The Instigator
BoggyDag
Pro (for)
Winning
34 Points
The Contender
EndlessVoid
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

"Resolved: North Korea poses a more serious threat to United States national security than Iran."

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
BoggyDag
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/22/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,195 times Debate No: 67433
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (7)

 

BoggyDag

Pro

This is part of the *Official* Beginner Tournament ( http://www.debate.org... ).

As per the rules, first round is for acceptance only.

Round 2: opening arguments
Round 3: rebuttals, possibly new arguments
Round 4: defense of original arguments, final rebuttals, no new arguments from either side


EndlessVoid

Con

Acceptance
I accept this challenge. Best of luck BoggyDag.
Debate Round No. 1
BoggyDag

Pro

I will keep this as simple and straight-forward as possible. My opening argument rests on three points:

Who can deal the more serious damage?

Who is more likely to do so?

Who has a motive to do so?


1. Military status

Obviously, a direct threat is more serious than an indirect one. In order to pose a direct threat to the USA, another nation would need the means to inflict considerable damage to US citizens in their own country. Indirect damage would be dealt to allies and military installations abroad, those will mainly cause strategic losses, destabilizing the power balance. This is not to say that I would disregard the lives of our armed forces there. But soldiers ultimately know that their lives are at stake, and they take that risk FOR the safety of those at home. A direct hit with a nuclear missile in their home country hits THEM at the core of their existence, since they could NOT offer that protection, while AT THE SAME TIME costing countless lives home in the US. Surely, we must consider this the more severe threat.


Iran is located more than 6500 miles away from the US. [1] The farthest their best carrier missiles could fly is 2000 kilometers or about 1200 miles. [2] So far, NO NUCLEAR WEAPONS have been found in possession of Iran. It would take them 1.7 months to generate the enriched uranium needed for a single warhead from their supply of uranium [3]. And while rumors about a hidden nuclear weapons program persist, so far Iran has presented only conventional weaponry, which is "a collection of knockoffs, junk and gear suited for display only." [4]

Military actions taken against the USA have been few and of no critical threat: "Iran recently appeared to overstate its conventional military power when it claimed to be sending two warships toward U.S. waters — one of which barely survived a 1988 run-in with an American fighter jet. The ships ... are believed to have turned back early into their journey." [4]


North Korea, on the other hand, "claims it can already hit the continental United States with nuclear warheads. U.S. and South Korean technical assessments, including from recovered North Korean long-range missiles, indicate that Pyongyang has or could shortly attain that capability." [2] North Korea is in possession of missiles with a range of 10000 miles, enough to cover most of the continental USA:




The Taepo-Dong 2 missile was successfully tested in 2012, when the very same type of missile was used to launch a satellite into orbit. [5] Nuclear bombs have been successfully tested three times in North Korea, a fourth test has been announced [6], showing that North Korea has the full potential for a nuclear attack, far ahead of anything Iran currently holds.


But how likely is an attack anyway? Obviously, the government of each country would have to order an attack, so let's have a look at the hands that will figuratively have to "pull the trigger".


2. Leadership

The government system of Iran is a bureaucratic maze [7], created to grant stability. While there is a religious and political "Supreme Leader" who can single-handedly declare war, he can be dismissed by an "Assembly of Leadership Experts", elected by popular vote. Foreign policy is usually in the hands of the President, who can be dismissed by the Leader/Parliament. [8]

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, current leaders, have gone to great lengths to negotiate peacefully with the USA. Khamenei strictly defended Rouhani's decision to take up negotiations on a peaceful nuclear program, knowing that if these fail, "the country must stand on its own feet" [9]. Negotiations are ongoing, and the US and Iran now share a common threat they are considering to face together, basically making them (uneasy) allies in the making: the Sunni insurgents in Iraq. [10]

Even under far more aggressive president Ahminejad, actual REACTIONS to perceived provocations were limited to speeches before the UN and minor threats. On an interesting side note, the film "Argo" was met with outrage in Iran, but even the announced legal action against the film [11] was never taken. The affair just settled down.


North Korea is a military dictatorship. Their major policy is called "military first" [12], and Kim Jong-un is "Supreme commander" [12], with the single authority to launch any attack he sees fit. [13] Kim Jong-un is known for a volatile temper. The US government has confirmed reports of his personality being "dangerous, unpredictable, prone to violence and with delusions of grandeur". [14] In comparison to Iran's moderate approach to media provocations, Kim famously called the film "The Interview" an "act of war" [15] and threatened merciless retaliation.

Kim Jong-un's policy closely follows that of his father [16], who is revered in North Korea as "the eternal sun" [17], making it almost impossible for Kim Jong-un to step out of his shadow without losing respect. And that policy included the 2010 UNPROVOKED sinking of a South Korean ship, killing 46 sailors, and bombardment of a South Korean Island, killing two soldiers. [18]

With Kim-Jong-un's alleged willingness to order killings, even of his own uncle and his entire family [19], it is almost impossible to predict his actions, making his reign a greater risk for the US national security.


Finally, we have to ask ourselves: why would an attack on the US be launched anyway?


3. Diplomatic relations and political goals

As shown above, Iran is at present potentially interested in allying with the US to fight the Iraq insurgence. Iran is caught up in three such conflicts, currently: against the PJAK [20], in the Syrian civil war [21] and against ISIS in the Iraqi uprising [22].

Iran is trying to uphold its status quo, for political and religious reasons. Attacking the USA at this point would mean a huge disadvantage for them. Only if a nuclear treaty can be reached, Iran will avoid further conflict in the region about an alleged nuclear military program. The US are opposed to ISIS and make for a far better ally at the moment than anyone else. Iran has nothing to gain from attacking the US.


In North Korea, we have a totally different situation:

Kim follows three prime goals: acceptance as nuclear weapons state[16][23], removal of US forces from the Korean peninsula [23] and reunification with South Korea. [23]

North Korean propaganda [17] rests heavily on military prestige, which is why Kim is Supreme Commander. In order to outshine his late father, Kim Jong-un is likely to strive for a military triumph. A nuclear strike against the USA would be seen as an act of glory, showing strength against the "imperialist" front-runner who has so far been the only one to ever employ nuclear weapons in a war. This would be the ultimate justice, delivered by their glorious leader.



[1] http://tinyurl.com...

[2] http://tinyurl.com...

[3] http://tinyurl.com...

[4] http://tinyurl.com...

[5] http://tinyurl.com...

[6] http://tinyurl.com...

[7] http://tinyurl.com...

[8] http://tinyurl.com...

[9] http://tinyurl.com...

[10] http://tinyurl.com...

[11] http://tinyurl.com...

[12] http://tinyurl.com...

[13] http://tinyurl.com...

[14] http://tinyurl.com...

[15] http://tinyurl.com...

[16] http://tinyurl.com...

[17] http://tinyurl.com...

[18] http://tinyurl.com...

[19] http://tinyurl.com...

[20] http://tinyurl.com...

[21] http://tinyurl.com...

[22] http://tinyurl.com...

[23] http://tinyurl.com...



EndlessVoid

Con

=Framework=

This resolution can go two ways, first in assessing the direct threats posed by either state, and balancing against their indirect threats. It will be my position within this debate that indirect threats are significantly more potent and realistic. The indirect threats of Iran can be assessed in the following departments, which I will affirm within this debate:

  1. 1. Strategic Military & Economical Influence
  2. 2. Impact on US Allies
  3. 3. Public disorder/confidence
  4. 4. Terrorism Groups

  1. 1. Direct Threats

1.1 Nuclear Weapon Threats

Neither Iran, nor North Korea are a threat to the US simply by virtue of mutually assured destruction (MAD). Any nuclear launch by either nation upon the US will result in the recipient nation being razed by the rapid counter-attack capabilities of the installed systems stationed in South Korea and surrounding areas.[ http://www.japanfocus.org...] Thus, even if we assumed either one or the other had full-nuclear strike capabilities on the US, then there still remains no significant threat upon US national security. We have no reason to believe North Korea even has that capability, simply possessing nuclear weapons and long range missiles does not mean the two are married together. A compact enough nuclear device needs to be developed first (which we havbe no evidence of North Korea having), and then missile guiding technologies developed to the point where a hit can be made with confidence.[ http://armscontrolcenter.org..., http://www.bloomberg.com...] Both of which are estimated to be many years off for North Korea.

The development of strike capabilities is even less likely in light of China’s public protestations to North Korea’s advances, which is significant since China remains North Korea’s sole prominent international ally and main trading partner. North Korea would effectively be committing economical suicide by going against China.[ http://www.japanfocus.org...]

While I will quickly concede that no nuclear weapons have yet been confirmed of Iran, what has been confirmed is Iran’s possession of 13,397 kg of low-enriched uranium (3.5% U-235), of which 8,390 kg is in gaseous form for further enrichment, which is sufficient for seven nuclear warheads with further enrichment (requiring 90% enriched uranium). It’s existing centrifuge facilities (first and second generation centrifuges) are known to be capable of producing one nuclear bomb’s worth of weapon’s grade uranium within 12 months if the government so chose. According to a 2012 IAEA report Iran had produced ~280kg of 20% enriched uranium, a significant step in the direction of nuclear weapon’s grade capability.[ http://www.iaea.org...] Mark Hibbs, nuclear policy expert puts this into perspective:

once you're at 20%, you're about 80% of the way there”[ http://edition.cnn.com...]

1.2 Conventional Weapon Threats

2. Indirect Threats

2.1 Strait of Hormuz

About 40% of the world’s tanker borne oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, needless to say any disruption to this would leads to catastrophic economic consequences to the US, for which Iran is in a powerful strategic position to close.[ https://www.fas.org...] A 2012 report by CRS affirms:

“An outright closure of the Strait of Hormuz, a major artery of the global oil market, would be an unprecedented disruption of global oil supply and contribute to higher global oil prices.”

Moreover, Iran is also in a strategic position to harass tanker traffic leading to similar consequences without needing to outright close the strait. This would also leads to higher levels of uncertainty of oil supply, increased shipping costs, etc.

2.2 Terrorist Groups

Iran is known to financially support terrorism groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and others. This is severe when coupled with a nuclear threat. This is because while Iran and North Korea are tied in it’s use of nuclear weapons due to MAD, terrorist groups are not, simply by virtue of these groups “not having a return address” as non-state actors. Moreover the moral, and stability of these groups are dubious at best, and hence the efficacy of MAD is questionable at best when these groups are considered. As such, purely by virtue of Iran’s potential to supply nuclear weapons to non-state actors leads to Iran presenting a significantly greater threat to the US than Korea ever could with nuclear weapons.[ http://www.fpri.org...]

Moreover, long-range delivery systems are not required when acts of terrorism are accounted for and non-aircraft or missile based deliveries are considered. This also negates the requirement for nuclear testing of said bombs before use, due to the primitive detonation mechanisms (cf. Gun-Type).[ http://www.americanthinker.com...]



Conclusion

Sorry for the rushed round. it's Christmas! Have a good one!!!

Debate Round No. 2
BoggyDag

Pro

“indirect threats are significantly more potent”
Definition of POTENT (Merriam-Webster)
1: having or wielding force, authority, or influence : powerful
So, what my opponent is saying is that the loss of thousands of civilian lives by a nuclear bomb is LESS forceful than “increased shipping costs, etc.”
I’d have him substantiate that. There can be no threat more severe than an attack at home, on unsuspecting civilians.

“and realistic”
In the light of the loss of civilian lives by the thousands it would be very cynical to weigh in probability comparisons. All other threats must pale before the threat of a nuclear attack in the US. The US government seems to believe enough in that to “spend $1 billion to deploy additional ballistic missile interceptors along the Pacific Coast to counter the growing reach of North Korea’s weapons” [24]. Then we must consider the threat REAL - if ever so small. “Real” beats “realistic” by a long shot.

As for Iran: all my opponent’s sources date back BEFORE the election of moderate president Rouhani. There may have been a threat under Ahminejad, which is why his own people chose Rouhani. My source says the US are considering to deter Iran [24], but the fact that they haven’t decided yet shows they see a lesser threat.

“the following departments, which I will affirm within this debate”
I’ll be sure to address them when/if they are affirmed.

“installed systems stationed in South Korea”
My opponent’s source is - again - outdated, delivering data until the early 2000s. It only shows the Korean peninsula has been de-nuclearized. North Korea is covered by the US nuclear umbrella, but only North Korea has nuclear weapons there. The most recent military power report states that North Korea needs “a credible deterrence capability essential to its goals ... and supportive of its coercive military threats and actions” [25] while at the same time “believing it can control escalation.” Factor in that Seoul in South Korea is only 40 miles away from the border to North Korea and would feel the effects of a nuclear strike, and we arrive at the easy conclusion that North Korea - that has so far got away with every threat and military provocation - does not fear a nuclear counterstrike. So we cannot be sure they will actually not use those weapons.

“economical suicide by going against China”
“China's bottom line is that it will not cut off its relations with the DPRK and will not turn the DPRK into its enemy" [28], experts suggest. But even if this is wrong, China’s involvement will not deter Kim, either.
It's likely that we'll see a shift towards a willingness for violence. With China backing away, North Korea sees itself as the last bastion against the US, while all others are “pushovers” [24, page 2]. So far, all of Kim's threats have turned out to be hollow, which results in worldwide ridicule, like with the film "The Interview" [15]. And Kim Jong-un is struggling even at home. Experts estimate that only 20-50% of the public still believe the pompous propaganda. [26] With his trust dwindling, Kim will need to show results fairly soon, to keep his people loyal. He is known “to justify sacrifices demanded of the populace” [25]. Having “imperialist” America strike at North Korean civilian targets - like they did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki [27] - would be the ultimate proof that Kim was right, and might drive a wedge between South Korea and the US, aiding his cause of uniting the Korean people.

So far, Kim hasn’t been deterred from breaking the armistice with South Korea, despite the US being allied with the South, to everyone’s surprise. [28]
As established before, he’s unpredictable, irrational even, and is now cornered.

Iran, on the other hand has - as shown in the previous round - everything to lose. With a combination of ongoing fighting against ISIS and the continued pressure of possible nuclear attacks from Israel [32], not to mention their dismissal from current peace talks, Iran does tremendous harm to themselves by attacking the U.S.

“A compact enough nuclear device”
There’s a report saying “North Korea probably has the knowhow to arm a missile with a nuclear warhead" but doubts its reliability "but fears remain over the risk of miscalculation”. [29]
What we do know is that North Korea is ahead of Iran in developing such weapons. Even my opponent admits that Iran is only “half way” there. But we’ve seen the North Korean test of 2013. And they have “developed enough fissile material for six to eight plutonium-based nuclear weapons”. [2]
Iran reportedly didn’t have a nuclear weapon in 2012. [30] My opponent already conceded that it hasn’t until today.
I remind my opponent that we’re debating who IS the more severe threat, not who has been or will be at some point. And right now, North Korea is leading in nuclear warfare, the ultimate threat.

“Strait of Hormuz”
In 1988, a single US chopper almost sank the ship that Iran is using as a kind of flagship to this day, as seen on the previous round. Their tech is hopelessly outdated, they would never be able to hold the Strait.
Moreover, they have no motive (see above), and blocking oil traffic would also severely harm the other OPEC nations. So far, Iran are themselves one of the largest oil and gas providers on the global market. [33] Blocking their own major source of revenue - now THAT would be "economical suicide". Iran would turn every last country in the region against them. For what? For the US to dominate the world market in the meantime with the oil and gas they gather through fracking? This would not harm national security, it would boost US economy!

“Terrorist groups”
There are no reports of Hamas or Hezbollah having any current agenda concerning the US. All three are fighting Al Qaeda and ISIS. As for accountability: Hezbollah is a political party in Lebanon, a “state within the state” there [34], and fully targetable. And Iran is known to finance them with 200 million $ a year, so it would be held fully accountable. The situation for Hamas is similar.

“This is severe when coupled with a nuclear threat”
It’s lucky then that my opponent conceded this doesn’t exist. But even if it were real, all above points still apply.
North Korea is part of the same terror network as Iran [31]! And they may HAVE nuclear arms to distribute! They have fission material to spare, whereas Iran would basically have to hand over their precious bit of nuclear warfare to terrorists. The goal is for Iran to become a nuclear state. If they HAD a nuclear weapon, why give it away?

“the moral, and stability of these groups are dubious at best, and hence the efficacy of MAD is questionable”
Interesting. So MAD won’t work on immoral and unstable people? Like - the "dangerous, unpredictable, prone to violence” dictator of North Korea? [14] The man who lets his people suffer for political goals? There’s talks of concentration camps and starvation in North Korea. [35]

“Nuclear testing”
The nuclear testing in North Korea serves as PROOF they have nuclear weapons. Iran claims not to have any, and there’s no proof to indicate otherwise. North Korea clearly poses the more serious threat: they can carry out those strikes.

As for an attack on US bases: North Korea would easily attack US bases in the South, while Iran has no reason at all to attack US forces.
Still, indirect attacks are less serious than direct ones: the military bases are well prepared and could intercept attacks, or retreat. Striking unsuspecting civilians must be considered worse.

[24] http://tinyurl.com...
[25] http://tinyurl.com...
[26] http://tinyurl.com...
[27] http://tinyurl.com...
[28] http://tinyurl.com...
[29] http://tinyurl.com...
[30] http://tinyurl.com...
[31] http://tinyurl.com...
[32] http://tinyurl.com...
[33] http://tinyurl.com...
[34] http://tinyurl.com...
[35] http://tinyurl.com...

Personal note: I need to be away for a few days and would appreciate my opponent delaying his answer as long as possible.
EndlessVoid

Con

EndlessVoid forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
BoggyDag

Pro

I hope my opponent is up and well, and extend all arguments for the duration.

In deviation from the original setup of this debate, I will not be able to defend my original argument, as it was never rebutted.

Summarizing the debate so far, my opponent has promised to address several points, only two of which were addressed.
The two points he addressed were refuted, and my opponent has one last round to defend those.
North Korea stands as the more serious threat, with a fully developed nuclear weapons program and the possible motivation put it to offensive use.


I want to thank everybody for reading this, and also remind the audience that this debate is part of an official tournament. This means that votes by members who have not been designated as judges will be ignored for the outcome of this tournament.

Finally, thanks to the organizers of this tournament and my mentor whiteflame: so far, this has been tremendous fun!
EndlessVoid

Con

EndlessVoid forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Tweka 1 year ago
Tweka
BoggyDagEndlessVoidTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Ff
Vote Placed by YYW 1 year ago
YYW
BoggyDagEndlessVoidTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 1 year ago
Blade-of-Truth
BoggyDagEndlessVoidTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Pro. Con forfeited multiple rounds which is rarely acceptable behavior in any debate setting. I'd highly recommend that Con pay close attention to the time limits for each round, because forfeiting is an automatic loss of conduct if the other opponent doesn't. S&G - Tie. Both had adequate spelling and grammar. Arguments - Pro. Unfortunately for Con, by forfeiting you left Pro's arguments standing unchallenged. Due to that, Pro wins arguments. Sources - Pro. I found Pro's sources to be better in both quality and quantity. While Con did utilize some strong sources, it was far outnumbered by Pro's. This is a clear win for Pro. Great debate up until the forfeits though guys! I'd love to see an unofficial rematch someday with the debate done in full.
Vote Placed by Subutai 1 year ago
Subutai
BoggyDagEndlessVoidTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 1 year ago
Ragnar
BoggyDagEndlessVoidTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: That is giving new meaning to delaying as long as possible... Conduct for FF.
Vote Placed by BLAHthedebator 1 year ago
BLAHthedebator
BoggyDagEndlessVoidTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Con unfortunatly forfeited the last two rounds. Also, both had some extremely reliable sources. The tie breaker here was who backed their arguments up MORE FREQUENTLY.
Vote Placed by lannan13 1 year ago
lannan13
BoggyDagEndlessVoidTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture