Originally Posted by horatio
Perhaps the Federation just wanted peace at any price and perhaps giving up cloaking technology wasn't a high price as the UFP doesn't seem to know much about it? On the other hand, it seems pretty foolish to give up such a technology in the long-run.
But again, since in almost all instances of it's use a method of detection has been quickly devised to counter cloaking technology when encountered (unless plots warrant otherwise) I'm still left wondering what long-term effect not having the technology had on the Federation.
Based on the available evidence it never really set them back any.
Of course, we don't know what (if anything) Romulus gave or up or conceded in the agreement so there remain important gaps in the circumstances of the Treaty that mean it's hard to effectively judge the cloaking device element.
About the balance of power, in a two player game it might be indeed a simple matter of numbers. Kinda like in the Dominion War, they were simply faster at ship and soldier production. But there are also Klingons, so matters become a bit more complicated due to the potential of alliances in a three-player game.
Furthermore every side plays differently. Kevin mentioned the Rom(ul)an self-sacrifice and Klingons don't mind to die in battle either whereas the Federation is fairly defensive.
And last but not least, in war neither Klingons nor Romulans dare to go all in as they have other enemies on the far side of their borders. So even if these two powers are far stronger than the Federation, a balance of power can exist and endure.
But these militaric issues have never been portrayed too well in Trek, that the Klingons could wage war against the Romulan Star Empire and the Federation in Yesterday's Enterprise seemed pretty unlikely to me. On the other hand, it is easy to piss off a Klingon, especially one who wants to get fast to Stovokor.
The balance of power is something that seems to get short thrift and all that's left is guesswork based on the fact that none of the big players have been able to swarm over the other and usually have to form alliancies in order to gain a workable edge over the remaining power.