Imperialism (Strong nations Striving to Conquer Weaker Nations)
Debate Rounds (5)
I look forward to a good debate.
As my opponent has provided only a very basic definition of imperialism, I will endeavor to provide a reasonable definition that can be agreed upon by both of us, though if my opponent should find it unfair, he is welcome to express his concerns in the comments so that we may establish a more reasonable definition:
"the policy of extending the rule or authority of an empire or nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and holding colonies and dependencies."
I do still agree to the definition provided in the topic of strong nations endeavoring to conquer weaker nations, which is the reality of how imperialism functions. I will be happy to include that as a part of our functional definition for this debate.
With that, I leave it to Pro to establish his case.
I personally think that if a nation conquers another nation, their rule should be humane and they also should have a responsibility towards the nation that they've conquered. This is my version of imperialism: a humane and beneficial occupation of somebody else's land.
Guess who's been doing this: the US. In Iraq and Afghanistan we've been fighting their insurgent groups who seek to cause anarchy. As long as the US is in these countries, it will not revert back to anarchy. The US also helps rebuild their infrastructure, or at least makes sure that the infrastructure rebuilding goes along smoothly without harassment by terrorists or something.
This is my definition of imperialism: a kind that benefits the conquered peoples.
Here's some info on Iraq's economy:
As you can see, the US was helping make the Iraqi economy more free and stable. Hussein provided stability, but not freedom.
Also, this war of conquest should be relatively bloodless, with only a few hundred or a few thousand casualties, and very few (if any) civilian deaths.
In the Iraq War, 28,821"37,405 Iraqi combatants (many of them post-Invasion insurgents) were killed. Unfortunately, many civilians were killed too, according to this source:
But how do these civilian deaths occur? Does the Coalition shoot civilians? I would hope not; most of these probably come from insurgent activity and violence in the areas with an unstable government.
Finally, let's consider some (African) nations which are independent from the "evil imperialists." Let's look at how they're faring now:
They've been engaged in a Civil War since January of 1991, 23 years. Since the war's beginning, an estimated 300,000-500,000 people have died. Not to mention the Somalia Famine of 2010-2012, which killed around 250,000 people.
In 1994 there was a mass genocide perpetrated by the Hutu ethnic group against the Tutsi ethnic group. Between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people died in less than a year.
From 1975 to 2002, there was a civil war in Angola which killed more than 500,000 civilians.
From 1983 to 1985, Ethiopia was hit by a famine which killed over 400,000 people. Also, did I mentioned the 400,000-579,000 civilian deaths from the Ethiopian Civil War, a war which lasted from 1974 to 1991?
I'm gonna put it this way: Africa gained its independence from Europe and it's been one failure after another. Can you name me one African country which is as wealthy as France or Germany or the Netherlands or Italy or Japan? That's what I thought.
I could name countless countries which are "free" but absolutely miserable. I await my opponent's rebuttal.
I'll start by saying that my opponent is absolutely right " imperialism doesn't require the payment of heavy tribute on the part of the conquered, nor does it require genocide. However, the act of imperialism often leads to these or similar ends, which I intend to prove will occur even if the purpose is "a humane and beneficial occupation of somebody else's land."
What Pro is discussing here is the concept of benign imperialism, the mentality being that we should engage in imperialism solely when pursuing a recognized benefit to the people of the country being conquered. This is nothing but a wolf in sheep's clothing, meant to provide justification for a practice that is inherently both harmful to the country being occupied and aimed mainly to benefit the imperialist country itself. With that, let's get into Pro's examples.
Pro discusses the examples of the U.S. Invading and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan.
Let's start with deaths, because I think that Pro is pretty flippant about these. How many people died in Iraq? Most of the available statistics are pretty inaccurate, mainly based on reported deaths. This study, however, aimed to determine those numbers by going to Iraq and polling the heads of households and siblings across Iraq. It found that there were approximately 405,000 deaths attributable to the war, with at least another 56,000 that likely resulted from households forced to flee.
Now, Pro would like to attribute these results to insurgent groups. This assertion is wrong. Again, in that study, more than 60% of these deaths were the direct result of shootings, bombings, airstrikes, or other violence, with the rest coming from stress-related heart attacks or ruined sanitation and hospitals, many of which were destroyed by us. The bombings that occurred upon our invasion alone were estimated to have killed 3,200-7,500 civilians, along with 30,000 enemy combatants and the losses of 172 U.S. and U.K. troops.
However, it hardly matters. Even if he's accurate, none of these deaths would have occurred if the insurgency wasn't fighting back against the U.S. Pro provides no reason whatsoever to believe that these deaths would have occurred in the absence of an invasion. Whether we directly caused those deaths makes absolutely no difference if they resulted from our invasion.
Pro provides two justifications for this. He says that the U.S. is creating stability and rebuilding infrastructure, and our provision of freedom. Pro even admits that this only lasts so long as we are in the country. In this, he's partially right " the insurgency caused a large number of deaths and destruction even while we had troops there. Problem is that we're not there anymore. Pro doesn't actually discuss this at all " we left. Why did we leave? Because the cost was tremendous, the number of troops we were still losing was too high, the Iraqi people wanted us gone, and the benefits we received were too few. These are also the reasons we're on the verge of leaving Afghanistan, though I'll get to that shortly. And how have they been doing since we left? Are they still free? Well, their democratic candidates for elections are being killed off, so that's unlikely. Acts of terrorism remain consistently high (and they're still losing vital infrastructure in the process), their military is still relatively weak, and their own government is having a hard time working together for the common good.
Afghanistan doesn't look any better. Coalition military fatalities are above 3000 and almost 20,000 civilians have lost their lives. Pro spends no time justifying this, and given the challenges they face in getting a stable government up and running that's not affected by Taliban influence and their still relatively weak military, that's not surprising. The insurgency is less problematic here than in Iraq, but their relative stability and the transition to democracy have been slow to come about, and that's in our presence. We will eventually have to leave.
And this is the problem. Pro would have voters believe that these invasions could turn into imperialist power grabs and keep us there forever. But he's provided no reason to support the U.S., or any other country, taking that step. I've given a number of reasons why not, but I'll add to them that the international community stands opposed to such imperialist actions, and therefore we will harm our relations with many of our allies and enemies. That's not to mention that forcing imperialism would do more harm than good to both countries.
Pro then provides a list of African countries that have functioned poorly in the absence of imperialism. He's wrong on two fronts here. First, they are all examples of imperialism gone wrong. Somalia went through 5 stages of imperialism, ruled first by a Arabic Sultanate, then it was Dervish, then Italian, then British, then a Trust Territory under the UN. Rwanda was ruled by Germany and then Belgium. Angola was Dutch, then Portugese. Ethiopia was subjected to Italian rule over much of their history. Many of these problems are the direct result of their experience with imperialism, which dramatically reduced their stability and made it impossible to establish any sort of long term government. They weren't helped by the fact that, being subjugated by these countries, they had many of their most important resources stripped and were forced into jobs that would benefit the more powerful European nations.
Second, Pro has provided absolutely no analysis for why imperialism would have solved for any of this. If anything, the reality that imperialism existed in their backgrounds shows that more of it wouldn't have benefited their countries. So long as he doesn't give any reason to believe that these nations would be bettered by the experience, the realities of the destabilization of war and occupation are always going to be more likely to cause harm than imperialism is to lead to benefit.
So, let's talk about benign imperialism. The reality is that a country will never engage in this practice if it doesn't see any benefits for itself " the financial, human, and political costs are simply too large to ignore solely for the benefit of another nation. That's why benign imperialism isn't really benign " it's simply a justification for transgressions.
We can look to any number of countries invaded and occupied by the U.S., particularly during the famed Banana Wars. I'll discuss these more in my next post, but for the time being, let's look at some significant examples.
We could look at Panama, where our interventions led directly to the Watermelon War, the Thousand Days' War, innumerable deaths among the workers forced to build the Panama Canal, and indirectly led to a series of military coups in the 50's and 60's. We were trying to help free them from tyranny under the Republic of Colombia, or so we said.
Haiti's a great example. We occupied it for almost 20 years, building tremendous amounts of infrastructure, mainly railroads. The U.S. even refused to engage in economic exploitation. Sadly, that didn't lead to good results. They resisted the construction, but they didn't have much choice after we arrived and took over. We forced them to engage in corv"e, or statute labor, which was imposed upon the poorer people in Haiti. It was unpaid, so it was essentially forced labor for short periods of time. In fact, they hated this so much that they would later engage in guerrilla warfare for two years. But hey, at least it resulted in 210 bridges and 1,00 miles of all-weather roads, right?
"Unskilled Haitians inherited the infrastructures built by Americans and neglected to maintain them properly. Within two decades, most roads and bridges were a potholed mess impassible during the rainy season and accessible only with all-wheel drive vehicles the rest of the year. "
The so-called "benefits" of imperialism are nothing of the sort. With that, I hand the debate back to my opponent to continue his case and rebut mine.
Let's round this to 500,000 deaths resulting from the 2003 US Invasion of Iraq. Even if all of these casualties were Iraqi civilian casualties, (in other words, not foreign soldiers, Iraqi soldiers, or Iraqi terrorists) that'd only be slightly over 1% of the total population of Iraq.
Now, according to this source the Iraq-Iran War killed more than 500,000 people.
Saddam also initiated genocide against his own people. Just one example is the Al-Anfal Campaign of the 1980s, which killed an estimated 50,000-180,000 civilians.
Saddam killed an estimated one million Iraqis in total, according to this source:
Now, how many more people would that guy have killed had he remained in office and lived for another ten or twenty years?
I conclude that many lives would've been saved had this "American Imperialism" that was the Invasion of Iraq happened a decade or two earlier.
"Now, Pro would like to attribute these results to insurgent groups. This assertion is wrong. Again, in that study, more than 60% of these deaths were the direct result of shootings, bombings, airstrikes, or other violence, with the rest coming from stress-related heart attacks or ruined sanitation and hospitals, many of which were destroyed by us. The bombings that occurred upon our invasion alone were estimated to have killed 3,200-7,500 civilians, along with 30,000 enemy combatants and the losses of 172 U.S. and U.K. troops."
Any civilian deaths were an unfortunate side effect of war, and not America's intention. But even you admitted that these bombings killed more terrorists than civilians.
"Pro provides two justifications for this. He says that the U.S. is creating stability and rebuilding infrastructure, and our provision of freedom. Pro even admits that this only lasts so long as we are in the country. In this, he's partially right " the insurgency caused a large number of deaths and destruction even while we had troops there. Problem is that we're not there anymore. Pro doesn't actually discuss this at all we left. Why did we leave? Because the cost was tremendous, the number of troops we were still losing was too high, the Iraqi people wanted us gone, and the benefits we received were too few. These are also the reasons we're on the verge of leaving Afghanistan, though I'll get to that shortly. And how have they been doing since we left? Are they still free? Well, their democratic candidates for elections are being killed off, so that's unlikely. Acts of terrorism remain consistently high (and they're still losing vital infrastructure in the process), their military is still relatively weak, and their own government is having a hard time working together for the common good."
Had the US taken over the nation's government and taxed the people ourselves, instead of providing them with services without asking for any tax money to handle it, things would've been easier financially on us. We could've created a supplemental Iraqi Army that the US controlled and we could get our own soldiers out of Iraq.
"Afghanistan doesn't look any better. Coalition military fatalities are above 3000 and almost 20,000 civilians have lost their lives. Pro spends no time justifying this, and given the challenges they face in getting a stable government up and running that's not affected by Taliban influence and their still relatively weak military, that's not surprising. The insurgency is less problematic here than in Iraq, but their relative stability and the transition to democracy have been slow to come about, and that's in our presence. We will eventually have to leave."
The Civil Wars in Afghanistan from 1989 to 2001 caused 400,000 casualties. The War in Afghanistan (2001-present) caused 47,246"61,603 casualties. Had the "American Imperialism" happened sooner, a lot of lives would've been saved. Once again Con only proves my point.
"And this is the problem. Pro would have voters believe that these invasions could turn into imperialist power grabs and keep us there forever. But he's provided no reason to support the U.S., or any other country, taking that step. I've given a number of reasons why not, but I'll add to them that the international community stands opposed to such imperialist actions, and therefore we will harm our relations with many of our allies and enemies. That's not to mention that forcing imperialism would do more harm than good to both countries."
What I suggest is that we take over their government and use their taxes to rebuild their land and build and Afghan Army. We wouldn't have to station our troops there; they'd already have their own army, and all we'd be doing would be giving them aid. It wouldn't cost nearly as much!
"Pro then provides a list of African countries that have functioned poorly in the absence of imperialism. He's wrong on two fronts here. First, they are all examples of imperialism gone wrong. Somalia went through 5 stages of imperialism, ruled first by a Arabic Sultanate, then it was Dervish, then Italian, then British, then a Trust Territory under the UN. Rwanda was ruled by Germany and then Belgium. Angola was Dutch, then Portugese. Ethiopia was subjected to Italian rule over much of their history. Many of these problems are the direct result of their experience with imperialism, which dramatically reduced their stability and made it impossible to establish any sort of long term government. They weren't helped by the fact that, being subjugated by these countries, they had many of their most important resources stripped and were forced into jobs that would benefit the more powerful European nations."
That's true, but don't forget that all the genocides I mentioned happened after the European powers withdrew from Africa. Perhaps their European rulers could've prevented these genocides and civil wars were they still in the country even today?
Also, please prove to me that European occupation caused their civil wars and genocides.
"Second, Pro has provided absolutely no analysis for why imperialism would have solved for any of this. If anything, the reality that imperialism existed in their backgrounds shows that more of it wouldn't have benefited their countries. So long as he doesn't give any reason to believe that these nations would be bettered by the experience, the realities of the destabilization of war and occupation are always going to be more likely to cause harm than imperialism is to lead to benefit."
Simple: let's say you live in the African nation of Wogotana. You are of the Banana Tribe. In this nation there is also the Coconut Tribe. One day, the two ethnic tribes begin fighting. Here comes the British Army! The fighting is broken up, and refugee camps are quickly established for use by both tribes, a camp guarded by the British.
But let's say that there are no British. Then what? In that case, the Banana and Coconut tribes will kill each other in the thousands every day while all the European politicians wonder if maybe they should get involved.
"So, let's talk about benign imperialism. The reality is that a country will never engage in this practice if it doesn't see any benefits for itself " the financial, human, and political costs are simply too large to ignore solely for the benefit of another nation. That's why benign imperialism isn't really benign " it's simply a justification for transgressions."
Are you kidding me? The US has never directly gained anything from any conflict we've been in! At most we got rid of a problem or a threat to our nation.
"We could look at Panama, where our interventions led directly to the Watermelon War, the Thousand Days' War, innumerable deaths among the workers forced to build the Panama Canal, and indirectly led to a series of military coups in the 50's and 60's. We were trying to help free them from tyranny under the Republic of Colombia, or so we said."
The Watermelon war caused 17 deaths. It's not even worth mentioning.
The Panama Canal, on the other hand, now generates money for Panama.
As for Haiti, that's unfortunate what happened to their roads. But had we stayed in the country, their roads would still be good today.
I await my opponent's response.
Pro returns to the topic of Iraq, citing the number of deaths cased during the Iraq-Iran War, by Saddam personally in his genocide against the Kurds, and his general killings. Multiple responses.
1) Pro's entire argument here seems to be for intervention on the behalf of populations being abused by their leaders. This doesn't support Pro's argument in the slightest. What it shows is that intervention in the nation to remove a dictator can be beneficial. This doesn't require any act of imperialism. A targeted assassination would have been sufficient, or perhaps even a full-scale war, followed by a full-scale removal of troops. Long term presence isn't required.
2) We did intervene. It's called the Gulf War, a 6 month effort where occupation was limited at most, deaths were kept to the low thousands, and Saddam was left toothless. All of Pro's harms inflicted by Iraq occurred before this war, and therefore this war was sufficient to end suffering cause by Saddam without even removing him from his seat of power.
3) Prior deaths don't justify the acts of the U.S. to add to the death tolls, nor does it make our occupation reasonable. The fact that those deaths occurred before the invasion doesn't make future death certain " only our invasion made those deaths certain.
Pro mentions that we would have saved lives if only we could go back in time, invade, and occupy the country. He says the same for Afghanistan. This is a warrantless assertion, a complete "what if?" statement, and not conducive to this debate. We can't go back in time and save those lives.
Pro then mentions that the deaths that occurred were simply "an unfortunate side effect of war, and not America's intention." Irrelevant. It doesn't matter if it was our intention or not. Those deaths resulted directly from our invasion. The remaining 450,000+ deaths resulted during our occupation. Whether we wanted those deaths or not, they occurred in large part because of our presence in the area.
He then goes back to the "if only." If only "the US [had] taken over the nation's government and taxed the people" themselves, "things would have been easier financially on us. We could've created a supplemental Iraqi Army that the U.S. controlled and we could get our own soldiers out of Iraq." Again, multiple responses.
1) This is one possible form of imperialism, but I don't know how Pro would plan to enforce it without any U.S. troops in the area. It's absolutely nonsensical. We'll control their country with a supplemental force of their own citizens, which for some reason will continue to abide us after we've trained, armed, and funded them. Optimistic, aren't we?
2) Aside from the taxation portion, we essentially did this. We forced them to adhere to the principles of democracy (albeit it's about as dysfunctional and corrupt as it could possibly be), set up and outfitted an Iraqi Army (which is not doing too well against the Islamist insurgents), and our military has left the country. And they're still struggling to deal with a surge in bloodshed and not at all economically stable (and that's in the absence of taxation!) Mind telling me how your idea improves upon this? Our getting tax moneys only destabilizes their economy and ruins all that we've done well before we ever get fully repaid.
He says we can do the same thing for Afghanistan. Of course, that's no better, especially considering their dependence on nearby nations in the status quo. Pro also ignores the fact that, in both countries, the locals have wanted us gone completely for quite a while.[7, 8]
Pro then moves onto African nations, again asserting that things would have been better " only this time, saying that it would have worked out only if they'd stayed longer, with a military present continuously to intervene. This contradicts Pro's earlier points about how we can remove our military from Iraq and Afghanistan, first of all, but also provides no solid idea of how long these countries would have had to remain there to prevent the harms. Does occupation now have to be permanent? These occupations were often ended because the nations were no longer profitable to the imperialists, they started demanding independence, and continuing to hold them became dangerous. Pro never says how they circumvent these problems, providing 0 incentive to continue them.
More importantly, these examples show the long term harm of their imperialistic policies. Pro gives his sole warrant here, saying that European troops could have prevented genocides and civil wars. Of course, this ignores the numerous brutal crackdowns that European nations engaged in across their empires, which were all too common. It also ignores my point about how it destabilizes their leadership, preventing any sort of stability in the country as a direct result of imperialism and leading to those very civil wars and genocides.
This also ignores the fact that many European nations used these countries to fight their battles. Not all of them were controlled by England, and in fact, these imperialist strategies even played a large role in bringing about WWI.
Pro then proceeds to dismiss loss of life in Panama as unimportant. I wasn't aware that lives stopped mattering when you get below 20! That's a new one. But hey, if that's not enough, over 100,000 casualties resulted from the Thousand Days' War! And 25,000 died building the Panama Canal! But no worries! Someone whose question on Yahoo! Answers was asserted that it earned them money! And if we were still there, we'd be the ones earning that money! I guess those lives stop mattering when we see dollar signs.
The response to Haiti is flippant. He ignores the resultant death and poverty that have plagued the country ever since we set foot there, as well as the lax infrastructure we left behind and its impact on the death toll for the earthquake in 2010. But hey, if only we'd stayed behind, for only Pro knows how many years, investing billions of dollars in maintaining and building new infrastructure, things would be great! Of course, that would likely have led to a number of other deadly revolts and more guerrilla warfare, but what's a few hundred thousand lives and billions of dollars when we could have forced them to engage in more unpaid labor to build roads and railroads they didn't want in the first place!
If you need more examples, how about Nicaragua? We intervened to prevent countries from constructing a canal through the country (so that we have it made for us alone). We then proceeded to intervene in a number of conflicts. The destabilization that resulted led to several major revolutions thereafter, which resulted in 10's of thousands dead.
These are all examples of imperialism gone wrong, all upholding my burden of proof. Pro has not upheld his, as none of his links have specifically proven that imperialism has benefited previous nations.
Back to Pro.
Bill Clinton, who was about as liberal as a Hippie on LSD, knew that Iraq was building Weapons of Mass Destruction. Have you ever heard of Operation Desert Fox, by any chance?
Why did Bill Clinton do this? Well, critics will say that he did it to provide America with a convenient distraction from the Lewinsky Scandal, and perhaps that's true. However, even if this were his purpose, surely he knew what he was talking about when he started bombing another country.
So I ask again, why did Bill Clinton bomb Iraq in 1998, aside from to distract America? It's because Iraq had refused to comply with the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), which pretty much had the purpose of making sure Iraq didn't build a nuclear arsenal.
This argument probably falls under some kind of logical fallacy that I don't know about, but in any case what I'm saying here is true.
So, I think it's pretty clear that Saddam had nuclear weapons, or at least that he planned on building them. Imagine that sometime around 2006 Saddam Hussein completes his nuclear arsenal. What then? The dude had already invaded Kuwait and Iran for basically no reason. He had already committed genocide against his own people. There's no real reason to think that Saddam wouldn't use nukes against some other country or threaten another country with them if he had them. Do you think the Iraq War was bad? It'd be nothing compared to the millions of people who'd probably die if Saddam got his hands on nuclear weapons. Heck, he might've even started WW3!!!
Officially the 1996-2001 Afghan Civil War ended on October 7. Do you know why? What happened on October 7? Here's the answer: the US invaded Afghanistan on that day.
So what would've happened had the US not gotten involved in this conflict? To figure that out, look at the map provided with this link.
As you can see, the majority of the country was in the Taliban's hands before the US got involved. Had the US not gotten involved, the Taliban would've most assuredly be in control of the country right now.
So what would the Taliban have done if they took control of Afghanistan? Well, have you heard of the Hazara people? Their current population is at 6.5 million people, over 5 million of these which live in Afghanistan.
The Taliban had massacred several thousands Hazara people in 1998.
And believe me, this was not the only massacre the Taliban had ever conducted. If they were in power today, hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of living Afghan civilians would be dead.
So basically, using a cost-benefit analysis regarding the loss of lives, these two wars were worth it.
How We Could've Ruled These Nations:
Con points out that our attempts to maintain order in these nations without our military on their soil have failed, something I commend Con for pointing out.
How about we DO exploit their nations? How about we take their resources and put their people to work in factories or farms? Con is probably cursing his guts out at the time that he hears me says this. But why not? We are ultimately bringing a lasting and worthwhile democracy to their nation, and this death-free exploitation would simply be to provide us with the appropriate monetary compensation for our troubles. We wouldn't be turning them into slaves; we'd give them jobs, hard jobs but jobs nevertheless. We'd also use their labor to modernize their nation.
Meanwhile, with the money made from this we'd be able to keep our troops in the region. And of course, we could find other ways to lower the cost of the occupation.
The Harmful European Crackdowns:
Yes, there were harsh European crackdowns. But it doesn't have to be that way. Today's riot police are equipped with rubber bullets, water hoses, and tasers.
The Use of Colonial Natives in European Wars:
It doesn't have to be this way, though natives perhaps could voluntarily join the Western armies.
This was an unfortunate side effect of a time period when colonialism was brutal. The labor that I suggested above would be more humane and safe labor. But even in the case of Panama, the billions that they make from the canal will be very rewarding to Panama for years and years to come. But even if the US had maintained control over the Canal, I'm sure native Panamanians could benefit from this canal today somehow.
Is Con suggesting that the US caused the 2010 Earthquake?
I'm sorry if this wasn't very thorough, but I have to go for now.
Recall from the first round of this debate, I set a standard for how I felt this debate should be judged. Since Pro never responded, these conditions were consented to, by default. There is just one condition for winning this debate, and it's ensconced in evidence that supports our individual cases.
What both my opponent and myself have done is to provide examples. We've provided quite a few. However, examples aren't weighed in this debate simply for being present. They must relate to the case being made.
Pro has not provided a single example that supports his case. Not one. I've shown that in previous rounds, and, given his rebuttals in this round, I will repeat it.
My opponent starts by saying that it's fine for him to present "what if" scenarios, so long as it's a "what if we didn't." A "what if" scenario, of any sort, doesn't weigh within this debate. Pro has given absolutely no reason to favor any of these arguments. Meanwhile, I've given several reasons why not. They're not real world, functioning as imaginary examples of what might have been with little to no support. They are extremely unlikely and often contradictory (more on that shortly). They don't apply showcase any benefit of imperialism.
So let's get into his new pieces of evidence. Pro talks about Operation Desert Fox, of course ignoring the fact that Clinton never occupied or even invaded Iraq. I will outright grant that this was beneficial. This shows that it is entirely possible to disarm a tyrant like Saddam without ever engaging in imperialist policies. This is a terrible example for Pro.
He then talks about the possibility that, at some point, maybe, over the next few years, Saddam may have gotten a nuclear arsenal. He doesn't provide any support for this. We knew that Saddam didn't have nuclear weapons, and so did nearly all of the major powers of the world. Deducing that, hypothetically, it was possible that Saddam would get them with time doesn't change the fact that he didn't have them at the time and wasn't likely to acquire them due to strict sanctions.
But, once again, this is irrelevant. I could grant Pro's argument here and it would still work against him. This in no way supports a long-term occupation of Iraq, just the removal of Saddam from power, increased sanctions, and perhaps a future variant of Operation Desert Fox. All of these things would have solved for the problem. Pro has provided absolutely no support for imperialism in this instance, but solely for intervention.
And he does the same thing in Afghanistan! I could argue that the U.S. hasn't really made any appreciable dent in the problems in Afghanistan (look to my previous links on the topic), but I could also simply grant this argument. All I have to do is say that our invasion of Afghanistan was a good thing, but our stay there for the last 13 years is not. Again, Pro has not provided a single argument here for why our continued presence is necessary, only a reason for intervention.
On these two examples, I'm garnering every benefit he discusses merely by granting his points.
He then goes into a little more what iffery, going back to his previous point about exploiting these countries. First off, this is a complete about-face by Pro. I'll quote him from R2:
"I personally think that if a nation conquers another nation, their rule should be humane and they also should have a responsibility towards the nation that they've conquered. This is my version of imperialism: a humane and beneficial occupation of somebody else's land."
Since when did forced labor (like we employed in Haiti and Panama) become humane? Since when did exploitation of resources become humane? Since when did either of these practices not face a nearly inevitable outcome of riot and rebellion that leads to the death Pro thinks he so deftly avoids (as many of my examples have shown)? Since when did the mass poverty, overworking, starvation and disease that result from these practices not caused death? I can't tell if Pro is living in a dream world or if he has a split personality here, but either way, it's troubling.
Second, most of our previous attempts to bring democracy to other nations have failed. Pro may want to cite Iraq and Afghanistan again, but of course this ignores the reality that both countries are twisted examples, if they are examples at all, of democracy. Afghanistan is still categorized as an authoritarian regime, and is listed 180 out of 182 on the Democracy Index, only slightly higher than Somalia and North Korea. Iraq's a little better, but not much. It's a hybrid of "flawed democracy" and "authoritarian regime, still sitting low in the pack on countries in this Index. But Pro wants to bring democracy to the world! Why should we stand in his way? Well, most countries just won't accept democracies, and trying to force freedom on a country that doesn't want it is about as antithetical as it gets.
Third, in another great twist, Pro now finds it entirely reasonable to leave our troops in the regions they occupy, utilizing this great source of money. Of course, this ignores the fact that this process will dramatically weaken the occupied nation's economy by siphoning off all their resources and labor force (causing mass starvation), but let's forget about that for now. Pro finds it entirely reasonable to leave and resupply troops in a foreign nation over multiple decades. Why would he care? It's because he's straight conceding that there will be rebellions, guerrillas, insurgencies, and terrorists to contend with. Trouble is that those wouldn't exist in the absence of an imperialistic power. So all of the plausible troop deaths that are caused by these uprisings are all harms to Pro's case that don't exist in mine. All of the brutal crackdowns that will have to be done in order to quash these efforts are all, similarly, harms solely to Pro's case. This isn't a benefit. It's a massive harm that only he garners.
What's worse, Pro cold concedes that these crackdowns will occur in the next post. He says that riot police won't kill people. That's an interesting point... one problem. It's not the riot police who are going to be occupying these nations. It's going to be the military, and since they're going to be facing untold numbers of enemies in a foreign land who are likely to use deadly force, the military is going to be on a hair trigger as well.
Pro then mishandles my point on colonial natives being used in European wars. Every single one of his African examples is couched in the supposition that imperialism would have solved their problems if only it had gone on longer. But of course, the European nations weren't looking for volunteers. They were forcibly conscripting. And in the process, they killed off untold numbers of natives for a cause they never believed in, and the harms of depressing these nations economies (by siphoning off resources and getting their workers killed en mass) led directly to all of the bloody revolutions, civil wars, and deaths that followed. Every single African example he provided is straight turned against him, a panoply of great examples of imperialism gone wrong.
Lastly, he touches back on Panama and Haiti.
On Panama, he basically ignores the cost of life, saying it "was an unfortunate side effect." He essentially says that those lives were well-spent, an economic victory for Panama that was worth the cost. I don't know how much a single life is worth, but over 125,017 makes that some bloody money. It was a direct example of imperialism gone wrong, plain and simple.
Over and over again in this debate, Pro has taken the perspective that we can do better, that we can be more humane. And yet, he hasn't presented a single example of a humane occupation that ended well for either country involved, or even a case of imperialism where the conquering nation truly acted humanely. He even goes so far as to suggest some inhumane actions they could take, such as forced labor and resource siphoning.
On Haiti, Pro is again entirely dismissive. The 2010 earthquake point was with regards to their infrastructure, which was largely built or repaired by us. The infrastructure we so benevolently forced them to build was the cause of the vast majority of their deaths during that quake. Those deaths were partially our responsibility. As were the revolts that destabilized the country.
Pro is not at all responsive to my Nicaragua example, so it stands as an uncontested example of imperialism harming a nation we purported to be protecting.
With that, I leave it to Pro to conclude his argument.
"Pro has not provided a single example that supports his case. Not one. I've shown that in previous rounds, and, given his rebuttals in this round, I will repeat it."
Con's arguments, on the other hand, on first glance, appear to have merit. However, many of his arguments do not, as I will show.
Con said that instead of invading and occupying Iraq, we could've simply prevented him from developing nukes through sanctions or through an invasion followed by a withdrawal upon the collapse of his regime.
Apparently, Con thinks that sanctions are much more humane than an invasion. However, he conveniently "forgot" to add that the sanctions against Iraq have killed just as many people as the Invasion of Iraq did.
Note: This was a mere 4 years after the Gulf War ended. I don't even know how many innocent Iraqi civilians had died by 2003.
Of course, this still leaves open the option of defeating Hussein and withdrawing. This is why it will not work:
Here's the thing: this is happening because we didn't stay in Iraq long enough. Had we stayed for 20 or 25 years, this likely would not happening. The ISIL would probably be extinct by the end of this decade and Fallujah would still be some city in Iraq that most Americans have never heard of.
Con will (or would) likely accuse me of speculation. saying that we have no way of knowing this. In my Afghanistan rebuttal, I will show you why it isn't mere speculation.
You're right about one thing: staying in Afghanistan for 13 years was not a good idea. Why is this? The answer is that we didn't stay long enough.
The Taliban had an estimated 45,000 soldiers in 2001. Their numbers dwindled to 11.000 by 2008, and then increased to 36,000 by 2010.
Granted, their numbers returned to a high (though not quite as high as it was in 2001). But why makes the Taliban grow?
Here's my answer:
This report is on Pakistan, but it is likely true in Afghanistan as well. After all, virtually anywhere a higher education rate decreases crime.
Here's the thing: after the Taliban fell the world has been providing Afghanistan with money needed for schools.
As for Iraq and Afghanistan being authoritarian regimes, as the people are more educated and they live better they'll likely strive for more rights and better government. Many Americans supported the American Revolution because they had read works by John Locke and other philosophers.
If the US had stayed in Iraq and Afghanistan for 25 years or so, providing education to children, they'd be much more stable and better off. The Taliban and ISIF would eventually be eradicated, or at least severely weakened.
Cost of Staying/Ethics of Proposed Exploitation:
By exploitation, I am referring to Iraq's oil fields. Let the US take control of the oil fields, and get Iraqi civilians to work these fields. Not forced labor, but provide jobs. These jobs would be at around the American minimum wage or perhaps below this, but many bare necessities are cheaper in Iraq than they are in the United States.
This oil money going to the US would mean less rich people in Iraq, but if you're a Marxist you'd consider this a good thing. The civilians of Iraq would still have a job in the oil fields. If Con feels the urge to protest, saying that they'll all die in the oil fields, well, this simply is not the case. Plenty of people work in the oil fields and they come back all right. My father did (for a brief period of time) work on what was an oil rig, I think, back in the 1980s, I think. He's quite alive at the time that I'm writing this.
If Con asks how we'll pay for Afghanistan, well, I'm honestly at a loss here. Unless Afghanistan has a large oil reserve, of course. We can't sell their opium, because that's obviously illegal.
Con says that our involvement in Panama was inhumane. That's correct. However, this was during a time when our imperialism was not benign at all. Panama, besides its canal which benefits it today, did not benefit from our involvement there, and thus this cannot be considered benign imperialism.
Okay then, the buildings that we made them build collapsed. However:
A. Once again this was in a time where imperialism was not benign.
B. Most building materials would not stand up to an earthquake like the one that hit Haiti. Japan, a region with earthquake-proof buildings, is still effected by disastrous earthquakes from time to time.
I apologize for not noticing what you said about Nicaragua. And you're right: that didn't turn out so well for the country.
Conclusion of Pro's Case:
Con has based most of his case on past examples of imperialism going wrong. And he's right: these instances of imperialism hurt the occupied nations.
But here's my case summarized in a nutshell: does imperialism have to be as exploitative as it was back then? The exploitation that I mentioned simply involved taking control of their oil reserves, but this wouldn't cause people to die. They'd still have jobs; there'd simply be less rich people.
Imperialism can be benign, even though it wasn't for the majority of times that it happened. We have entered into an age where the international community will condemn inhumane occupations by Western nations.
It doesn't necessarily have to be beneficial for us, but they're dirt-poor compared to us. We have at least some kind of responsibility towards them!
With the confidence that I have fulfilled my burden of proof, I ask voters to cast their votes for me.
Vote for Pro!
Benign imperialism is good, but it's only good if it lasts for at least 2 decades, an arbitrary number he never warrants. He cannot provide a single example of a country engaging in this sort of long-term imperialism that actually did right by the conquered, or even continued to benefit from the experience in the long term, but he asserts that the longer we go, the better things will get. He does this by providing Iraq and Afghanistan as examples, still providing plenty of grandiose views of what could have happened if we stayed in either country longer with little in the way of warrants and nothing in the way of proof.
I'll prove this by going back through his examples.
On Iraq, Pro explains that sanctions also caused a significant number of deaths. By all means, grant this argument. I in no way support the sanctions as they stood, which encompassed pretty much all trade between our nations. My argument here was solely on removing any trade of arms and of items relating to arms, so all of the harms of malnutrition and disease that Pro mentions don't occur.
What Pro is really admitting here, though, is that the economic harms of peeling away sources of economic support are extremely high. And yet this is exactly what Pro is engaging in by engaging in forced labor and taxation, especially if he means to recover the costs of invasion and long term occupation. I'll get to that more when I reach that point.
Pro then says that we needed to stay longer to be effective in bringing long term stability and benefit to Iraq. He pulls the 20-25 year time frame from nowhere, and asserts that it would have been sufficient.
I'm not arguing that I'm solving for these terrorist groups or for their long term stability. I'm arguing that neither of us can. There's nothing magical about these numbers, just as there proved to be nothing magical about the numbers 8 or 13. There's no reason to believe that any of the issues we faced during those 8 years would have disappeared later, nor that new problems wouldn't have appeared the later we stayed, as several of my examples show happens in long term occupations. Con was right to suggest that I might accuse him of speculation " this position is literally all speculative.
On Afghanistan, Pro asserts that he's no longer speculative. But, once again, he's wrong! All of Pro's conclusions here don't follow from actual evidence. Pro's own Wikipedia link, he grants, shows that our long-term stay hasn't reduced Taliban forces in the region.
But he provides an all-important "answer" - all we have to do is build schools there! Multiple responses.
1) This is brand spanking new in the final round. Pro has had 3 rounds to describe his case in detail, and this is the first time he's elucidating this particular action on the part of an imperialist power.
2) War has actively torn down infrastructure in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Worse still, our efforts to build infrastructure have been relatively moot as well, considering it's constantly crumbling around them. I argued this on Haiti as well, a point Pro dismisses as unimportant because it happened in the past. Well, this is recent, and it's not ending well for them. Neither Iraq [1, 2] nor Afghanistan [3, 4] show any signs of improving life, especially not in the long term, since leaving it to them is also failing.
3) Education is bad for imperialism. It has historically led to many of the bloody revolutions that ended imperialist reigns, most notably in Pro's examples of African nations. Any system that doesn't lead to this is deceptive to the people and only serves to suppress the people.
This is Pro's only warrant, late as it is, that increased time spent in either of these countries would have any actual benefit. He's not winning it, therefore all the harms I've cited of deaths that occurred as a result of occupation turn these arguments against his case.
Onto exploitation. Pro, once again, redefines his case in this round to make it sound more benevolent. I'll quote him from R4:
"How about we DO exploit their nations? How about we take their resources and put their people to work in factories or farms?"
Hiring workers at minimum wage hardly sounds like the exploitation he said was useful in the previous round. He says we can go beneath minimum wage and they will still be happy. Alright, sweat shops! The more we take this route of justifying lower wages for those abroad because "bare necessities are cheaper" overseas, the more we say it's fine if we pay them in pennies. This is forcing people into menial labor jobs by giving them no other options and paying them next to nothing. It's no better than forced labor. It's not benevolence. And no, I don't have to talk about deaths in the oil fields. This is more than sufficient.
And even if Pro's goal is not exploitation here, in contradiction to that R4 rhetorical question, how does he, then, mean to ensure that the conquering nation gets enough out of this? I thought the entire point of saying exploitation was good was to say that imperialist countries could make out well. If you're hiring as you would in the U.S., that's a big cost on us.
This entire point also makes absolutely no mention of how these countries are going to survive being purged of all their resources for our benefit. Pro drops that point, which means he's perfectly fine removing all of those all-important oil resources from Iraq. We get all the benefits, and they get to function without their most important export. Fantastic. At least Afghanistan is slightly less exploitable, though I imagine we can always find something, even if it's not opium.
He also drops that taxation will remove even more resources from them, and on this, he tries to have it both ways. Either the invading nation gets enough money to make back their investment, or the invaded nation gets to prosper. So either this taxation is too minimal to matter to the imperialist, or too economically harmful to the nation it's taken from.
Finally, we get to the examples of long-term imperialism " Panama, Haiti, Nicaragua, and every African nation he mentioned. These are the only examples of imperialism that lasted longer than Afghanistan, with Pro himself said hasn't lasted long enough. Thus, these are the only examples we have to go on for long term imperialism, and they are all dramatic failures.
Pro tries to wave Panama and Haiti away as non-benign, not providing a single example of benign imperialism that lasted as long as he states is necessary. Therefore, these examples stand as the most applicable to imperialism as he sees it. Also, I have argued that both were "benign" in that they were attempts to help the conquered nations. The very reason Pro says Panama was good was used as justification for all those deaths, and at the time, yes, it was thought to be benign. The same was true of Haiti, where building all that infrastructure was thought to make up for corvee labor and brutal suppression. Pro admits that many of these things are a part of his vision of benign imperialism, therefore he incurs these same harms.
On Haiti, Pro says that earthquakes would have caused harms anyway. Pro ignores my  from last round in saying this, which shows how its infrastructure was so bad that it actually caused most of the deaths. Japan's infrastructure would have likely withstood the 7.0 (as it did in 2012 ), whereas the 9.0, two full magnitudes higher, was impossible to protect against.
Pro cold concedes the Nicaragua example, and by not responding, also concedes that Somalia, Rwanda, Angola, and Ethiopia all stand as strong examples of long-term imperialism ruining nations.
In the end, Pro has failed to uphold his burden by providing absolutely no examples of long-term imperialism that benefited either the conquered or the conquering. All of his examples are more damaging to him than anything, and all his links do is provide background to, not evidence for, his case. I respect the fact that he took up the mantle of Pro in this debate, but it is not sufficient for him to assert that he knows how history would have looked if only we had acted differently. Imperialism sets a terrible example in the real world, and it's through those real world examples that voters should evaluate this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Jifpop09 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Good debate by both sides. I agree with pro, but he used terrible arguments. Yes, Nacarauga and Panama were terrible examples. He also had a tendency to use wikipedia quite a bit. Anyways, pro had the BOP and failed to uphold the burden, so con gets argument points.
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