Let's assume humanity meets an alien race who are more powerful and high-developed. What would it take to ally with them and trust them?

Assuming we manage to communicate. Knowing that our leaders and our race is mostly very agressive and military, I suppose it would be really difficult. In other cases would a more powerful race want to be an ally of a less powerful and less-developed race rather tgat consume it or make that race a slave? Would an alien race even care about terms like trust or alliance? How to explain what these terms mean?

  • $\begingroup$ If alien race is alien, any outcome is feasible. We would need to know much more to answer meaningfully. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Oct 14 '17 at 12:04
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    $\begingroup$ I have to agree with Mołot: the answer could be anything here, so the question is pretty much unanswerable. You could look at historical alliances for some ideas of how humans (even from vastly different cultures) negotiate, perhaps. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Oct 14 '17 at 12:17

Trust between Nations comes in three steps:

  1. Mutual interests / Mutual damages
  2. Codependence
  3. Integration

Mutual interest / damages

During point 1, since we are in the weaker position, it's up to us, to find something the aliens want, and to make it easier to get it through us, instead of just wiping us out (e.g. selling them iron at a loss, or providing a buffer zone between them and an enemy of theirs). Should we have nothing material to offer them, we must appeal to whatever value system the aliens have ("It's a pity we don't have your spaceship technology, we were planing to build a big temple to Zumpflargel on mars."). Should that also not be an option, we need to try to make it inconvenient to not be allied with us. This would be a tighrope walk, since we'd need to provide enough of a disincentive to be bothersome, but not enough to warrant a military intervention (which we would assumedly loose).


The same as step 1, but turned up to 11. We now need to become so good at whatever worked in step 1, that all alien alternatives become second rate compared to what we offer. The goal is to make it so, that the aliens can't wipe us out without loosing a valuable asset. If we have reached this step, we can start bargaining with the aliens on a more even footing.

Alternatively, we play technological catchup and hope we can reach mutually assured destruction before the aliens notice.


This is the best possible outcome. Earth and the aliens have existed together for so long, that social and political boundaries become weak. A good unifying identity is needed for this step - a idea of "us"ness that can be appreciated by both the aliens and earth. Hopefully such common ground can be found through natural social processes, because so far there has been little luck in RL to engineer this.

The good part about the steps above is, that they don't need trust - they are just based arround self-interest.


Nice bunch of Question marks, let´s see, if my 2 Cent can be a usefull attempt to answer them.

First, how to trust them? Under the preference that they are not interested in conquering our World by the Time of the first Contact, starting a process to build Trust between us, would need to go the Way of being totally open about ourselfs. We would need to tell our History, the brightest and darkest Moments must be tellt. If this goes in both directions, we can begin to understand and Trust eachother. Atleast in my Opinion

To answer why they could or would ally with us, that would depend on their recent History, a.k.a why they are here in the first Place. If it´s just a short Stop to refuel with the resources of our Solar System and just want permission from the native Species, it would be a short interlude, so nothing to worry about. But if they want to stay, the difference between alliance and enslavement could be made by the Numbers. If we assume that 50% of the Human race is developed and willing to fight, that would make ruffly 3.5 Billion Soldiers on the Day i write this. That could be to much to risk a War between us

For the other Questions have i no Idea, but i hope what i have written, is atleast helpfull


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