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Calling Out Libertarians on Foreign Policy

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/16/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,175 times Debate No: 17076
Debate Rounds (4)
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So, as many of you have noticed I posted a thread on the forum: calling out libertarians on foreign policy.

No one accepted my offer there, so I will post here.

I want to debate someone who supports Ron Paul's view of foreign policy.

I see on the forums the champoning of Ron Paul and how articulate and intelligent he is on the issue of foreign policy. Being a student concentrating on foreign policy and the study of hegemonic theories I want to see who can actually defend his worldview of foreign policy.

Thus, the actual resolution: Ron Paul's View of Foreign Policy Should Be Adopted by the US

The two major planks include:

1) A withdrawal from the international stage


2) A drastic cut of the Defense And Military Budget


1. No semantics

2. Forfeit will result in a loss of all 7 pts

3. No new arguments in the last round

4. Drops are concessions



Big Libertarian here!

I accept the debate and look forward to your opening arguments!
Debate Round No. 1


I negate: Ron Paul's View of Foreign Policy Should Be Adopted by the US


1. Governments, and thus the US government, must adhere to consequentialism

a) This is the only sound poli-ethical stance on the fact that governments are bound to serve the interests of the polity. However, it is not possible for states to fulfill all possible interests for every possible person. Thus, the government must maximize those interests and benefits as a way to best meet its meta-obligation.

b) Moreover, governments must weigh all probable case scenarios in terms of international relation theory and external State action. This is true because a government would not be adhering to basic consequential notions of weighing the magnitude of the harm with the probability of that harm occurring.

2. Burden. The burden is reciprocal. My opponent has the obligation to independently prove that the US has an obligation (under the standard of consequentialism) to adopt Ron Pauls view of foreign policy. My burden as well is to independently show why the US should not.


C1: Assumptions of non-interventionism

I) Reciprocal non-interventionism. This assumption basically says that if X nation is non-interventionist, the relations towards it will be non-interventionist and non-protagonist as well.

This is wrong fundamentally on two levels.

First, it ignores globalization. Globalization is basically the international phenomenon where states become interlocked and interdependent, e.g. through trade and technology. At this point, interests do not only exist inter-lap, but they become increasingly complicated and tied into a web of competing interests. This can be seen with US relations with India due to an increase of technological dependence and worker dependence, like the H1-B visa. Therefore, the notion that a foreign policy of non-interventionism will deter competing interest claims is false because the nature of the system makes those competing interest claims inevitable.

Second, it assumes a rational decision calculus. To be more specific reciprocal non-interventionism assumes countries basically have the same cost-benefit analysis as each other, and as such will come to the same conclusion of non-interventionism. This is a damning assumption to make because states rely first on geopolitical considerations and identity principles. Meaning states depending on their identity have different ways of calculating a cost-benefit. For example, the Taliban thought it was better to keep Al Qaeda in their borders regardless of the Bush ultimatum, whereas Saudi Arabia hedged their bets with the US after the invasion of Iraq. And this shows even minor geopolitical considerations drastically alter a states decision calculus.

II) Interventionism is the root cause of the US’ problems. This assumption basically argues that the problems we fight now are due to past interventionist policy.

This is also wrong on two fundamental levels

First, it is a historicist view of foreign policy. Historicism is the poli-philosophical stance that states history can tell us the future result of state actions. Now historicism is wrong because it can only tell us macro-stories as opposed to micro-stories. Meaning historicism claims a large worldview of an issue and disregards variables in independent cases. Karl Popper tells us that this is a horrible poli-philosophical stance to take because it creates a narrow-decision calculus by which politicians would take, thus antithetical to the notion of consequential decision making.

Second, it cannot resolve anomalies within the international realm. Basically the claim interventionism creates future problems cannot answer issues that have come up from minimal to no past interventionism. For example, non-interventionists claim that terrorism is a result of US foreign policy, and they cite US giving arms to the Taliban. However, this ignores the link between Al Qaeda and Taliban and terrorist attacks against the US. Rubin analyzes this claim, and says it is fundamentally false. Terrorists are guided by an identity issue and not for actual interventionism. If it were true (1) AL Qaeda would have first attacked Europe for its colonizing roots in the Middle East and (2) terrorist attacks would decrease at times when the US is withdrawing from the Middle East. Rubin tells us these are both false. Elaborating on #2 is important however; for example, when the US was pushing for a Palestinian State and was looking to withdraw its presence from the Middle, particularly Saudi Arabia, thats when Al Qaeda bombed the US embassies. Thus, we can conclude that the foreign policy narrative non-interventionists weave is one that has historical fact, but in-correct and insufficient analysis and regardless of the amount of intervention we will be the targets of terror until AQAM is dismantled. [1]

[1] Rubin. The Real Roots of Arab Anti-Americanism

C2: Independent Scenario Analysis [2]

I) Afghanistan. Ron Paul calls for an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. This is highly problematic on the fact that withdrawing from Afghanistan will have 2 major impact: (1) Al Qaeda and the Taliban would once again plunge Afghanistan into a civil war which will harbor and promote jihadism, radicalism and terrorism - making it possible to become the aggressor and not the defender anymore. (2) It will empower global jihadist groups, e.g. in Pakistan, because it shows that the US can be defeated via insurgency tactics. All they would have to do is outwait the US.

II) Pakistan. Ron Paul wants non-intervention with Pakistan. This is problematic because the US has 2 key vital interests in that area: (1) to help counter terrorism in the Pakistani region and (2) be stabilized so its nuclear arsenal would not become an open target for terrorist groups. Pakistan is at the brink level, meaning it is not destabilized enough to be a threat, but is right on the edge of going into the hands of jihadist groups such as Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban. US intervention is the biggest stabilizer because we are drawing those groups to the FATA region to maintain a defensive and we are strengthening the current government to crackdown on jihadists in that area.

III) Iran. Ron Paul wants to lift most sanctions on Iran and will not use military force as a mechanism or a deterrent. He has argued that if the US has nuclear weapons then Iran should be able to as well. However, this is a flawed way of thinking. (1) He is making the assumption of rational decision calculus's on both sides - but it is hard to say that is accurate from a guy who lets homosexual be stoned to death and who believes Europe purposely keeps the clouds away from Iran to make a drought. (2) He is ignoring the different regulatory standards on the US’ arsenal and the Iranians. (3) He is assuming that appeasing the Iranians is enough - looked how WW2 started. Thus I will highlight two potential harms:

First, Iran is the biggest supporter of terrorism in the Middle East. He has called for the destruction of the West and of Israel. This knowing of intent is enough to give probable cause for the US to try and prevent proliferation.

Second, Iran gaining a nuclear weapons throws off the balance of power between US/Saudi Arabia and Iran. Basic international relations theory tells us, especially in light of Ron Paul’s strategy for Saudi Arabia, is that Saudi Arabia will be forced to counter-balance and thus start proliferating itself. This will create heavy tensions in the Middle East, create an environment where terrorists could easily gain a nuclear weapon, the potential for Iran to manipulate the oil markets, and/or Iran to try and preempt Saudia Arabia’s build up.

IV) Yemen. Ron Paul hs called against drone strikes in Yemen. This is problematic because Yemen is the 2nd Sanctuary for Al Qaeda. Intervneing there is necessary to contain Al Qaeda in the FATA region.

[2] Barno. Responsible Transition: Securing US Interests in Afghanistan



Thank you for posting your arguments.

My opponent opens the debate by mentioning non-interventionism and criticises it by writing "This assumption basically says that if X nation is non-interventionist, the relations towards it will be non-interventionist and non-protagonist as well."

My opponent engages in a very detailed analysis that I consider without any doubt interesting, but decisively irrelevant.

The assumption that a non-interventionist policy's goal is to have other countries being non-interventionist towards us is false.

Ron Paul, as well as many other libertarians believe that we should hold a non-interventionist foreign policy because it is in our national interest not to get tangled into problems that do not concern us.

Non-interventionism also does not mean pacifism. Ron Paul and the libertarian movement do realize that we as a nation do have a right to self-defense, however our current foreign policy is not based on self-defense anymore.

We have troops stationed around the world not to defend ourselves but to defend other countries, including Germany, Italy, Turkey, Iraq and South Korea.

There is no clear threat to the United States coming from the countries that neighbor those nation. Troops in West Europe are a relict of the Cold War and are there for no good apparent reason. There is no threat to the US coming from Russia, and we are providing unnecessary defense to West European States that is paid for by the US Taxpayer.

In his second point my opponent claims that the assumption that the problems that we face now are caused by our past interventionist policies is false.

I strongly disagree with this claim. We have a long history of intervening in foreign affairs, and more often than not we are unable to foresee the consequences of our actions.

I would like to list a few examples of people that we have helped in the past who then became a problem for us:

Osama Bin Laden

Got trained, aid and weapons from the CIA to fight Soviet troops in Afghanistan. After the Soviet Union collapsed, he turned his weapons on us. More than 3,000 people died in the 9 11 attacks.

Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein was supported by the US, France and other European powers in fighting against Iran in the Iran-Iraq War.
After the War was over, he sent his troops into Kuwait. The US had to send troops to liberate Kuwait at the cost of over 60 Billion $ and almost 400 american lives.

Having had US troops stationed in Saudi Arabia also enraged our old ally Osama Bin Laden who then attacked us ( see above ).

Islamic Republic or Iran

The current political leaders of Iran are among the biggest critics of US policy in the world and are arguably working on an atomic bomb. The question is, who is to blame for this hostility?
The sad truth is that we are in part responsible for this regime being in power, since we aided the Shah of Persia to come to power as our ally, by staging a coup against a democratically elected leader. This of course enraged many extremist in the country who because of our intervention in their affairs were able to gain enough traction to eventually overthrow the Shah and install an Islamic Theocracy.

There are more examples of how our foreign policy ended up hurting us in the long run, but I shall rest to these examples for now.

My opponent argues that we should remain in Afghanistan, and that a withdraw of our troops is going to be dangerous.
Ron Paul and other libertarians as myself believe that we cannot fight an independence war for every other country in the world.
The Afghani people have their chance to decide what they want from their future. It is not up to us to impose a political system on them, or to resolve civil brawls.

We have seen after a ten year war, that Karzai is now probably going to turn his back on us and make his peace with the taliban anyway. [1]

We has spent billions of dollars and lost hundreds of soldiers in this war and are still not able to bring peace to this region.
It should not be our job to do nation building around the globe and spreading democracy by force.

My opponent also argues that we have vital interests in Pakistan and that "it is in our interest to aid the Pakistani because to help counter terrorism in the Pakistani region and (2) be stabilized so its nuclear arsenal would not become an open target for terrorist groups."

This point is of cause not as easy as my opponent would like it to be. The truth is that we don't know who we can and who we cannot trust in Pakistan and we should therefore keep ourselves out of it.
There is good reason to believe that Osama Bin Laden escaped years ago at Tora Bora because he got tipped off by official within the Pakistani government, which is by the way the reason why the Obama administration kept the raid on Bin Laden's secret and did not share information with the Pakistani government out of fear it would leak again.

It is reasonable to think that our intervention in Pakistani affairs might have consequences that we cannot foresee.

The most sensitive point is of course Iran. I myself believe that Iran should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons. However there has been mongering and talks about the imminent threat of Iranian nuclear weapons for almost ten years now, and nothing has materialized.

The best way to fight the radical regime in Tehran is by letting it implode. If we keep intervening in foreign affairs, especially around the middle east, we will just play into the Iranian's government rhetoric and help them consolidate their power.

The only people who can help the Iranians are the Iranians themselves! We have already seen riots and protests in Iran several months ago and there is a good chance that the so-called arab spring might spread further east.

Intervention in Iran would only make it harder for us to see the theocratic government gone.

We have armed Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan before, we are arming Saudi Arabia now, and the conflicts and alliances keep shifting. Instead of trying to balance the power by selling them weapons that are then used against us, we should just have them deal with their own problems. It is not in our national interest to defend either of those states.

The only nation in the middle east that has proved to be a trusted ally in the middle east, Israel, is well capable of defending itself, and would have already bombed Iran if it believed they were close to manufacturing a nuclear weapon.

History has shown again and again that our foreign intervention policy more often than not comes back and bites us in the posterior.

Policing the world is not in our national interest. It is time that we bring the troops home and start focusing our energy here, and only go to war with a declaration of war, as provided by the US constitution.

Debate Round No. 2



1. He has dropped all of it

*Remember, drops are concessions*

=His Responses=

C1: Assumptions of non-interventionism

I) Reciprocal non-interventionism

1. He says Ron Paul doesnt want us to get tangeled into problems that do not concern us

--> He dropped the first objection I made which said globalization is inevitable, thus it is inevitable that we will be entaglened with other nations and their issues either way. At this point that very fundamental notion which Ron Paul believes is false.This is critical because the worldview he holds will ultimately have no solvency, at least in the way he believes it will have.

--> This doesnt respond fully to my objection. The argument is that nations wont act like a bee and leave us alone if we leave it alone. At that point the US would always be playing the defensive, which will be critical when wmove down the arguments.

--> He dropped my analysis that stats will have different decision calculus' so having a narrow worldvew of non-interventionism will fail in case be case scenarios.

2. Non-interventionism =/= pacifism

--> Paul has given no brightline when the right of self-defense can be activiated. Since he is against preventive and preemptive warfare, I will assume its on a reciprocal basis. This is horrible: 1) It only plays offensive so the only time the US is justified in using force is if we are being attacked already. AND 2) This violates the framework - governments would not be adhering to consequentialism if all their actions had to be reactionary since harms would have to occur each time. Thus, it violates their meta-obligation to protect their citizens by weighing different case scenarios.

3. Troops Stationed

--> TURN: it is necessary to have troops stationed around the world because it makes military readiness much more quick and efficient. The very notion of self-defense you bring up is predicated upon the ability to answer threats within a good timeframe. Withdrawing from the national stage makes it very difficult to even wage a defnsive war against assymtric threats.

--> We have withdrawn most of our troops from Germany. You dont need Ron Paul for that.

--> TURN: South Korea is an advantageous area to have troops since it deters Nrth Korea aggression and helps stop the weapons blackmarket. This helps prevent more weapons technology from being proliferated. Tis would be self-defense. [1]


--> My opponent doesnt think outside the box when it comes international affairs. And his argument is a false dichtomy - since we have bases in other countries we are defneding them and not us.

2) Past foreign policy

1. We cant foresee the consequences of our actions

--> This links into the historicist criticism I provided, which he dropped. My opponent is trying to say look at all these mistakes we made. So intervention is bad. First, no link - it doesnt prove interventionism bad. Second, all of this is retrosepctive. At the time it was seen by policy-makers as beneficial especially in light of the communist threat. Moreover, our policy didnt try and prevent these hotzones from emerging.

--> Thus, TURN: promoting democracy is the best remedy for hot spots. 1) It encourages economic development, through investmment, free trade and free market. 2) It encourages Education reform. E.g. In Afghanistan 6 million children are now in school and the number keeps rising. And thishelps fight radicalism because removes desperation of people, who would have no other recourse and educates people. It is empirically true that democracies have much lower threshold rates of terrorism and radicaism compared to autocracies. [2]

[2] Carothers. Promoting Democracy and Fighting Terrorism.

2. He isolates a few examples

A) Osama Bin Laden

--> He doesnt warrant how us helping him lead to the 9-11 attacks. He just asserts we intervened and now we got hitby a terrorist attack.

--> TURN: non-interventionism helped fuel Al Qaeda because after the US thought it was enugh in Afgahnistan we turned our backs on those people. As such they had no recourse but to organize, which lead to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

B) Saddam Hussein

--> That seemed to be the only course of action to balance rising Iranian power in the area.

--> Oil interests. If we didnt intervene the oil market would have been further put into shock because of Saddam's move into Kuwait.

B1) Saudi Arabia

--> XA Rubin. The argument that US presence created terrorism is a facade. Rubin tells us that if this were true, terrorism would have decreased when US involvement decreased as well. However, Rubin shows that the inverse is actually true - when the US started to withdraw, terrorism against the US increased, e.g. bombing of the embassies. [3]

C) Iran

--> Non-unique. Extremsists were already angered even by the democratic leader that we helped overthrow. So, no solvency on your side. It was still possible that the Islamic Revolution would have occured with or without US intervention before that. Moreover, it probably would have been easier since the demoratic leader was militarialy and politicall weak in comparison to the Shah. So it would have been more probable that an overthrow against the democratic leader by the Islamists .

*He dropped my 2nd objction plus the Rubin evidence from my case. This is a damning concession because it overarchingly diproves the theory Ron Paul holds which says terrorism is the fault of US foreign policy.

--> Unless he can present a scenario-case that can be weighed now, like the ones I provide, he doesnt link to the framework.

C2: Individual Case Scenarios

I) Afgahnistan

1. He argues that the Afghanis should determine their own fate...well: Its either the US or a resurgence of the Taliban. 1) 6/10 Afghans are optimistic about US involvement. 2) The Taliban has an only 10% favoribility rating among the Afghan people. 3) The Taliban had instituted extreme Sharia law, had violated most, if not all basic human rights. 4) Thousands of Shiites had been killed by the Taliban. 5) Thousands of civilians were killed or incarcerated. [3]

[3] Bergen, Peter. Time; Vol. 177 Issue 12

2 Havent brought peace

--> Not warranted or justified.

--> We have brought peace to the a plurality of Afghanistan. The place with the most intense fighting is Souther Afgahnistan and that is because the Taliban still maintain a presence there.

*He dropped the two impcts I provided - 1) withdrawing will plunge afgahnistan into another civil war and an area of safe-haven for terrorists. This gave them the ability to do the 9/11 attacks. Thus, withdrawing makes terrorism against the US homeland much more probable in my opponents world. 2) It empowers global jihad groups, e.g. in Pakistan. This will be crucuial in the Pakistan scenario*

II) Pakistan

1. We dont know who to trust in Pakistan

--> Non-sequitur and false dichotomy..How does that lead us to the conclusion to we need to withdraw? Other options are aviable - like using our aid as a levergae.

--> We do know, but the harm of letting Pakistan destablilize is worse. 1) If you use his stanard of trust as a gauge, its worse cause then we wont be able to trust anyone. 2) This creates another safe-haven for terrorism, again making the probability much highr but also making nuclear terrorism much more likely.

--> Just citing the Osama incident doesnt negate all the other intelligence that Pakistan has provided for us in the FATA region.

III) Iran

1. They havent gotten a nuke yet

--> TURN: thats because we have sanctioned them with targeted sanctions which has hindered their efforts. AND Ron Paul is one of the only members of the House to have voted against sanctions on Iran

2. Let Tehran implode

--> Proven to fail. The democratic movement was quickly erradicated a year ago. Protestors were beaten and imprisoned. And TURN: the US is key to help democratic movements - e.g. soft power in Egypt and hard power in Iraq.

IV) Dropped



First of all I would like to point out that I have not dropped the framework. The framework is the underlying structure of the debate, and I accepted it as such.

I would like to point out that my opponent is clearly trying to manipulate the arguments I have made.

A non interventionist foreign policy refers to the use of military power abroad. There is no doubt that we have economic connections with other countries. We are supposed to. This is also one of Ron Paul's major arguments, since he believes we should trade with other countries but not get involved into their internal affairs.

You belief that non-interventionism means military and economic isolationism is of course false and a misinterpretation of Ron Paul's views.

Nobody is making the argument that other nations will definitely leave us alone if we assume a noninterventionist policy.
This point is not have been made by either me nor Ron Paul and its solely your creation, or perhaps your expectation of what non-interventionism means.

However, we believe that having a non interventionist foreign policy will benefit first and foremost us.
We had a non-interventionist stand before WWII and ended up winning that war without any serious threat of a foreign invasion on our soil.

Furthermore, my opponent's "decision calculus" theory is a a priori argument, which is completely theoretical and he has not shown how a non interventionist foreign policy would fail.

My opponent is also wrong in stating that Ron Paul has not given a framework on when self-defense can be activated.
Ron Paul is not against war per-se, he voted to authorize the use of force in Afghanistan to take out the persons responsible for 9/11 for example, he is however against going to war without a declaration of war as it is stipulated by the constitution.

And by the way, I do believe that we should not attack other countries unless attacked first, or unless there is an imminent threat.

To the point of troops stationed in foreign countries, you make the assumption that we need a global scale of readiness as to be able to defend ourselves. This is of course a fallacy. The US spends already the same amount of money on defense than the rest of the world combined, and the second largest air power in the world after the US Air Force is the US Navy.

We have already military capabilities that are unmatched by the rest of the world and have the only Navy that is able of power projection in any region of the planet.
Troops stationed abroad are a relict of the cold war and not suitable for today's military environment. We are providing self defense capabilities for the South Koreans without getting paid for it, as well as for several European countries. There are around 50,000 US Soldiers station in Germany today.

My opponent claims that "South Korea is an advantageous area to have troops since it deters Nrth Korea aggression and helps stop the weapons blackmarket."

Well from a globalist and imperialist point of view, this is definitely true. However this point is clearly anti-american and also dangerous for our society. We are running the risk of over-stretching, and are spending an incredible amount of money abroad which we could better use at home.
Following my opponent's ideology we should sent troops to Kamtschatka and the Straight of Ormuz as well because those are "advantageous areas".

My opponent criticizes the fact that I have provided "no link" to show the bad side of our foreign interventionism and "therforeit doesnt prove interventionism bad".

I assume that we need to provide links for arguments that might be controversial. I believe that 50,000 dead US soldiers in Vietnam for example are beyond any doubt the bad result of an interventionist foreign policy.

He also writes "Second, all of this is retrosepctive. At the time it was seen by policy-makers as beneficial especially in light of the communist threat."

Well of course all of this is retrospective, because usually one is able to make a better assessment in retrospective. The communist invading south Vietnam was not a threat to the United States, and our intervention there did not even stop it from happening.

We have wasted Billions of Dollars, thousands of US lives and hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in a war that was not ours to fight.

My opponent also asserts that "promoting democracy is the best remedy for hot spots. 1) It encourages economic development, through investmment, free trade and free market."

This is of course true if we do it by leading the way and showing the world that democracy allows people to live better lives, and we do this at home, not by going into foreign countries and bombing them, overthrowing their regimes and building permanent bases in there. This way we just look like occupiers and create anti-american sentiments around the world.

People need to want democracy, we cannot impose it on them. Especially in several middle eastern countries, a majority of people does not want a democratic rule but is culturally bounded to have a theocratic form of government and for as long as they don't demand change themselves bombing their cities will not help us creating democracies around the world.

Even when we look at the good things that came out from Afghanistan, such as the rising numbers of children who can now go to school, it is not our job to go around the world to find "injustices" and try to fix them by dropping missiles.

My opponent believes that I only listed a "few examples". Well, there is way more.

Osama bin Laden got his training and money from the CIA, if you can't see how this helped him against us, I can't help you.

Saddam Hussein

Yes, "it seemed", because we didn't think he would then turn around and attack Kuwait. This is exactly why we shouldn't give weapons to anybody, because we can't always control what they are going to do with them.
If we hadn't provided Hussein with weapons, he would have not attacked Kuwait and we would have not needed to intervene to secure the oil supply.

Saudi Arabia
There is no doubt that there is a correlation between our intervention and Saudi Arabia. The point that my opponent makes writing "Rubin tells us that if this were true, terrorism would have decreased when US involvement decreased as well. However, Rubin shows that the inverse is actually true - when the US started to withdraw, terrorism against the US increased, e.g. bombing of the embassies." is a half truth.

Bin Laden and other extremists, most of which are Saudis, considered the presence of what they think being a christian army on muslim lands blasphemous. Muslim lands are not only Saudi lands, but Palestine, the gold region and several different countries as well.

Ron Paul does not say that we are responsible for terrorism, he says that we should listen to what they say are the reasons they attack us because it is probably true.

So basically what my opponent is saying is that since a theocratic government was coming anyway, it made sense for us to overthrow a foreign leader and put in the Shah. How this act of intervention in foreign affairs is for benefit for the US is beyond my understanding.

There are several other examples of interventionism going bad, for example having Noriega on the CIA payroll and then of course having to Invade when he went rogue.

I have not dropped any of the points that you have made ( IV ), because they are the same point.

It is not in our interest to bomb people and countries around the world. We are losing soldiers, spending money that could be used at home all while making enemies across the world.

If somebody attacks us, we should retaliate, instead we attacked a country that had nothing to do with 911, are still there doing nation building while our economy at home is getting worse every day, and have spent 10 years fighting insurgency while we should have just looked for Osama Bin Laden instead of trying to create new nations around the globe.

My opponent assumes we need to be an Empire. Ron Paul does not.

Vote PRO.
Debate Round No. 3



1. I use “drop” and conceded interchangeably. Basically we agree to it.


C1: Assumptions of non-intervenionism

1. Interventionism doesnt just refer to military as my opponent has alluded too. It refers to the policy of governments proactively trying to alter or encourage policies of other States. So it can include economic as well as militaristic action. This can be seen by Paul’s rejection of sanctions on Iran.

I) Reciprocal non-interventionism

1. My opponent made the argument that non-interventionism =/= isolationism. And I agree, but he is missing the point of the objection. The objection is that due to the nature of the international system, globalization makes it extremely difficult to avoid interventionism because interests and conflicts of interests are inevitably going to overlap. Thus, taking on a form of non-intervention puts the US a disadvantage because it makes them hostage to the policies of other states.

2. My opponent argued that non-intervention helped us before WW2. He makes a few assumptions/flaws: 1) globalization wasnt at the level pre-WW2 as it is now. It has come to be post-Cold War. 2) Europe pretty much killed itself off internally when the US decided to enter the war. So to say the US was high and mighty is fallacious - they didnt have to do much. 3) WW2 involved nation states, whereas todays challenges are exacerbated due to transnational organizations, such as Al Qaeda.

Ib) Decision Calculus

1. My opponent says it is only theoretical and doesnt show how non-intervention fails. Yes, it is theoretical but it shows how the mindset behind non-interventionism is problematic because it assumes all actors are rational actors. But this just isn’t the case. The cost-benefit analysis is skewed due to identity and geopolitical considerations. Refer to argument about Taliban and Saudi Arabia. Thus, to make the claim that States will always calculate the risks is false, and as such the US has an obligation to intervene in cases of irrationality.

Non-tagged point: Self-defense framework. My opponent made the argument that Ron Paul supported taking out Al Qaeda and supports the Congressional ability to declare war. This ignores my argument. My argument is that Ron Paul lacks a brightline to any framework about when we can intervene and when we cannot intervene. As such, my opponent basically says self-defense. But he ignored my argument that this is very vague - it excludes preventive and preemptive warfare. And as I also mentioned this violates the consequential framework because it assumes a deontological-type framework - we can only attack if we are attacked. But the framework says no: governments must act to first protect their own citizens and should not be constrained from doing so.

IIb) Root Causes

1. My opponent again brings up troops stationed. He ignored my argument that the fact of war now, e.g. assymetric warfare means we need to respond immediately in various places throughout the world. He says we have strongest airforce and navy. Ok, airforce we need bases scattered throughout to re-arm and re-fuel. Navy fails if its a landlocked country, e.g. Afghanistan. And he brings up Germany again, but remember I said removing troops from Germany isnt unique to Ron Paul.

2. He says we need to promote democracy by showing other countries the way to live and behave. Thus we cannot impose and intervene. First, he has conceded the impacts - that economic reform and education solves terrorism. Second, he lacks ANY solvency on the fact that as can be seen in places like Syria, grassroots democratic efforts fail without US assistance. My opponent may say Egypt but remember it was only until after the US had strongarmed Mubarak did any true traction be gained.

He then goes onto being up the very common anti-American argument. But he already conceded the Rubin evidence which tells us that the anti-american sentiment is going to exist no matter what, is going to be spun by these terrorist organizations and that whenever the US tries to withdraw terrorist attacks escalate.

Isolated Scenarios

1. Osama Bin Laden. He ignored my turn which said non-interventionism was the actual case for Bin Laden’s hate of America because after the Soviet withdrew the US cut and from the people of Afgahnistan - thats what harbored the hate. And moreover he doesnt provide a link that its because we armed them that gave them the ability to perpetrate 9-11.

2. Saudi Arabia. He brings up Rubin but doesnt argue the substance of Rubin. He says well Ron Paul wants us to look at what they have to say. Sure. BUT RUBIN ALREADY ANSWERS THIS!! If what they said on-face was true, terrorism should have de-escalated when US was on the brink of withdrawing. This however wasnt the case. When the US wanted to force a 2 state system and withdraw from Saudi Arabia terorism didnt de-escalate, it escalated.

3. Iran. He misunderstands my argument again. I wasnt saying turning the argument and saying CIA overthrow was good. Your argument was that the people were mad so the revolution started. My argument said the intervention didnt matter, would have occurred anyway and probably much more easily without the Shah in place.

C2. Individual Case Scenarios

*He dropped ALL of them in his last speech. Refer to previous rounds for argumentation*

These include:

1) Afgahnistan: withdrawal from Afghnistan will spark another civil war and as Taliban and Al Qaeda resurgence. This makes safe-havens for terrorists which can then one again attack the US homeland. And it empowers global jihad.

2) Pakistan. Non-intervention with Pakistan pushes it over the instability brink. The only reason PAkistan has remaine stable thus far is because of close US presence and US aid. If Pakistan is estabilied it makes terrorist aquiring a nuclear weapon much more likely.

3) Iran. Withdrawing throws the balance in the Middle East off. This will spur arms proliferation between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Again this makes terrorism and specifically nuclear terrorism much me likely.

AND all of these have the strongest link to the framework. The US overnment must consider these geopolitical considerations when making policy. It is the only way to follow the poli-ethical stance of consequentialism which we both have agreed to.

==Defensive Analysis==

Even though my opponent didnt tag a lot of his arguments, the main argument he makes is that US intervention creates more problems then it solves.

When voting remember these 2 key points:

1) This argument is directly responded to by the Rubin evidence. The Rubin evidence makes the key argument that non-intervention doesnt solve for any harms because terrorist groups will act regardless of our actions. This is proven from an analysis of escalated terror attacks against the US when the US was withdrawing from the Middle East and (2) interventionism solves better because

2) Interventionism solves better because it attacks the root causes of terrorism, namely economic desperation and low education. Refer to the analysis of Afghanistan that economic growth has grown exponentially under US guidance and that 6M Afgahni students are now in school.


1) He dropped my C2 in his last speech. Those give clear reasons to vote due to geopolitical considerations that are protected against through interventionism and accessed through non-interventionism.

2) There are many theoretical flaws with non-interventionism. Refer to my C1.



I thank my opponent for the interesting debate.

We should all strive to express ourselves as precisely as possible, terms such as "drop", "conceded" and "agreeing" should not be used interchangeably.

My opponent goes a long way trying to excuse, argue and explain our past foreign policy and its benefits.

In the case of the economic meaning of non-interventionism regarding Ron Paul's policy, he is just plain wrong. Ron Paul advocates free trade with all countries, his non-interventionism is limited to war and political intervention in other nations. [1]

My opponent tries to use several phenomena in 1) and 2), such as globalization, to excuse our interventionist foreign policy, and uses a very stiff definition of consequentialism to aid to his conclusions.

The key to this debate is simple: What is in the best interest of the United States?

My opponent tries to explain how much interventionism benefits the US, and tries to articulate complex geopolitical situations such as the decision calculus of other nations (IIa) or the root causes of our interventionist foreign policy.

The truth is that the global situation is not as simple as my opponent would like it to be.

I have listed several cases in which our intervention in foreign affairs has come back and damaged us. My opponent of course ignores all those examples and has plenty of excuses for each and every single case.

In C2 he lists some reasons on why we should intervene, and writes "withdrawal from Afghnistan will spark another civil war and as Taliban and Al Qaeda resurgence", "Non-intervention with Pakistan pushes it over the instability brink" and "Iran. Withdrawing throws the balance in the Middle East off. This will spur arms proliferation between Iran and Saudi Arabia"

Of course my opponent again fails to recognize how many of the problems that we face today are self-inflicted and the direct consequence of our past mingling in other countries' affairs.

It is not our job to policing the world or to spread democracy with bombs.
My opponent has not acknowledged the side effects of our interventions abroad and his only answers to the raising problem is just more intervention. Meanwhile our popularity abroad is in free fall and we end up looking like the occupiers in many countries.

My opponent has also ignored the cost of our foreign policy. A third of our annual budget goes on what is called "defense". We are spending an incredible amount of money trying to fight an invisible enemy.

The idea that non-interventionism means lowering our guard is false. We still need to be able to defend ourselves, and Ron Paul has voted for the use of force in capturing or killing the people responsible for 9-11. Instead of doing just that though we went and overthrew a government we didn't like and tried to build a political system that the people in Afghanistan don't even want.

Non interventionism also does not mean letting terrorists run amok, we still need to use the intelligence services to find out if there are any threats and then use not only the f-16s, but also diplomacy to work with other countries in trying to defeat this global problem.

All of my opponent's arguments are based on the assumption that we will able to fight asymmetrical wars indefinitely and that it is in our national interest to be in a perpetual state of war.

He tries to find an upside and an excuse for every single war that we fought and does not once during this entire debate acknowledge the human and monetary cost of our aggression wars abroad as well as the direct side effects of our policies.

My opponent also seems to confuse non-interventionism with blind pacifism, which is of course a huge fallacy.

The government is responsible for the common defense, not for trying to establish a global police force.

This country was founded as a Republic, not an Empire. It is in our interest to use war only as an instrument of self-defense, and not to achieve our goals or political ambitions on the world's stage.

Assuming a Libertarian Foreign Policy as expressed by Ron Paul would be first and foremost beneficial to the People of the United States of America!


Debate Round No. 4
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by thett3 6 years ago
Ouch, talk about votebombs (the last two) :/
Posted by TheFreeThinker 7 years ago

To clarify Dr. Paul's stance on non-agression vs interventionism, isolationism and free trade.
Posted by CiRrK 7 years ago
Btw, good debate : ) And ty for accepting my challenge, unlike the majority of the people I was arguing in the forums with.
Posted by ExNihilo 7 years ago
I am willing to debate the fatuous claims of non-interventionists...message me.

P.S. CiRrK...Its interesting that Ron Paul voted for war resolution after 9/11...completely contradicts non-intervention especially since it makes no mention of Afghanistan. I'd look into it.
Posted by Sieben 7 years ago
1) Taliban "has". Northern alliance "will". In itself, the anticipation of the event changes its outcome (in real life). How you measure the severity of these outcomes is also questionable.

2) kay

3) Okay. Maybe you wouldn't follow your own methodology to its logical conclusion. I'll critisize your method then, and not you, okay? From now on I am cognizant of the possibility that you may be CharlesB in real life and CirRk is just a dummy account.

4) Right. I think its possible to innocently follow your method. But there is no litmus test to see if you're doing it correctly.

I don't care if the issue never came up in your debate with LF. You said you WOULD do it. The point is that the possibility of reform is an abusive debate tactic because you can use it to throw out all your opponent's real world evidence.

5) People don't usually say "would" when they're speaking in terms of probability. I find it unlikely that you really made a mistake. I think you realize that your case sounds more implausible if you replace "would" with "might", so choose the former.

But this is beside the point - a risk assessment is itself a composite of "would" arguments. You're saying there's an X% chance something "would" happen. We don't know where you get X from. I'd go so far as to claim that no one on this planet can give an accurate estimate, let alone conceive of all the possible outcomes for a situation (which you presuppose you do).
Posted by CiRrK 7 years ago
1. Ok, so you say a give a source, but its still a point blank claim. Untrue. The argument is that if the US withdraws there is still going to be a split in the country - the Northern Alliance and the Pushtuuns-Taliban. The Taliban have been trying to come out of the FATA region but cant due to US forces within the Southern regions, like Kandahar. If the US withdraws there is no barrier between the taliban and the rest of the nation. This means the Northern Alliance will need to try and stop the Taliban themselves - ergo civil war. Plus the reason the Taliban took over the majority of the counter pre-9/11 was because of alliances with various jihadist groups like Al Qaeda. The Taliban and Al Qaeda are still protecting each other.

2) I said when we agree I meant you dont have a double standard

3) You cant say oh ive read other debates so I know the outcome. That is fallacious.

4) The comparative analysis CAN BE skewed but that doesnt mean Ive skewed it. If you read the debate with me and LF my comparative analysis HAS NOTHING to do with reform. I went for a study indictment, a statistical kick and a turn. Nowhere do I fiat REFORM REFORM. Apparently you havent read my debates so closely. And I never said I would, I said it can be justifiable to do so as long as an analysis of the alternative exists.

5) Ys I am doing risk-assessment. My argument is SQ - analysis of alternative (my opponents planned) - weighed against the harm. If it bothers you THAT MUCH that I say would, I can change to could instead :P
Posted by Sieben 7 years ago
What is an example of an unwarranted assertion I have made against you? Your attempt to show how I abused evidence and sources in my debates didn't go so well :(
Posted by Sieben 7 years ago
1) "Al Qaeda and the Taliban would once again plunge Afghanistan into a civil war which will harbor and promote jihadism, radicalism and terrorism - making it possible to become the aggressor and not the defender anymore."

You have a source attached, but you don't link it. Good job. That's not even the point - either you are making a point blank claim, or your source is making a point blank claim. Both ways there is no possible argumentative check on your method.

2) We don't agree. You think using appeals to authority and spinning wild tales about geopolitical futures is okay. They do too. You're both wrong.

3) I can because I've read a lot of your debates and comments. I'm anticipating one possible outcome of the debate - if TFT challenges you to the limit and makes all the best possible arguments against you. Whether this actually happens, my points still apply to you philosophically.

4) I'm saying that the comparative analysis is always skewed because you can cop out of reality by appealing to the magic wand of reform.

Let's just say I made a mistake and you have never run an abusive reform argument at (I may not be wrong, but cannot find a good example of it).

Whether or not you have actually done it, you said you WOULD do it. So it doesn't matter if troops are massacring millions of civilians because you can always just "reform for stricter oversight". In short, there are no real world conditions that get you to oppose war.

5) You are not doing risk assessment. You are saying "would" which is not probabilistic.

Risk assessment is still abusive because you still make a bunch of point blank claims. Whether you say P=1.0 or P=0.8, you are completely unjustified.

But yeah its no problem if you don't hyperlink your sources. I mean its not like the point of citing yourself is for transparency or anything.
Posted by CiRrK 7 years ago
Important point: You have made LOTS of assertions against me and cannot show any example to warrant it.
Posted by CiRrK 7 years ago
1) Show me where I simply assert arguments without a source or warrant attached.

2) Fine, glad you agree

3) You cant argue that m no substance if you HAVENT READ IT.

4) Good, go look. And I didnt admit, I granted even IF it were true theres justification for it due to a comparative analysis.

5) The ones that have would in them are risk-assesment arguments. Youve done debate, your not stupid, you know they exist. And a lot of my warrants dont have the word would. And on identity - I make the warrant that the Taliban and Saudi Arabia acted completely different under basically the same circumstances. That is a warrant that doesnt involve would.

I put them there so if my opponent has qualms with them can reference them
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Jason77 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had by far the best arguments. Con wrote a lot but did not explain much and kept saying he won points, which is bad conduct.
Vote Placed by Adam_The_Analyst 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: pro had the better arguments
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: 1 pt to CiRrK for the framework and consistently restructuring the debate. 1 pt for hammering home a justified argument as opposed to "it is not our job". TFT did raise some arguments however they were handled enough to negate them on balance 1:1: TFT did however catch CiRrK in arguing against points which were not so advocated such as reciprocity as a fundamental underlying driver. 1 pt
Vote Placed by ExNihilo 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: C2 drop. I think this decision is pretty clear.