not because they are immoral, or because ONI should trust Sangheili, or any of any of that emotional baggage: They don't work because they are literally impossible for ONI to action them.
This doesn't make sense - you've already said in your original post that the top-down did work. You say it was ill-advised, but that it had an impact.
anton1792 wrote:
This is basically the argument that race relations are a zero-sum game, but once again commits the fallacy that these species are political units like a country and incapable of sub-dividing, intermingling and seeing sub-groups aligning their interests with sub-groups of other races. It also assumes that things like trade, finance and treaties won't make them too thoroughly integrated economically to start another war.
No it isn't, not at all. It is the argument that WAR is a zero-sum game, and commits to the EVIDENCE that the last conflict between the two species was a genocide, and as such it would be foolish to allow the next conflict to be the same. Suggesting trade & finance etc. can prevent war has only ever proved true of known civilisations in the short/medium-term. In the long-term, there's always war. That's not a fallacy, it's just basic history.
anton1792 wrote:
There's another gaping issue with all of your arguments, and it has to do with this idea I already highlighted that it is impractical and unrealistic to view a species as a contiguous unit similar to a country that acts as a single political body. This is wrong.
This is a really, really odd statement given the central pillar of the Halo universe. It was called the Human-Covenant war for a reason.
ONI is just stirring the pot.
Is it morally right? No, but ONI is probably the most powerful human agency and considering how sneaky and subversive they are: I’m not surprised they would use such tactics to stay in power. While it is currently beneficial to the survival of the human species that ONI is so manipulative(and I’m sure former CINCONI Margaret Parangosky’s and her successor Serin Osman’s intentions are for the greater good of the human species), eventually there is going to come a time when this becomes controversial and starts more human civil wars and terrorist groups claiming the government and/or military is corrupt and so on and so forth. Maybe by that time the government will be corrupt and so will the future ONI, so the better question is: Should ONI be allowed to have so much power? And yes most of this is secret, but many secrets don’t stay secrets forever and with how many secrets ONI has, it is only a matter of time before they are leaked. After all, ONI can’t continue cleaning up all the loose ends forever.
No evidence of this. Yes it's lower numbers than they had, but it's higher impact + higher survival rates = higher efficiency.
With the cost of hundreds of Mjolnir suits - which less than a decade earlier had been as costly as a small battle-group (And that was with the benefit of the resources and procurement of a much larger UEG at the time) - hundreds of augmentation batches and the preceding thousands of hours of R&D time to create them, thousands of hours of surgical and observation time post-augmentation and a massive chunk of the UNSC fleet budget for a decade to build the Infinity. It's patently obvious they are a huge drain and it's certainly not cost efficient. It produced one ship that couldn't crack a moderately defended ex-Covenant stronghold world.

It costs the US Government $2.5 million every day to keep a carrier group afloat (On top of the initial ~$13 billion price tag), yet you think that something like the Infinity, being 3km longer than the vast majority of the UNSC's other vessels (So that's like the US Navy trying to build a carrier that's not 337m long, but 1.2km long), carrying cutting edge equipment from a Forerunner slipspace drive to the largest shipboard MAC ever built, and 17'000 crew-members (Three times larger than an entire US Navy carrier group alone), isn't going to cost a huge amount of money for the UNSC? We've not even thrown in the Infinity's escorts yet either for all those crew costs.

How so? There's no indication they are dependent on any such thing.
Where does the Infinity get its Archer missiles from? Where do the missile manufacturers get all the components to build those missiles?
Where does the Infinity get it's nuclear ordinance from, and how are those built? What's the procurement like for their components? Who refines the fissile materials?

The Infinity also has to source ammunition and weapons for its Marine compliment, spare parts for all the repairs that must go on across a 5km long ship, filled to the brim with cutting edge equipment much of which is still experimental and therefore prone to breakages and bugs. It has to feed 17'000 crew-members and carry enough medical supplies. It has to source Warthogs, Pelicans, Mammoths, Longswords, and it has to procure fuel for them all. The Spartan's Mjolnir armor is a fusion of advanced computing technologies, sensor tech and materials science which all has to be brought together.

None of this stuff just get's cranked out in a simple logistics chain.

All ships in the universe can only be in one place at one time - this doesn't make them all equal. The Infinity is far from equal, with greater armaments and navigational capabilities than any other UNSC ship, as you well know.
That's why you favor more ships, rather than a small handful of super units (Or in this case, one super unit).

It was hit multiple times by a PLANETARY GLASSING BEAM and survived. That's not "useless", it is uniquely powerful and resilient, something humanity could well have done with during the war.
Why are you telling me that it was hit by a glassing beam? That's not a supporting point. Such weapons aren't exactly rare in the Covenant's fleets.The Infinity was mission-killed by a standard piece of Covenant tech. Am I supposed to be impressed, and think that Infinity could do anything to a Covenant world that had two or more of these canons? Or to a Covenant fleet that had them? I'm not impressed at all.

This doesn't make sense - you've already said in your original post that the top-down did work. You say it was ill-advised, but that it had an impact.
I said that the top-down approach was unnecessary and ill-advised, not that it worked. It didn't work.

No it isn't, not at all. It is the argument that WAR is a zero-sum game, and commits to the EVIDENCE that the last conflict between the two species was a genocide, and as such it would be foolish to allow the next conflict to be the same.
The two species are not at war following the collapse of the Covenant. The UEG continued to be at war with specific factions that had Sangheili in them. So you are absolutely viewing race relations as a zero-sum game here, especially in the long term given the rest of your reply below, and in spite of my best attempt to explain why it is incorrect, you continue to view them as contiguous political units as well.

Unfortunately almost everything I have said regarding this issue has been missed in its meaning, and I'm not prepared to type all that out again.

Suggesting trade & finance etc. can prevent war has only ever proved true of known civilisations in the short/medium-term. In the long-term, there's always war. That's not a fallacy, it's just basic history.
That's a silly oversimplification of the world. Europe is going through its longest stretch of peace in the history of the continent following WWII, and much of that has been owed to the economic integration that began with the establishment of the European Coal and Steel community that sought to integrate the foundational industries of France and Germany's militaries (Coal and Steel production), and place them under the supervision of a supranational entity that both nations controlled. The expansion of the ECSC into the Common Market and eventually the European Union has made Western Europe the most politically stable place on the planet, when historically there was seldom a time of peace prior to WWII.

This is a really, really odd statement given the central pillar of the Halo universe. It was called the Human-Covenant war for a reason.
The Human-Covenant war has nothing to do with anything I've said.
OK anton1792 as I said before, I think you make some good points based in sound thought - I haven’t missed your arguments, I just disagree with their application to the Halo universe.

You think I’m overrating the significance of Infinity because you say it relies on the same support mechanisms as any other ship, is expensive, and is still susceptible to Sangheili weaponry. I disagree. I’m saying the Infinity is sufficiently advanced (tech, navigation, weaponry, manufacturing) that the advanced costs are delivered with a non-linear relationship to impact, making it more efficient at the price - not a drain, but a bonus, money better spent.

e.g. I’m telling you it’s significant that Infinity was damaged by but survived multiple hits from a glassing beam, because no other human PLANET has survived this, let alone any other ship. To ignore the significance of this advance in tech, and the difference it would have made to Human-Sangheili conflict, seems odd.

Also yes Mjolnir was super expensive, but now that there’s an army of Spartan-IVs running amok in the stuff surely you can see that that obviously shows the UNSC can afford it, because, simply, it exists. So again it would seem that efficiency gains mean the tech must be cheaper to produce and maintain - basic manufacturing economies of scale.

You say I’m viewing species relations as zero sum, I’m telling you I’m not. I’m pretty clear on this, so why you’re not, I’m not sure. I’m perfectly aware the history of Europe, but you seem to missing out the details inconvenient to your argument:
  1. Germany STILL has self-imposed military restrictions due to its history
  2. Russia just annexed Crimea and has lit up both Ukraine and Georgia in the last decade
  3. The Yugoslav wars went on for 10 years starting in the 90s
This peaceful trade-driven bliss you’re taking about doesn’t exist mate. Trade keeps things smooth but people are people. It’s not an oversimplification to point out that thousands of years of human history outweighs the last 50 - it’s naive to think otherwise.

And this whole thread is about Human-Sangheili conflict, so apologies but saying that nothing you’ve said has anything to do with the Human-Covenant war just makes no sense.
Seems like what they're really trying to do is provoke another war with the Elites instead of stopping a potential one.

I say they need to quit their yoink before they burn a bridge.
anton1792 wrote:
I don't think people are that gullible though. Over time I've come to realize that a significant part of this denial is connected with wanting that vicarious revenge and power fantasy against the Covenant species that was withheld during the Nylund-Bungie story arcs for so long. In this sense, given that ONI's actions are both surplus to requirement and also practically infeasible for it to pull off, I think nothing of it as being anything else other than a cynical power fantasy for some people. They will defend it tooth and nail in spite of all the contrary evidence because it emotionally means something to them, and that's why despite all the recent canon since Glasslands having proven them wrong, people still blindly defend it as if this is still 2011 canon.
You make some good points, however I disagree a lot with what you have said.
Infinity and the Spartan 4s may be a drain on resources, but are not a liability as they have demonstrated their worth and effectiveness time and time again. GEN2 also does not cost nearly as much as the previous MJOLNIR models, which helps sustain the Spartan 4 program.
Also the fact that Humanity would be so close to the brick of annihilation would motivate a lot of people to keep things going.
Also we do not know that much about what infrastructure Humanity had after Earth as such information has never been given, but we do know that ONI has plans should Earth fall as evidenced by Bad Blood.
ONI does have a lack of intel yes, but by the end of the war they had already discovered the location of several Sangheili colonies and then proceeded to destroy one with a NOVA bomb. Even crippled Humanity was still capable of hurting their adversary.
Infinity and the S4s are far from overestimated. Infinity is the single most powerful ship ever created by Humanity and is only seconded by a Covenant Supercarrier. It is able to take on a small fleet of warships on its own and was the only vessel in Earths fleet capable of damaging the Didact's ship and we know how powerful the Super MAC platforms are. Yes it was disabled by Covenant Space Station, but we have no idea how common those are and despite firing its glassing canon 3 times (which overheated the gun) it was unable to destroy Infinity.
Truth is also far from irrelevant. ONI could not trust Thel due to his actions during the Human Covenant war as well as the fact that he was the only Sangheili that was calling for peace between the two species and he had a lot of rivals. My arguments do appeal to emotions yes, because that is exactly how people would feel and how they did feel if Kilo 5 has any worth. 25 years of attempted genocide is not simply swept under the rug.
ONI is far from toothless if Halo Envoy is anything to go by. Also ONI was capable of things, they did engineer a Sangheili civil was that has continued all the way till 2558, and they did create that poison weed thing and could deploy it if things between the two were to escalate once more.
I believe that you underestimate the impact that an Alien race that committed 25 years of genocide against Humanity would have on them. It doesn't matter if the Sangheili are not politically united, for ONI that's just a bonus, they would simply want to ensure that such an attempt at genocide could never be attempted against Humanity again.
You are correct that the Sangheili have solved many problems since the end of the war, however the details are not known to us. Trading with their human allies probably helped their stability speed up as we do know that Human-Sangheili exchange was present post-war. We do not know how fairs their agriculture or engineering output. The fact that they are retrofitting old ships implies they still cannot mass produce their own ships, at least not at an acceptable rate. And this is all ignoring the Human side of things, who in the meantime have fully rebuilt Earth's defences, have already begun re-colonialization efforts, have built new warship types and weapons with experimental technologies such as the Hannibal Mantis well under way, the S4s are further increasing in size and Infinitie's sister ship has begun construction. Humanity by 2558 is more powerful than the Swords of Sangheilios and is further implied by Lasky's speech at the start of Spartan Ops when he says "now we are the giants".
Also saying that the Sangheili defeated the New Covenant while the UNSC failed is flat out wrong. Both of them engaged the new threat. By the time of Halo 5, the Covenant were almost defeated and then their leader was killed by S4 fireteam. This caused the remaining forces to launch a final strike on the Arbiter and would have succeeded killing him had it not been for that same S4 team, which were also instrumental at the final battle of Sunaion.
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