Starship Troopers was not a massive critical hit when it was released, but the odd, fascistic world the film creates has spawned years of conversations and theorizing.
The film is centered around a simple plotline, with Johnny Rico, a typical action hero, getting caught up in both a love triangle and a generic space-faring adventure. It's only upon a closer examination of the film that its shell of normalcy begins to crack, and you realize everything may not be as it seems.
Paul Verhoeven, the director of Starship Troopers, has made it very clear fans are not simply imagining the film's subtext and deeper meaning. It was his intention to create a film that makes you initially root for the main characters and only later realize their actions may not have been so heroic. It's no surprise a film dripping in this much subtext has set the internet ablaze with scores of Starship Troopers fan theories.
Starship Troopers frequently cuts away to some sort of computer desktop screening Federation news. Redditor /u/HowlsRegularCastle argues this is because the entire film is Federation propaganda, and those cutaways are the commercial breaks.
This theory would also explain why all of the supposed soldiers in the film look like supermodels, and why none of the main characters ever seem to question the morality of the Federation's decisions.
What problems does a utopian society have? According to Redditor /u/Shazaamism327, a society on the level of the Federation, with world peace and advanced technology, would be most concerned with overpopulation.
This Redditor makes the argument that the Federation promotes military service and keeps itself involved in a perpetual clash as a way to keep population numbers down. The conflict works to prevent overpopulation, stimulate the economy by constantly making vehicles of war, and discourage infighting on Earth by making the Arachnids into a common enemy.
Maybe the destruction of Buenos Aires and losing the assault on Klendathu were both done on purpose, or maybe the Federation is just incredibly incompetent when it comes to its military. When you think about it, it makes sense that a one-world government with no infighting would be fairly rusty when it comes to military prowess.
Redditor /u/Squigs makes a compelling case for the Federation's military incompetence by analyzing the assault on Klendathu. It fails so spectacularly because of the tight formation of the Federation's starships, but when we see the Federation's next assault, this strategy has not changed.
A comment by a former Redditor outlines the military's incompetence further. For one thing, the troopers' main strategy throughout the movie is to retreat at the first sight of bugs. For another, their military arms in the film have every attachment you can think of except an aiming device of any sort. They are constantly marching into conflicts they are completely unprepared to fight.
#BugsCan'tThrowAsteroidsAcrossSpace is a hashtag that no one has ever used, but it perfectly encapsulates the basis of many theories in the Starship Troopers community. Redditor /u/Amrlkjaneway isn't afraid to do a little math to back it up.
Assuming the bugs don't have the capability to launch asteroids at light speed and are thus launching the giant rocks at regular ol' asteroid speed, it would take 500 million years for an asteroid to get all the way to Earth from the bug homeworld. This means the asteroid could not have been sent by the bugs in a deliberate strike against humans. With this in mind, it seems highly unlikely that the bugs started or are perpetuating the conflict.