Resolved: That the United States should intervene in another nation's struggle for democracy.
Debate Rounds (5)
1. Democracy promotion does not set up a successful democracy
2. The fate of other nations is none of our business
3. We cannot afford another war
In this debate intervention will include any military or political/economic intervention.
Contention 1: Democracy promotion does not set up a successful democracy
In order for a democracy to succeed it must be non-corrupt and have the support of the people over all other forms of government. Corruption is rampant in so called democracies in the Middle East today. For example, Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan and an American citizen, is being accused on endemic corruption because he has a net worth of $12 million. His main business before 2001 was a restaurant in Massachusetts . How does one amass such a massive net worth with a small restaurant? One doesn't, and that means that Karzai had some shady dealings in Afghanistan. This not only hurts the chances of a successful democracy in Afghanistan, but also damages the reputation of the US.
The US has no power over the turn of events in other nations, no matter we think it does. In 2009, the US tried to set up a new democratic government in Honduras, "a small country in the US's traditional sphere of influence" , after the democratically elected president in Honduras was overthrown. The US had to eventually settle for a less democratic government.
Contention 2: The fate of other nations is none of our business
Form of government in the Middle East does not affect us in any way. We could care less about whether Karzai was a dictator or a "democratically" elected leader, just as long as he didn't support al Qaeda. Likewise, we could care less about whether Saudi Arabia was under a dictatorship or a democracy, as long as they supply us with cheap oil. Since the form of government in another country is none of our business, there is no reason we should waste our time and resources trying to change it. We do not even have our allies' support. According to Journal of Democracy Volume 22, Number 2, the "Global powers" are "not promoting democracy", but instead "responded with equivocation or silence", while "authoritarians have acted with aggression and self-assurance".
Intervening in general creates opposition to the US. When the intervening party has no business in the situation, the opposition only compounds. This concept was clearly demonstrated in Iraq and Afghanistan, where growing amounts of people want the US to get out, and perhaps will be demonstrated in Libya and Syria.
If a nation supports democracy and is willing to fight for it, there is no need to intervene. The civilians of Egypt ousted Mubarak by themselves. The civilians of Tunisia ousted Ben Ali by themselves. The French Revolution occurred by itself. There is a saying that the end justifies the means, but everyone agrees that the less involvement on your part required in the means, the better. If people that want democracy can get democracy without US intervention, then why should the US intervene?
Contention 3: Intervention is expensive
According to President Obama, the Iraq War cost "eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives, and nearly a trillion dollars." The cost of Afghanistan was similar: nine years, tens of thousands of American and Afghan lives, and almost half a trillion dollars . There are 23 countries in the region we like to call the Middle East , and if we promote democracy in all of those we can expect to spend at least $13 trillion. The question is: are these expenses worth the promoting democracy. The answer is a resounding no. Not only does the US fail to get any benefit from war in the Middle East and in other developing countries, but it also gets plenty of disgrace and shame for not being able to make progress. The Taliban are stronger than ever and Karzai's impotent security forces are nowhere close to finishing their training .
I oppose the resolution because democracy promotion is expensive, none of our business, and very unlikely to succeed. I urge you to vote con.
 The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11
 planet debate
[5 past debates
I thank my opponent for this interesting topic and hope for a good debate. I have one question however, what is final focus?
Also voters, according to PF format I must save my rebuttal for the crossfire rounds.
My contentions are:
1. Democracy promotion does set up successful democracies
2. The governments of other countries affect the US.
Contention 1: Democracy promotion sets up successful democracies.
Example A: Post World War II Germany.
After Germany was devastated by Allied bombing raids, and with Hitler dead, there was a gigantic power vacuum. One would have thought that it would be the perfect place for another dictator to surface, but this was not the case. After Germany was reunited after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany's democracy got off to a great start and Helmut Kohl  became the first leader of a unified Germany. After reunification, the economy has gotten progressively better. 
Example B: Post WWII Japan.
Like Germany, Japan was devestated after WWII by US bombing campaigns and the loss of two major industrial centers, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the losses, General MacArthur of the US military was assigned to setting up a Democracy in Japan. This he did successfully. Japan established the Diet (Parliament) and had a democratic system up and running within no time. And as with Germany, Japan is a world economic power.
Example C: Iraq.
Maybe not the most successful democracy on my list, but Iraq is on its way to becoming a working nation again. Without US intervention, Iraq would still be very hostile to us, and a nest for terrorist activity.
Please also note that for the first few years, both Germany and Japan's democracies were very weak and corrupt. This is the same for Afghanistan and Iraq, and these countries are on the rise.
Contention 2: Foreign Governments affect the US.
Example A: Economies. It is a well known fact that the economies of different countries are intertwined. One slight change in a local economy can lead to a drastic impact on another. Nations not friendly to the United States can put embargos or tariffs on their products, leading to huge problems abroad.
Approximately 50% of the world's population (3.5 billion people) live on less than 2$ a day . The majority of these people live in countries that are not democracies . When the U.S. promotes democracy, they are simultaneously promoting higher wages, better working conditions and reducing child labor, crime, and poverty.
Example B: Terrorism
With the gruesome reports of death and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, its easy to forget what we came for. These countries, Afghanistan especially, have been harboring the terrorists that killed more than 3,000 people in a single coordinated strike on 9/11/2001 . Improving the governments in these countries is essential to keeping terrorists away from killing U.S. citizens. The taliban commits war crimes on a weekly basis  to the people of Afghanistan, and suicide bombers in Iraq kill innocent Iraqis. In fact, the Taliban accounts for more than 75% of all civilian casualties in Afghanistan . When the US aids democracy in these countries, they are lowering the number of war crimes and rights violations. In addition, starting a war now will prevent future wars. If the US lets these countries get any worse and more powerful, the human cost in the future would be near catastrophic.
Conclusion: U.S. promotion of democratic governments helps the world economy, decreases human rights violations, stops future wars, and helps the world in general. I have also shown that the U.S. sets up successful democracies, even if they take a few years to bloom.
Crossfire starts now:
1. Germany and Japan were world powers before WWII, so it's no suprise that they would be fine after recieving US financial aid. Vietnam was quite poor, and we failed to set up a successful democracy there. The nations in the Middle East are more like Vietnam than they are like Germany and Japan, so how can you guarantee that the nations in the Middle East would also be able to have successful democracies?
2. Germany and Japan's democracies were really weak and corrupt in the beginning? Which of your sources says that?
3. When the US promotes democracy, does that necessarily mean they are promoting a better economy? The majority of low income nations have also been imperialized in the past, and are thus impoverished. Most democracies have been spared from imperialism and some have been imperial powers.
4. Which country do most terrorist groups target: the US or Israel? Therefore, would it be better to promote democracy in 23 different countries and keep the animosity between Israel and its neighbors, or would it be better to negotiate a peace agreement between Israel and its neighbors?
5. Can human rights violations be resolved with just military intervention, or do we have to set up a successful democracy?
6. What future wars are you referring to?
1. Germany was certainly NOT a word power before WWII. Germany was coming out of a terrible economic depression, Japan was also just becoming economically stable by expanding its territories. After such a vehement leader as Hitler, and the demi-god emperor Tojo, it is almost suprising that democracy ever developed in these countries. In addition, the resolution does not limit this debate to modern conflicts.
2. Sorry here are my sources.�http://www.ncjrs.gov...;(Yes West Berlin starved until the soviets lessened the blockade.)
3. Exactly. Many poor countries were colonized in the past and forced to slave or near-slave labor. Modern day imperialism is a direct result of economic spheres of influence. These influences are a direct result of corrupt leaders/ corporations. In a democratic society corrupt leaders are voted out and corporations have limited power, thereafter limiting foreign influence in the country.
4. Can you expand on that point and relate it to the argument?
5. Sometimes setting up a democracy involves military intervention, the case in Iraq and Afghanistan. But sometimes not, Germany, Japan.
6. Wars that would be started by non-democratic, hostile countries.
As a side note I would like to point out that my opponents sources are neither relevant OR cited in his argument. A bit odd coming from someone who demands sources :P
First, let's look at my opponent's responses. For question 1, he said that Germany was not a world power before WWII. What then do you call the Nazi war machine? For question 2, my opponent claims that West Berlin starved until the Soviet Union lifted the blockade. The supply airlift to West Berlin was supposed to be a success. All the history textbooks lied to us. For question 3, my opponent concedes that most of the impoverished countries today were imperialized, and thus income is not dependant on form of government at all. My opponents point about the US promoting a better economy by promoting democracy falls. My opponent claims that modern day imperialism is a direct result of corrupt leaders and democracy would fix the problem. First of all, there is no modern day imperialism. Second, corruption results from the impoverished state of the low-income nations, not the other way around. Thus democracy would not fix the problem at all, since it doesn't influence the economic state of a nation. For question 4, my opponent avoids the question and wants me to explain how the question is relevant. The question is relevant because my opponent claims that democracy can bring peace to the Middle East, when in reality democracy does nothing to lessen the animosity that Middle Eastern people have against Israel. For question 5, my opponent claims that setting up a democracy in Germany and Japan did not require military intervention. WWII was not military intervention? One has to remove the existing government before one can set up a new government. For question 6, my opponent refers to wars that might not ever exist. The only factor included in his response that might lead to war is hostility. Hostility occurs all the time between nations, whether the nations are democratic or non-democratic. My opponent's point about future wars between non-democratic nations is therefore void. In response to my opponent's side note, I would like to say that he has no grounds to say what he said. My sources are as relevant as his and I cited my sources with bracketed numbers.
Now let's look at my opponent's contentions. His first contention states that democracy promotion can set up successful democracies, and cites Germany and Japan as examples. I can cite a counterexample of when democracy promotion failed: Vietnam. Everyone would agree that the Middle East is more like Vietnam than it is like Germany and Japan. When assessing whether something is possible, one should look at the context. In the current context, democracy promotion would more likely not succeed in the Middle East. My opponent's second contention states that foreign governments affect our economic interests. This is true only if the foreign governments in question control a valuable resource that can't be obtained in any other country. The Middle East dominates the oil market, but only because we are unwilling to use our own oilfields. We can always turn to the oilfields in the US if unfriendly nations place too high a tariff on their oil. My opponent also claims that the type of government determines whether terrorists can thrive in a nation. He fails to realize that terrorist groups such as Hezbollah exist because of animosity towards Israel, not because the governments in the Middle East are undemocratic. A better solution to this problem would therefore be to reconcile Israel and its neighbors.
In conclusion, my opponent's contentions hold no weight, and my contentions are left unchallenged. I urge a CON ballot.
1. The Nazi was machine manifested out of a vehement leader and a country in peril.
2. There is only so much food a plane can bring. People starved as its government was too corrupt and inefficient to provide for its own people, my point proven.
3. Haha, it's called economic imperialism. Where foreign businesses roll into an impoverished nation, pay off its corrupt leaders, then create businesses that suck the country of its resources and labor. The money is shipped back to foreign countries. If a democracy was in place the people would write laws that promote local business.
4. There are two flaws in your argument. The first is that Palestine is the only country attacking Israel. The U.S. Doesnt have troops in Palestine. Second, if your argument were true, what would you propose we do about the hostility? More military action? Moving people out of Israel? All the possibilities are not feasible.
5. The goal of WWII was not to set up a democratic government. The goal was to stop Germany from taking over our European allies and stop Japan from taking over America (plus Pearl Harbor). Setting up a democratic government in these countries was a bonus effect of the war. Let's use these countries as an example. What happened after we set up a democratic government? No more Hitlers and Tojos.
6. Hostilities between democratic and non democratic nations are much higher than two democratic nations. The US is currently allied with the majority of democratic nations in the world, therefore if we create more countries that are democratic we will have more allies.
7. The vietnam war was not promoting democracy, it was stopping the spread of communism. It's the same case for the Korean war and the Chinese Civil war, the US's goal was to stop communism, even if it meant keeping a corrupt dictator in power. Jiang Jieshi (Chinese Nationalist Dictator) was the corrupt "elected" president of "free" china who was supported by the US. The case is the same with Vietnam and South Korea.
8. "We can always turn to the oilfields in the US..." What? We're sucking the US dry and depending on the middle east!
1. My opponent's arguments are refuted.
2. My opponent's refutations are refuted.
3. My opponent's sources are still in question.
4. My arguments stand
I urge a pro vote.
1. "The Nazi was machine manifested out of a vehement leader and a country in peril." It still was very powerful, wasn't it?
2. If people still starved in West Berlin, why did the Soviet Union think it best to lift the blockade?
3. Ha ha, since you yourself said that democracies begin with corrupt leaders, how would democracy fix "economic imperialism"? And what guarantee do you have that a democracy would promote local business while other forms of government would promote foreign business?
4. Are you're saying that since Palestine is the only country attacking Israel, we don't have to worry about Israel?
5. Are you aware that Israel is negotiating with its neighbors? That should reduce the hostility.
6. Even if WWII was not originally meant to set up a democratic government, it was military intervention, correct?
7. We had to maintain supervision over Germany and Japan after WWII, correct? Thus, the failure for more Hitlers and Tojos to rise was due to our supervision and not democracy in Germany and Japan, correct?
8. Our democratic allies are from WWI, WWII, and the Cold War, correct? Thus, are we allies with these countries because they're democratic or because we happened to be on their side in a war?
9. What evidence do you have that hostilities between democratic and non-democratic nations are higher than hostilities between democratic nations?
10. Keeping out communism involves the same goals as democracy promotion, correct?
11. "What? We're sucking the US dry and depending on the middle east!" What exactly do you mean by this?
12. Based on your conclusions, my sources are in question, so your sources are in question, correct?
1. Military? Yes. Economy? No.
2. This question is a red herring. The Soviet Union lifted the blockade because of pressure from foreign nations and because they felt it was the right thing to do. (PR).
3. I concede that in the beginning a democracy would be corrupt, but as it improves it would start to behave in a way to benefit the people. It's common sense that a government run by the people will look out for the people.
4. No, by the way voters that one is called "Putting words in my mouth".
6. Intervention means intervene, were we intervening in anything when we retaliated after Pearl Harbor? No. Setting up democracy wasnt even on the agenda until a few months before the A-Bombs.
7. US supervision of the governments of the countries was only for a few years (although military presence continues to this day). Hitlers would have rebelled against the democracy in place. But they didnt. Case closed.
8. Both. We were not exactly allied with Non-Democratic nations during/after WWI and WWII.
9. Same government usually means same ideals. Ergo more smooth diplomacy.
10. As I said last round (but you completely ignored) it doesnt necessarily. With the Chinese civil war we supported a corrupt dictator.
11. Do you think we are not using the US oil fields? You are uninformed. We use so much oil that the US fields alone wont supply the country, creating a demand from the middle east.
12. What the heck does that mean?
1. My opponent has drawn a red herring in argument 2.
2. My opponent ignored my point from argument 10.
3. My opponent does not know that there is oil in the US being used.
4. My opponent "dodged" my questions on his sources. They are still in question:
(referring to round 1)
1. Links to�npr home page. No info.
2. References an arbitrary fact that is not cited. No info.
4. Planet debate? What?
5. Past debates. What?
5. My points stand untouched.
6. My opponent's points are all down.
I uge a pro vote.
Let's look at the reliability of each sides' sources:
http://www.ncjrs.gov... I accessed this source, I saw only this: "Incorrect Id passed."
http://beyondthecusp.wordpress.com... you search this up on Google, it says "Welcome to the New Beyond the Cusp. BTC is an opinion and viewpoint blog." This obviously is not a very reliable source.
http://www.npr.org... opponent probably copied and pasted the link. The link works fine on my computer.
The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11--This is arbitrary?
geography.about.com--If my opponent agrees that there are 23 countries in the Middle East this source isn't needed.
planet debate/past debates--The former is used by my high school debate team as a source. It has to be reliable. The latter is accepted as a valid source in high school debate.
Next let's weigh both sides' contentions.
#1 Democracy promotion does not set up a successful democracy--My opponent has given some counterexamples, namely Germany and Japan, but Germany and Japan were world powers and presently we are trying to promote democracy in an impoverished region. We've tried that before and failed during the Vietnam War. We are likely to fail again in the Middle East, due to its similarity to Vietnam.
#2 The fate of other nations is none of our business--My opponent tries to argue that Middle Eastern economics and terrorism affect the US. The only way that Middle Eastern economy can affect the US economy is through oil. The US already has allies which supply it with adequate oil. Most Middle Eastern terrorist groups only attack Israel, and thus don't affect the US in any way.
#3 Intervention is expensive--My opponent does not even address this contention, and thus he concedes that intervention is expensive. This can be clearly outlined by the alleged successful democracy in Iraq. The Iraq War cost us $800 billion. If we set up democracies in the other Middle Eastern countries, the total cost would exceed $800 billion times 20, or $16 trillion ($3-4 trillion more than our current national debt). The expenses of democracy promotion would far outweigh any economic benefits we can get from the Middle East, seeing as we already have all the benefits.
My opponent's contentions:
#1 Democracy promotion sets up successful democracies--The US may be able to set up democracies in countries like Germany and Japan, but Germany and Japan had the finances to set up a successful democracy. Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries don't, so there is no guarantee that the US will set up a successful democracy in the Middle East.
#2 Foreign Governments affect the US
A:True, economies of other nations can significantly affect the US economy, but only if those nations have valuable resources that the US wants. We already have certain ally countries that supply us with oil, so the economies of other oil nations is none of our business.
B:First, this only affects Israel, as mentioned before. The only terrorist group that has attacked the US is the one that was led by Osama, and we have killed Osama. Second, democracy promotion would not reduce the amount of terrorism, since democracy promotion does not solve the problem of hate. A better solution to terrorism is reconciliation between Israel and its neighbors.
Finally, let's weigh the crossfires.
My opponent has asked me no questions this entire debate. In effect, he is conceding to every one of my points, since otherwise he would question me on their validity. In a real PF round, major points are taken for being recessive during crossfire.
In crossfire 1, my opponent's answer to the question "Can human rights violations be resolved with just military intervention, or do we have to set up a successful democracy?" was "Sometimes setting up a democracy involves military intervention, the case in Iraq and Afghanistan. But sometimes not, Germany, Japan." This is an obvious attempt to avoid the question, and therefore he concedes that just military intervention will solve human rights issues.
In crossfire 2, for question 1, my opponent concedes that the Nazi war machine was militarily very strong, which means it must be economically strong (one needs money to build tank destroyers and fighter jets). Thus Germany was a world power before WWII, so of course it would be able to set up a successful democracy after WWII. For question 2, he claims that Stalin lifted the Berlin Blockade to improve public relations, but when did Stalin ever care about public relations? The Berlin Blockade was lifted not out of pressure from foreign nations, but out of the blockade's ineffectiveness due to the Berlin Airlift. This effectively proves that the people of West Berlin did not starve under the "corrupt leaders" of their fledgling democracy, and thus my opponent lacks any clear evidence that the democracies in Germany and Japan were corrupt to begin with. For question 4, my opponent states that "Palestine is the only country attacking Israel"and thus implies that we don't need to worry about Israel. His sub-point B in his 2nd contention falls, since it is out of concern for Israel that we fight terrorist groups such as Hezbollah. For question 5, he quotes a website that says on its home page that "BTC is an opinion and viewpoint blog" and thus is not a very reliable source. For question 6, my opponent claims that we weren't intervening when we retaliated against Japan. This may be true, but we were intervening when we attacked Germany. Thus democracy promotion so far on the part of the US has resulted in military intervention. For question 7, my opponent concedes that we have a military presence in Germany and Japan, thus maintaining complete control over their affairs. He then states that Hitlers would have rebelled against the existing democracy. Do power hungry people hate democracy so much that rebelling against it is worth political suicide? Because political death would befall anyone who was rash enough to oppose the US in a US controlled area. For question 8, my opponent states that most of allies are both democratic and our war allies. But the factor that weighs more is the latter one, otherwise we would not be allies with Saudi Arabia, or Kuwait. For question 9, my opponent claims that "Same government usually means same ideals". Usually, this statement is true. Unfortunately, the ideological differences between Israel and its neighbors far outweigh any ideals that they may share if they were all democracies. Thus, it's easier to maintain peace in the Middle East by reconciling Israel and its neighbors than promoting democracy in 2 different nations. For question 10, we support a corrupt leader to keep out communism, and we support a corrupt leader to promote democracy. Either way the goal is to further US interests, and the means are almost the same. For question 11, my opponent claims that we need Middle Eastern allies to supply us with oil. We already have Middle Eastern allies.
1. My opponent's contentions are just rebuttals to my contentions.
2. I have refuted my opponent's contentions, and thus my points still stand.
3. My opponent refuses to ask me questions during crossfires, and thus concedes to my points.
4. My opponent uses unreliable sources to answer my crossfire questions, and thus any points he makes in the crossfires are void.
5. I have verified the reliability of my own sources, and thus my sources are more reliable than my opponent's.
My opponent's sources:�
1.�Npr.org�Nope still goes to home page.
2. �"The cost of the war in Iraq" isnt a source. It's an arbitrary number that you do not reference.
3. Past debates may be a source for your high school, and "Donald Duck" is a source for my highschool.
1. My opponent only listed two of my many sources (the only ones with doubt). Please note that I Listed many more in round 1.
2. Works for me.
3. The blog references existing evidence and studies.
1. Germany and Japan WERE NOT world powers before WWII. Both had weak economies and strong militaries. We are promoting democracy in impoverished nations rather than ones with large militaries like Germany, doesnt that make it easier?
2. There are two major flaws with my opponent's flaws. The first is that without Middle Eastern oil the US would not be able to sustain its economy and way of life. Secondly, terrorist groups don't only attack Israel, as we have seen on 9/11 and the Christmas Day Attempt.
3. I concede that it is expensive, but the economic benefits in the future would outweigh the comparatively small cost of intervention.
1. Get your facts right, Germany and Japan were war-torn dumps after WWII. Japan had had its two most productive economic cities obliterated by the atomic bomb and Germany had lost its cities to bombing campaigns by the allies. In fact, middle eastern countries are probably better of because of their vast oil reserves.
2. A: We depend on middle eastern oil, stated earlier. B: Al Queda (the terrorist group run by Osama) is still active. Killing Osama is not worth anything if his organization is still up and running. Israel is irrelevant because they will not negotiate and because they arent the US.
I refuted all of your points. No 'questions' needed.
Crossfire 1: What you are saying is nonsensical. I never conceded, and I didnt avoid the question. Military Intervention is sometimes needed but not always. I provided two examples for each, how are you not getting that?
1. Military =/= Economy.
2. Stalin lifted the blockade because of its ineffectiveness, true. His goal of putting up the blockade was to starve the people, and make them join East Berlin. He failed because the people starved but did not leave. Plus I have given evidence the diet was corrupt, you just ignored it.
3. �My opponent ignored question 3 and therefore concedes.
4. It doesnt mean ignore Israel. It means that we look at things realistically. There are more threats to the US than to Israel, therefore we should focus on us.
5. A blog that quotes RELIABLE SOURCES.�
6. It was a war, if you define was as intervention, then yes you win. But war is not intervention. Plus our goal wasnt to set up democracy.
7. Misconstruing my words, again. Military presence DOES NOT MEAN WE CONTROL THEIR POLITICAL SYSTEM.�
8. It isnt a question of weight, its a question of number.
9. Promoting democracy in the middle east would also promote peaceful ideals, as stated in round 1.
10. That makes no logical sense.
11. Not enough!
1. My contentions were clearly labeled in round 1 and remain standing because of shotty refutations and ignoring the point.
2. You have failed to provide any clear sense of rebuttal, only answering questions with questions and using red herrings.
3. I used one source (out of many very reliable ones) that could be considered unreliable. However this source references evidence that is reliable.
4. Asking questions =/= refuting points. I refuted all of your points, therefore I concede to none.�
5. You haven't proved they were reliable, you just stated "Oh, they work on my computer, sorry you cant see them".�
Concluding statement: My opponent failed at keeping his contentions and refutations afloat and his sources are highly questionable. This is why I urge a vote for pro.
Also thank you for this tough and interesting debate. I hope to debate you another time in the future. Ciao.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by thett3 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Obvious. The Con side never gave any compelling reason why we should NOT intervene. His sources were flawed as Pro pointed out, and most of his questions during crossfire were completely irrelevant. 5:2, pro.
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