Someone made a good comment on this on one of my other forums:
"As far as we were told, the galactic situation is as follows. There is a New Republic ruling over most of the galaxy. They have recently been demilitarising because everyone is tired of war. There is a small rump Empire known as the First Order, which is basically an isolationist, pariah state tucked away in the corner of the galaxy that nobody takes seriously.
Apart from Leia and her old rebel friends like Ackbar, that is, who suspect the First Order are up to something, and have been building up a kind of private paramilitary force known as the 'Resistance' to combat them.
The new film opens days after the First Order launched a murderous terrorist attack and destroyed the Republic's capital. They were then dealt a stunning defeat by the Resistance - their superweapon is lost, the galaxy at large is now aware of their intentions, and people everywhere are surely going to be pissed. They should be in the back foot but instead they now arbitrarily rule the galaxy with no explanation. This is a galaxy where every major corporation, every regional power, every criminal organisation has sizeable military forces - are we really supposed to believe that the entire galaxy is filled with secret Empire sympathisers just waiting for a moment like this to pull the black uniform out of the back of the wardrobe like that episode of the Simpsons where the Soviet Union came back at the push of a button"
Jump a ship in front of them?
Palps got all the explanation he needed though. Snoke feels like he needs more.