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Resolved: North Korea poses a more serious threat to US national security than Iran

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/24/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,510 times Debate No: 15576
Debate Rounds (5)
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Hello. I am a high school debater looking for some extra practice before an upcoming tournament. This is a public forum debate and seeing as we only have four rounds to debate after the introduction, we will not do any crossfires. Instead ask any questions at the end of your speech and the other person will bring up the answers in their next speech. Here is the format for the rounds:
first round = introduction. say hi.
second round = case. present you arguments here
third round = rebuttal. explain flaws in you opponent's case and crystallize your own here.
fourth round = summary. summarize what the key voting issues of the debate are. this should be half the length of your case and rebuttal
last round = final focus. briefly explain why you have won the round.
I thank anyone who accepts this debate. I'll be waiting :)


I accept the debate. I wish the Con good luck and look forward to an excellent, enlightening debate.
Debate Round No. 1


We negate the Resolution, Resolved: North korea poses a bigger threat to national security than Iran.
We would first like to point out a few definitions that should be kept in mind during this round.
Nat'l security: is the ongoing fight to protect public safety (amy klobuchar, minnesota senator) therefore all threats presented during this round must have some sort of effect on the public in order to be considered
a threat, according to Princeton university, is a warning that something unpleasant is imminent therefore the Burden on the the pro is to prove that North Korea is more likely to cause damage to the US public than Iran and that the extent of that damage is greater than Iran's. Also note that the Con does not have to prove that Iran does not hold a greater threat than that of North Korea. If they are equal, the CON still wins the round. That being said, allow me to move on to my contentions
our first contention is that Iran is publicly backing terrorist groups. According to the thinkquest library, Iran sponsors a total of 7 terrorist groups, Lebanese Hizballah; HAMAS; Palestine Islamic Jihad; Palestinian Rejectionist Groups; Mujahedin-e-Khalq; Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security. It seems Iran also backs the Taliban, as "Iran or elements within Iran have provided training assistance and some weapons to the Taliban," said Mr Eikenberry, US ambassador. According to the council on foreign relations, even al-Qaeda has ties to Iran, "as Iran was seeking to replenish al-Qaeda's ranks." The thinkquest library lists only 3 terrorist organizations sponsored by North Korea. Each of which are outdated communist terror groups which pose little threat to the US. Clearly Iran is willing to support destructive organizations, making it a true threat to Nat'l security.

Contention 2: strategic geographical location of Iran gives it leverage on our military and economy
Subpoint A: Iran's geography allows for more serious detrimental military action
Iran has placed medium range missiles in Venezuela, a country which already has anti-american views. According to Die Welt, Venezuela has agreed to allow Iran to establish a military base manned by Iranian missile officers. These missiles, while not nuclear, have the power to cause significant damage to the American public.
Subpoint b: Iran's geography allows for serious economic leverage on the US
According to the Energy Information Administration, the US imports roughly one eighth of its Crude oil from the Persian Gulf. Any sort of conflict there would result in gas prices skyrocketing. To provide a logical precedent, the conflict in Libya has caused gas prices to rise to an average of $3.57 per gallon. We do not depend as heavily on Libya for oil as we do on Iran, so our relations there are more desperate and crucial. As opposed to North Korea, which is a completely closed society. We do not depend on North Korea for anything, thus they do not have so much leverage on us

Our final contention deals with the nuclear threat of both Nations, North Korea and Iran.
Iran's nuclear program is currently a work in progress. Top American military officials said in April 2010 that Iran could produce bomb-grade fuel for at least one nuclear weapon within a year, according to the new york times. Once Iran successfully creates it's own nuclear weapon, there is no telling how it will chose to use it. This ambiguity only adds to the threat of Iran's nukes. North Korea on the other hand, has possessed nukes since 2003, according to they have not used them for destructive purposes yet, and even if they wanted to, they could not inflict damage upon the US, as its most recent Nuclear test missile had a range incapable of going far enough to reach the United States. The distance between North Korea and the United States is over 10,000km. North Korea's longest range missile, the Taepodong-1 is currently only capable of flying 2,500 km.

I thank my opponent for his/her/their time and look forward to their response.
I would like to remind my opponent to include any crossfire questions at the end of his/her/their next speech. I will answer them in my rebuttal.


I affirm the Resolved: North Korea poses a more serious threat to United States national security than Iran.
Contention 1. North Korea is a more dangerous possessor of nuclear arms than Iran.
According to The Christian Science Monitor, “North Korea has conducted two underground explosions of nuclear devices, in October 2006 and again in May of last year, and also has tested a long-range missile capable theoretically of carrying warheads as far as Alaska, Hawaii, or even the west coast of the US.” (Full citation: North Korea’s threats over US-South Korea war games: Another bluff? Donald Kirk, The Christian Science Monitor, 07/25/10). Long-range missiles are an even more direct security threat than North Korea’s ability to attack United States allies such
as South Korea or Japan. Couple North Korea’s nuclear capabilities with economic desperationand the situation in Northeast Asia quickly becomes petrifying. The Daily Telegraph notes, “This unlikely marriage of convenience is fuelled by North Korea's dire need for Iranian oil and Iran's desperate search for sophisticated weapons technology. To date most of the co-operation between the two countries has concentrated on oil-for-arms deals, with the Iranians buying North Korea's advanced missile technology in return for subsidized oil shipments.” (Full citation: The ominous relationship between North Korea and Iran, Con Coughlin, The Daily Telegraph, 01/24/07). As North Korea’s nuclear capabilities develop, its willingness to trade arms for oil and potentially other goods becomes extremely dangerous. A nuclear North Korea is a threat, but a nuclear North Korea with no proliferation qualms is a threat that needs to be dealt with immediately. In fact, Robert Gates has warned that North Korean ICBM's could reach American shores in five years, whereas Iran still struggles to even properly run its nuclear centrifuges (see "Stuxnet Virus").
Contention 2. North Korea has extensive chemical warfare capabilities.
According to North Korea chemical weapons threaten region: report, by Jon Herskovitz for Reuters on 06/18/09, “The report from the prestigious non-governmental organization said the consensus view is the North's army possess about 2,500-5,000 tons of chemical weapons that include mustard gas, sarin and other deadly nerve agents. ‘If there is an escalation of conflict and if military hostilities break out, there is a risk that they could be used. In conventional terms, North Korea is weak and they feel they might have to resort to using those,’ said Daniel Pinkston, the ICG's [International Crisis Group] representative on Seoul.” Because North Korea refuses to be party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, or CWC, its stockpiles and capabilities have never been officially assessed, but there is a consensus that North Korea possesses a large stockpile and would use them if deemed necessary. Chemical warfare is an exceptionally brutal form of attack, as an airborne assault could incapacitate or kill thousands of people with ease. The United States’ national security is threatened greatly by these weapons, as North Korea could certainly attack South Korea or even possibly U.S. mainland.
Contention 3. The Iranian threat is less serious than that posed by North Korea.
Although Iran and North Korea are similar in many ways, the ramifications of a nuclear Iran are less imminent. According to North Korea and Iran: How the two states test US diplomacy by Howard LaFranchi, Scott Peterson, and Donald Kirk for The Christian Science Monitor on 12/12/10 “Iran certainly has internal political challenges – its economy is flagging, in part under pressure of tightened international sanctions, and the Revolutionary Guard force is playing a growing role in both economic and political affairs. It is also making substantial progress on missile development, along with its nuclear program. But it doesn't represent the imminent security threat of North Korea, say many analysts.” The threat to United States national security that is more imminent should be taken more seriously, and that is the threat of North Korea. There are also serious doubts about the actual capabilities of Iran. BBC News reports, “Mark Fitzpatrick, a proliferation expert at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies, described the proposal as a ‘farcical bluff’. ‘Iran presumably could start construction by pushing dirt around for 10 new facilities, but there is no way it could begin to construct and equip that many more plants,’ he told Reuters news agency. ‘It is hard-pressed today even to keep the centrifuges installed at Natanz running smoothly.’” (Full citation: Iran to enrich uranium to 20% as nuclear fears grow, BBC News, 02/08/10). Iran is exaggerating its nuclear capabilities, meaning that the North Korean threat is more imminent and serious.We urge a pro ballot today for the aforementioned three reasons: 1. North Korea is a more dangerous possessor of nuclear arms than Iran, 2. Iran has extensive chemical warfare capabilities, and 3. The Iranian threat is less serious than that posed by North Korea. A desperate nation with nuclear and chemical warfare capabilities is not a threat to be taken lightly, and the most serious national security threat facing the United States today. Thank you.

Cross-Fire Q's:
1. Your C1 states Iran's sponsoring of terrorism. Yet, North Korea is reported by the UN to have been sponsoring anti-US America nations with supplied arms and banned nuclear secrets to dangerous, anti-US nations such as Iran, Syria, and Libya. Isn't N.K. therefore a bigger threat?
2. North Korea is right next to S.K., a close ally. Isn't this a more threatening "strategic location" (response to your C2)?
3. Does Iran have the INTENTION to hurt America, when it's primary buyers of oil are America and/or its close allies? Why would it cut off such a vital economic tie?

Debate Round No. 2


I will begin my rebuttal by answering my opponent's crossfire questions.
1.A couple of things here:
a. you say that North Korea is supplying dangerous things to Iran. Well let me offer this analogy: if someone shoots a man to death, who is held responsible? the killer or the man who sold the killer the gun? If Iran is going to cause harm with these arms and nuclear secrets, it would be their fault. They would be the threat. Besides, if North Korea did not supply the arms, they would just get them from Russia. This article explains the Iran-Russia arms trade.
b. even if I were to concede that both Iran and North Korea were supplying terrorist groups, I still win this point in two ways:
i. if the threats are equal, it is a con win for reasons referred to in my framework.
ii. Iran is a heavier sponsor of terrorist groups of concern to the US. As I stated in my case, Iran sponsors a greater number of terrorist groups and the terrorist groups are ones that the US is currently fighting. This article outlines terrorist-sponsoring states quite clearly.
2. Iran is located right next to Israel, another close ally. One can draw the conclusion that both countries have the same grip on U.S allies, making the threat in this respect equal. If you refer back to my framework, you will see why this results in a CON win.
3. My point with the oil argument was not that Iran was going to launch some sort of embargo. My point was that if some sort of military conflict were to occur in Iran, regardless of America's involvement, gas prices would skyrocket. This would further extend the damage done to the US public as it would hurt our economy. A logical precedent to provide here is Libya. rebels fought back, gas prices rose to an average of $3.57 a gallon. We get more oil from Iran than we do from Libya, so if a similar conflict were to happen in Iran the effects would be even more devastating. This extension of damage does not exist in N.K. considering we do not get any valuable resources from there.

moving on to My opponent's contentions.

C1: you say that North Korea is "theoretically" able to reach US soil with its nukes. First off, this is only theoretical, so there is really no hard proof that the threat exists. I have proof that North Korea is currently not even close to being able to reach the United States. The longest ranged missile, the Taepodong-1 has a range of about 2,500km with a theoretical range of only about 6000km. according to, one would have to travel over 10,000km to reach the United States from North Korea. If you do the math, It is simply impossible for North Korea to hit us any time soon. Iran on the other hand currently has an active missile program in Venezuela. Although the missiles there are not nuclear, they are able to reach the united states. Do not forget that an April 2010 report stated that Iran could produce a nuclear weapon within a year. It is now march of 2011. In one month, one year will have passed. Iran's nuclear program is well underway. Their program in Venezuela provides Iran with the geographical leverage they need to provide a legitimate nuclear threat.
C2: this one is quite simple. Iran has chemical weapons, such as sarin and mustard gas, as well as the geographical advantage over North Korea which increases the likelihood of damage. Once again, Iran wins outright. Here's my source.
C3: This contention was a bit foggy, but I think I got the basic gist. You are basically saying that the weapons program is more advanced in North Korea than in Iran. Basically a recap of your first two contentions. The only thing I can really ad at this point is that in order for your points about nuclear weapons to stand, you will have to prove why North Korea will use such offensive weapons if they know that they will quickly lose a nuclear war. The same can be said for Iran, making the nuclear threats equal, making it, once again, a CON win.

Crossfire questions:

Q1: Can you prove that North Korea would chose to use a weapon as offensive as a nuke even when they obviously know that they would be quickly crushed in a nuclear war? Even if they wanted to use them, how do they pose a threat to us if they cannot even reach us?

Q2: What makes North Korea's location close to South Korea any more detrimental than Iran's position close to Israel?

Q3: Does North Korea have a more threatening program on terrorism than Iran? If not, how do you propose to win the probability of harm point?


Terminal forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


since my opponent forfeited i have nothing to say except that my opponent ripped his case (only argument) from the rupescholars website (thanks to cleosatini for pointing that out), so my opponent has essentially done no work in this debate.


Terminal forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


you there, Terminal?


Terminal forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by cleosantini 7 years ago
Thanks :)
Posted by Decanus 7 years ago
LOL! nice catch, cleosantini.
Posted by cleosantini 7 years ago
This is one of the BEST debates I've seen on this topic. However, I couldn't help but noticing that Terminal's PRO case was straight from the Rupe Scholars sample case. Here's the link:
Posted by Pastafarian 7 years ago
Decanus-- I recommend you to post links or sources to all your allegations.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF