The United Federation of Planets is an interstellar alliance of various planetary governments and colonies ostensibly united for social, economic, scientific, and defensive cooperation. But since its founding in the Terran year 2161 (1536 IR), the Federation has in truth been continuously on the move to subvert nearby civilizations into joining their alliance, absorb their technologies and wealth, and all the while stamping out their cultural individuality, replacing it with Federation imperialist dogma.
Membership in the Federation hinges on several requirements, such as a unified planetary government (which is easier to manipulate than a balkanized planet), and equality for all their citizens (which allows the weak and fearful to hold positions of power). Even when the world in question is not up to their membership criteria, the Federation often imposes blockades around these star systems, preventing their development by "outside influences" under the guise of their fraudulent "Prime Directive". All the while, covert Federation operatives quietly observe these civilizations, and secretly subvert their primitive governments, pave the way for eventual assimilation into the Federation hegemony.
Federation government is made up of a Council of representatives from their member worlds, presided over by the office of the Federation President. This is their key weakness, as it renders their government inefficient and bureaucratic. Council decisions must be ratified by a majority of its membership whose disparate viewpoints rarely coincide with the best interests of the state. Further crippling governmental powers, the Federation President is rendered ineffectual by the series of "checks and balances" imposed upon this office by the Constitution of the United Federation of Planets. Subsequenlty, the decision-making power of the president is too limited to be effective, and the few areas within his direct influence are subject to veto by the Council. Clearly, they lack the unified leadership necessary for survival in any kind of sustained conflict.
The military authority of the UFP is Starfleet Command, which is responsible for the defense of the Federation, as well as seeking out new resources to exploit and new civilizations to undermine and control. To this end, the Federation equips Starfleet with well balanced starships, with the very latest technological advances. Federation starships are well suited to their dual roles of exploration and defense, with a good balance of speed, defensive shielding, hull strength, and offensive weaponry. However, the captains of these starships are limited with various constraints imposed upon them by the Federation Council through Starfleet Regulations. Adherence to these regulations make Starfleet commanders predictable when challenged and reluctant to fight, ultimately rendering them ineffective warriors despite the formidable tools provided them.
Because the Federation has blocked off most of the Empire's access to resources in the Alpha Quadrant, war is inevitable. The Empire must expand into these territories if it is to survive. This coming war is what the industrial might of the Empire has prepared for throughout the past 70 years, and the Klingon people shall prevail.