The Instigator
AdamCass
Pro (for)
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The Contender
PGooden
Con (against)
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America's foreign policy should be predominantly pro-interventionist

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/9/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,000 times Debate No: 60242
Debate Rounds (5)
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AdamCass

Pro

Resolution: America should be predominantly pro-interventionist with regard to foreign policy, through the use of diplomacy and military, as opposed to isolationist foreign policy.

Definitions:

Interventionism: The policy of intervening within the affairs of foreign nations or organisations.

Isoliationism: The policy of isolating oneself from foreign affairs.

Foreign Affairs: The activities or matters associated with nations, organisations or people abroad.

--

I will be arguing that the United States, as a military superpower, should exercise it's unique position to promote democracy, civil rights and peace abroad in a diplomatically and militarily responsible way.

The first round is for acceptance only. I wish my opponent the best of luck.
PGooden

Con

I accept this debate and will be arguing that the United States (nor any other country, for that matter)--no matter what their status/international standing--has any right to unilaterally intervene in another country's internal affairs.

And best of luck to you, Adam (you're going to need it). :D
Debate Round No. 1
AdamCass

Pro

Thank you for accepting the debate Phillip. I shall reiterate that this debate is specifically about US foreign policy, and is not relevant to the interventionist policies implemented by other nation states, and this is made clear in the resolution. I shall split my arguments into the following 3 key areas:

A1: The United States should assist in the devlelopment of peace and stability abroad.
A2: US interventionism has previously assisted, and can continue to assist, the development of peace and stability globally.
A3: US inaction and isolationist foreign policy is dangerous for global stability.

A1:

The United States, as a nation with exceptional military and economic strength and influence, should assist in the development of peace and stability abroad while also promoting democracy and social freedoms. One, perhaps my opponent, would argue that the United States is not a force for good in the world, and therefore should not intervene in the affairs of another nation. The phrase 'good', is partciularly subjective, however there are common attributes and characteristics which, for the majority of global citizens, would be considered as acceptable. This includes peace, safety and security, all of which have historically and continue to be a major focus of America's interventionism in the 21st century. Furthermore, primary goals in recent US interventions globally, such as the Afghanistan conflict (which has been largely successful), include the promotion of accessible education and the delivery of humanitarian aid [1]. This, as with an abundance of other examples, are perfectly justifiable uses of US interventionism, and there is no particular reason for them not to be carried out.

I would also like to argue that, with abundance of geopolitical issues, from West Africa to the Middle East, there is no international body that actually, effectively deals with any such issues. The United Nations, due to the structure and divisions within, is practically powerless to act upon many global issues which require such attention [2].

The rampant inability for the United Nations to actually act upon many issues, from Kosovo to the current Israel-Hamas dispute, surely it is reasonable to support the notion of a more autonomous international body or major power, such as the United States or to a larger extent NATO (or even the European Union, for that matter, though that is not the specific topic of this debate), to deal with humanitarian, diplomatic and military issues across the globe in an appropriate manner. My opponent, by suggesting that the US should remain isolated from the rest of the world, is compeltely mistaken and this fallacious notion would only lead in the increase of global instability.

"There are numerous other examples of conflicts shaped by the military interventions of the US or Russia: Iraq, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Chile, Iran, Vietnam and Kosovo, to name a few. The UN has been spectacularly unable to deal with those as well. At the heart of its failing are the organisation’s power structure, and the problem of enforcing member states' accountability to international law – and the institutional failings of the UN Security Council (UNSC)."[3]

There is an ultimate need, however, for the United States to assist in humanitarian efforts abroad, particularly in failed states. Such efforts, as seen in places from Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, while clear examples of US interventionism, have been less successful due to the inability for the US to carefully and effectivly plan and act.

"But for intervention to be successful it must be undertaken cautiously, preemptively when possible, and swiftly, with coalitions of willing partners and should focus on rebuilding the institutions and economies that sustain civil society. Moreover, successful reconstruction after intervention takes time, resources, and planning in addition to going hand in hand with stabilization." [4]

With the absence of an international body that can effectively operate, the United States as a unique military power, has a responsibility to contribute and intervene within foreign affairs to provide stability and peace, while promoting democracy and social liberties.

A2:

US interventionism within the affairs of foreign nations has, in many instances, been historically successful, and can continue to be successful, with regard to humanitarian assistance and the promotion of peace and stability. I must affirm that I am not suggesting the United States is some sort of infallible, almighty power that makes no mistakes, nor am I a particular champion of the 'American exceptionalism' argument. However, there is just cause for the United States to intervene with others abroad. There have been many failed US foreign interventions in the past, such as the Vietnam War and most recently the Iraq War. This stems from the inability to appropriately prepare and coordinate an effective effort, to the cause itself (e.g. the attempt at blocking the expansion of communism). Obviously America's justification for intervention varies, and what must be avoided is cases where the United States intervenes in a conflict or dispute where there position is untenable and unjustifiable. This is where democracy comes in to be a good mediator, a free press, among many other things. I shall seek to address these issues later in the debate.

As a clear example of this, comparisons between the US occupation of Japan and the occupation of Iraq have been made, comparing the successes and failures of US interventionism.

"The US occupation of Japan during 1945-52 was highly attuned to the scope and strength of Japanese state institutions. In comparison to US interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, planning for the occupation and political reconstruction of Japan began earlier and was more comprehensive." [5]

Conclusions made by the cited report ([5]) indicate that US intervention, as in Japan and the Pacific, can be wildly successful. And yet, in other instances, can be less successful and can fail. However, what is important is that with future interventions, that should take place, the US should learn (and will most likely learn) from previous mistakes and act more carefully and appropriately. Simply because there have been failures of US interventionism in the past, does not mean US interventionism cannot be successful, which it so obviously has?

My opponent is surely not discounting the success of US intervention in both World War I and World War II, the Korean War (somewhat), the Bulkans and the Gulf War? Would my opponent rather have had the US maintain an isolationist foreign policy during the European conflict of the Second World War, and allow Nazi Germany to continue it's ruthless dominance almost uncontested? Is the successful liberation of Kuwait during the Gulf War not a clear demonstration of successful US military intervention? These are relevant questions, and I would like to hear my opponent answer them.

Furthermore, the United States has been incredibly successful diplomatically, in managing the non-proliferation of nuclear arms globally, where relevant to North Korea and Iran. The US, by applying pressure onto North Korea and Iraq through diplomatic and economic intervention measures, has been moderately successful [6], which further justifies why the US should intervene within the affairs of foreign countries.

A3:

United States inaction and isolationism is dangerous. Without the United States intervening in conflicts and humanitarian disasters, it is simply impractical to rely on the United Nations for such a duty, due to it's afforementioned weaknesses. The US can act autonomously and successfully promote peace, stability and democracy. If the US, as my opponent argues, were to isolate itself from foreign affairs, there would be a substantial upset in the balance of geopolitical relations. Russia, China, the EU and the US all more or less act as a check and balance upon one another, and with the absence of the US from participating in global affairs, there would be an upset and a power shift to those nations.

Furthermore, US contributions to global economics, diplomacy, trade, humanitarian and conflict efforts are fundamentally important, and to isolate itself from these contributions would be to abandon the world. Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, Western Europe, Japan among many other close US allies all heavily rely upon US support. If the United States were to enact an isolationist foreign policy, then it's greatest allies would be put under immense pressure and a substantial threat, not only putting them at risk, but ultimately the United States at risk, with a clear lack of allies. Isolationism, is clearly problematic.

Conclusion

As I have clearly demonstrated, US isolationism is dangerous and unnecessary. The United States must intervene within the affairs of foreign nations in order to preserve global peace and stability, while promoting democracy and civil rights. It is a unique position of which the US maintains, and through appropriate use, diplomatic, economic and military interventionism can be successful. My opponent's stance is both flawed and problematic, and isolationism presents threats to global peace, and threatens the defence, influence and prosperity of which the United States has maintained throughout the 20th Century.

Citations

[1] Jarret Blanc, US Dept. of State, New American Foundation: http://bit.ly...
[2] Inocencio Arias, Fordham International Law Journal, UN and the Security Council: http://bit.ly...
[3] Mohammad Amir Anwar, University of Johannesburg: http://bit.ly...
[4] Carol E. B. Choksy and Jamsheed K. Choksy, E - International Relations: http://bit.ly...
[5] Miguel Nino-Zaraua, United Nations University (Research & Communication on Foreign Aid): http://bit.ly...
[6] Ferial Ara Saeed, National Defense University Press: http://bit.ly...

PGooden

Con

PGooden forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
AdamCass

Pro

AdamCass forfeited this round.
PGooden

Con

PGooden forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
AdamCass

Pro

AdamCass forfeited this round.
PGooden

Con

PGooden forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
AdamCass

Pro

AdamCass forfeited this round.
PGooden

Con

PGooden forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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