The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
12 Points

Resolved: United Nations peacekeepers should have the power to engage in offensive operations.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/24/2015 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 965 times Debate No: 70594
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




The topic of this debate is Resolved: United Nations peacekeepers should have the power to engage in offensive operations. This is a Public Forum style of debate, but any philosophies/values involved will be accepted.

R1: Both sides present their case
R2: Rebuttal against opponent's case
R3: Closing statement and final arguments

I look forward to this debate.
------------------------------------------------Con Case------------------------------------------------
Contention 1: Offensive Operations undermine UN Principles
Offensive operations undermine the UN impartiality that is necessary in order to get the parties of conflict to negotiate peace. Impartiality is an important principle in the UN in order to preserve peace. These go beyond punishing infractions of the peace process and are taken in order to destroy the enemy. Impartiality is an important principle in the UN in order to preserve peace. Offensive operations downgrade the necessity for consent from countries in intervention and impartiality in that intervening, which limits the capacity for success and decreases cooperation between peacekeepers and governments. Blurring the line of peacekeeping and peace enforcement is a slippery slope that destroys the fundamental principles of impartial peacekeeping. Impartiality is crucial to maintaining the consent and cooperation of the main parties, but should not be confused with neutrality or inactivity. United Nations peacekeepers should be impartial in their dealings with the parties to the conflict, but not neutral in the execution of their mandate. Just as a good referee is impartial, but will penalize infractions, so a peacekeeping operation should not condone actions by the parties that violate the undertakings of the peace process or the international norms and principles that a United Nations peacekeeping operation upholds. (1) Consent and impartiality are tenets of UN peacekeeping that matter, and both are at risk with offensive operations. The evidence presented here shows a clear harms of a lack of impartiality and consent, like reducing the safety of peacekeepers, decreasing cooperation, and decreasing the support from member states.

Contention 2: Offensive Peacekeeping missions decrease International support
Countries will no longer support the UN in their peacekeeping efforts if it becomes Offensive. Countries will not want to be sending in their troops in fear of their people dying while taking offensive actions. According to International Rights Laws, countries are currently not allowed to take peacekeepers as hostages in any war situation. However, if they become Offensive peacekeepers, countries will be allowed to detain peacekeepers. These people could be beaten and tortured without any international protection. "A more aggressive approach could alienate countries which have traditionally sent many troops to serve in United Nations operations. Such countries see peacekeeping missions as a way to get training, equipment and extra pay for their forces with relatively little risk of casualties. a senior United Nations official said, "Some of the troop- contributing countries are quite uneasy with what they see as the direction peacekeeping is taking.""(2) If peacekeepers are allowed to take offensive actions, countries" people will no longer be protected and safe by becoming peacekeepers. Offensive actions would therefore decrease international support.

Contention 3: Offensive Peacekeeping missions are Financially Irresponsible
Because the UN is already financially irresponsible, offensive operations would further this. Any offensive actions by peacekeepers would increase this. The UN is not ready to be changing their peacekeeping missions. "Peacekeeping has assumed a more active role in achieving peace during deployments. The most logistically demanding form of mission is peace enforcement, where uninvited forces are dispatched to separate warring sides in order to impose peace on at least one combatant. During the 1975-80 period, UN peacekeeping spending averaged $164 million per year at a time of traditional peacekeeping. During the 1989-96 period, UN peacekeeping spending averaged $1.75 billion annually, owing to more missions and mission creep as UN peacekeepers assumed more roles and greater risks than in prior years." (3) The UN would not be able to successfully enact offensive operations because of their lack of financial responsibility and their inability to respond in a timely manner. The UN has been proven to be successful in their peacekeeping efforts, so we on the negative side feel that offensive operations would be an ineffective way to handle situations.

1. Offensive Peacekeeping undermine basic UN Principles
2. It would decrease international support for the UN
3. The UN is financially irresponsible to engage in offensive operations




I affirm the resolution which states resolved: UN peacekeepers should have the power to engage in offensive operations.

Observation: The power bestowed upon peacekeepers to use offensive operations is not a power that is necessarily used in all cases; it is a tool in the toolbox. Peacekeepers would obviously not use offensive operations in every situation, only when needed. Thus, pro’s burden is simply to show why having offensive operations is legitimate in certain situations.


Peacekeepers - provide security and political and peacebuilding support to help countries make the difficult, early transition from conflict to peace. They are guided via three basic principles: impartiality, consent of parties, and only use of defensive operations (what the debate is over)
Power - legal or official authority, capacity, or right
-merriam webster
Offensive - more robust mandates that go beyond self defense or defense of the mandate given to peacekeepers

C1: Military peacekeeping requires offense.
The ultimate goal of peacekeeping operations is to help both parties in a conflict obtain stability through the transition from conflict to peace. Under the status quo, peacekeepers usually use force in self defense or in defense of their current mandate. Mandates involve the protection of "safe zones" in which peacekeepers do what they can to protect civilians within said zones. The problem is, rebel groups go unpunished for violence committed outside of safe zones. This is exactly what happened in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. Gerard Prunier, an African scholar and journalist, describes the peacekeepers as "the powerless UN military force" who watched the genocide without being able to lift a finger (1). Peacekeepers should be striving to convince armed groups that instigating conflict is futile by attaching a cost to violence. If peacekeepers are limited to acting in self defense and defending safe zones, the rebel groups will likely continue the conflict because little cost will be attached to their violent actions. Matt explains, "Being able to stop and combat the groups that led to the need for a UN mission will make for a more lasting peace than when the groups are ignored or government forces are relied on to stop them. This will go a long way in ensuring that a tragedy like the Rwandan genocide does not happen simply because the peacekeeping forces hands are tied by red tape (2)." Thus, offensive operations are necessary to ensure peace in many situations. The success of the most recent offensive operation by the UN in Congo helps justify their future use. Beehner records that a brigade of 3,000 people was sent to neutralize armed groups in DRC. The peacekeeping mission was considered successful as the M23 rebels laid down their arms within two weeks and later signed a peace treaty (3). An account from various UN generals notes that the most advantageous action for the peacekeepers to take “all feasible steps” to make sure the protection of affected civilians is met. Using the situation in congo as a template for future conflicts, the UN should have the power to engage in offensive operations when necessary to truly deal with rebel groups.

C2: The authorization of offensive operations leads to peace.
Point A: Efficacy
The efficacy of offensive operations can be measured by how well peace enforcement is achieved (one of the four basic tenets of UN peacekeeping).Green explains in a meta-analysis of offensive operations that, “peace enforcement operations are most successful when they… maintain impartiality and legitimacy through close cooperation with UN peacekeepers (5).” Green notes that other groups tend to be more partial and biased, making the UN most fit to engage in offensive operations, and documents that peace enforcement has a “318% to 369% hazard ratio of civil war termination controlling for force capability (6),” meaning that the risk of a country being able to prevent a civil war is 3 times more likely. Thus, it is safe to conclude that offensive operations can coerce a rebel group into resuming peace talks and terminate current conflicts.
Point B: Deterrence
Paul Collier explains in his book Wars, Guns, and Votes that France issued a security guarantee to its former colonies in Africa which provided protection against armed groups. The guarantee was called an "over the horizon guarantee" which can be defined as providing reliable commitment to dispatch peacekeepers to disarm armed groups in a particular area. The French only had to assist its colonies a few times in disarming rebels before rebel groups realized that continued efforts to prolong conflict were futile. Collier documents a huge deterrent effect: a 75% decrease in armed conflict in former French colonies. Giving the UN peacekeepers the power to engage in offensive operations will have a similar effect because the UN will be able to provide an over the horizon guarantee like France did to its colonies, only the UN can do this to all countries. Armed groups will understand the greater cost attached to violence by looking to successful offensive operations in the past such as Congo, thus making them understand that instigating conflict is futile (7).
Point C: Rebel Access to Weapons
When rebel groups acquire tanks and chemical weapons, the use of offensive operations is needed to destroy them. When evaluating this problem, look to the situation in Syria. Hummel explains that rebel groups in Syria currently have access to chemical weapons, posing a higher risk for Syria to lapse back into a state of conflict. Hummel also documents the risk of non state actors smuggling the weapons outside of Syria (8). A similar situation existed with the M23 rebels. Upon the rebel groups defeat of the Congolese army prior to the UN brigade, a member of the rebel group boasted, “In the port of Goma alone, 500 tons of military equipment are now in our hands, Now we have missiles, lots of ammunition, even a tank (9).” Unless weapons belonging to a rebel group are hidden in a safe zone, peacekeepers have absolutely no means of destroying them without having the power to engage in offensive operations, causing the rebel group’s power to consistently grow.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting my debate and posting your case in a timely manner.

------------------------------------------------Con Rebuttal------------------------------------------------
Rebuttal 1: My opponent’s 1st contention is that Military Peacekeeping Requires Offense
Military peacekeeping does NOT require offense. My opponent brought up the Rwandan genocide in her case. However, I’d like to first point out that there would have been no way for peacekeepers to be able to help in that situation. The Rwanda genocide is often referred to as the “Fastest genocide” (1). By definition, peacekeepers can only be deployed by vote of the Security Council. The UN doesn’t have a standing army, so the process is that the SecCo passes a resolution authorizing, then the UN determines what nations the peacekeeping force will be comprised of and, lastly, the blue helmets are sent off to fulfill the mandates of the resolution. All of this takes time, however. Roughly six months according to numbers from the UN itself (2). If an offensive operation is needed, six months is a very inefficient timeframe to be using. My opponent also mention the case of Congo. The most recent failure is happening with the Democratic Republic of Congo and the UN. As the first official Offensive peacekeeping mission, it has 25,000 peacekeepers deployed into the DRC. This has only proved to fail to bring peace. In a report by Susan Price of the BBC (3), nearly 150 allegations of rape, prostitution, sexual & child exploitation have been brought against the current 25,000 peacekeepers there. The saddest part is, the UN, Peacekeeper Generals, and the Peacekeeper’s themselves have a "boys will be boys" type of attitude when it comes to these peacekeepers satisfying their sexual needs. Although the UN is choosing to have an attitude like this, in the "Code of Personnel for Blue Helmets," rule 4 is "Do not indulge in any immoral acts of sexual, physical, or psychological abuse or exploitation of the local population" (4). This is very ironic, considering that the UN does nothing about these 150 allegations. If the UN can’t own up to their own Code of Conduct, then they should not have the power to engage in offensive operations.

Rebuttal 2: My opponent’s 2nd contention is that The Authorization of Offensive Operations Leads to Peace
She fails to remember that peacekeepers are defined as first and foremost as remaining members of their respective national armies (5). This creates an inherent contradiction for the peacekeepers themselves, especially in instances where the “offensive operations” might run contrary to the foreign policy and military aims of whatever nation a particular soldier belongs to. Authorizing offensive operations also runs the risk of ruining the entire purpose the UN was predicated upon when one undertakes an offensive operation it, by definition, is taking sides in a conflict (See Con’s original Contention 1 and sources). This could easily lead to a breakdown of willingness to even participate in the UN process because it now no longer represents a neutral forum for discussion in the eyes of whatever conflict side is acted against offensively (See Con Contention 2 and sources). So, authorizing offensive operations would only lead to a decrease in international support, thus failing to enact greater peace.

Lastly, I’d like to ask the voters to please take into consideration that the Pro side does not have any sources for her arguments. All links on the bottom of her case lead directly to the home page.

1. Military peacekeeping does NOT require offense. Peacekeeping Operations did not have enough time to respond in Rwanda, and Offensive actions are currently failing in Congo.
2. The authorization of offensive operations does NOT lead to peace because it creates a contradiction for the standing peacekeepers and would decrease international support. This would leave less peacekeepers in general to enact peace.



Firstly, I apologize to all voters for the sources. I copied and pasted the links from an old debate of mine which linked a photo album with screen shots of my evidence. When I copied and pasted, only the "" part must of went through. Here are the sources used for R1:

For this round, I will be attacking the con case and rebuilding my own. The structure wasn't very clear on whether or not rebuilding my own case is permissible, but since I may not make new arguments in R3, I figured both rebuilding and attacking would be the best option.

Con Case

"Offensive Operations undermine UN Principles."

Con uses this contention to talk about the importance of impartiality. I would agree that impartiality is an important tenet to UN peacekeeping. However, turn her example of comparing impartiality to a good referee over to the pro. Utilizing offensive action attaches a greater cost to violence, and is only used as a last resort. Just like a good referee would penalize infractions committed by players in a game, the UN would use offensive operations to put an end to infractions occurring outside of safe zones instead of sitting by and watching atrocities take place. Under this analogy con has provided, the UN is actually *more* impartial with the use of offensive operations. Look to the fact that the only thing established in this contention is that impartiality important. Con never explains *why* impartiality is violated by offensive operations in the first place.
Moreover, even if there was a UN principle that offensive operations came into conflict with, that would not be reason enough to negate unless con provides a clear impact as to how the violation of this principle is hurting people.
However, UN principles are not being violated at all. Peace enforcement has been seen as an exception by the UN for around 60 years; most of their mandates talking about consent of parties and impartiality actually stress that Mandate VII (allowing for such enforcement) ought to be seen as an exception. Thus, UN principles support offensive action.

"Offensive peacekeeping missions decrease international support."

Observe that offensive peacekeeping has been utilized for the past 60 years. However, con has not provided a single example of donors withdrawing enough troops to sufficiently harm the UN. Thus, this point has little support. Her card simply provides a prediction, but since peace enforcement is not a new thing, empirical evidence is needed.
The contention ought to be changed to "unsuccessful offensive peacekeeping missions decrease international support" because that is the only thing that would deter donor countries from sending troops. I have established in my constructive that such missions are likely to be successful. Firstly, look to my green meta analysis which documents that a country is three times more likely to be able to terminate a civil war if they utilize offensive operations. This analysis looked at all types of groups including the UN, NATO, and EU. The analysis found that the UN is the most likely to be successful because they do not suffer from partiality, bias, and logistical issue. Secondly, look to the situation in Congo. The UN was highly successful there and was able to coerce the rebel groups into having peace talks with the Congolese government within two weeks. Lastly, look to deterrence. Even a couple offensive operations *did* decrease international support, look to the fact that offensive operations are a tool in the tool box. The need for this tool decreases with time because rebel groups are deterred from causing problems when they know they can be defeated. Since operations are most likely going to be successful, the international community will continue to support UN endeavors, and the deterrence effect will decrease the need for such operations over time.

"Offensive peacekeeping missions are financially irresponsible."

This entire point is nonunique. Con never establishes that offensive operations cost significantly more. Mission creeps and more missions have nothing to do with offensive operations; such problems are just as likely to arise from regular operations. In fact, the need fore *more* operations or *longer* operations specifically links to normal mandates because in many cases, abstaining from offense prolongs conflict. The UN had been in Congo for 17 years with no progress until the offensive brigade. 17 years of funding troops and getting little done in an area is more financially irresponsible than any offensive operation. Moreover, con hasn't established that the UN is spending too much. In order for this point to go through, con must actually show that the UN is spending more because of peace enforcement and con must show why this is bad.

My Case

"Military peacekeeping requires offense."

Con explains that peacekeepers would have had no means of stopping the genocide since offensive operations can only happen with 6 months of discussion by the Security Council. This does nothing to further her point because she hasn't defended the way the security council carries out offensive operations. If offensive operations are utilized, there ought to be an exception which allows peacekeepers to use force in emergency situations like the Rwandan genocide. Since offensive operations had the capability of stopping the genocide, Rwanda is an win for the pro. The workings of a security council are easy to change, causing my generalized practical solution to have little disadvantage.
Con's claim that the situation in Congo was a failure is invalid. Since the M23 rebels actually signed a peace treaty the UN achieved their goal (by coercing the rebels to comply with the will of the international community). This was a net gain for Congo, the peacekeepers, and the international community as a whole. Sexual abuse is entirely nonunique to offensive operations. It is a problem existing with almost every operation the UN performs. Thus, it should not be looked to as a reason to negate because offensive operations don't make this problem worse. Moreover, the problem can be solved through other means like making the UN answer back to human rights organizations.

"Authorization of offensive operations leads to peace."

Cross apply my attack on con's first and second contentions. I have established that the international community is not harmed, and actually benefits from offensive operations. I have also established that UN principles support offensive peacekeeping. Con has dropped this entire contention. Firstly, she never answers to my first subpoint which established that offensive peacekeeping operations preformed by the UN will be successful. Thus, I am winning that offensive operations will be a net gain for countries they are preformed in, as well as the international community as a whole. Secondly, she never answers to my second subpoint which talks about deterrence. Thus, I am winning that offensive operations aren't needed on a regular basis because rebel groups will stop instigating conflict due to the increased use of force. Lastly, she never answers to my third subpoint which talks about rebel access to weapons. Thus, I am winning that offensive operations are the only way to deplete rebels of weapon sources.

The resolution is affirmed my homies.
Debate Round No. 2


k16kynita forfeited this round.


extend arguments
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by debatability 1 year ago
i'll just post them all in R2

haha, sorry about that

i do my evidence like that because that's how i have it for irl debate
Posted by k16kynita 1 year ago
Oh okay sorry! Yikes that's a bummer
Posted by debatability 1 year ago
oh gosh i messed up with the sources - i debated this earlier and i had screenshotted all the evidence and uploaded onto ddo and linked the pictures

so when i copied and pasted the sources from my old debate, i guess only the "" part of evey link copied
Posted by k16kynita 1 year ago
Thank you @TheJuniorVarsityNovice
Posted by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 1 year ago
you make a great case
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Pro. Con forfeited the final round in the debate, which is rarely acceptable conduct in any debate setting. For this, Pro wins Conduct. S&G - Tie. Both had proper spelling and grammar throughout the debate. Arguments - Pro. While both sides presented strong cases (albeit Pro's were far more impactful), Con unfortunately left Pro standing unchallenged in the final round. This allowed Pro to maintain her BOP and effectively cost Con the debate. More so, I found Pro's rebuttals to be both strong and sound, and while Con had the opportunity to challenge each, failed to do so. For these reasons, Pro wins arguments. Sources - Pro. Both sides utilized sources well, and regardless of Pro's mishap in the opening rounds source-wise, I found overall that Pro utilized her sources in a more compelling manner that covered a greater amount of her specific arguments. With more arguments being supported by strong material, Pro wins sources.
Vote Placed by lannan13 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture