The Instigator
WesternGuy2
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
justin9987
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Resolved: Unilateral military force by the United States is justified to prevent nuclear proliferati

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/22/2014 Category: News
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,000 times Debate No: 44110
Debate Rounds (5)
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WesternGuy2

Con

Thanks for accepting this debate
I hope we have a great debate!
Evidence is only to be presented when asked for
Last speeches, no new evidence is to be presented
1st speech- opening
2nd- rebuttals
3rd- more rebuttals
4th- summary
5th- Closing statement
Good luck!
CON- Case
To clarify the round, we offer the following definitions...
Unilateral as done or undertaken by one person or party; of, relating to, or affecting one side of a subject;[Merriam Webster]
Nuclear Proliferation as the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States"[USLegal]
Military force as an attack by armed forces through conventional weapons, espionage, and informational technology, as these are the most common methods of attack

Next, we offer the following observations on this topic...
OBSV A) According to Abraham Sofaer, a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Affairs and National Security Affairs at Stanford University, four criteria must be fulfilled to justify unilateral intervention. They include:
1. The nature and magnitude of the threat involved;
2. The likelihood that the threat will be carried out unless preemptive action is taken;
3. The absence of alternatives to using force in the situation
4. Whether using preemptive force is consistent with the terms and purposes of the U.N. Charter and other applicable international agreements.
To show that entering a country unilaterally is justified, our opponents have the burden show you that all 4 of these criteria are met so there are no doubts on the merits of the action.
The standard, or most important issue of the debate, comes from the word justified. Judge, if we can prove that unilateral military force isn"t the correct path for our country to take, and/or there are other more viable options, then we should win this debate.
Contention 1: Multilateral Effect
Subpoint A: Sanctions
Sanctions have been effective at halting Iran"s nuclear program. According to Business Insider, oil revenue has fallen in Iran by 58% since 2011 directly because of sanctions. Moreover, sanctions against Iran have caused Iran to not be able to spend 44% of its crude oil income. Also, both the New York Times and the Carnegie Endowment write that sanctions have been detrimental North Korean efforts, mirroring many of the effects in Iran. The impacts here are important. Sanctions are stopping Iran"s actual proliferation efforts. According to the Institute for Science and International Security, the sanctions placed on Iran led to a freeze in total number of centrifuges installed, and that, "Iran"s nuclear options are more limited now." The same source later notes that Iran has tried to substitute carbon fiber for maraging steel, but recent reports show that this steel is not providing fiber adequate enough for centrifuge use. Because sanctions have proven to be effective in addressing the current nuclear situation, it would be unjust to use a military attack.
Subpoint B: Securing Nuclear Materials
Through multilateral efforts, the United States has been able to foster great success in detecting nuclear material to put an end to the nuclear terrorism threat. This is currently seen in both the GICNT and CTR, two multilateral groups with the purpose of achieving this goal. The State Department notes that since 2006, the GICNT has conducted more than 40 multilateral operations in all regions of the world, strengthening our policies. Moreover, the CTR group has found much success over the past years, and will continue to do so. The White House reported that over 7,600 nuclear warheads have been deactivated, over 900 ICBMs have been destroyed, and 24 Russian nuclear sites have undergone strict security checks. Seeing as that in the status quo, multilateral efforts have clearly done a more than adequate job of securing weapons and stopping proliferation, a unilateral attack would only harm our collaboration as of now.
Contention 2: Deterrence
This can be seen in 2 historical examples:
Foreign Affairs- In 1991, the historical rivals India and Pakistan signed a treaty agreeing not to target each other's nuclear facilities. They realized that the instabilities created by provoking a nuclear armed country were much deadlier than the nuclear threats of either side. Since then, even in the face of high tensions, the two countries have kept the peace. Israel and Iran would do well to consider this precedent. If Iran goes nuclear, Israel and Iran will deter each other, as nuclear powers always have.

CNN- Both Iran's and North Korea's supreme leaders will be deterred, just as were successive generations of Soviet leaders. Both would not authorize the use of nuclear weapons, for fear of seeing their nations destroyed, their people wiped out, and their ambitions for themselves and their countries turned to dust.
Impact: For that reason, the United States and its allies need not take such pains to prevent the Iranians from developing nuclear weapons. Since there is still a solution that is more justified than Unilateral Military Force, you must vote Negative.
justin9987

Pro

I believe that in the proper circumstances Unilateral military force by the United States would be justifiable to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. If all multilateral and bilateral efforts are unable to prevent a volatile country from acquiring and pursuing nuclear weaponry, then I believe that the US should do whatever is necessary to stop them. With that being said, i believe that unilateral action requires a declaration of war through congress and an extremely thorough, public and independent investigation to determine if the intelligence is credible and conclusive. In my personal opinion i believe it is constitutionally illegal for a president to start wars through executive order, and this power should be removed at all costs.

In this new age of technological advancement and innovation, it is absolutely essential that the international community do everything within their power to ban and attempt to destroy nuclear arsenals. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty should be expanded to not only prevent vertical and horizontal proliferation but also to destroy existing arsenals. If the proper steps are taken to foster enough trust and diminish the realist paranoia around the world, then i believe global nuclear disarmament is a real possibility. However, until the process of nuclear disarmament becomes a reality, I believe that nations should do WHATEVER is necessary to stop other nations, especially those in regions of constant conflict and radicalism, from obtaining nuclear centrifuges. Imagine the scenario where the public finds out that Iran has finally acquired the technology to arm nuclear ballistic missiles. This revelation would lead to a cold-war like nuclear proliferation race throughout the entire region (the Sunni governments would without a doubt recognize their lack of leverage without the weapons). Once the Sunni governments have a hold of the technology there would be nothing stopping them from handing over a dirty bomb to an extremist terrorist network to set off in any country in the world. This is especially risky for the United States because they would be one of the primary targets. Although this scenario is just speculation we have seen time and time again that the Sunni governments in places like Saudi Arabia are the primary financiers and supporters of groups like Al Qaeda.

Now I know that I said that the international community should do whatever they can to stop nuclear proliferation, but in the climate of geopolitics and the way the united nations is structured (UNSC system), there will undoubtedly be situations where a consensus cannot be reached due to conflicting interests. So in a situation where the UN fails, the only other option is to act without the approval of the international community. Now while the discussion is about unilateral action, i believe it is more accurate to call it multilateral action, because whenever the United States decides to act alone, they will almost always have the support of their allied countries. In the case that their allies (such as Britain, France, Canada, etc.) decide to condemn their actions, then chances are the American government is trying to intervene not because of irrefutable evidence of proliferation of WMDs but rather on manufactured evidence to achieve a political agenda (Such as the Iraq war). I am not advocating unilateral action in that scenario. I am saying that there if there is ABSOLUTELY irrefutable proof that a country such as lebanon or Iran are building nuclear reactors and also are developing a nuclear weapons program, than it is without a doubt justifiable for a country with the resources and strength of the US to intervene to prevent it.
Debate Round No. 1
WesternGuy2

Con

Thank you for a timely response
I will be going over my opponent's case.
First, my opponents say that the US is justified to use unilateral force, when all multilateral actions do not work.
However, this is not the topic. The topic is not Resolved: Unilateral military force by the United States is justified to prevent nuclear proliferation if multilateral action is not viable. It is Resolved: Unilateral military force by the United States is justified to prevent nuclear proliferation. Therefore, my opponent's entire case can be disregarded. However, if we continue to play out my opponent's plan, then all I have to show is ONE example of where multilateralism can work, and we should win this debate.
Probably to my opponent's discontent, our whole first argument is about using multilateralism, and how it works better than unilateralism.
Now, my opponent whole case essentially revolves around this argument, so I will refute their case in pieces
First, they say that UN is not going to work because of conflicting interests.
However, there are other alliances that don't have to be with the UN that are multilateral. Multilateral action can occur outside of the United Nations – For instance, a joint US-Israeli strike against Iran.
Council on Foreign Relations reports that “Israel and the United States have been closely collaborating on any number of fronts, especially in the area of intel sharing".
They also have no evidence that UN will reach a disagreament and get nothing done, therefore, you can disregard that completely.
Second they talk about how if there is irrefutable evidence that WMDs exist, then unilateral military force can be used.
However, this is AGAINST THE TOPIC'S BOUNDARIES.
My opponent has the provide this IRREFUTABLE proof if they want to win this debate. Otherwise, you have to vote for the CON
Thank You, and please vote CON
justin9987

Pro

Thank you for your response.

Your argument that my statement does not pertain to the discussed topic is invalid. The topic under discussion is stated in your opening statement in a manner such that the debate would regard the question of justifiability in the case of unilateral action by the United states in order to prevent nuclear proliferation. Therefore, since it does not specifically address the circumstances of the unilateral action, from an academic standpoint, it does not preclude the scenario where the issue of multilateral action has failed to prevent proliferation. If this is what you intended you should have worded the issue as "Is unilateral action by the United States to prevent nuclear proliferation justifiable in all circumstances?" Or you would otherwise have to specifically note in your statement that the discussion would be about multilateral vs unilateral action.

Your rebuttal that there is no evidence that the UN will reach disagreements, especially on issues such as military intervention is simply ludicrous. I will cite the failures of multilateral efforts during the Bangladesh Liberation war, the Arab-Israeli conflict, action against North Korean Nuclear programs, etc.. The list goes on and on. This is why I say that while multilateral efforts are extremely effective in certain circumstances, they are almost always ineffective when there are too many conflicting interests at play. But I digress, this debate is not about the effectiveness of multilateral action versus unilateral action, this debate is about the justifiability of American unilateral action to prevent nuclear proliferation. You seem to only address the effective measures of multilateral cooperation but you fail to address the indefensibility of unilateral action when nuclear proliferation by a country, especially those in volatile regions such as the middle east, is undisputed. How can you possibly request me to give specific evidence on a philosophical and primarily hypothetical topic, this is simply a ridiculous request. I challenge you to refute my statement that unilateral action is justified to prevent the possibility of a nuclear arms race and to prevent future nuclear weapons use.
Debate Round No. 2
WesternGuy2

Con

Thank you for a timely answer
First I want to go to framework, then go over my opponent's arguments
For framework, I believe that they agree with our framework as there has been no contest about it.
It is too late for my opponent to refute the framework if they disagree as this is Round 3 and it should have been done in Rounds 1 and 2.
Continuing with framework, my opponent agreed with my Abraham Sofaer evidence. Let me read it to you.
"According to Abraham Sofaer, a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Affairs and National Security Affairs at Stanford University, four criteria must be fulfilled to justify unilateral intervention. They include:
1. The nature and magnitude of the threat involved;
2. The likelihood that the threat will be carried out unless preemptive action is taken;
3. The absence of alternatives to using force in the situation
4. Whether using preemptive force is consistent with the terms and purposes of the U.N. Charter and other applicable international agreements.
To show that entering a country unilaterally is justified, our opponents have the burden show you that all 4 of these criteria are met so there are no doubts on the merits of the action."
Now, my opponent says that he doesn't need to show that there are other options, just that unilateral will work.
However, he needs to prive the above four to prove that unilateral action by the US is JUSTIFIED. If he doesn't prove one or more of the above, you have to vote CON.
Now, lets look at the standard,
"The standard, or most important issue of the debate, comes from the word justified. Judge, if we can prove that unilateral military force isn"t the correct path for our country to take, and/or there are other more viable options, then we should win this debate."
My opponent needs to prove that there are no other viable options in order to win. If he doesn't, which he has NOT DONE SO FAR, CON should win this debate.
With that said, I will be going into my opponent's arguments
So first, my opponent says that this debate is not about multi vs unilat, however, just look at the above words to see why this is false.
Second, they talk about how the UN is going to fail. However, this was not my only rebuttal. There are other multilateral actions, and UN is just one of them. Some examples are US + NATO, US + EU, US + Israel, and more to name.
However, multilateral sanctions by the UN HAVE worked, as stated in my first argument.
My opponent's next argument is about the nuclear arms race.
The Atlantic reports that

Once again,there's not much evidence to support these assertions. Although a few countries have built nuclear weapons because a rival acquired them, these are the exceptions to the general rule.Of the quantitative studies done on reactive proliferation, none have found a nuclear-armed rival makes a state more likely to eveninitiate a nuclear-weapons program, much less succeed. Furthermore, as the political scientist Jacques Hymans documents in a forthcoming book, despite the diffusion of technology, nuclear aspirants have become increasingly inefficient and unsuccessful over time.

It's therefore not surprising that in-depth case studies of Turkey's, Egypt’s and Saudi Arabia's nuclear prospects have found no cause for concern.

Response to Turkey:

Turkeyis the most capable of building nuclear weapons but alreadyhas a nuclear deterrent in the form of an estimated ninety nuclear warheads hosted on its territory for the United States.This is far more than what it is capable of producing indigenously. Additionally, it's hard to square Turkey's supposed nuclear ambitions with therecent removal of its entire stockpile of highly enriched uranium.

Response to Egypt:

Egypt is far less capable of building a bomb than Turkey. Indeed, it already had a dysfunctional nuclear program during the 1960s that was abandoned despite Israel, its archenemy at the time, acquiring a nuclear capability. Even before the onset of the Arab Spring, proliferation analyst Jim Walshargued it was "not likely that Egypt will seek, let alone acquire, nuclear weapons."

In the aftermath of the [Egyptian President]'s overthrow, any government in Cairo will be preoccupied with improving the lot of its people, lest it too wind up on trial.Achieving economic growth will requiresustained access to foreign capital,markets and financial assistance, none of which would be forthcoming if Cairo initiated a nuclear-weapons program.

Response to Saudi Arabia:

If Saudi Arabia did pursue nuclear weapons, however, it would be almost certain to fail. Even those most concerned about a Saudi bomb don't claim it can build one itself.Rather,they contend Riyadh will buy a ready-made nuclear deterrent from Pakistan. Pakistan's willingness to take this unprecedented action is based onpure speculation, past Saudi aid to Pakistan and a host ofunsubstantiated claims,most notably those made by Mohammed al-Khilewi, a Saudi diplomat at the UN who defected in 1994. In seeking to gain asylum into the United States, al-Khilewi told U.S. authorities that in exchange for financial aid, Pakistan had agreed to provide Riyadh with a nuclear deterrent should the need ever arise.

Besides al-Khilewi's obvious motives for fabricating this story, it's doubtful Islamabad would uphold its end of the alleged bargain. After all, in the wake of 9/11 Washington gave Islamabad$22 billion to fight terrorism and later found Osama bin Laden living amongst Pakistan's military cadets. Furthermore, Pakistani leaders are exceedingly paranoid their nuclear arsenal would not withstand an Indian or U.S. first strike. It's therefore difficult to imagine them willingly parting with any nuclear warheads.

Not only that, but Judge, if a country is proliferating, then there are other options than just attacking the country straight away. There are several factors that need to be considered at the end of the day, such as how enriched uranium will be used and the capability of weaponizing the fuel.
Thank You, and please vote CON
justin9987

Pro

justin9987 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
WesternGuy2

Con

Extend all arguments
justin9987

Pro

justin9987 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
WesternGuy2

Con

Extend All Arguments
justin9987

Pro

justin9987 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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