This is a story from a long time ago... well, in internet terms that is. There was a story on the news about a whale who had lost its way and found itself stuck in a river. Humans spent a few weeks trying desperately to lead the whale out of the river, back to the ocean where it belonged and where they assumed it really wanted to be. It fought them at every turn, like it was drive to go the wrong way. Though, just now looking for the story, it appears to be a common story, which I think goes on to prove my point...
There was endless speculation on the news about how the whale got there. Well, not so much How, but Why/What. What caused it to get lost? Why did it end up so far from home? What could we do to fix the problem? What did we do to cause the problem? Was there too much electromagnetic distortion in the air which messed up its internal navigation system? Some sound we were making that attracted the whale, making it think there were more of its kind up the river? Did we pollute too much causing it to run in the wrong direction? Every question had the underlying assumption that Humans were the cause and therefore Humans had the responsibility to rectify the situation. The story bothered me.
I've often wondered what first alien contact would be like. Would they land here, come out and greet us as equals, or give us great technological advances? Solve all of our problems? Or would we go out there and meet them amongst the stars? In this second case, we might be ahead of them and we could help them advance, or they might look at us as peers and share what they have learned! It will be such a glorious day, just the thought of it would keep me awake at night.
Then I read something that changed my view - if there were any aliens nearby, we would be more separated by time than space; they would be millions or billions of years ahead of us. It would be like us meet worms and trying to teach them technology - just wouldn't happen.
Hence, why the whale story bothered me. The most likely case if we meet aliens, it would be like how we treat these great whale explorers. They are the Magellans of their species, every other whale knows their names and cheers them to push the boundaries and explore uncharted waters! Then Humans come along, and Humans obviously know what is going on, so Humans try so hard to "fix" the situation and put the whale back where it belongs.
So, I think when we of this planet meet an alien race, they will be as smug as the Humans (probably a billion years more smug), and feel that they would be helping out by sending the Human ship back to its planet, because it is obvious that they didn't know what they were getting into and just got lost, probably due to some advanced alien signaling system that caught their eye or they saw as an invitation to go into space. And the aliens will be happy when they confine all of us to this planet, for our own protection, because they do not want us to beach ourselves on their shores.