The Instigator
jeffrey.xia1
Pro (for)
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The Contender
dmacgolfer1
Con (against)
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Current US Foreign Policy in the Middle East Threatens our National Security

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/13/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 671 times Debate No: 28179
Debate Rounds (3)
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jeffrey.xia1

Pro

My partner and I affirm the resolution resolved: current US foreign policy in the Middle Easta undermines our national security. I would like to begin by defining several key terms in this debate. Just as a note for Current US foreign policy: the pro would like to point out that since we are discussing current US foreign policy, only examples and policies still withstanding after President Barack Obama took office in 2008 are applicable in this debate. The Middle East, as outlined by the State Department in 1958 includes 19 countries, but does NOT include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, or Sudan.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines undermine as "to weaken or ruin by degrees."
Finally, National Security. The clearest definition of this term was offered by former Secretary of Defense Harold Brown. National security, by his definition, is the ability to a) preserve the nation's physical integrity and territory; b) to maintain its economic relations with the rest of the world on reasonable terms; and c) to preserve its nature, institution, and governance from disruption from outside. This definition is also endorsed by the Department of Defense"s current website.

Contention one: Current US foreign policy threatens our ability to preserve our physical integrity and territory. According to the report "Influence of the United States on International Law", written by General Mclaughlin
United States territory is any extent of region under the jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States. This extent of territory is all the area belonging to the United States federal government (which includes tracts lying at a distance from the country).
Under this definition, international territory such as diplomatic embassies, US Naval ships, and military bases are all part of the United State"s physical territory. That being said, the current US foreign policy threatens our ability to preserve this territory.
Since Obama took office in 2008, there have been 5 attacks on US diplomatic facilities in the Middle East. According to a March 2011 Washington Post Article, there have only been a total of 26 attacks on US diplomatic facilities in the history of the United States. That means roughly a 20% of these attacks occurred in the last couple years. Total, an approximate 50 people have died in just these attacks.
In the latest attack in Cairo, Benghazi, and Sana'a, 18 people died as protestors as well as terrorists attacked and mobbed embassies across the Middle East. This incident occurred on September 11, 2012, timed to coincide with the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, killing U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Only 5 other diplomats have died in terrorist attacks, the last one to be killed having died 33 years ago. It is obvious that the US has lost its ability to preserve its physical integrity and territory.
Contention two: Current US foreign policy threatens our ability to maintain economic relations with the rest of the world on reasonable terms.
According to Harvard Economics Professor Robert C. Waggoner, a primary source of concern in economic policy is the attitude of the people. The government represents the will of the people, and the current US foreign policy is incenting many in the Middle East.According to the Arab American Institute, a 2006 5 nation poll revealed the following.

Overall Arab attitudes toward U.S. have worsened; negative attitudes have hardened
Attitudes toward American values, people and culture have declined as well
Another more recent poll from the same source has shown that the overall favorable ratings towards the US have declined in the last two years. Attitudes toward American values, people, and products remain mostly favorable, but have also declined in the past two years.
US policy is the major factor that accounts for the low US favorable ratings and the decline in these ratings.
This isn"t coming from me. Its not from the government. It comes from the people of the Middle East. The current US foreign policy is lowering US support in the Middle East. This in turn leads to a lowering of economic relations between the US and middle eastern countries.
Contention three: Current US foreign policy threatens our ability to preserve our nature, institution, and governance from disruption from outside
According to Amnesty International
Governments in the Middle East use a wide range of repressive measures to suppress freedom of expression and other legitimate activities. Severe discrimination against women and girls continues and inadequate protections against violence, including domestic violence. Women remain unequal under family law, are denied equal employment opportunities, and banned from driving or traveling alone.
Protesters in several cities have come under attack by security forces and other pro-government demonstrators. At least 100 people have been killed during peaceful demonstrations in various cities in Yemen since early February 2011. Torture and other ill-treatment are widespread practices in Yemen and are committed, generally with impunity, against both detainees held in connection with politically motivated acts or protests and ordinary criminal suspects.
The problems in the Middle East are a severe breach of US nature and governance. The United States stands for equal rights, right to express yourself, and the right to assembly. The US has been key in reforming governments in the Middle East. Yet, the new governments they have constituted are hardly better than the old ones, as crime and corruption is still widespread.
For these three reasons we urge a pro ballot.
dmacgolfer1

Con

"The purpose of foreign policy is not to provide an outlet for our own sentiments of hope or indignation; it is to shape real events in a real world." John F. Kennedy. I stand firm on the negation of this topic saying that "Current foreign policy in the US undermines our national security" We negate this resolution with 3 points which are
1. US policy in Libya and Israel has gained us a critical strategic ally
2. Our foreign policy in Iran upholds and protects our national security
3. Our current policy is so strong that any current Middle Eastern country can"t undermine it
For the purpose of this debate, I will offer the definitions to clarify this resolution. Foreign policy- refers to actions the United States government takes on behalf of its national interests to ensure the security and well-being of Americans and the strength and competitiveness of the U.S. economy. National security- is a corporate term covering both national defense and foreign relations of the U.S. It refers to the protection of a nation from attack or other danger by holding adequate armed forces and guarding state secrets. For the Pro to win this debate, they will need to clearly show how current foreign policy harms our interests as Americans.
Now for our first contention, US policy in Libya and Israel has gained us a critical strategic ally. As Libya faces challenges in establishing national security and creating a stable and prosperous country, studies have shown that Libyans are looking to the United States for help and for partnership. This would be beneficial for both these Middle Eastern countries and as well as the United States. With Middle Eastern countries as our allies we are provided with insides with things happening in the Middle East as well as accompanied by these countries in case there is a time of war for the United States. According to US State Department in 2011, the United States led efforts at the UN to respond to the calls of help from the Libyan people and they took action to protect the civilians. So all-in-all our allies within the Middle Eastern countries benefit our nation for our security because they will protect us in a time of war and prevent us from getting into a war.
For our second contention our foreign policy in Iran upholds and protects our national security. According to the US State Department, with American leadership, the UN Security Council imposed the toughest UN sanctions regime ever on Iran for its continued failure to live up to its obligation. Also from Daniel Byman a professor in security studies at Brookings Institute says that when Iran feels under attack, their leaders want to prove to their population that they are fighting back. So if Israel or the United States took the war out of the shadows and did a direct military strike on Israel"s suspected nuclear facilities, the Iranian terrorists" response would be considerable. What he is saying is that our current policy with Iran wouldn"t cause Iran to have to enforce nuclear attacks but changing our policy could.
Contention 3: our current policy is so strong that any current Middle Eastern country can"t undermine it. Even with strong-hold counties like Russia that are allies with a county that our allies are fighting with, which could eventually cause some tension with these different countries but they don"t tend to mess with us because of our foreign relations with different and because we have such a strong military. So in reality, our national security would not be affected by our foreign policy. Also, any relation with different counties would jeopardize our national security as we are far more powerful than any other country.
In conclusion we negate the resolution for three main points.
1. US policy in Libya and Israel has gained us a critical strategic ally
2. Our foreign policy in Iran upholds and protects our national security
3. Our current policy is so strong that any current Middle Eastern country can"t undermine it
Debate Round No. 1
jeffrey.xia1

Pro

I would like to start by refuting my opponents points before going on to reaffirm my own.

In my opponent definition of the term "national security" he defines it as the following: a corporate term covering both national defense and foreign relations of the U.S. It refers to the protection of a nation from attack or other danger by holding adequate armed forces and guarding state secrets.

However he offers no adequate source, or for that matter, any source at ALL that backs up the validity of this definition, whereas the definition I have provided is supported by a credible source. For that reason, my definition stands.

My opponents first contention is that the US policy in Libya and Israel has gained us a critical strategic ally. However, in the entire first contention, only one fact was provided. That fact was that the US State Department stated that the US led efforts to help the Libyan people. He connects this fact to the topic with the twisted logic that this automatically made the US and Libya allies. What the opponents have failed to realize is that the condition of Libya has not improved drastically. As I stated in round 1, just recently this September an attack was conducted in Libya that resulted in the death of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Let us also keep in mind this: the topic does not ask for the effects of current US foreign policy in just SOME countries. It asks about all of them. As I stated in my second contention, overall attitudes towards the US from the Middle East are declining. And unlike my opponent, I gave a source.

Let us move on to my opponents second contention: Our foreign policy in Iran upholds and protects our national security. Once again, individual policies have no place in this debate as the topic asks about the Middle East as a whole. The opponents maintains that current foreign policy in Iran is favorable because Iran does not feel "under attack". He proposes to continue to impose sanctions on Iran. However, Iran has resisted international sanctions for 21 or more years. The result is obvious: it's nuclear program continues. A nuclear Iran is not acceptable, and current US foreign policy seems to be pushing in that general direction.

My opponents final contention is that our current policy is so strong that no Middle Eastern country can undermine it. So please explain to me this. How come, in the years of the latest administration, terrorist attacks have soared to numbers never before seen? How come more people are dying? Furthermore, the physical aspect is just one part of my definition of national security. What about the other two aspects I addressed in my speech?
dmacgolfer1

Con

I do not feel the need to provide a source and will only do so if my opponet asks me to and so far hasnt so we need to take my definitions
Question1 Dont you believe that our relation with Isreal hurts us more than helps us?
Question2 What recent attacts put us as Americans in danger?
Debate Round No. 2
jeffrey.xia1

Pro

I feel that I have adequately pointed out the lack of sources as well as facts for my opponents definitions and points.
In response to his first question: Don't I believe that our relation with Israel hurts us more than helps us?

First, Israel is but one of many countries in the Middle East, as I stated before. The polls in my first speech show clearly that the people in the Middle East as a WHOLE disapprove of the US. I have also shown that this disapproval directly leads to a decrease in economic activity between the US and the Middle East.

In further response, I believe our current foreign policy regarding Israel is very effective. Standing by our allies and supporting them in their efforts to counter terrorism is an aspect of foreign policy that is definitely important to maintain.

My opponents second question is: what recent attacks put us as Americans in danger?

Well, frankly, half of my entire first speech was about this. Lets go down the list, shall we?
-5 attacks on diplomatic facilities (20% of all attacks on US diplomatic facilities in US history)
-Libya attack resulting in the death of an Ambassador
-Furthermore, approximately 60% of all casualties/deaths from the Afghan war occurred in the last 4 years
dmacgolfer1

Con

dmacgolfer1 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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