The Instigator
Mathgeekjoe
Pro (for)
Winning
2 Points
The Contender
TBR
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Even if the world could abolish nuclear weapons, the world shouldn't.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Mathgeekjoe
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/28/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,108 times Debate No: 72503
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (21)
Votes (2)

 

Mathgeekjoe

Pro

I recommend anyone who is going to take on this debate visit my old debates on this topic.
http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...
TBR

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Mathgeekjoe

Pro

The semi/non-lethal uses of nuclear weapons can save lives. There are many uses of nuclear weapons other than vaporizing a city. A nuclear weapon can be used as an Electromagnetic Pulse if detonated high in the atmosphere. When a nuclear weapon is detonated that high in the atmosphere there is no fallout, no soot produce to cause a nuclear winter, and no nitric oxides produce to weaken the ozone. Plus use of a nuclear weapon to produce an EMP produces few casualties, while some would die because of vehicle accidents and lack of electricity, it would over all kill fewer people than conventional weapon would require for the same effect.

Nuclear weapons are the produce the largest explosion of all current weapons making them some of the best options to intercept a large number of ballistic missiles close together. While alternatives are cheaper for taking out single ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons are the best for taking out a volley or another nuke using counter measures. The shear fact that nukes are the best counter for massive amounts of ballistic missiles is a good enough reason to keep them.

Low yield airburst nuclear weapons can be used to take out hardened missile silos. While conventional weapons have some capabilities to take out enemy ballistic missile silos, they don't have as high of probability of success as a single accurate nuclear blast. It is important to note that air bursting nuclear weapons produce little nuclear fallout and little nitric oxide. Also important to note is that low yield nuclear weapons produce less intense flash meaning they are significantly less likely to produce a firestorm and thus would not produce a nuclear winter. On top of that, enemy missile silos aren't filled with much flammable matter as a city thus producing no soot.

Nuclear weapons can also be used to deflect incoming meteors and asteroids. It is important to know that meteors and asteroids can do several times more damage than any nuclear weapon can. Giving up the strongest thing we have against these forces of destruction seems like a bad idea. I much rather have a nuclear weapon and not need it, than need a nuclear weapon and not have it.
TBR

Con

Pro has argued several potential alternate use cases for existing nuclear weapon technology that I will group and rebut as;

1) Non-lethal (less lethal) offensive weapon (EMP)
2) Defensive (missile shield)
3) Offensive “smart” weaponry
4) Meteor planetary protection

1) EMP.
The electromagnetic pulse has the potential to be a devastating weapon as technology and warfare continue to grow a symbiotic relationship. The desire to debilitate an enemy with low causality counts seems like a laudable goal if warfare must exist.

The question then is, if EMP weaponry is desirable, should we retain nuclear weapons as the delivery mechanism for EMP attacks. The answer is no.

How to make Non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse (NNEMP)
The effect we are attempting to achieve has no requisite connection with nuclear weaponry. Flux compression generator bombs[1] have been understood for more than fifty years, they are not science fiction.

Highly scalable and targeted, these bombs show greater practical use. The US, and its allied nations are highly dependent on technology, more so than most of our potential foes. Widespread indiscriminate EMP attacks might be more devastating to our own efforts, and make nuclear unusable when an EMP attack is most desirable. While hardly much of a deciding factor when contemplating use of weaponry, cost is also of some concern. The annual per-unit cost of a nuclear ICBM is about $1.8 million dollars [2]. That is a staggering sum regardless of potential.

The off-label potential use of a nuclear weapon is not practical vs. other technologies, is not cost effective and we haven’t even gotten to the primary general concerns!


2)
Defensive missile shield
The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) better known in the vernacular as “star wars” simply has never worked. I am a believer in technology, and assume that the hurdles to achieve success are surmountable. The current technological problems have solutions, and they all have a cost. Anywhere from 500 billion to 2 trillion dollars [5]. This is not a trivial sum, but as I said above, cost is never the best metric to use when evaluating systems intended to mitigate large scale loss of life.
Aside from cost, planning and implementation a defensive system invites attack. If a foe knows that a defensive system is in place, the doctrine of MAD losses its impact. As more, and less stable government’s gain nuclear weaponry, more potential to use with lower inhabitation means greater risk. This while relying on a system that may never be 100% reliable.

With or without a shield, enemy nuclear weapons pose similar threats. That is, a shield is only effective for a single delivery mechanism – the ICBM. This delivery mechanism is not the most desirable for any current, or potential foe. The simpler, and more attainable goal delivering a nuclear attack by almost any other means is a risk unprotected by such a ABM system.

ABMs are costly, unproven, and only mitigate a small percentage of potential attack.


3) Offensive “smart” weaponry
Pros primary reasoning for the use of nuclear weapons in an offensive scenario is for low-yield earth-penetrating weapons. Conventional “bunker buster” weapons are quite effective, however, proponents of adding the nuclear component point to additional “effectiveness”. What these bombs do is act like a conventional bunker busting bomb, penetrating the earth, then subsequently exploding their nuclear payload [6], potentially being more “complete” in their devastation of the target.

There are two primary issues with this use. One is practical, the other political. In any war context sever enough to warrant the use of nuclear weapons in any fashion, all-out attack would be probable. That is, we would be at war. Multiple attacks at any target desirable enough to warrant use of the nuclear weapon would be probable. Conventional bunker busting weapons would prove more practical for multiple attacks. The second issue, political, is not insignificant. War is a political gambit. Provided the efforts is not an insane effort to destroy all enemy, but to force political change, we risk jeopardizing any moral superiority we may have going into the war.


4) Meteor planetary protection
With pros indulgence, I would like to dedicate a round to this point. It is far more complex than the others, and deserves the space to discuss completely.

[1] http://science.howstuffworks.com...

[2] http://fpif.org...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[4] http://science.howstuffworks.com...

[5] http://archive.unu.edu...

[6] http://fas.org...

Debate Round No. 2
Mathgeekjoe

Pro

1) My opponent tries to claim that claim that Nuclear EMPs are not needed since NNEMPs exist. The only problem with this claim is that there are situations where Nuclear EMPs have an advantage and situations when NNEMPs have an advantage. I personally support having both. NNEMPs have the advantage of being more surgical, lower cost, and they don't get the international community in a firestorm about nuclear weapons. On average NNEMPs are better for most wars, but they are not the best choice when you are in an all out war like a world war. The advantages Nuclear EMPs have is that they can cover a large area with just one bomb, they produce a barrier of ionized air that prevent enemy communications that survive the EMP, and they produce a lasting emp effect that keeps electronics offline that aren't fried. Effectively we should keep a combination of both non-nuclear and nuclear EMPs since each has their pros and cons.

2, It isn't the same as the SDI, or star wars, which if memory serves correct, SDI dealt more with satellites and lasers than interception missiles. Anyways, my opponent says that interceptor nukes, would only be effective against ICBM, this is correct. But my opponent fails to realize how much of a threat ICBM are. They are the only weapon that you can launch on one end of the earth and hit the other in a specific spot, it is a strait shot. Any other ways of attacking a target requires you to fly something to the target location without getting shot down. Such alternative attacks have more risk and have slower response times. Effectively any nation with the proper range ballistic missile could shoot it at D.C. and if the ICBM wasn't intercepted, it would hit. It is important to note though that nuclear interceptors wouldn't be used against a single ICBM. There are more effective interceptors for easy single targets. But in the situation of volleys of ICBMs or countermeasures, conventional interceptors would be overloaded and fail to prevent the attack. A single nuclear interceptor can take out a volley of ICBM or an ICBMs with countermeasures. Even in a non-nuclear world, ICBMs still carry citywide destruction, unfortunately in a non-nuclear world you wouldn't have the capabilities to prevent the destruction of ICBMs.

3) I wasn't talking about low-yield earth-penetrating weapons since currently such weapons are still infant stages and are unlikely to mature since there is a ban on new nuclear weapons. Current low-yield earth-penetrating weapons do not pierce the earth enough to prevent considerable fall out. While current low-yield earth-penetrating weapons are better at destroying bunkers than airburst, they produce considerably large amount of fall out compared to airburst. I agree with my opponent that our current conventional weapons are fairly effective and I support keeping a stockpile of them. But I disagree with my opponents opinion of nuclear weapons are not needed. This additional "effectiveness" makes a big difference when you calculate the probability of successfully destroying several targets. Against 20 missile silos, conventional weapons carry a 50-50 chance of destroying all 20. Nuclear airburst carry a 95% chance of destroying all 20 missile silos. (1) Effectively we should keep a stockpile of both nuclear and non-nuclear weapons since each has their pros and cons.

4) My opponent believes this topic should be a separate debate.

References
1. http://www.foreignaffairs.com...
TBR

Con

TBR forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Mathgeekjoe

Pro

My opponent has forfeited the last round because of internet issues. Any voters please ignore the forfeit, do not let it impact your vote.
TBR

Con

TBR forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Mathgeekjoe

Pro

I'll leave con conclude this debate.
TBR

Con

TBR forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by bluesteel 2 years ago
bluesteel
==============================================================
>Reported vote: JakeLamotta // Moderator action: Removed<

5 points to Con (arguments, sources). Reasons for voting decision: Con made more sense and used reliable sources.

[*Reason for removal*] Failure to explain *why.* This is a mere statement *that* Con had better arguments and sources. You can't just repeat the point categories.
================================================================
Posted by TBR 2 years ago
TBR
To voters. I have been suffering HUGE time-management issues recently. Mathgeekjoe won this debate by default.
Posted by Mathgeekjoe 2 years ago
Mathgeekjoe
He didn't forfeit, we just skipped the second half of round 3 and the first half of round 4, I don't see a forfeit anywhere :)
Posted by TBR 2 years ago
TBR
I have both ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD, and NO TIME.
Posted by TBR 2 years ago
TBR
I have been having a lot of time-management issues for the last month plus. Its a ME thing.
Posted by kingkd 2 years ago
kingkd
Tbr FF?
Posted by Mathgeekjoe 2 years ago
Mathgeekjoe
Nuclear weapons are the best method when warning time is limited. Most alternatives require large warning time. Something like gravitational tractor is much better option against small asteroids (300 meters diameter) when you have a year warning, it is also a better option against large asteroids (greater than kilometer) when you have a decade warning. But when you have only a month warning for small asteroids nuclear weapons are better. And when you have only a year warning for a large asteroid, nuclear weapons are the best way to deflect it.

http://www.space.com...
Posted by TBR 2 years ago
TBR
"4) My opponent believes this topic should be a separate debate." - You know... I do. I will address it in short, but the cons are entirely political. There is no moral, or technical reasoning to dismiss using them in that fashion. There are OTHER technical, and in my opinion more effective ways to divert asteroids that may be interesting to discuss.
Posted by TBR 2 years ago
TBR
Take your time. You have 28+ hrs.
Posted by Mathgeekjoe 2 years ago
Mathgeekjoe
I have my entire argument ready except for rebuttal of point 3. I remember reading a article that would easily rebut it but for the life of me I can't find it. Still going to be looking for it though. Sorry for not posting yet, I just really want to find that source before I post.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 2 years ago
Ragnar
MathgeekjoeTBRTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Varrack 2 years ago
Varrack
MathgeekjoeTBRTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Ff