Star Trek: Discovery has confirmed why there was never another Klingon War from The Original Series-era onward - and it's thanks to Section 31. First introduced in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Federation's secret black-ops agency has gained new prominence in CBS All-Access' prequel series, and it seems Section 31 is pulling the strings to maintain peace with the Klingons.
Season 1 of Star Trek: Discovery was primarily about the Klingon War of 2256-2257, which was started by Michael Burnham at the Battle at the Binary Stars. The 24 Great Houses of the Klingon Empire devastated the Federation, wrecking two-thirds of Starfleet's ships, destroying Starbases, and ravaging planets. Many thousands died until the Mirror Universe's Emperor Philippa Georgiou attempted to commit genocide on the Klingon homeworld Qo'noS. Burnham stopped Georgiou and instead, Starfleet installed their Klingon ally L'Rell as the new High Chancellor to effectively end the war with an armistice.
All-out war with the Klingons remained a possibility throughout The Original Series era but never fully erupted. The Klingons and the Federation remained enemies for decades until the Cold War ended in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, after which the Klingons and Federation evolved into allies in the 24th century. But Star Trek: Discovery hints that none of it might have been possible if not for Section 31.
Section 31 Is Influencing The Klingon Empire From The Shadows
L'Rell almost lost her fragile control over the Klingon High Council in "Point of Light", the third episode of Star Trek: Discovery season 2. Kol-Sha, head of the House of Kor, learned L'Rell secretly had a child with her Torchbearer Ash Tyler when he was still the Klingon Voq. Kol-Sha kidnapped the baby and blackmailed L'Rell into making him High Chancellor. However, the plot was foiled by the appearance of Philippa Georgiou, who is now a member of Section 31. Georgiou's and L'Rell manipulated the official record so that Ash Tyler was made into a traitor to the Klingons; L'Rell claimed Kol-Sha died defending her. This consolidated L'Rell's power over the High Council and united the Klingons under her - but Section 31 made it happen.
Meanwhile, Georgiou recruited Tyler into Section 31 - this means Starfleet's clandestine agency has their very own Klingon, someone who intimately knows the High Chancellor and all of the ins-and-outs of the Klingon Empire. This gives new context to all of the events between the Klingons and the Federation that follows. Not only could Section 31 be the reason another Klingon War never happened, it could go even deeper: Section 31 could have caused the Klingons to lose the Cold War in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
Is Section 31 The Reason The Klingons Sued For Peace In Star Trek VI?
As seen in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the Klingon moon Praxis - their key energy production facility - mysteriously exploded in 2293. This left Qo'noS in danger of an environmental catastrophe, threatening the collapse of the Klingon economy, and forcing the warrior race to sue for peace with the Federation after decades of hostilities. Despite a conspiracy to prevent peace and frame Captain Kirk for the murder of High Chancellor Gorkon, which was foiled by the crew of the Starship Enterprise, the Khitomer Accords were signed and set the stage for the Federation-Klingon alliance in Star Trek: The Next Generation's era.
Praxis' explosion was said to be caused by overmining and insufficient safety protocols, but what if that was just a cover story? The destruction of Praxis ultimately changed the course of the Alpha Quadrant in a positive direction. And now that Star Trek: Discovery has revealed the clandestine influence Section 31 has on the Klingon Empire, which could have continued for decades even after the end of L'Rell's tenure as High Chancellor, it's possible that Section 31 was also behind the destruction of Praxis. After all, Ash Tyler could have told Section 31 everything they'd need to know about how to bring down the Klingon Empire from within.
Section 31 as the reason there was never a second Klingon War is just a theory, but to quote Spock in Star Trek VI, "it's a theory that happens to fit the facts". Nonetheless, Star Trek: Discovery is cleverly using the black badge-wearing agency to provide new perspectives into what fans know about Star Trek history (at least until Section 31 gets its own spinoff).
Star Trek: Discovery streams Thursdays on CBS All-Access and the next day internationally on Netflix.