Two things: 1) The minor races add variety to gameplay. They do not have aggresive ai, but they cannot be subverted (otherwise they should all look like wrapped presents and be called "gift one" "gift two" etc.). They add to the trade aspect of the game as well, and so balance out the overall experience. If you research good and evil, these characteristics can be capitalized on. Let's face it, if you are militaristic, then the minor races can become tasty snacks that assist in your domination of the galaxy. 2) As for pirates: don't think being militaristic will help you. Even though random pirates actually can be killed off easier by a militaristic race, if we are talking about the major pirate event, those pirates show up all over the galaxy and wreak havoc on everything - and they match your military rating! I had this happen to me on a game where I had fleets with over 1000 attack and defense - and so then did the Pirates. I can tell you, it took 4 hours for the one pirate turn to finish, and the whole galaxy was cleared of any non-pirate military, cleared of all starbases (some fully loaded with all upgrades and modules for attack and defense), etc. All I could do was limp to a technological victory. Well, it was a memorable experience. My suggestion is that if a non-military strategy is not working, you may need to be more militaristic at times. But - the mass pirate event is shocking any way you look at it (and even though I cursed it at the time - I laugh and enjoy the memory now).