Debate Rounds (3)
Topic: That the preemptive initiation of war is, on balance, morally justified.
Round One: acceptance, rules, and definitions.
Rules: No new arguments or evidence in the final round. Stay on topic. No swearing/personal attacks.
Burdens: "On balance" means "generally; in most cases." Therefore, the Pro should show that preemptive initiations of war are usually morally justified. Con should show that such actions are generally not morally justified.
Provisos: (1) By accepting, you agree to rules, burdens, provisos, and definitions--if you want to change a definition, just post a comment before the end of round one, (2) "preemptive initiation" is not the same as joining in a war or military conflict that is already ongoing, (3) by "war" I'm not necessarily implying that a conflict must be declared, but it should be long-term, (5) this is a philosophical debate, and I urge you to rely on philosophy, not just statistics/empirics, and, finally, (5) let's rule out talking about initiating civil war.
Preemptive - to forestall or prevent another from doing something, in this case, to prevent the other side form initiating war first
Initiate - to do the first act; begin
War - "The mere threat of war, and the presence of mutual disdain between political communities, do not suffice as indicators of war. The conflict of arms must be actual, and not merely latent, for it to count as war. Further, the actual armed conflict must be both intentional and widespread: isolated clashes between rogue officers, or border patrols, do not count as actions of war. The onset of war requires a conscious commitment, and a significant mobilization, on the part of the belligerents in question. There's no real war, so to speak, until the fighters intend to go to war and until they do so with a heavy quantum of force." (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Morally Justified - defensible under the common precepts of moral conduct, right vs. wrong. Feel free to offer your own definition of "moral conduct."
Thanks in advance for accepting. I look forward to the debate.
~ Leonid Brezhnev
A preemptive strike is necessary to protect the international proletariat from oppression. Sure war may be evil. But there are those small cases where war is needed to free a population or protect your own people from a foreign power which is threatening the very existence of your people and your nation.
In this debate I will list necessary preemptive strikes in history which protected a nation and possibly reduced the death toll. Also I will list when I preemptive strike could have been done, but the leader chose not to which would result in costly war.
Overview: I will be using the theory of utilitarianism to inform what the topic means when it refers to moral justification. An act has utility if it produces the most good, or is very likely to do so. Ethical utilitarians, like Bentham and Singer, believe that morality relies of utility. After all, how can an act be moral if it does not produce good consequences? Additionally, I would posit that a utilitarian calculus is the only viable mechanism for weighing this round as it is the only means through which a government can effectively operate. A government must act on a cost-benefit analysis, or risk endangering it self-interests, or becoming paralyzed by concern for moral injunctions. Thus, if an act produces the greatest good for the greatest number, it is morally justified.
Contention One: Change comes best from within, not from without.
According to foreign policy expert Fouad Pervez, "The events we have witnessed in Egypt during the past three weeks contain some lessons we should think about. The first lesson is: significant changes in a country's political system can best be brought about by the people of that country, not by outsiders. A revolution was accomplished by the efforts of the thousands of young Egyptians who were persistent in their demands, who were mature and peaceful, reacting with restraint to provocations, and who showed Mubarak and the army that they would not give up until he was gone."
Middle East Correspondent James Taub furthers: ""the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt show that Bush massively overestimated America's influence. In 2004 and 2005, he tried to push Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to hold free and fair elections; Mubarak pushed back, and Bush largely relented. Then Obama exchanged the ringing language of democracy for the muted discourse of "engagement" -- and the Egyptian people took to the streets and overthrew their tyrant".In such a setting, "reform" is simply another instrument for maintaining authority. Change can only come from below, as a demand: In Egypt and Tunisia, the people disarmed the tyrant's mechanism of control by standing up to the clubs, tear gas canisters and even bullets of the security forces."
Prof. Paul Di Stefano, citing philosopher J.S Mill, observes, "Self-determination, facilitated by non-intervention, maintains moral value because "it is only within states that men and women can build a political community they can call their own." Alluding to its instrumental value, Mill writes, "When a people has had the misfortune to be ruled by a government under which the feelings and the virtues needful for maintaining freedom could not develop themselves, it is during an arduous struggle to become free by their own efforts [author"s emphasis] that these feelings and virtues have the best chance of springing up. Freedom gained through the paternalistic intervention of outsiders is an ephemeral imposition devoid of lasting intrinsic or instrumental value. An interventionist approach denies the possession of autonomous agency to those who are "assisted." Therefore, the principle of self-determination acts as a safeguard against foreign imperialism and hegemony. Foreigners cannot know what is best for a society; only a state"s own denizens possess such knowledge."
Contention Two: Intervention backfires.
Prof. Jean Bricmont contends, "Humanitarian disasters in Eastern Congo, which are probably the largest in recent decades, are mainly due to foreign interventions (mostly from Rwanda, a US ally), not to a lack of them. To take a most extreme case, which is a favorite example of horrors cited by advocates of the humanitarian interventions, it is most unlikely that the Khmer Rouge would ever have taken power in Cambodia without the massive "secret" US bombing followed by US-engineered regime change that left that unfortunate country totally disrupted and destabilized."
Contention Three: Preemptive strikes lead to war and cyclical violence.
Prof. Frederick Shuman notes, "Since other powers feeling themselves threatened by an expanding power, they will at some point resist its further aggrandizement; relentless pursuit of power spells war-which is the ultimate negation of all morality. But relentless pursuit of ethical ideals"also spells war, since we live in a world of inescapable diversity in which"formidable powers can always be counted upon to reject"any particular definition of virtue sought to be imposed upon them by the power of others."
According to Dr. Steven Murdoch, "weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists and rogue nations change the self-defense analysis. In a world with these catastrophic weapons, they believe that countries should be allowed to strike well before a hostile enemy actually attacks. But how far these experts are willing to stray from a strict rule of self-defense, which requires actual enemy attack, turns upon what they emphasize. Some lawyers worry that a lower threshold for self-defense interventions, decided upon unilaterally, will impinge on nations" sovereignty and perhaps increase cycles of violence."
Contention Four: Not initiating war is beneficial; pacifism is good.
Prof. Andrew Alexandra, who explains pacifism to mean the non-initiation of war, states: "war as a political institution consists not simply of episodes of armed conflict between states and the rules and norms governing such conflicts, but also the whole complex of activities and organization that lead up to and make possible such episodes. It is the institution of war in this comprehensive sense to which the pacifist is opposed: it follows that the peace that the pacifist desires is not simply the absence of fighting, but rather the dissolution of the institution of war"There is ample historical evidence, for example, of the ways in which measures supposed to increase military security--development of armaments, strengthening of border posts, and so on--can undermine trust between states, and actually make conflict more, not less, likely, as well as the tendency for low-level military conflicts to escalate. The unilateral adoption of a pacifist stance by one nation removes these potential provocations for invasion. We also have a good deal of evidence for the effectiveness of non-military resistance to armed invasion. That evidence itself must have some deterrent force for those who contemplate military occupation of a state that has institutionalized pacifist resistance. In the light of these considerations, it is at least doubtful that we can always be sure that military means are clearly more effective than pacifist ones"Even when they are not actually involved in a war, the financial costs of supporting military institutions are enormous. Once these institutions actually engage in war, death and suffering occur, often on a vast scale. Undoubtedly, this is the greatest harm associated with the present system. But there are others. War frequently leads to destruction of economic resources and important cultural artifacts, as well as wide-spread pollution. Those who participate in war are often psychologically disturbed for the rest of their lives. This is bad for them, but also for those close to them and indeed for their society as a whole."
Contention Five: Millions of innocents are jeopardized in preemptive wars.
Prof. R.M. Scholtt agrues that "(5) In the Vienam War, there were an estimated 1.1 million Vietcong guerillas and North Vietnamese soldiers who died, and an estimated 2 million civilian deaths in the north and south between 1954 and 1975. (6) In the recent war in Iraq, unnamed U.S. military officials have said that between 10,000 and 15,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed, and the estimates of civilians killed by military intervention range between 21,705 and 24,628. (7) These examples indicate that civilian casualties in military conflict are almost as high as combatant casualties, and often are significantly higher."
Contention Six: Preventative wars increase terrorism.
According to Prof. Dan Reiter, "A final concern about the costs of preventive actions is their potential to stimulate the very thing they were designed to prevent"terrorism. Preventive wars might increase terrorism in four ways: first, the substantial use of force may increase global anti-Americanism, which in turn may increase the motivation of some individuals to join terrorist groups".Second, the deployment of U.S. troops abroad may create targets of opportunity for terrorists. The militaries of democracies are tempting targets for terrorists, because democracies are perceived to be highly sensitive to casualties. One study found that most of the 188 instances of suicide terrorism from 1980 to 2001 were launched against targets associated with democratic nations, particularly their militaries, in attempts to eject what were perceived as armies of occupation".Third, if preventive attacks open the door to insurgency wars, thus providing ready targets for terrorist reprisals, then the preventive attacks in effect generate training opportunities for terrorist organizations"Fourth, even if a military operation does culminate in regime change, the target state may be gripped by chaos and disorder, making it possible for terrorists and rogue elements to seize materials useful for producing NBC weapons."
A list of my sources can be found under comments. I may offer additional arguments to bolster my link to utilitarianism in my next speech, but as the rules state, I shall refrain from new points and new evidence/sources in the final round. Thus, I urge a Con ballot, and await Pro's replies.
1. Change comes best when it is aided from the outside and stopped from the outside.
When the working class of Czechoslovakia were being threatened with privatization and reform with in the government in 1968, many socialist nations banded together to block capitalist elements from entering Czechoslovakian society. Allowing such change without intervening would have opened a large wound on the working class in Czechoslovakia. This also could have been another battleground in the future were there could have been a bloody civil war. Sometime change is impossible within due to an overpowering government so an external force needs to aid in the conflict like the Vietnamese liberation of Democratic Kampuchea which I will talk about in point number two.
2. Some intervention backfires but not all.
When the wrong type of intervention happens ie. United States Interventionism in the Soviet attempted liberation of Afghanistan when the United States supplied the Mujahideen where it would later backfire on the Afghani people with harsh Sharia and the later 9/11 attacks. But there are those times when intervention prevented further destruction like in the country and internationally such as the Vietnamese liberation of Democratic Kampuchea. Without this intervention, Pol Pot would have murdered millions more but the Vietnamese invasion halted Pol Pot and forced him out of the country. The country would later return to a stable but heartbroken nation.
3. Preemptive strikes even threatening preemptive strikes prevent possible war.
Earlier this year, when the United States and its allies were gearing up for war over the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's launching of a satellite, the Kwangmy!5;ngs!5;ng-3 Unit 2 and the test of a nuclear weapon in an underground facility with in the country, the people of the DPRK united to send a message to the U.S. stating that if the U.S. and R.O.K. continue with their threatening military activity across the 38th Parallel that they would strike first. The DPRK would later cancel their ceasefire which was signed July 27, 1953 to give the allusion that they were preparing to launch a strike at the Southern half. This would later cause the military drills to cease, peace would be reinstated, and a war was avoided by threatening a preemptive strike.
4. Pacifism damages the international proletariat
Sitting back and allowing injustice to slide damages the people. If a country during the 1930s had caught on to the injustice in Nazi Germany, the 8 million or more deaths that were caused by the Nazi government could have been 100% preventable and those people could have lived out the rest of their lives. This alone is all I need to fight pacifism.
5. Preemptive strikes prevent further causalities and long wars.
I will back track all the way back to 480 BC, if it wasn't for the Spartans march to Thermopylae to fight King Xerxes I's force there wouldn't have been a large dent in King Xerxes I's force to make him rethink an invasion. This would later buy the various Greek civilizations precious time to amass a considerable army to remove the Persians from Greek territory. If this preemptive strike hadn't been done, many Greek and Persian lives would have been lost.
Unlike my opponent who decided to copy and paste everything, all of the words I have written above are 100% original. I implore my opponent in the next round to use his own words.
OV1: Extend utilitarianism. This is dropped by the Pro. The impact of this extension is that when determining who has won the debate, judges should ask themselves, which side (Pro or Con) is likely to produce the greatest net benefit. Whichever side does this, has won. It also means we're not looking to communism to determine an action's morality, but purely costs and benefits.
C1: Pro offers only two examples of why change doesn"t come best from within. In fact, I offered examples of Tunisia and Egypt as examples to support my own assertion. Another example that could be cited is the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, or the Singing Revolution of Estonia, in which thousands sung nationalist songs and formed human chains. One saw the installation of a democratically elected President, the other saw the expulsion of the USSR from the Balkans, respectively. But, this could quickly turn into the war of the examples, as each of us throws out individual examples to prove our points. So instead, let"s look at the theory behind my claim. The Di Stefano evidence went entirely dropped by Pro. It argues that "freedom gained through the paternalistic intervention of outsiders is an ephemeral imposition devoid of lasting intrinsic or instrumental value. An interventionist approach denies the possession of autonomous agency to those who are "assisted." Therefore, the principle of self-determination acts as a safeguard against foreign imperialism and hegemony. Foreigners cannot know what is best for a society; only a state"s own denizens possess such knowledge." There are three takeaways from this: (1) that freedom imposed by outsiders is disrespectful to those within, as it denies them their self-determination, (2) foreigners cannot know what is best for a people, and (3) noninterventionism combats hegemony. These are all negative impacts of preemptive strikes. For example, I hardly think Pro would argue that U.S. or capitalist hegemony is good; people should be free to decide for themselves. There is also anecdotal evidence to support the third point, specifically Iraq, where the U.S. was unaware of all the complex social factors going on, and thus made some poor decisions. Look at Vietnam; U.S. soldiers were known to shoot innocent Vietnamese because of racial prejudices, and false accusation of them being Vietcong. This dropped analysis support the idea that change comes best from within.
C2: Firstly, I would argue that the Afghanistan intervention backfired against the USSR"especially insofar as it was against them that the Mujahedeen fought. Also keep in mind, the Mujahedeen would likely not exists if they had not be formed in response to the USSR"s invasion. Furthermore, it was the USSR who initiated the conflict, so they"re really the sole topical actor under the resolution in this case. But either way, we agree that this is an example of preemptive intervention that backfired. Let"s look at some others: Vietnam, Somalia, Cuba, etc. Ultimately, the risk that such aggressive preemptive strikes will fail would outweigh any potential benefit to doing so. Finally, let"s discuss why the Vietnam example is inapplicable. Within Kampuchea (hereafter Cambodia) several guerilla factions were already at war/in a military conflict with Pol Pot. Therefore, Vietnam wasn"t taking "preemptive" action, which is the subject of the debate, but rather it was taking "reactionary" action (see round one rules.) This is the case with most instances of genocide, Rwanda, Bosnia, Nazi Germany, etc. had all been engaged in military conflict prior to the intervention. Lastly, Pro never address the examples I offered originally. Please extend them.
C3: Pro continues to offer examples, instead of actually rebutting my arguments. One example does not disprove the analysis I have provided here. I will, however, respond to the N. Korean example. The U.S. felt it the threat from the North was not credible, and the majority of S. Koreans according to CNN did not believe N. Korea would attack. And, while this may be a technicality, since the Koreas are already at war, they cannot preemptively initiate war against one another. It"s already on going. Pro drops my argument that trying to expand your power base leads to war, as it did with the USSR and Afghanistan, the Koreas, North and South Vietnam, Nazi Germany, and many more. All of the examples Pro offers seem to support my very own source"s analysis. Pro also drops my evidence that weakening the doctrine of strict self-defense, which opposes preemption, would increase cycles of violence and proliferate WMDs and WMD violence. If that happens, the proletariat won"t be alive for us to worry about.
C4: I think Pro is misunderstanding my evidence. My source defines pacifism as the non-initiation of war. This is very much different from not fighting at all. I am not arguing war is always bad, just that we shouldn"t initiate it preemptively. So, in the case of Nazi Germany, most killings began happening after the invasion of Poland. So there was a war already going on, therefore the world would not have been acting preemptively by intervening, it would have been joining in on a conflict that was already on-going. Furthermore, if the Allies had intervened sooner, WWII would have been hastened. We could never know for certain if that would have been beneficial or not, at the end of the day. I am all for self-defense and humanitarian intervention, as long as that intervention is reactionary rather than preemptive.
C5: The Persians under Xerxes had already engaged in battle. The Persian attacked and invaded first, therefore the Spartans &Co. were reacting. They were not engaging in preemption. Lastly, Pro drops the point I made originally that preemptive wars tend to have disproportionately high civilian casualties; thus, it could be said that by attacking first, the genocide is on your hands.
C6: PRO DROPS THIS COMPLETELY. It is not touched on at all in his rebuttal. Extend this argument. Preemption increases terrorism, and is thus severely costly. Also dropped: nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons are more easily made and obtained by terrorists because preemption leads to chaos which gives terrorists opportunities to steal NBCs.
Closing note: Ultimately, I think Pro"s points focus more on war in general, and less on preemption, even though this debate is about preemption, not war in general. As long as no military conflict (like a guerilla war) and no declared war is going on, i.e. as long as it is not preemptive, war cannot be justified. Reactions are fine, not preemption.
1. Pro says all of his speeches are 100% original. By the same token, it underlines the fact that Pro offers no sources, whereas, in my original speech, I cited numerous experts who are better qualified to analyze this situation than either of us.
2. Intervention will lead to increase violence. Pro completely drops the evidence I offer showing how a loss of strict self-defense, which is against preemption, leads to cycles of violence, and WMD use. Pro drops my evidence that terrorists could obtain NBCs, and Pro drops the evidence that trying to expand power, often characterized by initiation of war"as the Communists did in Korea and Vietnam and as America did in South America"leads to war.
3. Pro completely drops my last contention that preemptive initiations of war empower terrorists.
Conclusion: under a utilitarian analysis, increase in violence, death, WMDs, and terrorism are not worth the gain of preemption, especially when change comes best from within (Pro dropped card.) Thus, a Con ballot is in order. Thanks!
P1. Genocide on your hands?
No the genocide wouldn't be on the defending nations hands. The foreign power which is threatening your sovereignty is the one who causes the genocide. The true aggressor is the one who fuels the other side into war. It simple, the North Koreans during the 1950s weren't the aggressors, the United States was. The US talked about the "Domino Effect" and eliminating communism in Asia and the North Koreans felt heavily threatened so they launched an attack on the only spot they could possible access point to the DPRK for the Americans, the South.
P2. Increases terrorism? I dont understand how preemptive strikes can cause terrorism?
I listed that some preemptive strikes that turned into short wars but the fact still remains that the wars were short and swift and very successful. And very little does a preemptive strike cause easier access to weaponry. It would be even more secure then due to a nations security being heightened.
P3. Sure the killings came after the invasion of Poland, but the laws could have gave an alert that it was soon going to happen.
Nations around the world could have easily predicted that the severity of the laws enacted by the NSDAP against the Jewish people. Its a basic puzzle, removing all rights in a society for one group is the last step toward genocide for that group.
P4. The Vietnamese war with Cambodia was preemptive
Pol Pot saw the Vietnamese as "revisionist" and that he didn't approve of them. It is seen in the vast difference in policies between the two nations. Those guerillas weren't making any grounds, so hence to allow them to gain grounds the Vietnamese had to take preemptive measures to protect their land from a possible Cambodian invasion of Vietnam.
1. Please remember that my opponent in the first half of the debate rarely ever used his words where he instead used these "professionals" whom cannot be trusted .
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by thett3 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
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