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Nuclear proliferation: would spread of nuclear weapons fuel a third world war?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/30/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,004 times Debate No: 35192
Debate Rounds (4)
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Just a discussion about whether other nations should be allowed to develop nuclear weapons and whether or not it would lead to conflict.

New debater here, so feel free to propose additional framework and I will try to abide by them.

First round is for acceptance. I will be arguing proliferation would lead to armed conflict.


Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting my debate, and apologies for my late response. I plan on presenting my talking points this round. We can do counter arguments next, then conclusions.

Noting what I proposed before, especially the prospect of a third world war in my title, I will be arguing that the spread of nuclear weapons would lead to increased armed conflict, and I will be doing my best to just focusing on the nature and effects of nuclear weapons and not other forms of WMD.

POINT #1) MAD doesn"t work effectively and is not a good deterrent.

I anticipate that anyone who would argue that nuclear proliferation might be beneficial towards world peace would argue that Mutually Assured Destruction works. This appears to be the greatest tactical benefit of possessing a nuclear deterrent and logical basis for deterring war on a massive scale between nuclear armed states. However, I will argue from a point of contention that history proves otherwise.

-Kargil War 1999 (India vs Pakistan)

Was a short conflict between India and Pakistan where two nuclear armed states engaged each other in direct conventional war. The cause of course was over the disputed Kashmir regions, but even if nuclear weapons were not the cause, this is an incredible example where the prospect of MAD on both sides failed to deter an armed conflict of the conventional nature. In fact, I think it"s safe to that having a nuclear arsenal emboldened the Pakistani military to war which it might not have considered had only India remain the only nuclear armed nation in the region.

"General V.P. Malik, India"s army chief during the crisis, likewise avers that nuclear weapons:

'played an important role in shaping Pakistan"s military strategy for the Kargil episode".The Pakistani military believed then, as it still does, that it could safely conduct a low-intensity conflict or a limited war in Jammu and Kashmir and that its nuclear capability would prevent a conventional Indian attack."

Which of course it didn't.

Kargil War: From Surprise to Victo
Malik V. P. General (Author)

-Rouge States and Terrorism

MAD only works as a deterrent when those who posses nuclear weapons act rationally. This point is hard to contend with the rise of international terrorism and rouge states (like Iran and North Korea) who many times cannot be trusted to act rationally or care for its self-preservation. And while the Soviet Union never deployed a suicide bomber or embraced martyrdom, for Iran and the terrorist groups they sponsor, it is engrained into their culture and clerical mindset.

From Hamas:

"From the Al-Qassam Brigades to the Zionist soldiers: The Al-Qassam Brigades love death more than you love life"

And it is no secret that Iran has many times promised to wipe Israel from the map. Which only further demonstrates their rouge intentions.

-Rise of SDI and First Strike capabilities.

Finally, MAD as a deterrent to war only works well when other nations lack a sufficient missile defense or first strike capability. In the future, I argue that many nations will have a robust missile defense system or means to deliver a first strike. I will argue this based solely on the proliferation and theoretical rise of technology. Lasers and Railguns will render most nuclear delivery systems ineffective, while a cyber attack might just be that crippling first strike which renders a nations nuclear deterrent helpless. I do not believe this will be science fiction.

POINT #2) Spread of nuclear weapons would lead to new arm races, which Inevitably creates proxy wars, and therefore armed conflict.

I'm have only been able to spend a short time on this point, but I want to go ahead and introduce it so that I may develop it later. But I argue that it is well known from Cold War history that the proliferation of the bomb to Russia led to an arms race between the US and USSR, who very nearly went to war (and World War III) over the many proxy wars the arms race helped create - Vietnam, Korea, and Afghanistan, and Latin America being the most famous ones.

Today, the US and Russia now struggle over the issue of missile defense, and its interesting to note the regional tension and return to many former Cold War postures that has caused - beginning with the Russia - Georgian War in 2008. And while I concede that there were many regional factors outside of balance of power between Russia and the US that led to that war, you still cannot dismiss Russia angry response to America's missile shield to Europe - which is there in the event of nuclear proliferation to Iran.

POINT #3) Nuclear weapons are an existinal threat to some countries and they will respond with preventive war or preemptive strikes.

This is my strongest point, and where I hope to live up to my title and suggestion of World War III.

As it stands, nuclear weapons are an "existential threat" to Israel, whose narrow geography and crowded population makes it unable to absorb even a single nuclear attack. Israel has, and will respond again with preemptive strikes to existential threats. This is evident in the 1983 Osirak attack on Iraq's nuclear program, and the 2007 bombing of syria's nuclear reactor.

"Existinal threats" are unprecedented in the realm of foreign policy because its one of the only cases -that I can think of- that a nation will deliberately go to war in self defense without having been attacked. This is hugely significant if we were to argue that policy, and not nuclear weapons by themselves, lead to armed conflict - when clearly no mere policy objectives are what's at stake here. Nuclear proliferation would therefore, only create more existential threats where other countries are forced into war. (I plan on introducing the Iraq War to elaborate on this point later)

The Cuban Missile crisis, to close things out, was an especially close call! And its difficult for me to believe - from a policy perspective- that the US would risk a Third World War over a puny little country had it not have been for nuclear weapons and the existential threat that was spread there. I ask what's to stop another incidence like this from again occurring if other nations are given a chance to develop a nuclear arsenal - like Cuba did. How would China, for instance, respond if nuclear weapons were placed in Taiwan? I argue this would create World War III.

Thank you again for accepting, and I look forward to your reply.


FrackJack forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Insert same arguments as before.


FrackJack forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


FrackJack forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Donjaundebater1212 5 years ago
Just wanna know the rules of this debate.
Are we to provide evidence or is it purely theoretical agruments with a logical basis.?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Mikal 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF