The Instigator
bsh1
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
TN05
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

DDO Tournament - Top Tier: Intervention to Stop Rights Abuses

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Post Voting Period
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after 4 votes the winner is...
bsh1
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 6/6/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,706 times Debate No: 56183
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (26)
Votes (4)

 

bsh1

Con

Preface

This is part of the DDO Tournament being run by Mikal; TN05 and I are in the top tier, and I look forward to a fantastic debate. I thank him in advance for accepting :)

Full Topic

Intervention in the internal political processes of other nations is morally permissible when a goal of the intervention is to halt human rights abuses.

Definitions

These definitions are from Merriam Webster, American Heritage, and Oxford Dictionaries.

Intervene - “To interfere with the outcome or course, especially of a condition or process”
Political Process - “The administration of governance via the interaction of social, political, and internal economic elements of a society”
Goal - "something trying to be done or achieved"
Halt - "put an end to something"
Human Rights - those rights listed in the UDHR, ICCPR, and ICESR documents; to commit a human rights abuse is violate one of the rights set out in those document.

Debaters are free to debate/discuss the threshold for "moral permissibility" in the text of the debate.

BOP

As Pro is making a positive claim, and as he is affirming the topic, he bears the sole BOP. He has also agreed to this arrangement via PM.

Rules

1. No forfeits
2. All citations must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final round
4. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. Violation of any of these rules or of any of the R1 set-up merits a loss

Structure

R1: Pro's Opening Arguments
R2: Con's Opening Arguments; Pro's 1st Rebuttal
R3: Con's 1st Rebuttal; Pro's 2nd Rebuttal
R4: Con's 2nd Rebuttal; Pro's 3rd Rebuttal and Closing
R5: Con's 3rd Rebuttal and Closing; Pro types "Pass."

I look forward to a great debate :)
TN05

Pro

First and foremost I want to thank bsh1 for his participation in this debate. I haven't had the chance to debate him, so I look forward to an interesting and insightful debate! In addition, I accept all rules given in this debate.

As me and my opponent have agreed upon, I will be affirming the principle that "Intervention in the internal political processes of other nations is morally permissible when a goal of the intervention is to halt human rights abuses." In our modern world, one would expect the era of tyranny and human rights abuses to have ended. However, in many regards, human rights abuses are running as strong as ever - be it through the rampant corruption and political oppression in China, insurgent-supporting Middle-Eastern theocracies, or tyrannical African dictatorships. While it is not always a good idea to intervene to stop these abuses, I will attempt to prove the philosophical merit behind external attempts to end these abuses.

Contention I: Helping those who are being mistreated or abused is morally permissible
Although this likely goes without saying, it is morally permissible for individuals to help other individuals in need. Almost every day we hear a story about an individual who had a grand act of heroism – be it performing CPR on the street, foiling an armed robbery, or rescuing someone who is drowning. These individuals are hailed by heroes as the public and the media, and for good reason – they demonstrate a basic human respect for those who seek to aid others in need. This moral permissiveness is codified in common law - although there is rarely a direct obligation to support those in need,[1] protection is often given to individuals who try and give reasonable assistance to those in need.[2] Although reckless rescue attempts may be punishable by law,[3] this clearly shows both a societal agreement that it is morally permissible to aid those in need.

Contention II: Governments are formed by the people, and are obligated to protect the people
It one thing for it to be moral for individuals to do help a person who is facing abuse or mistreatment; it is another for government to intervene in another country's political process so as to help individuals in that country. However, when we look at the idea of government, we can establish government does indeed have the just moral authority to intervene. The Declaration of Independence states that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) affirms that “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government” and, more importantly, that “Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized”. What we can gather from this is that a just government is ruled by the people, and that all people have the rights to the freedoms listed in the UDHR. The two are linked – a just government ruled by the people will protect the rights of the people, who hold the supreme power. Additionally, any nation that is facing human rights abuses is obligated to stop them; the United Nations policy 'responsibility to protect', wherein a sovereign nation is obligated to protect it's people from human rights abuses, requires just that. However, the responsibility to protect does not end within a country's own borders – under the right to protect doctrine, the international community is obligated to help end human rights abuses when needed.[4] What we can gather from this is that all nations are obligated to seek an end to rights abuses, and I will establish through my next contention that intervention is a direct and humane way to do so.

Contention III: Covert intervention into the political affairs of other countries can be humane and effective
When the world is faced with rampant human rights abuses within a country, the response - at least from democratic, Western countries, is to condemn them. However, in practical terms such condemnation means nothing if not followed through with by means to enact change. Realistically, there are really only two options to try and end the abuse:

1. Pursue a policy of isolating the country from the rest of the world.
2. Support opposition parties, politicians, and/or arm opposition military movements.

The first policy is clearly the easiest, and can do much good when implemented. Embargos, trade sanctions and removal from international groups can pressure countries to stop their abuses and lead to internal strife. However, there are downsides to this. For one, many countries that were formerly isolated (like early communist China) simply grew too powerful to ignore, and many countries that engage in abuses (like Russia and present-day China) are already too powerful to ignore. For other countries like Cuba, Iran, and North Korea, the isolation isn't really doing much - the governments simply don't care that they are being isolated and use it to their advantage. Additionally, this policy can result in economic harm to the people, who are not the ones at fault for their government's actions.

The second option, while not without faults, can lead to positive change without resulting in full-fledged war. How is this so? For starters, supporting opposition parties and movements can lead to genuine social change - one example of this is the Polish trade union Solidarity. The union was financially supported by the US government, to the tune of nearly 50 million dollars, and grew to represent nearly 10 million people - almost a third of the working-class population of Poland. The Solidarity movement spurred social change through civil disobedience and resistance,[5] and after over 7 years of government suppression, the head of the Communist Party, Alfred Midowicz, agreed to face Solidarity leader Lech Walesa in a televised debate. Walesa won the debate, which the BBC notes “proved to party members and the public that Solidarity was not a destructive force but key to the emergence of a democratic Poland".[6] The Communists had to negotiate with Solidarity, leading to partially free elections in 1989 that resulted in Solidarity winning almost every seat that was allowed to be competitive.[7] Even though the Communist Party and it's satellite parties were given 65% of Sejm (lower house) seats, Solidarity was so strong that it convinced the satellite parties to join in it a ruling coalition.[8] The end result was a free, democratic Poland, and an end to the communist oppression – a completely bloodless revolution that would not have been possible without the financial and moral support of Western nations like the United States.

Of course, Poland is merely one example of successful efforts by foreign countries to end human rights abuses. One could also point to the external financial and moral support of the anti-apartheid African National Congress (ANC) by Nordic countries such as Sweden.[9] As with Poland, South Africa was ruled by a dictatorial governing party, the National Party, who instituted apartheid, a system of racial segregation, thorughout all of South Africa.[10] Due in part to internal revolution led by the ANC, the National Party was forced to 'reform' and ultimately end apartheid, leading to free elections and a freer South Africa. This would also not have been possible were it not due to immense political pressure from within and support for anti-apartheid movements by other countries. While there is always a risk to intervention in the internal political affairs of other countries, we can see from these two examples that it is justifiable and morally permissible, when the goal is to end human rights abuses and it is done responsibly.

Conclusion
As I have demonstrated, it is morally permissible to aid others in need and, by extension through the people's will in government, it is morally permissible for governments to try and end human rights abuses – both inside of their borders and outside of them. I have also demonstrated the pragmatic, practical benefits of such intervention, as a bloodless revolution in Poland and the end of apartheid in South Africa were both aided by the external intervention of other countries into their political processes. When you factor in all of this, it becomes clear – intervention into the political affairs of other countries to end human rights absuses is morally permissible, both under our basic system of morals and due to the obligation of governments and the international community. As such, the resolution of this debate (Intervention in the internal political processes of other nations is morally permissible when a goal of the intervention is to halt human rights abuses) is affirmed. I look forward to seeing Con's opening round!

References:
1. http://www.invispress.com...
2. https://en.wikipedia.org...
3. https://en.wikipedia.org...
4. http://www.un.org...
5. https://en.wikipedia.org...(Polish_trade_union)
6. http://news.bbc.co.uk...
7. https://en.wikipedia.org...
8. http://books.google.com...
9. https://en.wikipedia.org...
10. http://news.bbc.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 1
bsh1

Con

Thanks to TN05! I apologize for any formatting errors from C/Ping from word. I will now present my case.

FRAMEWORK

Ultimately, Pro has the BOP to show that his advocacy is "morally permissible." What does this mean? Permissible means allowable [1], indicating that is something is permissible, it is allowed but not necessarily encouraged or obligated. What Pro must show then, is that the principles of morality do not prohibit (allow) intervention when a goal thereof is to stop human rights abuses. If I can show that such intervention contravenes moral principles, or if I can stop Pro from showing that they don't contravene moral principles, than I have won this debate.

For the purposes of this round, I will be examining two particular moral criteria, that of sovereignty, and that of utility. I assert that if intervention violates either one of these moral criteria, Pro's position cannot be morally allowable.

Criteria One: Utility

The moral justification for utilitarianism is simple and straightforward. Humanity designs its moral precepts around what it believes to be good and bad. For example, we believe life to be good, and so we value it highly, while condemning those things that minimize it (e.g. murder). We believe pain, suffering, etc. to be bad, and so we condemn things that promote such feelings (e.g. theft.) Ultimately, our morality is structured in such a way that we seek to maximize beneficial outcomes, and minimize disutility.

This approach is also a reflection of practical morality. Prof. Gary Woller explains why an ends-based standard is needed when referencing governmental actors: "Appeals to a priori moral principles...often fail to acknowledge that public policies inevitably entail trade-offs among competing values. Thus since policymakers cannot justify inherent value conflicts to the public in any philosophical sense...the policymakers' duty to the public interest requires them to demonstrate that their policies are somehow to the overall advantage of society."

Criteria Two: Sovereignty

We can define Sovereignty as "supreme authority within a territory." [2] Central to this concept is the idea of territoriality. "Territoriality specifies by what quality citizens are subject to authority--their geographic location within a set of boundaries. International relations theorists have indeed pointed out the similarity between sovereignty and another institution in which lines demarcate land--private property." [2]

Sovereignty has a clear link to morality through the social contract. By surrendering our rights to a central government, the people enlist that government to protect them from outside threats. Thus, a government has an obligation to the people of its geographic space that it doesn't have to other groups of people. Insofar as well assert that the government does have supreme authority within its sphere, as granted to it by the people, it would be wrong for outside groups to diminish that authority, since they lack the consent of the people.

Now that I have established a framework, I will present my contentions, impacting them back to these criteria.

ARGUMENTS

Contention One: An Endless Pretext

"Violations of human rights are indeed all too common...and if it were permissible to remedy them by intervention, there would be no law to forbid the use of force by almost any state against any other. If humanitarian intervention were justified, powerful states would receive an almost unlimited right to overthrow governments alleged to be unresponsive to the popular will or to human rights needs."" [3]

This creates a justification for countries to violate one another's sovereignty on a near endless level. It makes it easy to construct a pretext for imperialist or self-interested interventions, an severely undercuts the notion of sovereignty in global society.

Contention Two: Intervention Undermines Stability

"The presumption against intervention ensures a degree of international stability and relatively peaceful coexistence between states...Through the respect of juridical boundaries, states remain tolerant of each other's existence and the diversity of behavior that transpires within them. This order, emanating from the Treaty of Westphalia and international customary law, is maintained through legal obligations outlined in the United Nations Charter. Article 2 (4) prohibits states from 'the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.' In addition, Article 2 (7) further mitigates interference in the sovereign affairs of states by declaring, 'Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.'"" [4]

This serves to reaffirm the importance and validity of sovereignty as it is needed in minimizing war and conflict among states.

Contention Three: Empiric Failures

Intervention Fails to Halt Violence in the Long-term

"In the case of Kenya, the first and only country to which R2P was applied...So R2P was not a preventive measure, but it did succeed in halting the violence and preventing further displacement...Reports show a lack of security for ethnic groups in areas of return, an absence of planning for those who do not wish to return, inadequate compensation for destroyed homes and property. Moreover, thousands still live in camps and temporary settlements. Yet we don't hear...about the promotion of compliance with the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement with regard to rebuilding. Welcomed by the World Summit in 2005...the national human rights commission in Kenya considers its government to be violating these Principles...[even] after the violence.'"" [5]

Intervention does not Deter future Abuses

"'Like the domino theory, deterrence by example is largely irrelevant in the context of actual events. The aborted U.S. intervention in Haiti, for example, is not going to lead to a rash of military dictatorships any more than strong American responses to Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein deterred Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic from pursuing his aims in Bosnia.(18) To formulate policy on such a premise would be a mistake." [6]

Intervention Backfires

"Humanitarian disasters in Eastern Congo, which are probably the largest in recent decades, are mainly due to foreign interventions (mostly from Rwanda, a US ally), not to a lack of them. To take a most extreme case, which is a favorite example of horrors cited by advocates of the humanitarian interventions, it is most unlikely that the Khmer Rouge would ever have taken power in Cambodia without the massive...US bombing followed by US-engineered regime change that left that unfortunate country totally disrupted and destabilized." [7]

Contention Four: Nations go to Extreme Lengths to Avoid "Boost on the Ground"

"While it might be possible to claim that NATO's actions were purely altruistic, the actual intervention was severely limited in its ability to stop human-rights violations because NATO was unwilling to put its soldiers on the ground, in harm's way...Instead, 'NATO stepped up its show of force by expanding its target list to include infrastructure within the FRY. These new targets included civilian-use facilities such as bridges, factories, electricity grids, and water treatment plants.' In fact, in April 1999, while the bombing of the FRY was continuing, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued various reports that directly condemned the manner in which NATO was conducting its operations...As one scholar notes, '[i]f the intervention was predicated, as it was by NATO, upon overwhelming humanitarian necessity, one must wonder how an intervention constructed solely of dropping bombs could quickly improve the plight of the Kosovars.'"" [8]

Ultimately, intervention is likely to be conducted in such away that it actually takes more innocent lives than need be. It oftentimes ends up causing more harm than was needed--actually damaging human rights in the process.

Contention Five: Cycle of Escalation

"Every aggressive action led by the United States creates a reaction. Deployment of an anti-missile shield produces more missiles, not fewer. Bombing civilians--whether deliberately or by so-called 'collateral damage'--produces more armed resistance, not less. Trying to overthrow or subvert governments produces more internal repression, not less. Encouraging secessionist minorities by giving them the often false impression that the sole Superpower will come to their rescue in case they are repressed, leads to more violence, hatred and death, not less. Surrounding a country with military bases produces more defense spending by that country, not less, and the possession of nuclear weapons by Israel encourages other states of the Middle East to acquire such weapons."" [7]

In this way, intervention actually intensifies and promotes conflict.

SOURCES

1 - http://www.merriam-webster.com...
2 - http://plato.stanford.edu...
3 - Holzgrefe, J.L. and Robert Keohane [Professors at Cambridge University] 2003, “Humanitarian Intervention: Ethical, Legal, and Political Dilemmas,” Cambridge University Press.
4 - Di Stefano, Paul [Prof. of Humanities at John Abbott College in Montreal, Quebec] 2011, “Human Rights Violations and the Moral Permissibility of Military Intervention,” Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, 23:537–545 (2011)
5 - http://www.brookings.edu...
6 - http://www.cato.org...
7 - http://dalehan.blogspot.com...
8 - Hafkin, Gregory [J.D. Candidate 2010, Boston University School of Law] 2010, “The Russo-Georgian War of 2008: Developing the Law of Unauthorized Humanitarian Intervention after Kosovo,” Boston University International Law Journal, Vol. 28:219

Thanks! Over to Pro...
TN05

Pro

To open his round, my opponent gives a brief overview of his debate framework. He establishes my burden of proof to prove the resolution, and that he will be trying to undermine it. He gives a succinct overview of his arguments and criteria, and then his contentions - which I appreciate and will respond to in-depth. His two criteria for moral permissibility that he notes in this round are 'utility' and 'sovereignty'. The first is an appeal to utilitarianism, asserting that it simply isn't utilitarian to intervene. Secondly, he asserts that intervention undermines state sovereignty; he first asserts that state sovereignty is established under the social contract, and that government is supposed to protect from outside threats. He says governments have no obligation or right to intervene as they lack the consent of the country they are intervening in. I find these to be odd claims. For one, people don't cede all their rights to government; we may have a social contract with government, but as with all contracts, it comes with obligations and responsibilities for both sides. If one party breaks their side, they can expect to be pressured by higher authorities who are allowed to enforce the contract. In a similar matter, governments have made themselves subject to higher rule - international law. International law is a group of rules nations accept as binding.[1] In a way, this is a contract with the world. My opponent has recognized treaties in R1 and and nations that have signed these treaties are bound to follow their rules, which runs into a key problem with my opponent's side – how are these rules enforced if intervention is not allowed? In the same manner that a man who is beating his wife (a violation of the law[2] that has been set up as part of the social contract) can be held to account, a country can be held to account by the international community. Moreover, as the state agreed to these rules, the people by default consented to them as well.

With the framework rebuttal out of the way, I'll rebut each contention my opponent has made. First off, my opponent asserts that human rights abuses are so common that intervention would justify intervening for minor affairs. He asserts that it creates an excuse to invade countries for minor reasons. I find this argument absurd. There is a huge difference between intervening because a country is committing genocide and intervening because a country doesn't have hate speech laws. Why? Public support. Look at the Iraq war, which sparked massive protests even though Iraq was a brutal dictatorship.[3] Imagine the outrage that would happen if Canada decided to attack the US because we don't have laws against hate speech. Clearly, my opponent's concern here is unfounded. Second, I would like to note intervention does not have to involve military action. I noted in my opening round that intervention has led to the end of dictatorships without any military action. The idea that intervention must equal military action is absurd and outdated

My opponent's second contention is that intervention results in instability. He argues that intervention conflicts with international stability. In particular, his block quote asserts that intervention violates the UN charter. To quote him, “Article 2 (7) further mitigates interference in the sovereign affairs of states by declaring, 'Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state'”. Unfortunately, this is a case of selective quoting – he chops off the bit at the end that says “...or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII”.[4] What are the enforcement measures in Chapter VII? “The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.... Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for [above] would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations”.[5] Far from opposing intervention, the UN Charter actually specifically notes that intervention is acceptable. Aside from this, his argument doesn't work; I've already established intervention as the enforcement measure for breaches of international law, and established this law surpasses the law of any nation. Additionally, instability is only a symptom of bad intervention – I've demonstrated several examples of intervention that cause no instability, aside from the overthrow of oppressive regimes. Accordingly, his argument here is refuted.

My opponent's third contention is empiric failures. Firstly, he argues intervention fails to halt violence in the long run. However, his source here is taken bizarrely out of context. The source is selectively quoted and even with the selective quoting agrees intervention stopped violence and displacement. To clarify what it actually says, the source notes that prior to international involvement 1,500 people were killed and 600,000 were uprooted from their homes. Even though R2P did not prevent this from happening, it effectively ended both the violence and displacement. In the aftermath, there was a lack of clarity about what to do to return those displaced, and the Kenyan government was not cooperating fully in returning displaced people. The article closes by saying “R2P is a tool to raise awareness to the obligation we all have when it comes to protection. It should have the support of everyone here.”[6] Far from asserting that R2P failed to stop violence, the source applauds R2P and wants to broaden it in scope. I think we can safely say this argument is refuted.

His next assertion is that intervention doesn't deter future abuse. His source, however it is also taken out of context – the article is primarily referring to direct military intervention into regional wars. Even if we assume that intervention in regional wars fails to deter violence, it still doesn't eliminate the whole idea of intervention, as not all human rights abuses are caused in regional wars. Through scenarios I have given, indirect aid to opposition political movements in abusive countries is very effective and results in little to no bloodshed as well as long-term stable democracies. All that aside, the primary goal of intervention is to stop abuses in a certain country – not to deter abuses in all areas.

His final assertion is that intervention backfires. To support this, he asserts that the Khmer Rouge wouldn't have taken power in Cambodia if it weren't for US intervention. This fundamentally misunderstands the reasons for their rise, which was caused primarily due to internal political turmoil in Cambodia and armed conflicts between Vietnam and Cambodia – not the US.[7] That aside, the examples I have given resulted in no backfire. I am not defending all intervention, just the principle of it, and I have established smart intervention is effective and safe.

My opponent's fourth and fifth contentions are linked - that intervention is bad because nations will go to great lengths to avoid having troops deployed, that direct intervention can result in collateral damage, and that it inflames situations. Unfortunately, this is the case, but that is the case in any war – be it war waged to liberate Europe from the Nazi regime, or war to stop terrorists. It is literally impossible to wage a war with zero civilian casualties, zero property damage, and zero resistance from those supporting the abuses. Consider this scenario; a group of terrorists are hiding in a bunker, and are launching missiles at civilian targets. They have intentionally located their bunker in a civilian area to ward off drone strikes. Is it appropriate to target the bunker with a drone and risk some civilian deaths, or to hold off and risk both civilian deaths and property damage due to the rockets? While this is a lose-lose scenario, the former is clearly better, as the drone strike may cause civilian deaths, but it will prevent far more deaths from rocket fire. Intervention may cause issues, but so does not intervening. Ultimately, the idea that that all intervention is morally impermissible because some intervention has backfired is silly.

To sum up: my opponent's opening case isn't very convincing. Many of his arguments take sources out of context, and he mostly doesn't focus on the philosophical merits of intervention, but instead on practical issues with some forms of intervention – which isn't sufficient in and of itself to establish intervention as morally impermissible or even to usurp the resolution. Additionally, his case relies heavily on quotes. Because of these factors, my opponent simply hasn't been able to undermine the resolution and thus the resolution is affirmed.

References:
1. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
2. http://womenshealth.gov...
3. http://www.theguardian.com...
4. http://www.un.org...
5. http://www.un.org...
6. http://www.brookings.edu...
7. Genocide and International Justice, Rebecca Joyce (page 267)
Debate Round No. 2
bsh1

Con

Thanks to TN05 for a super debate! At this time, I will rebut Pro's case (his R2 comments). I will offer some off-case comments as well.

PRO's CASE

C1: Helping the Mistreated is Morally Permissible

Clearly, helping those in need is a good thing, from a moral standpoint. However, we must situate this idea is a broader context. If I help person X by violating the rights of entity Y, we complicate the matter, because violations of rights are not morally permissible. Also, if I attempt to help someone in need but end up doing more harm than good, the morality of my action can also be questioned. Surely, in a void, helping others in need can be good, but the globe is not a void, and so we cannot make the statement that helping people in need is "ALWAYS" good, esp. if it violates the rights of others or produces net harms.

C2: Government For and By the People

Pro asserts that "a just government ruled by the people will protect the rights of the people." He implies that any unjust government opens itself up to intervention under the R2P doctrine--in effect forfeiting its sovereignty. First of all, let me argue than a just government is not a perfect government. A just government should protect the rights of its people on balance, but no government can reasonably be expected to perfectly protect all its citizens' rights. Consider that Guantanamo Bay can be viewed as a breach of human rights (e.g. due process), but that does not mean that the U.S. government is illegitimate or unjust as a whole. This sort of fits with the idea that good people can do bad things; the same is true of governments. Following from this, because the U.S. is still a "just" government, it retains its sovereignty and its claim against intervention, even under R2P.

Similarly, human rights abuses occur worldwide, and in most cases it is not at the hands of some genocidaire backed by the government, but rather rebel groups like ISIS in Iraq, Basque Separatists in Spain, or Boko Haram in Nigeria. The outside world cannot intervene in those instances (without prior permission from the sitting governments) because the governments themselves were duly elected and law-abiding, on balance.

Let me point out also that "R2P is not yet law, is not yet legally binding on the States." [1] Under the status quo then, R2P has yet to be codified as law, and so it is extremely dubious as to whether the doctrine can be used to justify interventionism in the first place. Therefore, Pro is false to state: "international community is obligated [by R2P] to help end human rights abuses when needed." In fact, the R2P document is merely a theory the UN has been developing, and Pro has yet to justify and warrant why any of us should be the logic underlying it.

Why is the U.S. responsible for the rights of a person in Myanmar. There is no moral, ethical, or legal relationship between the U.S. and that person, and so it is absurd to claim that an obligation exists to help that individual. As for moral permissibility, questions of sovereignty and of whether the U.S. should waste resources better spent elsewhere arise. If the U.S. is part of a social contract, it's primary duty is to benefit its own citizens; so unless there is net benefit to be gained via intervention, the U.S. should not do so.

C3: Covert Intervention

Pro cannot pick and choose what types of intervention he wishes to defend. He is required by the resolution to defend the broad idea of intervention, which includes support for opposition parties and such, but it also includes military intervention.

But, let's address his actual arguments. Pro does an excellent job rebutting the usefulness and morality of sanctions for me. He states: "For one, many countries that were formerly isolated (like early communist China) simply grew too powerful to ignore, and many countries that engage in abuses (like Russia and present-day China) are already too powerful to ignore. For other countries like Cuba, Iran, and North Korea, the isolation isn't really doing much - the governments simply don't care that they are being isolated and use it to their advantage. Additionally, this policy can result in economic harm to the people, who are not the ones at fault for their government's actions."

Clearly, Poland and South Africa are largely cherry-picked examples which I can counter with examples of my own. For instance, in the on-going conflict in Syria, it is often hard to distinguish between extremist resistance groups and moderate ones, making it difficult for the U.S. to ensure its aid is actually boosting its strategic interests and not simply making its way into the hands of terrorists. [2] Oftentimes, it is in the outside worlds best interests to back a dictator. For example, Hosni Mubarak was a leader who the U.S. helped prop up because it was in the U.S.'s best interests. If the U.S. is a government by its people for its people, then the U.S. should do what is best for its people, even if it means doing unsavory things such as cooperating with dictators. Furthermore, can Pro show that without the support of outside donors, that these opposition movements would not have attained their ultimate goal?

Since I have additional space, I will now offer some off-case harms centered around the inefficacy of intervention. As much of Pro's case rests on the idea that intervention works, these off-case arguments will indirectly rebut Pro's case by showing the disutility of intervention. Some of these off-case points may also tie in to my earlier rebuttals of Pro's case.

OFF CASE

P1: Intervention is not Always in a Nation's Strategic Interests

"There is widespread acknowledgement that most regional conflicts do not represent an intrinsic threat to America's national security. Even the interventionist-minded Clinton administration does not claim that regional wars are a direct threat to American vital interests, and officials have been quick to point out that foreign policy failures in Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia should not be viewed as jeopardizing the nation's security. As Secretary of State Warren Christopher has cautioned, regional conflicts should not 'detract from our ability to concentrate on the strategic priorities.'" [3]

P2: It is not morally permissible to intervene in some, but not all countries

"If the United States were to declare genocide in Bosnia sufficient grounds for American military intervention, for example, it would be blatantly hypocritical to ignore the (clearer and considerably more severe) genocide in Sudan. Similarly capricious was Washington's determination that the breakdown of the Somali government merited American intervention, while officials ignored the crisis in Rwanda after the apparent assassination of President Habyarimana on April 6, 1994 (100,000 were said to have been killed in the first two weeks of fighting alone) except to evacuate Americans from the area. Likewise, demands that U.S. troops protect democracy in Haiti are incongruous in light of Washington's quiet indifference toward the suspension of democracy in Algeria when Muslim extremists were poised to win elections in 1992. The inconsistency and hypocrisy of those policies are evidence of the weakness of intervention on the basis of nebulous principles." [3] Ultimately, to intervene in one location but not another is to say that the human rights of group A matter more than those of group B, which is a clearly morally incorrect statement to make. Clearly, if R2P is to be applied fairly, it may lead to an unending obligation--and Pro even calls it an obligation--to intervene nearly everywhere abuses occur. Surely this is logistically impossible, and the international community should not be called upon to honor such a doctrine.

P3: Locals don't always want outside Interference

"The US expected that its forces would be welcomed by grateful Iraqis...The evidence, however, is that many or most Arabs view the US with suspicion...An American-led attack on a resolutely anti-Israel Arab state sitting on perhaps the world"s second biggest oil reserve was bound to arouse Arab suspicion...Many Arab Iraqis shared in these feelings of distrust and resentment, their negative feelings compounded by direct experience of the human impact of American--British air raids and Western-led economic sanctions." [4] Prof. Michael Newman adds, "Neo-liberalism"often exacerbate[s] conflict in vulnerable societies, and that international governmental regimes following humanitarian interventions have had very limited success in establishing sustainable peace." We can evidence these observations through examples such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Zimbabwe, North Korea, etc.

P4: The Slippery Slope of Intervention: Sovereignty

Consider that if some outside body can determine at any time whether a nation has lost its sovereignty, based on some supposed breach of R2P, the world order itself comes under fire. Nations on the Security Council or in the UN General Assembly vote on their self-interest, and if it is in the self-interest of the nations in those groups to delegitimize a state to create a pretext for intervention, this risk is it could be done. Moreover, if a nation can unilaterally intervene in another's affairs, then it is even simpler to justify breaches of sovereignty because fewer administrative hurdles need to be crossed. Without sovereignty carrying weight, it would be far to easy for outside countries to point to minor breaches in human rights as a justification for some intervention.

SOURCES

1 - http://thenewinternationallaw.wordpress.com...
2 - http://www.clarionproject.org...
3 - http://www.cato.org...
4 - Glaser, Daryl [Prof., Department of Political Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa] (2010): Can the doctrine of just military intervention survive Iraq?, Journal of Global Ethics, 6:3, 287-304
TN05

Pro

The end of my portion of the debate it upon me, and I'd first off like to thank my opponent for an excellent debate. Take note that my opponent has only opted to rebut comments from my first round, so I can't defend anything I have said in my second round.

Pro concedes that “Clearly [it is accurate], from a moral standpoint” to aid those in need, but he contends that it isn't moral to help others by “violating [other's rights]”, or if you cause more damage than good. This is an interesting argument, but an inaccurate one – rights are not absolute and without limits, and certain rights are voided as part of agreements such as the social contract and international law. What do I mean by this? Under my opponent's logic, it would be wrong to use prison as a punishment as it violates the right to movement.[1] However, because individuals have subjected themselves to the social contract, government has the right to impose just punishment for crimes. Similarly, if I am robbing a bank and I got shot by cops, my right to life has not been violated because I was threatening the lives and property of others. In a similar matter, a state cannot have their right to sovereignty violated if an international coalition comes in and tries to stop a genocide, because they voided their right to sovereignty by abusing their citizens and violating agreed-upon international laws.

My opponent next tries to refute my argument that government's job is to protect the people. He asserts first off that I am arguing R2P opens up any nation facing any human rights abuse to intervention, and that thus any government with any human rights issue voids their right to sovereignty. This is a gross oversimplification – R2P states that each nation is “responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”, and that “when appropriate, the international community should assist States in exercising that responsibility”. Only in cases of a state “manifestly failing” can others directly intervene.[2] Clearly, R2P isn't what my opponent says it is. Also, the idea that governments with any rights abuses whatsoever void their right to sovereignty is ridiculous. Governments voided their right to absolute sovereignty when they signed treaties that established a higher power.

Con also asserts that rights abuses occur worldwide, and that most are caused by insurgents. This is the case, yes, but under governments are still obligated to protect their people. An insurgency in a country that isn't responded to is a violation of international law, similar to how I am obligated by law not to harbor fugitives, even if I'm not directly involved with their actions.[3] This is because insurgencies don't just affect one country – they affect others. For example, the ISIS has legs in both Iraq and Syria.[4] If Iraq refuses to stop them, the violence could naturally spill over into Syria.

Con also asserts R2P is not codified international law and thus cannot be applied. This is incorrect; UN Security Council Resolution 1674 “Reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document”.[5] What do paragraphs 138 and 139 say? “Each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity...The international community should, as appropriate, encourage and help States to exercise this responsibility and support the United Nations in establishing an early warning capability... we are prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner... on a case-by-case basis... should peaceful means be inadequate and national authorities manifestly fail to protect their populations”.[6] The 191 countries that were attendees of the 2005 World Summit agreed to this as well.[7] Who do you trust more on international law – the UN, or some random wordpress blog?

My opponent questions why the US is responsible for the rights of someone in Myanmar. This is a red herring; this debate is not about an obligation to intervene in any circumstance, because, as my opponent states in his opening, "Permissible means allowable... not necessarily encouraged or obligated”. I am not required in this debate to agree all intervention is a good idea, that all intervention has been good, or to defend US foreign policy - all I am required to establish is that intervention is not prohibited on moral principles.

My opponent tries to rebut my arguments about intervention being effective. He says “Pro cannot pick and choose what types of intervention he wishes to defend. He is required by the resolution to defend the broad idea of intervention, which includes support for opposition parties and such, but it also includes military intervention”. This is another red herring. I am indeed supposed to defend the broad idea of intervention as being morally acceptable, yes. I have repeatedly justified appropriate and effective military action in this debate, but what is wrong with me noting a certain type of intervention is more effective and thus the best type to use? That's like saying in a debate about whether medicine is good or not that I should be required to equally defend all types of 'medicine', including faith healing and voodoo witchcraft. I am obligated to defend a moral principle – not any particular action or type of action.

Con asserts I have disproven the idea of sanctions for him, but he is taking my words out of context; he ignores the bit at the beginning where I say “Embargos, trade sanctions and removal from international groups can pressure countries to stop their abuses”. I wasn't saying sanctions are bad, but that they are ineffective in some situations (namely, those with a country that has a fast-developing internal economy or that is already self-sufficient enough to handle sanctions) and there are downsides.

My opponnent also accuses me of cherry-picking Poland and South Africa as examples of successful intervention. This is silly, but since my opponent has decided to go down this path, I'll point out he has 'cherry-picked' examples of 'bad intervention' while ignoring obvious examples of intervention that was effective (like WWII and the Gulf War). He doesn't refute my key argument of effectiveness (namely, that the intervention in those countries led to a bloodless revolution, end to abuses and transition to democracy), and instead asserts US intervention in Syria was bad. Once again – I'm affirming that it is not immoral to intervene, not whether it is always a good idea. I happen to agree that the intervention used in Syria was ineffective, but how does that prove it is immoral to ever intervene? All it proves is that arming Al-Qaeda is a bad idea. I also find it odd he says that it was good for the US to prop up Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak to protect our interests. What were the interests we were protecting, exactly? It was preventing the Muslim Brotherhood from taking power and enforcing Sharia law.[8] In a way, propping up Mubarak was humanitarian intervention – Mubarak's Egypt was bad, sure, but not as bad as one where you can get your hand chopped off for forgetting to pay for a refill. I find it odd my opponent is saying it is morally OK to prop up a dictator but not to stop genocide.

To conclude his debate my opponent makes a few new arguments. He asserts that intervention isn't always in the best interests of a country, that it isn't morally permissible to intervene is some, but not all countries, that locals don't always want help, and that interventions supersedes sovereignty. The first consists of the previously-debunked regional wars article, asserting it isn't always in the best interests to help. This may be true, but practical interests don't disprove the morality of intervention. The second point is interesting, but ultimately fails – although my opponent asserts aiding some people but not others places those you are aiding as more valuable than those you are not, that is as silly as accusing someone donating to a fund to help breast cancer victims of placing their lives above other cancer victims,. When intervening, you have to consider whether you would actually be of help, whether there are already people there, or whether there are pressing needs elsewhere. The third is certainly one to consider when intervening, but it has nothing to do with the morality of it – it is situational, not universe. The fourth isn't a new argument, but rather a mix of my opponent's misconception about R2P stripping state sovereignty with his earlier statement that intervention would lead to countries being attacked for minor abuses. In reality, nations never had the right to do whatever they want inside their borders without anyone stopping them (and even if they did they lost it when they agreed to international law that says they can't do that), and support for war is low, even to stop dictators.

In conclusion, it should be very clear my opponent has failed to undermine my case. I have established why intervention is moral and that it can be safe and effective. In doing so, I have met my burden of proof (to show that intervention for human rights abuses is not morally impermissible). In contrast, my opponent has mainly made situational objections to intervention (ie. intervention might be bad if...), but hasn't actually made any real, substantive arguments on how intervention is universally wrong. As I have fulfilled my BOP, I urge a vote for Pro.

References:
1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
2. http://www.un.org...
3. http://definitions.uslegal.com...
4. http://www.independent.co.uk...
5. Security Council Resolution 1674
6. 2005 World Summit Outcome Document
7. https://en.wikipedia.org...
8. http://www.bbc.com...
Debate Round No. 3
bsh1

Con

Thanks to TN05 for this debate! In this round, I shall defend my case.

FRAMEWORK

Pro never rebuts my interpretation of the BOP for this round. Extend it.

Pro only rebuts one of my two criteria; he drops utility, and only discusses sovereignty. Extend my utility criterion. I will now address Pro's arguments re: sovereignty. Firstly, it is erroneous to conflate international law with sovereignty. Sovereignty implies supreme authority within a territory, while, even under international law, nations have far greater self-rule than do citizens of a sovereign state. Consider, that nation X in the UN may operate under UN law, but yet invoke its right to sovereignty when it does not wish to conform to that law. "International law has developed through increased co-operation among sovereign States in recent years as, for example, in the European Union, but it allows the State to assert sovereignty in a variety of ways: persistent objection to the formation of a customary rule of international law; nuclear threat in a world of general prohibition of the use of force; and above all, the unchanged concept of territorial sovereignty...This is evidenced in the actual state of the international community: sovereign States generally refrain from interfering in the domestic affairs of the others." [1] What this shows is that sovereignty is an important check on supranational institutions' or on other nations' ability to interfere in another states affairs. In other words, there is a strong presumption in international law against violations of a nations right to sovereignty, just as there are strong presumptions against a government infringing on its citizens' rights, even in pursuit of the greater good. Pro must show that the pressing nature of intervention is sufficient to overcome this presumption in favor of non-intervention.

But, at the end of the day, I only need to link into ONE of my criteria to show that intervention is not morally permissible.

ARGUMENTS

C1: An Endless Pretext

Pro is engaging in reductio ad absurdum here. My argument is that nations may usie violations of human rights as a pretext for intervention. Consider the situation in Crimea, where Russia declared it was deploying troops to ensure the safety of ethno-linguistic Russians. [2] Another example can be found in Kosovo, where intervention could be attributed to a desire to boost NATO's credibility and influence, vice a genuine concern for human rights. [3] Britain has also been accused of meddling in China's internal affairs for its own interest, using China's human rights record as a pretext for that intervention. [4]

Ultimately, what Pro fails to understand is that my argument is not that nations will "attack" or intervene in other nations at the slightest drop of a hat, but rather that when Nation X has a strategic interest in intervening in Nation Y, Nation X will justify otherwise impermissible interventionist acts with human rights dogma. In a sense, it becomes far too easy for nations to justify violations of sovereignty whenever it suits them. "[I]t is highly undesirable to have a new rule allowing humanitarian intervention, for that could provide a pretext for abusive intervention [and] would open a wide gap in the barrier against unilateral use of force." [5]

C2: Stability

Firstly, Pro fails to address the underlying claim I'm making here, which is not one about international law, but rather international stability. If interventions become too easily justified, then global stability is undermined. Sovereignty forms an important basis for international stability in terms of preventing war, ensuring ordered governance of territories, and promoting tolerance re: each others' "existence and the diversity of behavior that transpires within them." By creating a system that undermines the a priori power of sovereignty, global stability is placed under threat.

As for the claims about the UN Charter, my argument is that the UN Charter presupposes that sovereignty trumps human rights when the two are placed in conflict. "'[A]nyone who considers with some measure of objectivity the Charter's normative logic, its allocation of coercive jurisdiction, its omissions, as well as the preferences manifested by most participants in the drafting process and their immediately subsequent behaviour, cannot help concluding that the promotion of human rights ranked far below the protection of national sovereignty and the maintenance of peace as organizational goals.' This apparent hierarchy within the purposes of the UN Charter, combined with the absence of an explicit authorization to use force for the purpose of enforcing human rights provisions, leads Antonio Cassese to rightly conclude that '[u]nder the UN Charter system, respect for human rights, however important and crucial it may be, is never allowed to put peace in jeopardy. One may like or dislike this state of affairs, but so it is under lex lata.'" [5]

As to Pro's claims re: Chapter VII, we can say that under prevailing judicial norms, interventionism is still largely disallowed. "The ICJ's finding in the Nicaragua case, when the Court affirmed that under international law in force today--whether customary international law or that of the United Nations system--States do not have a right of...armed response to acts which do not constitute an armed attack.' Looking at NATO's intervention against Serbia in 1999...[it] did not equate to an armed attack against a neighbouring State." [5]

C3: Empirics

Long-term Failings

Allow me to provide a fuller quote from my source: "Reports show a lack of security for ethnic groups in areas of return, an absence of planning for those who do not wish to return, inadequate compensation for destroyed homes and property. Moreover, thousands still live in camps and temporary settlements. Yet we don’t hear any more about R2P in Kenya. Nor do we hear about the promotion of compliance with the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement with regard to rebuilding...The national human rights commission in Kenya considers its government to be violating these [World Summit] Principles in its treatment of IDPs after the violence. The Guiding Principles should be used by R2P advocates as a guide for governmental and international responsibilities toward IDPs, but there was no mention of them or other steps for the protection of IDPs in the January report of the Secretary-General." [6] The report concludes by noting that the international community has been "unable to robustly protect people from atrocity crimes." [6] Pro notes that the report seemed to endorse R2P, but this takes the quote out of context. The report suggests that if the intnerational community was able to engage in adequate follow-through, R2P may be useful; but since there is no evidence that the international community could or would engage in this follow through, the utility of R2P is severely questionable. Ultimately, this evidence shows that R2P fails to ensure long-term peace. Even if intervention stops violence in the short-term, if it fails in the long-term, it can still be said to be producing net harms. Consider the example of Libya, where, on the basis of humanitarian concerns, airstrikes were used. Violence was temporarily halted, but then re-erupted shortly thereafter. [7] Similarly, the current crisis in Iraq underscores how peace cannot be maintained once security forces depart.

Deterrence

Pro basically concedes that my evidence shows that "intervention in regional wars fails to deter violence." While this may only apply to a portion of Pro's ground in this debate, it does still mitigate his potential offense.

Backfiring

The bombing of Cambodia by the U.S. did boost recruitment for the Khmer Rouge and heightened their support among the peasants, who were a crucial part of their communist power bases during the ascendant years of the regime. [8] In fact, broader statistical analyses show that intervention actually intensifies hostility and conflict. [9, 10] Consider also that "many regional conflicts are so deeply rooted that no outside party, from within or outside the region, will succeed in ending the fighting.” [11] We can evidence this later assertion with examples such as the conflicts in Sudan or the Congo, or the on-going derogation of Tamil's rights in Sri Lanka.

C4 + C5

These contentions are not actually linked, insofar as having an aversion to putting "boots on the ground" is not necessarily related with escalations of violence after intervention. Pro 100% agrees that it is the case that nations wish to avoid deploying troops or personnel in a given area, and that they go to unnecessarily extreme and deadly lengths to avoid doing so. His only argument is that it's impossible to avoid having zero casualties; I concur. My point is that nations could effectively minimize conditions if they were willing or able to make distasteful decisions. So, in Pro's world, intervention is likely going to be done in a more lethal and bloody fashion than need be. Pro flat out drops my C5, focusing solely on the "boots on the ground" analogy.

SOURCES

1 - https://www.dur.ac.uk...
2 - http://voiceofrussia.com...
3 - http://www.ask.com...
4 - http://uk.reuters.com...
5 - http://amsterdamlawforum.org...
6 - R2, Source 5
7 - http://hotair.com...
8 - http://www.ask.com...
9 - http://www-wds.worldbank.org...
10 - http://www.saramitchell.org...
11 - R2, Source 6

Thanks! Over to Pro...
TN05

Pro

As I'm in my final round, I'd like to congratulate my opponent. This has been a close debate, and I look forward to resolving the final points my opponent has made here before I close.

To begin, my opponent states I haven't refuted his framework. This is correct, he has chosen to limit himself to just two regards and I have refuted both. He also argues I haven't refuted his utility criterion – I may not have refuted it directly, but only because I have already established the utilitarian benefits of intervention (namely, bloodless revolution resulting in democracies). My opponent asserts it is 'erroneous' to regard international law as a limiter of sovereignty. He asserts states have unrestricted sovereignty over their territory, and can opt out of international agreements whenever they wish. Unfortunately (for him at least), the source he uses to support this claim states otherwise. To quote his source verbatim, “It does not follow, however, that sovereignty is absolute. Should it be absolute, it would deny the very idea of an international legal order of mankind. To rely on sovereignty as a fundamental attribute of the State does not necessarily entail exemption from international law either in the form of general international law or treaty obligations. Manifold legal obligations of States co-operating within a network of international instruments may restrain their freedom of action and consequently their exercise of sovereignty, but are in fact a form of exercising their sovereignty and may rather enhance the preservation of their legal status of sovereignty politically and economically. Such obligations neither deprive States of their sovereign status nor diminish it. It would be safe to conclude... that 'Sovereignty in the sense of contemporary international law denotes the basic international legal status of a State that is not subject, within its territorial jurisdiction, to the governmental, executive, legislative, or judicial jurisdiction of a foreign State or to foreign law other than public international law'.”[1] I've already established R2P as being international law, but this places a dagger through the heart of my opponent's sovereignty argument – even his own sources rejects the idea of absolute sovereignty. States have greed to uphold basic laws, and it is entirely appropriate to hold them to that standard.

In response to my refutation of his endless pretext argument, he asserts that I misinterpreted his claim – he's not claiming countries could invade for minor abuses, but that countries could invade under the guise of helping stop abuses. This is an interesting argument, but fails as it actually doesn't harm the resolution at all. To explain, I am defending the idea that intervention to stop rights abuses isn't morally impermissible. What my opponent is arguing here is akin to saying it isn't morally acceptable to stop someone who is being mugged on the street, because some other person might attack a person he hates under the pretext of stopping a mugging when really there isn't anything going on. He is asserting the immorality of the latter (abusing intervention for devious means) magically makes the former (selflessly intervening) immoral. That is an utterly nonsensical claim, and my opponent may be the one using reductio ad absurdum[3] here. People abuse rights all the time. Is the right to fair trial immoral because some guilty people might abuse legal loopholes? Of course not.

His second point, stability, is utterly crippled by the irrationality of my opponent's pretext claim. He asserts that “If interventions become too easily justified, then global stability is undermined”. Under R2P, however, interventions aren't easily justified. More importantly, I've already established that international law does not allow unrestrained state sovereignty. In this same section, my opponent asserts sovereignty outweighs human rights. Rather than try and refute the fact that the UN Charter specifically allows for humanitarian intervention,[4] he asserts absolute state sovereignty is supreme due to an ICJ ruling that found the United States could not attack Nicaragua because they didn't wage armed attacks.[5] Even my opponent does indeed admit that there are instances where intervention is allowed, and beyond that I have clearly established that international law allows for intervenention, this case is very narrow as it only applies to armed responses to unarmed conflicts. Intervention is not wholly limited to armed intervention, however – I've demonstrated how unarmed intervention can be done, something my opponent has failed to rebut. Regardless, this isn't a debate on legality – it is a debate on morality.

In regards to long-term failings, my opponent once again ignores my key argument (that R2P stopped killings and mass dislocations). Instead, he asserts his source (which I demonstrated was selectively quoted) doesn't endorse R2P, but actually disagrees with it. He accuses me of “taking [the quote where R2P is endorsed] out of context”, but once again this is false. My opponent once again quotes only a part that seems to agree with him – namely, a part where it says “unable to robustly protect people from atrocity crimes”. I suggest we take a look at that whole section unedited. “So there is still work to be done to reconcile more effectively R2P with humanitarian and human rights concerns. It is essential to do so. The international community to date has shown itself unwilling and unable to robustly protect people from atrocity crimes committed in their countries. R2P is a tool to raise awareness to the obligation we all have when it comes to protection. It should have the support of everyone here”.[5] This basically annihilates his assertion that the source opposes R2P. Instead, it wants it expanded to ensure that people are protected not just from short-term issues (which it can effectively handle), but also long-term issues.

On deterrence, my opponent once again focuses on just a tiny portion of my comment – he says I basically agree with him that intervention in regional wars doesn't stop long-term violence. He doesn't mention the part where I note intervention is aimed to stop violence in a certain country, not cease it in all areas, or that covert intervention has resulted in numerous long-term usccesses. In regards to backfiring, he doubles down on his claim that the Cambodian genocide was mainly caused by US intervention. Unfortunately, his source is weak – a Wikipedia article, which merely states that “some historians” hold this view and that many others believe the intervention broke Communist control of Phnom Phen or saved Cambodia from collapse.[6] Dr. Craig Etcheson describes my opponent's position as “untenable”.[7] Regardless, Con hasn't disproven my claim that the rise was cause primarily by Cambodia and Vietnam's regional conflict as well as internal turmoil in Cambodia.

On his fifth and final argument, my opponent again ignores the brunt of my argument (namely, “the idea that that all intervention is morally impermissible because some intervention has backfired is silly”) and instead asserts that intervention would result in a bloody, chaotic world. He also argues I didn't respond to his arguments about escalation of violence, but I believe I have in the sense that I noted that war may indeed inflame those who supported the abusers, it may be required due to no-win scenarios. I've made my point clear in these cases – that war is ugly and nothing about that has changed or will change. What my opponent hasn't made clear is how this makes all intervention immoral.

Finally, I wish to raise several other arguments Con has failed to contest (FTC) or has flat-out conceded (CE):

*FTC that the law protects individuals who make reasonable attempts at rescue.
*FTC that covert intervention has resulted in bloodless revolutions and a transition to democracy in Poland and South Korea
*FTC that public support for any type of war is low.
*CE that ”Clearly, helping those in need is a good thing, from a moral standpoint”

Now, that's just a few examples - everything but the concession comes from my oppening rounds. However, I think this demonstrates a major flaw with my opponent's case. To put it simply he hasn't disagreed with one of my three key claims (morally appropriate to aid), didn't even try to refute another (covert intervention works). As Con noted in his framework, his goal is to “show that such intervention contravenes moral principles, or... stop Pro from showing that they don't contravene moral principles”. I don't feel my opponent has done an adequate job in either to warrant a vote. Whereas I have given philosophical reasoning to justify intervention and have established the utilitarian effect of intervention (in particular, covert intervention), my opponent has droppe many of my key arguments and has mainly focused on noting negative examples of intervention or hypothetical scenarios, rather than the underlying moral justification this debate is supposed to be about – basically, he might have proven some intervention (or type of intervention) has caused bad things, but not that it is immoral. Given I have established the moral justification and practical benefit of intervention, and my opponent hasn't refuted my arguments on either front, I have fulfilled my burden of proof (demonstrating intervention is not morally impermissible) and thus a vote for Pro is warranted.

I look forward to seeing my opponent's closing. Good debate!

Rerefences:
1. https://www.dur.ac.uk...
2. http://europa.eu...
3. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
4. http://www.un.org...
5. http://www.gwu.edu...
6. http://www.ask.com...
7. Etcheson, Craig, The Rise and Demise of Democratic Kampuchea, Westview Press, 1984, p. 97
Debate Round No. 4
bsh1

Con

Thank to TN05 for a great debate!

PRO's CASE

C1: Helping the Mistreated

I posited two ways in which helping others wasn't morally permissible: (1) when rights are violated, and (2) when "helping" others actually leads to more harm.

Pro ONLY addresses the first reason, meaning that the second reason is DROPPED. The impact is clear: if intervention, on balance, causes more harm then good, it is not permissible. But, even if you don't buy this, then we can still affirm the rights paradigm with the evidence I presented last round [1]. This shows that sovereignty imposes a priori restrictions which generate a strong presumption against intervention. In other words, in the absence of compelling evidence for intervention over sovereignty, we default Con.

C2: Government + the People

Let's look at the precise implications of Pro's claim. R2P can be applied "when appropriate." This links in with my argument about pretextual interventions. This threshold is unclear, and easily subject to interpretation. So, if nation X wants to intervene in nation Y, it can use the ambiguity of the brightline to justify and otherwise impermissible intervention.

Pro says that governments must respond to insurgencies. I agree. Pro uses the example of ISIS; the Iraqi government is responding to ISIS, albeit ineffectively. Simply put, Iraq isn't strong enough to enforce the peace. Therefore, it is meeting its obligation to do what it can for its people, and so it hasn't surrendered its sovereignty. As I said earlier: "The outside world cannot intervene in those instances (without prior permission from the sitting governments) because the governments themselves were duly elected and law-abiding, on balance."

As for the argument about the legality of intervention, there are three things we can say here: (1) Legality is not the same as moral permissibility, (2) sovereignty is still prioritized within the UN legal system, and (3) there are some unfortunate impacts of Pro's argument that turn it my way. Point 1 seems intuitively correct. Point 2 is evidenced by my card from last round: "'[A]nyone who considers with some measure of objectivity the Charter's normative logic, its allocation of coercive jurisdiction, its omissions, as well as the preferences manifested by most participants in the drafting process and their immediately subsequent behaviour, cannot help concluding that the promotion of human rights ranked far below the protection of national sovereignty and the maintenance of peace as organizational goals.'" [1] So, even if there are criteria proposed by this resolution, sovereignty is still weighed far more heavily in the judicial process. Point 3 is key too. Consider that a responsibility equates to an obligation, i.e. something one is required to do. [2] Pro even writes (R2): "the international community is obligated to help end human rights abuses." Therefore, if we use R2P to justify intervention, the unavoidable implication of that argument is that we are saying that there is an OBLIGATION to protect.

So, for example, Pro's argument would mean that everywhere that human rights abuses are occurring with any severity, the U.S., as part of the international community, would have an obligation to intervene. This is clearly a ridiculous statement to make. The U.S. has limited resources and manpower, and it should use those resources to benefit its own people vice the denizens of other countries. R2P presupposes an obligation to assist exists, but this is clearly disproven by the fact that such an obligation would be untenable, and cannot exist in light of a nation's sovereign duties.

Pro says that he doesn't have to argue for an obligation. Sure, he doesn't have to, but the arguments that he chose to use are ones about moral obligations. Pro put himself into that box. In effect, R2P creates an unending duty to intervene whenever it was deemed necessary--which is patently ridiculous.

C3: Covert Intervention

Pro agrees that he must also defend military interventions, so any harms arising from these are still valid when applied to Pro.

Regarding sanctions, Pro has not offered a single concrete example as to when they were effective and how, nor has he provided any evidence as to why they work. Instead, he lists 3 reasons why they are bad. On balance then, Pro has defeated his own argument here.

Ultimately, Pro offers just two examples of effective intervention via support for opposition groups. Irrespective of my cherry-picking argument, two examples are insufficient for Pro to meet his BOP, i.e. to show that, in general, intervention is morally permissible. Additionally, the Syrian example is an example of failed intervention insofar as it highlights the difficulties of ascertaining conditions on the ground to make sure that the support one gives to the opposition actually reflects the goals of the intervention. If the U.S. intervenes in a situation as complex as the one in Syria, mistakes are apt to be made, leading to failures and worse outcomes. Furthermore, it is a perversion of the idea of humanitarian intervention to say that supporting someone who violated human rights was a humanitarian intervention. Ultimately, Pro shouldn't be arguing that the U.S. was justified in supporting Mubarak, because Mubarak was guilty of the severe rights violations that would justify R2P. In this sense, Pro is being a bit incoherent.

My argument is that sometimes the U.S. must make unsavory decisions, such as supporting leaders like Mubarak, to fulfill it's primary obligation to do what is in the interests of it's own citizens. As George Kennan writes, "let us recognize that the functions, commitments and obligations of governments are not the same as those of the individual. Government is an agent, not a principal. Its primary obligation is to the interests of the national society it represents, not to the moral impulses that individual elements of that society may experience." Pro's own argument about a government for the people and by the people supports Kennan's analysis. The impact of this argument is clear: the U.S. must sometimes accept that human rights abuses are occurring, in order to maximize its own welfare.

P1: Nat'l Interest

Pro says my article was "debunked." By that all he means is that the article is specific to regional wars. But the logic underpinning the card goes further. Consider that electoral abuses in Myanmar have very little to do with U.S. strategic interests, for example. Also, Pro--in R3--agrees that "most [human rights abuses] are caused by insurgents," i.e. regional wars. This means that this card applies often.

Pro then suggests that political considerations don't have bearing on morality. Yet, my whole argument is that a country's prime moral duty is to do what is best for its people. Pro even concurred with this in his opening round! So, if R2P imposes an obligation to intervene, and if that intervention is not in our strategic interests, then we essentially have an obligation to waste our resources. This is clearly absurd.

P2: Some, Not All

Pro says you need to triage intervention based on priority. Yet, as my card implies, nations don't intervene where intervention is most needed. If you buy Pro's argument that political considerations have no bearing on morality, then the fact that nations are intervening in their strategic interests--in other words, playing favorites--you agree that this is immoral.

P3: Locals

Pro says this point is irrelevant because it is situational, not universal. Yet, if we can intervene when we're not wanted, we can end up making the problem worse, as seen with anti-American backlash post-Iraq. Moreover, if the people of nation X don't want us to intervene in nation X, by what right can we violate their sovereignty?

P4: Slippery Slope

Pro misconstrues my point here, assuming it is about a nation's "to do whatever they want inside their borders." In fact, this argument is about pretextual interventions. Pro's rebuttal was totally non-responsive to this point; it's DROPPED. Please extend it. The impact is that because the threshold for when intervention is legitimate is subject to interpretation, nations can more easily excuse otherwise inexcusable interventions by claiming that they were acting under a certain interpretation of the rules. In other words, it makes intervention too easy, undermining the concept of sovereignty and jeopardizing global stability.

VOTING ISSUES

Because Pro has dropped the utility criterion, we can use that to assess the round. If you buy any ONE of these points, I win.

1. Pro has failed to uphold his BOP

Pro's BOP is to uphold the resolution on balance; recall, Pro has the sole BOP. His examples of Poland and South Africa are just two examples, and cannot show that the resolution is true "on balance." Moreover, he provides no evidence of the successfulness of sanctions. On the contrary, I have given evidence showing that Pro's world could lead to abusive interventions, a loss of stability, a cycle of violent escalation (my C5 was dropped by Pro), unnecessarily deadly form of intervention, and also have a risk of backfiring. Even if you buy none of this other offense, my C5 was cold conceded, and in light of Pro's lack of evidence, shows that, under a utilitarian analysis, Pro has failed to affirm his case.


2. Sovereignty

Sovereignty, while not absolute, has a strong presumptive value in its favor. In fact, evidence I've cited shows that International Law prioritizes sovereignty over human rights. This creates a presumption in favor of Con.


3. National Interest

A nation's primary moral duty is to act in a way that benefits its own people. Since R2P interferes with that duty (by obligation resource go elsewhere), it contradicts a moral principle/duty, and is thus impermissible. Remember, Pro himself called R2P an obligation.


SOURCES

1 - R4, Source 5
2 - R2, Source 1
Debate Round No. 5
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Pt. 8

PRO tries to wiggle out of his logical conundrum of states both being obliged and not obliged to intervene to stop human rights abuses vis a vis the tension between responsibility to protect doctrine and his own arguments. It's close, but just doesn't make it. PRO doesn't overcome the sovereignty or stability points, though he surely makes a formidable effort. Once more, I cannot prudently give deference to either side's examples of intervention's successes or failures because of the logistical factors associated with intervention. Evaluating intervention's probability of success or failure on the basis of intervention's being an intervention is a fool's errand because what determines the outcome has more to do with what 'actually' takes place on the ground rather than intervention's being an "intervention."

CON has, throughout this debate, shown how intervention violates state's rights to sovereignty, how that produces, among other things, a parade of geopolitical horribles, how it is possible that intervention could amplify the very problem it seeks to remedy and how intervention is in some, perhaps even many, instances antagonistic to the interests of states which could intervene. The parade of geopolitical horribles, sans the failures of intervention (other than sanctions) was sufficient to prevent PRO from showing that if evaluating intervention as stipulated in the resolution through a utilitarian lens, intervention as such is morally permissible. Thusly, CON narrowly, and very narrowly, wins.
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Pt. 7

CON is correct that PRO never rebuts his interpretation of the BOP, although there was no need to, because he fairly outlined it. In restating (and not rebuilding, because there was no need to rebuild as PRO never really undermined it) his framework, CON states "Pro must show that the pressing nature of intervention is sufficient to overcome this presumption in favor of non-intervention." Since PRO assumed the full BOP, I am compelled to let that stand.

CON extends his endless pretext argument: "Ultimately, what Pro fails to understand is that my argument is not that nations will "attack" or intervene in other nations at the slightest drop of a hat, but rather that when Nation X has a strategic interest in intervening in Nation Y, Nation X will justify otherwise impermissible interventionist acts with human rights dogma." PRO never really countered that sufficiently. Stability is extended: " By creating a system that undermines the a priori power of sovereignty, global stability is placed under threat." But I'm disinclined to, as a judge, give deference to any argument for or against intervention's probability of success or failure because while there are examples of both, success or failure is not contingent upon the act of intervention but, rather, upon HOW that intervention is executed as well as the contextual factors associated with intervention in a specific place, under a given circumstance, at a given time, etc.
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Pt. 6

CON's off-case arguments were compelling: (1) Intervention is not Always in a Nation's Strategic Interests, (2) It is not morally permissible to intervene in some, but not all countries, (3) Locals don't always want outside Interference, (4) The Slippery Slope of Intervention: Sovereignty.

Nonetheless, in the next round, PRO returns in force: "In a similar matter, a state cannot have their right to sovereignty violated if an international coalition comes in and tries to stop a genocide, because they voided their right to sovereignty by abusing their citizens and violating agreed-upon international laws." However, his claim that "governments voided their right to absolute sovereignty when they signed treaties that established a higher power" is fundamentally in error -and exposes the logical precarity of his own case for reasons that CON has been talking about regarding the slippery slope of using human rights abuses as a pretext for intervention -even when accounting for the UN charter.

PRO tries to dismiss Myanmar as a red herring, but with little success, although he is correct in clarifying that permissibility does not imply obligation, although earlier PRO said that all states are obliged to do so, which is problematic. PRO's stronger point exists in his point that "practical interests don't disprove the morality of intervention" but we're not talking about "morality" generally, but only "moral permissibility." Moreover, says PRO: "In reality, nations never had the right to do whatever they want inside their borders without anyone stopping them (and even if they did they lost it when they agreed to international law that says they can't do that), and support for war is low, even to stop dictators." But even still, that governments don't have the right to do as they please with their people doesn't mean that other states have the right or responsibility to intervene to stop abuses.
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Pt. 5

CON's rebuttal in Rd. 3 to PRO's argument that helping others is always morally permissible is sufficient but not more, in his advancement of the principle that "help" is not permissible where it produces net harms. Although his first paragraph's discussion in his next rebuttal re: just governments fell short. While the US may be a just government, if CON was to be consistent with his earlier point that human rights abuses lend themselves to endless pretexts of intervention, it would have been more compelling to argue that insofar as the US government abuses human rights (if that is the case, which I do not believe that it is) it exposes itself to intervention. However, CON's point that US, for example, is in no meaningful way accountable for what transpires in, also for example, Myanmar, was well articulated. Regarding "covert intervention" CON posits that "Pro cannot pick and choose what types of intervention he wishes to defend. He is required by the resolution to defend the broad idea of intervention, which includes support for opposition parties and such, but it also includes military intervention." But, CON most assuredly can. The resolution does not require PRO to defend all kinds of intervention, only some kinds, and if intervention of a specific kind of permissible as stated in the resolution, then CON -even to be consistent with the Burdens that CON outlined in the previous round- can win this debate. Alas, PRO didn't do that, because, as CON noted "Pro does an excellent job rebutting the usefulness and morality of sanctions" and various other measures. It was very much not in PRO's best interest to only defend "covert" intervention, as such.
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Pt. 4

In evaluating the relative strength of CON's opening arguments, whether judging on the basis of a shared and equivalent burden of proof or on if PRO has the sole burden of proof, CON has at this point offered arguments sufficient to sustain both.

In the subsequent round, however, PRO makes a compelling rebuttal. Says PRO: "people don't cede all their rights to government; we may have a social contract with government, but as with all contracts, it comes with obligations and responsibilities for both sides" and "In a similar matter, governments have made themselves subject to higher rule - international law. International law is a group of rules nations accept as binding.[1] In a way, this is a contract with the world."

PRO also makes strong efforts to rebut CON's claim that what counts for a human rights abuse is hard to define, and rebuts some of the examples CON offered by claiming that military intervention is not necessarily implied by "intervention." PRO is correct, although his phrasing here "The idea that intervention must equal military action is absurd and outdated" was less professional than it should have been. But, PRO had a great deal of difficulty overcoming CON's argument regarding instability, though made a formidable counter against CON's third points -especially regarding source material. PRO continues, " Intervention may cause issues, but so does not intervening" so " the idea that that all intervention is morally impermissible because some intervention has backfired is silly." But this is hard to meaningfully speculate on in the abstract.
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Pt. 3

CON opens with a salutary clarification of what permissible means. Says CON: "Permissible means allowable [1], indicating that is something is permissible, it is allowed but not necessarily encouraged or obligated." CON follows up with an outline of his burden and that of his opponent's: "If I can show that such intervention contravenes moral principles, or if I can stop Pro from showing that they don't contravene moral principles, than I have won this debate."

Framing this debate through a utilitarian lens, CON claims that "Ultimately, our morality is structured in such a way that we seek to maximize beneficial outcomes, and minimize disutility." (The Woller quote made me cringe, but it was consistent with his earlier point.) And indirectly, CON claims that it is in society's best interest, where our standard for defining that interest is utilitarian in nature, to respect the sovereignty of other nations because (1) what counts for a violation of human rights is arbitrary, (2) intervention undermines stability and (3,4) intervention has not always stopped human rights abuses and (5) intervention may escalate crises. CON's third and fourth points should have been merged.
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Pt. 2

In evaluating the relative strength of PRO's first argument, I want to focus on the resolution. Here it is again:

"Intervention in the internal political processes of other nations is morally permissible when a goal of the intervention is to halt human rights abuses."

PRO claims to have proved that:

"As I have demonstrated, it is morally permissible to aid others in need and...it is morally permissible for governments to try and end human rights abuses " both inside of their borders and outside of them."

AND

" I have also demonstrated the pragmatic, practical benefits of such intervention,"

...but that doesn't affirm the resolution. Aid to stop human rights abuses doesn't necessarily imply foreign intervention of one country into the internal political processes of another, or if it does, then PRO needed to make that link. He never did. Whether it is morally permissible for countries to intervene "both inside of their borders and outside of them" is irrelevant, because the resolution only talks about intervention of a very specific kind with a very specific effect by one country into the internal political processes of another. PRO did not ground why 'that' is morally permissible, and his evidence for its efficacy was wanting as well. If PRO has the sole burden of proof, he has thus far not met that burden.
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Pt. 1

Resolved: "Intervention in the internal political processes of other nations is morally permissible when a goal of the intervention is to halt human rights abuses."

Since this came up in CON's introductory round, this is not a positive claim. A positive claim is one that is empirically the case, that can be tested, that could be falsified. Positive claims can not be made for things that are not empirically verifiable, or, in this case, claims of what is or is not morally permissible. The resolution is normative, and the BOP should have been equivalent among both debaters because it is a normative resolution. So, PRO should have had the burden to affirm while CON should have had the burden to negate. And yet, both debaters agreed that PRO would carry the sole burden, so I will evaluate it on that basis.

PRO begins with the claim that helping those who are abused or mistreated is morally permissible, that governments are obliged to protect people (though he goes a step further at the end of that argument to say that "all nations are obligated to seek an end to rights abuses") and that "Covert intervention into the political affairs of other countries can be humane and effective." Why only "convert" intervention? PRO says that there are only two effective ways: "1. Pursue a policy of isolating the country from the rest of the world.
2. Support opposition parties, politicians, and/or arm opposition military movements." PRO concludes with this: "As I have demonstrated, it is morally permissible to aid others in need and... it is morally permissible for governments to try and end human rights abuses."
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
I'm considering voting on this tonight...
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
I think in the future you guys should just do a panel.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
bsh1TN05
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: I would like to commend both debaters on the fine examples of Conduct and S & G. As for arguments, I award points to Con. Pro lacked the warrants necessary to combat the negative implications and fallout from military intervention. This is both in terms of sovereignty and whether the ends justify the means. The strongest arguments from Pro were in the form of rebuttals, especially where he showed the selective blocks in his source sharing. Unfortunately, as Pro, he had a burden that wasn't met in terms of solidifying his position against the issues raised by Con. I do wish to commend both, as this was an extremely well-fought debate. I must, however, award points to Con for Pro's lack of full warrants against some of Con's sovereignty points and military intervention fallout in long-term situations.
Vote Placed by Mikal 2 years ago
Mikal
bsh1TN05
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Great debate but slight edge to con in the end, i think one of his strongest argument was left standing in the end and that was the fact that intervention undermines stability. He gave some strong examples to verify this. Pro points out that con chops off some of the text in a block quote to make his point and makes some examples of his own to counter it. In the following rounds is where con wins this argument to me. One of the strongest cases con made was how pro had to still defend military intervention which pro conceded he had to. At this point it was an easier win for con even if it was explanatory prior to this. Con is effectively able to establish a case for harm that pro is not quite able to get around. Great debate
Vote Placed by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
bsh1TN05
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: CON has, throughout this debate, shown how intervention violates state's rights to sovereignty, how that produces, among other things, a parade of geopolitical horribles, how it is possible that intervention could amplify the very problem it seeks to remedy and how intervention is in some, perhaps even many, instances antagonistic to the interests of states which could intervene. The parade of geopolitical horribles, sans the failures of intervention (other than sanctions) was sufficient to prevent PRO from showing that if evaluating intervention as stipulated in the resolution through a utilitarian lens, intervention as such is morally permissible. Thusly, CON narrowly, and very narrowly, wins.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
bsh1TN05
Who won the debate:--
Reasons for voting decision: I didn't mean to vote. Sorry