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The Contender
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Ronald Reagan Was A Bad President

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/5/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,431 times Debate No: 33324
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




I am going to argue that Ronald Reagan was one of the worst US presidents. I would love to debate a respectful opponent and have fun.


I accept this argument and wish my opponent well.

For starters, I do wish to clarify that I am actually in support of my opponents statements. However, I will enjoy taking the opposing side. Since this is for acceptance, I will not state any facts.

Good luck mate!
Debate Round No. 1


I would first like to thank my opponent for being kind,
respectful and accepting my debate. I hope both of us have a fun and
interesting time debating.

My first argument will deal with Ronald Reagans foreign
policy and how during his term or more popularly called "The Reagan
Era" his foreign policy caused terror, murder and ruined a lot of smaller
innocent countries all while supporting groups and terror organizations around
the world.

My first detail will be on the Nicaraguan Revolution and how
Reagan supported the "Contras" group, which committed horrendous
atrocities to the Nicaraguan people and country as a whole. For more info on
the Nicaraguan Revolution, I would suggest reading the Wikipedia article on the
subject. Anyway, the Contras were a Reagan funded paramilitary group that
fought against the FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) during the
Revolution. Their group carried tons of human’s rights abuses some of which are
of the following.

. Targeted health care clinics and health care workers for

. Kidnapping civilians

. Torturing civilians

. Executing civilians, including children, who were captured
in combat

. Raping women

. Indiscriminately attacking civilians and civilian houses

. Seizing civilian property

. Burning civilian houses in captured towns

All of these were reported by the Humans Right Watch, and
all of these were ignored until a bill passed in congress banning US involvement
with the Contras after the International Court of Justice (Nicaragua v. United
States) ruled Nicaragua the victor in a human’s rights court case. Even after
US involvement was banned, Reagan scandalously and illegally continued to fund
the Contras group (I believe it was with taxpayer money, but I could be wrong).
Not only was this move on Reagan part wrong, it caused the lives of many Nicaraguans
to be lost, all so Reagan could prevent a minor socialist revolution in Latin
America. If this is not cruelty, then I don’t know what is.
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Reagan funded paramilitary soldiers, the Contras.

I have already stated one fact as to how Reagan funded a
violent murderous anti-socialist insurgency and I will give you an example of
yet another example of Reagan funding a terrorist organization all for the
reason of his personal anti-communist conservative fear. It all started in Afghanistan
during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Reagan had the US personally fund,
arm and train a militant Islamic insurgency group (Mujahedeen) that would later
go on to start the terrorist organization known as the Taliban.

The insurgents eventually pushed out the USSR through the
use of bombings, torture and other various forms of urban, mountain and desert
guerilla warfare. While the Soviets did there far share of wartime crimes
during the Soviet/Afghan invasion, it pales in comparison to the crimes that
the Taliban would later go on to commit on US civilians and soldiers.

There are many other examples of the Reagan Doctrine ruining
countries and there inhabitants, but the list would be far too long and I can’t
even dream of writing it all. I would also like to apologize for my lack of
numbers next to my sources; I got kind of lazy I have to admit. If you have any
questions about the accuracy of my arguments, feel free to address them and I will
try to answer as best I can. I look forward to your counter argument my friend.










I would like to thank my opponent for his kindness in turn and for kick-starting this debate.

I'd like to point out that my opponent begins his argument in medias res, a Latin phrase that basically means "in the middle". He simply says that these Contras did all these war crimes and that Reagan supported them. Let's turn the clock back to the beginning of of the U.S-Nicaraguan relationships to see what led to this decision.

In the mid-1850s, the U.S. was looking for a way to connect its East coast with its West coast. Of course, the transcontinental railroad in the next decade would resolve this, but the U.S. had already tied itself into Nicaraguan affairs b/c of an American named William Walker, who basically invaded a part of Nicaragua and tried to annex it to the US before being overthrown and killed by the new conservative Nicaraguan gov't.

Let's timeskip to the early 20th century; the conservative gov't has been overthrown and been replaced by a Liberal one under the rulership of a new guy called Jose Zelaya, who pisses off the US when he decides to offer trade interests with other foreign nations. You know who instigates a civil war and occupation in Nicaragua b/c of this? William Taft. The US could've simply ended its stake in Nicaragua, especially since it had no more need for it at that point. But Taft decides that the US needs to maintain its image. So, from 1912-1933, the US occupies the little country.

Let's now go to Reagan. What's happened between Taft's decisions and Reagan? Well, because Taft (and all his successors thereof) decided to keep the dictator Somoza family in place, a revolutionary hero by the name of Sandino comes by. But wait, he gets killed, and what happens when you kill the popular leader of a party? You guessed it, revolution. This is all in the 1960s btw. The revolution continues through the 70s, wherein the world is getting reports of state terrorism and civil liberties being.

In comes Reagan during the latter half of the revolution, where he opposes the revolution. You have set-up your argument to make it look like Reagan just decided to intervene in Nicaragua and support the Contras/Somoza, when in reality all he is doing is continuing the precedent set by his predecessors. All the presidents before (with Carter being an exception) have been doing what Reagan did. Why, might I ask, do you single him out?

If this is because of war crimes, then I can surely point out a number of other presidents who's actions exceed Reagan's in violence, such as Truman dropping the atomic bombs or the Vietnam War under Nixon.

There's also the question of whether or not Reagan can be completely blamed for the Contra's actions. There's always been a trend of the people blaming the president for any bad situation. It's an unfortunate thing that has only grown in the 21st century with Bush and Obama. Aside from that, this all really boils down to this question: If I pay a guy to kill someone else and they decide to torture that person to death, am I to be held responsible for the torture? I'd like to see my opponents response to this.

The situation with Mujahideen is basically a mirror image of the Nicaragua conflict- Reagan was simply continuing the precedent set by Former President Jimmy Carter. In 1980, Carter issued the Carter Doctrine, which specifically targetted the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. Carter was the one who began the anti-soviet support in the country, not Reagan. The Reagan Doctrine was also just a more broader version of the Carter Doctrine. My point is this; if you are going to call Reagan one of the worst presidents b/c of his support of the Mujahedeen, then you have to be willing to bring Carter down with him. And that point about the Taliban is a bit debatable, but obscure as there isn't too much information I could find on it. I have no intention of refutting this point, though it again can be used as firepower against my opponents argument as this was all started by Carter. But I am willing to drop it if he is.

My source has been Wikipedia and any links that were a part of the footnotes. I eagerly await my opponents response. Good luck pal!
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for responding and you bring up some excellent
questions and points that I will be happy to address. Starting with the Nicaraguan

First off, the main difference between Reagans interference within
the Nicaraguan revolution between other the interference of other presidents,
is that it was theoretically illegal for Reagan to intervene, not the case for
the presidents before him. Why just Reagan you might add? Well, if you remember
the international court case that I mentioned (Nicaragua vs. US), the US was
banned from funding and intervening in Nicaragua and even after this, Reagan continued
to fund the paramilitary contras, which turned into quite the big political scandal

This international law was not enacted or around during the
past presidencies that you mention. Also not around were the human’s rights
watches reports of all of the tortures and summary executions by the Contras that
I mentioned in my past argument. As for the Afghanistan incident, you are correct;
Carter funded and armed the same Mujahedeen that Reagan did. But I am not
trying to defend Carters nor support them over Reagans; they were both in the wrong.

I look forward to your counter argument my friend.



I thank my opponent for responding and waiting patiently. I apologize for my late response as I have been really busy in real life.

To really understand Reagan's decisions, you have to look at things through his perspective. The U.S. and Russia have been in this social trap for almost 40 years- essentially your entire lifetime. This is all psychology. Reagan had to end this thing once and for all, and the best way to do that was to beat the Soviets in areas where the US had already set-up a precedent of basis aka Nicaragua.

The Iran-Contra Scandal, if anything, supports my side as the fact is no one tried to impeach Reagan despite him violating the Boland Amendments. This is b/c Americans recognized Reagan as being like, say, General Grant during the Civil War. Every time the Army of the Potomac lost a battle they would route and reengage next year, but when Grant took over he kept pushing. Apply this to Reagan- Bay of Pigs was a disaster, Korea had come to a stalemate, and Vietnam was a political and military loss. Americans were losing hope, especially with how Carter was handling things. So when Reagan shows up we see a boost in morale.

Yes, the event was persay illegal, but the fact remains that this was all done with the intent of scoring a win for the United States and he was not convicted on it b/c everyone knew that he was right in supporting the contras. And in regards to your comment about human rights violations, I commented on this by asking a question in my previous post that I will repost here for your convenience:

"If I pay a guy to kill someone else and they decide to torture that person to death, am I to be held responsible for the torture? I'd like to see my opponents response to this."

If you are saying that both Carter and Reagan were in the wrong, why are you solely attacking Reagan for this event? It was a bipartisan decision. Just because he was President doesn't mean we should make him a target. Remember, Congress appropriates the money.
Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by cstidham 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Go Reagan