The Instigator
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3 Points
The Contender
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0 Points

Resolved: Current U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East undermines our national security

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/24/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,321 times Debate No: 26525
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




Hello, First ttime here, just testing my case for the BCFL tournament im going to soon(ish)

1. Opening argument
2. Cross X (Ask a couple Qs, answer them)
3. Responses
4. More responses
5. Close up

GL; hf

-Resolved: Current U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East undermines our national security-

There has been lots of tension and media attention around the middle east recently. Recently, there has been reports of Iran building nukes, unrest in Syria and Libya, drone strikes, and terrorist attacks all over. We contend that the resolve, Resolved: Current U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East undermines our national security, is correct and will prove it using 3 main contentions. These contentions are, as follows, Our current, "Leading from behind" policy, makes america look weak, and undermines or influence; Our policy is unnecessary;

Before we begin our contentions, we would like to define key terms in the resolve, these are

1) Undermine - to subvert or weaken insidiously or secretly (merriam-webster)

2) National security - The safeguarding of anything pertaining to the nation as a whole (us legal)

3) Middle East - "the area from Libya to Afghanistan" (

Contention #1: Our current, "Leading from behind" policy, makes america look weak, and undermines or influence

In a recent speech from GOP candidate Mitt Romney, he said that Obama"s policy in the Middle east was leading "from behind". This term has since been what's widely used to describe current policy, which is to let the Middle eastern countries like Israel lead, while supporting them, "from behind". When we do this, we lose two important things, credibility, and influence. Obama promised to try and end Middle eastern conflict, and, by not taking the lead on his promise, undermines our credibility, and therefore causes us to lose our influence in the middle east. This also makes us look weak. Making us look to middle eastern countries, who want to look up to us, and most importantly, weak to terrorists. Ted Carpenter, senior fellow at CATO said,

"Washington"s military leverage less secure than it has been in many decades. Its political-diplomatic position is in jeopardy...the foundation of Washington"s policy throughout North Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia relied on partnerships with friendly autocrats. That foundation is crumbling, as one by one America"s partners lose their grip on power."

In this he is saying that recent events and our policy is causing us to lose our "military leverage" and that our partner nations are losing their power. Returning to our comment earlier about looking weak in the eyes of others, terrorist, see our lack of commitment as weakness, and, makes it more likely for them to attack. This only gets worse when we take into consideration recent drone attacks, which only adds an incentive on top of this. This weakens our national security, making attacks like 9/11 more likely.
Contention #2: Our Policy is unnecessary.

A question one may ask is. "What's holding us back? What's preventing us from taking a lead?" The fact is, nothing is holding us back but Obama"s policies. In 2011 America"s tax revenue was APX 2.5 Trillion dollars. Of this 2.5 Trillion dollars, we spent 711 Billion on defense spending. This is the highest defense spending than ANY OTHER COUNTRY. China, the 2nd biggest defense spender, spent only 143 Billion dollars. With this level of annual spending there is no good reason for why we can"t take the lead in the middle east.

Contention #3: Middle East Policy is harming our economy

What is, "National Security"? Earlier we defined it the safeguarding of anything pertaining to the nation as a whole, using what (A leading site in legal definition) said on it, which it specifically stated economic security fell under it.

Oil is a BIG part of our nation,no one can deny that. Our policy has allowed recent events in the Middle East to happen, which has made the exportation of oil harder, and has raised our gas prices. Recently, barrels of oil rose to 100$ per barrel. This can be seen when you look at our gas prices, which are at an average of 3.62 (10/23/12 while some may say there is more to the economy than gas prices, a LOT of the economy is affected by gas prices. when gas prices go up, cost of shipping goes up. grocery stores, or any other store who gets products sent to them are raised. Basically, EVERYTHING RAISES. How are raising prices good for our economy? Anyone will tell you, THEY, AREN"T.

I conclude, these 3 reasons affirm the resolve.


Good luck in your tournament. This is my first post on the site as well so I suppose you and I are both what DBO might call a couple of noobs, but you appear to have your act together, and I will attempt not to disappoint!

I believe the wording to my opposition's resolution has two implications:
(1a) that if the current U.S. foreign policy were revoked without replacement, the United States would be safer than it is now [1], or
(1b) that if the current U.S. foreign policy were revoked and replaced with the previously existing policy, the United States would be safer than it is now [1], and
(2) that the weakening of the national security of the United States is an intentional implication of the policy's writers and / or supporters.[2][3]

My opposition provides the following contentions:
1. Our current, "Leading from behind" policy, makes America look weak, and undermines our influence.
2. Our policy is unnecessary.
3. Middle East Policy is harming our economy.

Despite his rigor in providing definitions for the words "undermine," "national security," and "Middle East," all of which could be looked up and agreed upon with relative ease in an argument, my opposition cites a politically vested source (Mitt Romney) for the far more subjective and controversial phrase, "Leading from behind." The entire phrase is a metaphor. To remain consistent in his rigor, my opposition should have described it as our current "leading from across an ocean" policy, which would be a more convincing metaphor if for no reason other reason than that it is consistent with the shape of the earth.

The opposition's first contention also falls short on a more elementary level: the definition of leadership. The paragraphs supporting his first contention refer to "military leverage" - does leadership mean a full-fledged invasion? He suggests that the Middle East lacks fear of the U.S. military because it is not large enough. Whether the Middle East fears the U.S. military is a far-fetched claim to make in either direction without taking some sort of poll or assessing the patterns of Middle Eastern activity in response to the military, but a simple assessment of the size of the U.S. military will show that any shortcomings are not a question of magnitude, as demonstrated by my opposition in his defense of his second proposition.

And finally, my opposition's first contention falls short on a broader level. As we finally allow ourselves to step back, overlook the gritty details of the contention, and attempt to connect it to his proposition, we find the proposition is not supported by the contention unless we unconditionally equate political strength with political leadership with military strength. Even as a summary, it is difficult to reconcile this reasoning as anything other than circular. In fact, he himself compares the strength of the United States with the strength of China without ever mentioning how involved each is in the leadership of other nations or what their political influence might be.

If contention #1 had presented a theory of proportionality between national security and "leadership involvement" in the Middle East, I and my opponent could have compared the national security of the United States with that of other, less-involved nations, such as China, Canada, South America, Australia - really, there's a whole globe of evidence to examine. Our hands are tied only by the wording of the contention.

The title of my opposition's second contention, "Our policy is unnecessary," is a moot point, implying redundancy or pointlessness to U.S. foreign policy. The explanation of the contention, which talks about how the military is large enough for leadership, is moot to the second contention, moot to the proposition, and contradictory to the first contention's implicit belief that military size / strength is unconditionally proportional to leadership.

The third contention classifies gas prices as national security, because "anything pertaining to the nation as a whole" includes reference to gas prices. This definition of national security also encompasses agricultural growth, social security, Medicaid, public education, and I am truly optimistic about the broadening implications of our zeal for national security. High gas prices, while demonstrated to be bad for national security by my opposition, are healthy for alternative energy development, domestic oil drilling, and environmental health, which all are included under the definition of "anything which refers to the nation as a whole," from which we must conclude that Middle Eastern Policy is both healthy and unhealthy for our national security. For the purposes of this conversation, contention #3 is moot. This is a fun definition with which to work.

Definitions and Sources:

1. Undermine - to subvert or weaken insidiously or secretly (definition provided by opposition)
2. Insidious - intended to entrap or beguile.
3. Secret -
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting. I would like two note one thing.

My first round speech was a copy of the case my partner and I will use later, so there may be pronouns like "we" and "our", which you should please ignore

(Also, my tournament limits Cross X to 2 minutes, so dont post 8,000 characters of questions please)

Anyone, on to the questions

Question 1: You have yet to post any argument for your side, so I must ask, Do you have any arguments?

Question 2: Would you agree oil is a big part of our economy, and events in the Middle East affect the oil industry?


No worries - I made at least one grammatical error on my end!

    1. Question 1. "You have yet to post any argument for your side, so I must ask, Do you have any arguments?"
      Yes, and these are the argument supported by my first post:

        • Your proposition fits the description of those with the burden of proof [1][2].

        • Your argument lacks internal consistency, and cannot be checked for external consistency until acheiving internal consistency.*

        • A counter-argument with internal consistency cannot be made until your argument acheives internal consistency.

        • A counter-argument with external consistency cannot be made until your argument quotes legitimate foreign policy (not rhetoric) to discuss.

    2. Question 2. "Would you agree oil is a big part of our economy, and events in the Middle East affect the oil industry?"
      If "big part of our economy" refers to anything over 0.75% of GDP [4], I agree that oil is a big part of our economy. And I agree that events in the Middle East affect the oild industry.

*I suspect that your opposition at the tournament of any debate competition will be free to hold you to the same standards of internal consistency as do I, and that your opportunity to reveal their inconsistencies will occur when they present their arguments, not when you present yours. Since we are preparing for your competition, I will yield to any disagreement you wish to make on this point. I will be happy to present my own perspective on the matter in a separate debate, if you so wish for the opportunity to check my logic.

1. darkkermit. "The general custom is that an instigator that makes a positive claim, must provide evidence that the claim is true. Asserting that a claim is not the same as arguing that the claim is true. Evidence and logic must be used to prove the claim. More will be discussed later on how to actually come up with evidence that a statement is true."
2. Wikipedia. "Burden of Proof."
3. RoyLatham. "Be aware that there are least four theories as to who has the burden of proof: 1. Whoever is Pro. 2. Whoever instigated the debate. 3. Whoever wants a change in the status quo. 4. There is no burden of proof. Whoever makes the better argument wins. Often 1, 2, and 3 are the same person, but not always.. 4 is usually only favored by novice debaters. Sometimes a debater calls himself Con, but is clearly the proponent of the resolution. My advice is that if it isn't clear who has the burden of proof and you think it matters, then ask through a comment before accepting. Often enough it doesn't seen to matter. If you are posting a challenge and it isn't clear who has the burden of proof, and you care, then state it as part of the challenge." -
Debate Round No. 2


Spore forfeited this round.


Guessing you're on a holiday vacation without internet. If so, enjoy! We can call this a 4-round or a 3-round debate if we must. Or we can redo.
Debate Round No. 3


Sorry, Im typing this on an apple device right now, powers out thanks to sandy... probobly end up forfeiting everything


I am sorry to hear that. Best wishes to your safety and well-being.
Debate Round No. 4


Spore forfeited this round.


Recommending no votes be cast on this debate due to extraneous circumstances.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by brant.merrell 4 years ago
For some reason, the URL I pasted as source [4] for round number two is not the full URL - I am unsure why. This is the actual source.

.... hope it works!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by awesomeness 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: good refutations from aff