The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
4 Points

No country should have the right to possess nuclear weapons

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/8/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,258 times Debate No: 24628
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




Hi, this should be an interesting topic that I don't think has been debated on this website very often.

The definitions for the debate are:
Country - a state or nation
Should have the right to possess - the ability to acquire, produce, or store
Nuclear Weapons - WMD's, or Weapons of Mass Destruction including but not limited to atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs, salt bombs etc.

Proposition must come forth with a plan on how to achieve the topic e.g. how to make sure no country has nuclear weapons and what to do with pre existing ones.

If my opponent has any issues with definitions or would like to clarify any of them, feel free to post those suggestions in the first round.

First Round is acceptance, Second Round are Arguments, Third Round are rebuttals, Fourth Round are rebuttals, and the Fifth Round is conclusion.

I hope to have a thought provoking debate and good luck to my opponent!


Disregard my comment, I figured it out for myself, and accept the challenge. I also accept the definition of "country" as any political state or nation. I would like to clarify the right to possess slightly further as the right to "acquire, produce, store, keep, or use" any nuclear weapons. I also accept the definition of nuclear weapon as any and all nuclear weapons, including, but not limited to atom, hydrogen, salt, dirty, and any fissionable, or fusion-able, material-fueled weapon of any kind. I propose that, for the context of this argument, we ignore other types of "W.M.D.s" than nuclear, such as biological weapons.

I accept the proposition dealing with an implementation plan, but would like to stipulate that it is unlikely that such a proposal can be laid out in much detail without advanced knowledge of which countries would be willing to do what to achieve such a goal as nuclear disarmament, and so propose that the plan must be of a fairly general nature.

So, I will be arguing that "no country should have the right to possess nuclear weapons" and proposing a general plan to remove such existing weapons from countries currently possessing them, and finally what to do with such weapons once they are removed.

Thank you, thought-provoking indeed. I look forward to you first arguments, and wish you good luck as well.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for starting off the debate mark.marrocco. I apologize for any confusion that may have risen due to my wording of the resolution. I accept the revisions you have made to my original definitions and we will the newly-revised definitions as the guidelines for this debate.

My case line for the debate is that, ironically, Nuclear Weapons protect us. I will be proving this through 3 main contentions.

1.Nuclear Weapons prevent wars
2. Dismantling Nuclear Weapons allows rouge states to gain the upper hand
3. Dismantling Nuclear Weapons is more dangerous than the weapons themselves

Now, I would like to make it clear that I am not pro-conflict. I have merely chosen CON for this debate to try and debate something different. I will not continue on to my first contention.

The simple fact is, the deterrent effect that nuclear weapons have is amazing deterrent effect. When a nation is trying to achieve a goal that is unacceptable, or participating in an event (e.g. a mass genocide) a nuclear weapon makes it so that the cost of achieving that goal or continuing in that event becomes too high. This simple fact is one of the reasons that during the Cold War no violence was seen. Both the Soviet Union and the US were nuclear powers and any attack on the other nation would be deemed too costly because of the threat of a nuclear retaliation. When Iraq was going to launch surface to surface missiles equipped with biological war heads against Israel, they desisted. Why? Because the United States had promised to intervene with a nuclear strike against Iraq if they did.

Now, I'm sure that my opponent will bring up the examples of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the carnage wrought there at the hands of WMD's. Though what occurred there was regrettable, Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed the potential of A-Bombs. Now, we have weapons that are 600 times more powerful than the bomb that fell on Hiroshima. Would any country desire to bring upon themselves their own destruction? Dismantling nuclear weapons would remove this deterrent effect, thus possibly placing innocent citizens in harm's way. The mere existence of these weapons protects us.

The technology behind a nuclear weapon is no longer secret. Some countries that have the capability of creating nuclear weapons include Russia, the USA, North Korea, India, and China just to name a few. As I stated above, Nuclear Weapons play a major factor in maintaining world peace. If we were to dismantle nuclear weapons, it would not be hard for one nation to maintain a secret nuclear program, just as the US feared that Middle-Eastern countries possessed several years ago. If one of these nations possessed nuclear weapons, yet the rest of the world did not, that one nation could easily become the most dominant militaristic nation on a global scale.

While nuclear missiles may be dismantled, the material that makes them nuclear, whether it be weapons grade plutonium, or uranium cannot be destroyed. One of the current methods of demoting weapons-grade uranium is to mix it with more uranium! The United States currently buys around $240 million in natural uranium from Russia to mix in with weapons-grade. This dilutes the uranium, yet plutonium is not so easily defeated. Plutonium must be stored into missile silos or other storage facilities. There, we wait until the half-life is reached and the plutonium turns into something else. This mere process of securing this plutonium costs 2 – 3 billion in a single decade. Most of Russia's military funds are going towards securing this plutonium in sufficient storage facilities, yet there isn't enough money for constant security and security checks. In fact, in the United States the security detail for the transportation of nuclear materials from place to place consists of TWO PEOPLE. The chance of theft actually increases with the dismantling of nuclear weapons as clearly security is lacking. The ability to steal small amounts of plutonium actually increases with the dismantling of nuclear weapons. It is easy to steal bits of plutonium; it's hard to steal an ICBM. The safest place for the nuclear materials is on the missile.

So what have we learned today?
Nuclear weapons, ironically, protect us as they act as a deterrent to wars. They ensure the continued safety of people around the world.

Thank you, and Vote Con.

Michigan B52 Bomber Fort, 1980's Nuclear Weapons Transporters Account found in "The Darwin Awards: Unnatural Selection."


1. a) Pro argues that Con's main point here is simply not true, because Cold War threats of mutual annihilation may have prevented full-scale war between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. at the time, but the Cold War itself was the cause of various smaller-scale proxy wars. Out of which are at least three--Korea, Afghanistan, and Vietnam--that are rightly considered full-scale wars in themselves. Thus, Con's assertion that during the Cold War, "no violence was seen" is factually inaccurate. Since the Cold War was essentially a socioeconomic competition turned nuclear arms race, the invention and use of nuclear weapons by the U.S. actually caused there to be many wars, over many years, instead of a) extending WWII against Japan through conventional warfare, and b) engaging in conventional warfare with, OR coming to a mutual agreement of peace with, the Soviet Union. Pro is aware that the results of following through with a and/or b would have been unpredictable and possibly undesirable, but argues that on balance the risks would have been more acceptable than those of engaging in a decades-long nuclear standoff, tempered as it was by nothing but overwhelming fear and outlet wars. Especially since that particular standoff did, in fact, come unimaginably and inexcusably close to mutual destruction of the main aggressors (at least) at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

b) Con specifically States that "when a nation is trying to achieve a goal that is unacceptable, or participating in an event (e.g. a mass genocide)," then a nuclear weapon is effective in deterring that nation from achieving that goal or participating in that event. Pro argues that this has never actually been the case (except for in the anecdote Con describes but does not provide a source for), as there have been numerous genocides since nations began stockpiling nuclear weapons. Pro further argues that nuclear weapons would be ineffective in preventing or intervening in genocide, due to the inherent destructive reach of such weapons, and the intimate nature of most genocides where the aggressors are proximate to, and usually outnumbered by, their captives. Pro argues that nuclear weapons can only be effective in executing a genocide, not preventing one.

2. The fact that only some nations have nuclear weapons is part of my argument against nuclear weapons. Those nations, based on economic superiority or political alignment, have nuclear weapons already and thus determine which nations may or may not have them as well. Pro argues that no country, or even set of countries, has the right to command any other countries as to what type of weapons they may or not produce when the demanding country already possesses those weapons. Pro says this not just because doing so os hypocritical, but because that when a few nations have nuclear weapons and don't want anybody else to have them, they become hyper-aggressive and paranoid in dealing with other nations, leading to more distrust and conflict.
Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for his remarks. I would not like to take this time to refute my opponents counter-arguments.

Firstly, he points out my error when I spoke of the Cold War. I meant in my statement that little violence was seen between the Soviet Union and the United States, not that there was no conflict at all.

Pro argued that a nuclear stand-off was not worth it and it would be less risky to have engaged in conventional warfare with the Soviet Union and Japan.

Con would like to argue that the risks of a nuclear stand-off would be less substantial than both options a) and b). First of all, Japan would not have surrendered to the Americans for many years, extending WWII. We can see this through the Japanese determination not to surrender. For example, during the United States conquering of Iwo Jima, of the 21,000 defending Japanese 216 surrendered, the rest fought to the death. Even after nuclear weapons were dropped on Japan, senior army officers wanted to continue the fight and were determined to never surrender. Continuing conventional warfare would have led to a massive amount of Japanese, American, and Russian casualties, even more than that caused by the A-Bombs. Secondly, engaging in conventional warfare with the Soviet Union might spark another World War because of the political connections with both countries. Peace talks were held, yet they failed to produce results.

Pro also argued that nuclear weapons would increase genocides and that nuclear weapons don't act as a deterrent because these genocides still occurred.

First of all, I used genocide as an example. I apologize for forgetting my source for the true event, not anecdote, that occurred during the Gulf War. This proves that the deterrent effect that nuclear weapons still exists and happens. I have included the book that the information came from and the author. Secondly, nuclear wars would be very effective at stopping genocide. Though it is true that many genocides occurred even though nuclear weapons existed, the reason that they occurred was because of a lack of will in nuclear intervention from other countries.

I will now move on to refuted my opponents constructive point.

My opponent has stated that nuclear weapons gives more countries more power, and that these countries become "paranoid" and may dictate whether other countries may possess nuclear weapons.

However, that is incorrect. The United States and Russia have had nuclear weapons for a long time, yet did they dictate whether or not North Korea got to develop nuclear weapons? Though countries had nuclear weapons, they didn't dictate whether other countries could have them or not. Now, India, China, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States, Pakistan, and North Korea possess nuclear weapons with no real intervention from earlier nuclear nations. Furthermore, countries that possess nuclear weapons share them with other countries! The United States shared nuclear weapons with Germany, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, and Turkey. Clearly, "hyper-aggressive" behaviour is non-existent.

My opponent has not refuted any of my arguments and I have refuted all his attempts to do so. All of my arguments still stand. On the other hand, I have effectively refuted my opponents first argument.

For these reasons, Vote Con.


mark.marrocco forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


iwillannoyyo forfeited this round.


Well, Con quit the website, but since I forfeited the last round, I'll try to "successfully refute" his "successful refutations."

1. "Nuclear Weapons Prevent Wars"

How does the fact that there was only no direct conflict between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. prove Con's point whatsoever? There were indirect conflicts stemming from the Cold War where many lives were lost. Did these somehow not count?

-In the Vietnam war, the total casualties were between 1,481,047 - 4,008,047 deaths. This includes both sides, civilian and military. So, optimistically, at least one and a half million people were killed as a result of the Cold War in this conflict alone.

-In the Korean war, 776,360 soldiers on the U.S./South Korea/U.N. side were killed, along with another 1,545,822–1,648,582 soldiers killed on the North Korean/USSR/China side. Also, a total of 2.5 million civilians were killed during this conflict.

-In the Chinese civil war, there were between 1 and 3 million military deaths between fighting Communist and Nationalist Chinese forces.

-In the Soviet-Afghan war, there were 14,453 Soviets killed, between 75-90,000 Mujahideen fighters killed (who were backed by the U.S.), between 600,000–2,000,000 Afghan civilians killed, another 3,000,000 civilians wounded, and another 5,000,000 civilians displaced into refugee camps.

So, I fail to see how these issues can be simply written off. These conflicts all happened after the development and use of the first nuclear weapons, which in no way prevented any of this bloodshed, and in reality most of the conflict was due to tensions between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. The bloodshed that actually occurred during the Cold War could probably be compared with the type of bloodshed that might have been expected from extending the war with the Japanese, without the stigma of nuking 150,000 people (Hiroshima & Nagasaki). Without the nuclear weapons, the tensions between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. would have been significantly less, though obviously not nonexistent. Furthermore, there wouldn't have been the unacceptably close call of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which came, by most accounts, impossibly close to mutual destruction of at least the two superpowers, and the avoidance of which has been described as something of a miracle. Castro said we were "this close" while holding his pointer and thumb closely together. [1] Kennedy aid Arthur Schlesinger said that "This was not only the most dangerous moment of the Cold War. It was the most dangerous moment in human history." [2] Risks like that are unacceptable, and in no way balance out the alleged "deterrent" effects that have been claimed by Con here.

Con still failed to provide any evidence for his "true event," and thus there is no evidence of nuclear weapons ever preventing conflict.

"Nuclear wars would be very effective at preventing genocide." Really? I'll assume that Con meant nuclear "weapons" and still maintain my point that this is simply incorrect. It does not matter if countries don't stop genocides because they aren't well armed enough or because they simply don't feel like it. Either way, the genocide remains. Mao Zedong is estimated to be responsible for between 40-70,000,000 civilian deaths in China, all during the nuclear era. In the Rwandan genocide, 800,000 people were killed. This happened in 1994, and no nuclear state stopped it. Even now, there is a similar conflict in Sudan (Darfur), and still no nuclear state intervenes.

Most of the countries Con describes as possessing nuclear weapons are exactly the types I described previously, with similar economic strength and political alliances (especially the nations that the U.S. has shared its weapons with). The exception being North Korea, who, being much different politically than the rest, was vigorously opposed by the other countries listed when it tried to develop them for themselves. Similarly, Iran has been repeatedly condemned for trying to develop nuclear technology, mostly by countries that already possess nuclear weapons. Iraq was invaded by the U.S. on the basis that it was, among other things, "seeking nuclear weapons." The U.S. has the largest number of nuclear warheads of any nation, so that is the main example of the aggressive, paranoid behavior I described.

In conclusion, nuclear weapons in no way prevent wars or genocide, nor have they ever done so. It's really a bit like saying that gun-ownership prevents murders. It's only true if the person about to be murdered, or one their friends nearby, has a gun. In the case of nuclear weapons though, the Cold War was the two people with the biggest guns pointing them at each other's heads while ignoring all their friends murdering each other all around them. And it came very close to the two blowing each other's heads off.

2. "Dismantling nuclear weapons allows rogue states to gain the upper hand."

Con says that "nuclear weapons play a major factor in maintaing world peace." First of all, there is no such state of world peace and thus it cannot be "maintained." Secondly, this depends on what is meant by a "rogue" state. Such a definition only gets its meaning from the dominant, and usually nuclear-capable, countries that label such a state. The messiness of labeling countries "rogues" or even worse, "evil" is a point that I think goes towards nuclear disarmament. Because countries that are labeled as such generally feel threatened and isolated by the countries that assign them such titles, and then may desire nuclear weapons even more strongly in response. e.g. North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. If the dominant military powers disarmed their nuclear arsenals, these "rogue" states would feel less threatened, and the real powers would still have an enormous military and technological advantage over them.

3. "Dismantling Nuclear Weapons Is More Dangerous Than The Weapons Themselves."

Con here seems to claim that if you disarm all the nuclear weapons, then the threat of radiation is worse than that of detonation. The materials described may be radioactively unstable, but they only have a chance of detonating inside a weapon. Saying that the "safest place for the warhead is on the weapon" is a bit like saying the safest place for a bullet is in a gun. It really depends on who owns the gun, and where they store the bullets. Granted, these bullets are radioactive, but the threat of nuclear radiation, while significant, is not nearly as deadly as that of nuclear detonation. Keeping stores of armed nuclear weapons all around the world, pointed all around the world, is the surest way to risk the most detonations. Con's description of the low safety standards is not really evidence for his claim, as this only contributes to the risk of some extremist initiating a nuclear war (think James Bond movies), as opposed to just trying to steal radioactive materials.

4. The current policies of world governments regarding nuclear weapons are, at best, risky. At worst, insane. [3] There is no justifiable reason for the sheer numbers of such weapons, and especially any use of such weapons, except for responding to the use of such a weapon. Which means that the world is putting itself at unnecessary and enormous risk based on circular reasoning. There have been several instances where the world has come close to nuclear war, besides the Cuban Missile Crisis, and each time such a tremendous risk is allowed, the more likely the next one will result in full scale nuclear devastation. [3] Therefore, no state should have the right to possess nuclear weapons, because no state should have the right to put the entire world at such great risk.

Debate Round No. 4


iwillannoyyo forfeited this round.


Well, not only has Con quit the debate, but he's quit the site as well. So voting Pro should be an easy decision I guess.

However, the conditions still oblige me to provide a general plan for nuclear disarmament, so I'll put forward a fairly half-baked version of that.

Prerequisite to the plan is the formation of a fairly-represented supranational organization charged with the task of carrying it out. This, ideally would be composed of a nationalistically-diverse team of nuclear scientists, military weapons experts, and humanitarian/peace advocates. A corollary to this is that the organization (and all concerned nations) would have joint access to a composite of all existing nuclear detection and warning systems (e.g. satellites).

Phase 1 - Inspection: All nations would be subject to thorough inspection until the organization was satisfied that they knew the whereabouts and status of all nuclear weapons. Nations that are particularly concerned about certain other nations specifically would be allowed and encouraged to send delegates with the inspectors to each other in order to quell suspicion and unease.

Phase 2 - Disarmament: All nuclear weapons would, as concurrently as possible, but ideally on a secret schedule, be disarmed and disassembled by nuclear scientists and the military experts that worked with them.

Phase 3 - Transfer: All nuclear weapons and weaponized radioactive materials would be handed over to the organization, again on a somewhat concurrent but secret timeline, and then proceed to the next phase.

Phase 4 -Disposal/Transformation: This is the phase that seems to raise the most questions, but if the previous, admittedly idealistic, phases are carried out cooperatively, then it would be worth trying to come up with solutions regarding the disposal or reassignment of these nuclear materials. Options might be converting it into fuel for nuclear plants, burying it DEEP underground, or maybe even shooting it into the Sun (yes I'm serious), because honestly anything is better than allowing the risk previously discussed to remain as is.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by mark.marrocco 6 years ago
Well, I am having no luck on this site yet, I posted my round prematurely since I was editing my argument on my Kindle and don't think there is anything I can do about it. I would like to propose that Con address points 1 and 2 as best he can for now, and that when my next turn comes I will argue your third point, propose my plan, and rebut your arguments. As well as provide the sources that were intended for my previous round.

Also, as a side note/problem, in my haste to accept this argument I forgot that I would be generally away from Internet access for the next few days, and would ask iwillannoyyo if he wouldn't mind waiting for most of the required time to post the next round so that I might have the best chance of continuing this somewhat fairly, and considering I've already dropped half a round. It would be much appreciated!
Posted by iwillannoyyo 6 years ago
Sorry, I made a huge error. Let me clear it up.

I am arguing that countries SHOULD have nuclear weapons.

YOU are arguing that countries SHOULDN'T have nuclear weapons.

Once again, I'm very sorry for the confusion I have caused.
Posted by mark.marrocco 6 years ago
No, wait, if you are arguing that countries *shouldn't* have nuclear weapons, then you either should have been Pro, or worded the argument differently as Con. I was under the impression that, if I was Pro, it was Pro for the argument that "No country *should* have the right to nuclear weapons" i.e.) I thought my argument was that they *shouldn't* and that yours was that they *should* so I think maybe there was a mistake. So are you trying to be *for* or *against* nuclear weapons? Because I think we both made mistakes here, as I recognize we are both fairly new. lol
Posted by iwillannoyyo 6 years ago
Sorry for the confusion regarding the resolution. A general plan is all right and yes, I will be arguing that no country can have nuclear weapons. Good luck!
Posted by mark.marrocco 6 years ago
So, just to confirm here, you are arguing that countries *should* have the right to nuclear weapons, since you are Con? I know it should be obvious, but I'm brand new to this site and just uncertain why you wouldn't just pose the challenge as "countries should have the right to nuclear weapons" with yourself as Pro.
Posted by iwillannoyyo 6 years ago
I know, but 8 000 characters was the limit.
Posted by CiRrK 6 years ago
This is a great topic though there is definitely not enough characters per round to create an AC plan + links and impacts.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by CiRrK 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeits and as such extended argumentation for Mark.