The Instigator
BlackVoid
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points
The Contender
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

States are justified in possessing nuclear weapons

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
BlackVoid
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/8/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,745 times Debate No: 19760
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (24)
Votes (2)

 

BlackVoid

Pro

Thanks to F-16 for accepting this bada$$ debate. I'm sure we've both been looking forward to this, especially since we're both playing devil's advocate.

I'm going to argue that some or most states are justified in possessing nukes. Con will argue that no state should possess nukes.


Definitions:

State - a politically organized body of people occupying a definite territory (1)

Justified - More benefits than harms


Standard debating rules. Sources can be posted on an external page on the first round, after that they should be in the argument.


Good luck.


1. http://tinyurl.com...
F-16_Fighting_Falcon

Con

It's been so long since I last debated BlackVoid (or anyone else for that matter), so this is awesome. (I have recently been recruited by the mafia as Pro correctly guessed in a PM as to why I haven't been debating a lot). I accept this debate with enthusiasm and can't wait to start! Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
BlackVoid

Pro

Looking forward to this. I'll defend 4 main contentions.


C1: Nukes deter conventional warfare.

Justin Pollard writes,

"Imagine a situation in which engaging in a dispute involved risking the possibility of such unbearable destruction that a participant would never enter that dispute in the first place. This explanation may be an equally convincing story when trying to describe the consequences of nuclear proliferation. The spread of these weapons could, in fact, could make the expected cost of conventional war so high (due to the potential for a nuclear strike) that no country would be willing to risk its consequences. If this logic is valid, the spread of nuclear arms could actually
contribute to a more peaceful world" (1)

In other words, its highly unlikely that a nuclear state will ever attacked by another nation because of the strength of the weapons they possess. Thus, the possession of nuclear weapons serves as an effective deterrent to both nuclear and conventional warfare by making the ramifications too costly.


B. Deterrence is empirically proven. There have been,


Zero nuclear wars between two possessing states.

Zero conventional wars between nuclear states.

Zero conventional wars initiated by a non-nuclear state against a nuclear state.

Zero nuclear wars between two non-nuclear states. (who would have thought?)



I'll also isolate a couple specific scenarios where nuclear deterrence has played an imperative role.


India - Pakistan

Historically, this has been one of the most heated border rivalries in the world. Three full-scale wars have been fought between them (2), costing hundreds of thousands of lives.

But since their acquiring of nuclear weapons in '98, the conflict has almost been nonexistent:

"Getting their hands on weapons of mass destruction didn't do anything to lessen their animosity.
But it did dramatically mellow their behavior. Since acquiring atomic weapons, the two sides have
never fought another war, despite severe provocations. They have skirmished once. But during that flare-up...both countries were careful to keep the fighting limited and to avoid threatening the other's vital interests." (3)


U.S. - Soviet Union


Its commonly believed that during the Cold War, it was the presence of nuclear weapons that prevented an all-out assault between the US and the USSR. A war between the superpowers would have had global ramifications, but the risk of nuclear retaliation prevented either side from engaging, once again saving millions.


Nukes will continue to be imperative in preventing war as long as hostilities between countries remain. Their presence will continue to make the costs of war too high for anyone to engage in. The impact is the saving of millions of people who would otherwise be killed as collateral damage.


C2: Nukes deter biological and chemical weapons


Conventional war isn't necessarily a threat from all countries, as many don't have strong militaries in the first place. But they can still turn to a biological or chemical assault, whereby poisonous gas or some other canister is launched in an attempt to spread a highly contagious disease across a country. The magnitude of a bio-attack equals a nuclear strike. Gompert writes,

"Ten kilograms of anthrax is at least as deadly as a 10-kilogram nuclear explosive, and it is cheaper, easier to assemble, and more portable." (5)


A successful biological attack would essentially be an epidemic, as millions of people would be infected with what is designed to be a fatal disease. The impact is actually greater than a nuclear strike because there's no definite range. An artificial disease can spread across the entire country and into foreign nations if the infected go abroad, which would have global consequences. At least nukes have a definite range of the explosion.


B. Nuclear deterrence is key


Victor Utgoff explains that use of bioweapons by any nation is highly unlikely due to the unsureness of what the response would be, due to nuclear weapons (6). The logic of conventional deterrence explained earlier applies here, as the fear of a nuclear response to a bio-assault is so great that it would stop anyone from attempting it. DoD secretary William Cohen said, "We think the ambiguity involved in the issue of nuclear weapons contributes to our own security, keeping any potential adversary who might use either chemical or biological (weapons) unsure of what our response would be."


Nukes played a key role in deterring Iraq's use of chemical weapons during the Persian Gulf War (6, 7). The Bush administration sent a letter to Hussein that strongly implied a nuclear response to the use of bioweapons, and despite the fact that Iraq was in direct conflict with the US, no bioweapons were used.


C3: Nukes are necessary to deflect asteroid strikes

A. An asteroid strike is probable

A near-earth asteroid (NEA) is space rock who's path brings it in close proximity to the planet. More and more of these are being found every year, increasing the probability of a collision:

"In 1980, only 86 near-Earth asteroids were known to exist. By 1990, the figure had risen to 170; by 2000, it was 921; and as of this writing, it is 5,388." (8). In other words, there are over 5,000 asteroids in Earth's orbit.


741 of those asteroids would cause a "global calamity". John Kunich writes that a strong asteroid collision would cause such massive dust to be sprayed into the atmosphere, that it would block out the sun for months (9). This kills most planetary life. Then factor in the explosion from the impact itself, which is also highly destructive and on par with a nuclear strike.


NASA classifies 186 of those "global calamity" asteroids as impact risks (8). Furthermore, this is only among those that we've detected. NASA has only found 90% of roids that could cause extinction (10), which means that 10% are undetected. This means there could be one on a collision course with earth that we don't even know about.

William Ailor of the Aerospace Corporation estimated the chance of a disaster strike this century to be 1 in 10. (11) So I'm giving you a straight up 10% chance that this is going to happen. That may not seem huge, but remember, this is a 10% chance of global cataclysm.


B. Nuke the asteroid

Physicist David Dearborn points out that a strategic nuclear strike would create enough force to deflect the asteroid off of its collision course and away from earth's orbit (10). His simulations indicate that the nuclear option would be effective even if we only had a couple weeks in advance to plan for it. Considering the magnitude of an asteroid collision discussed earlier, the implication is that the presence of nuclear weapons would be saving millions of lives from being lost.


C4: Nukes reduce military spending

Todd Sechser monitored the military spending of China, South Africa, Israel, India and Pakistan to determine how nuclear acquisition affected their budgets. "all five of these states spent a smaller share of their GDP on defense in 2000 than in the year they first acquired nuclear weapons", leading to the conclusion that "the acquisition of nuclear weapons appears to be associated with long-run declines in conventional military spending". (12)

And in general, nations with nuclear weapons don't have to worry about having a strong military. They make force comparisons irrelevant. Even if other countries have militaries ten times stronger, nobody's going to attack a nuclear state. This means less money spent on war and more on solving poverty, or some other problem. Economy advantage is on my side. Even without the direct savings, I'd still get Economy since war is a billion dollar operation, and nukes deter war.


The conclusion is obvious. The benefits of nukes are far too great to insinuate that their possession isn't justified.


I patiently await my opponent's response.


Sources - http://www.debate.org...
F-16_Fighting_Falcon

Con

F-16_Fighting_Falcon forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
BlackVoid

Pro

Well thats dissappointing :/
F-16_Fighting_Falcon

Con

I apologize to my opponent for forfeiting the previous round. I was in the process of writing my argument and then went to bed and hadn't realized that the clock had run out. I urge the voters to give the Conduct point to BlackVoid.

I have three contentions to make after which I will refute Pro's arguments.

Arguments

C1) Nukes cause Proxy Wars

Pro provides evidence of how two nuclear states never went to war with each other. That is not entirely true. They never went to war directly with each other. There have been numerous proxy wars fought such as in Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan. The Vietnam war was a proxy war with the United States supporting South Vietnam and the Soviet Union supporting North Vietnam [5]. The Korean war was a proxy war between the United States and the Soviet Union as well [4]. Nuclear weapons may deter states from fighting each other directly but that does not stop them from fighting indirectly and Nuclear power states will use any excuse to fight each other under the guise of supporting other states like Vietnam or Korea. This is even more damaging than direct conventional war as it tends to damage states that are being sponsored by the Nuclear weapons states.

C2) The Non-proliferation Treaty in unfair

The current Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty is unfair as it allows certain states to keep nuclear weapons while prohibiting other states from owning them. This happens because the states that already have the nuclear weapons use their political power to pressure other states into not acquiring them. These five "Nuclear Weapons" states made an arbitrary rule that only states which tested nuclear weapons before 1967 would be allowed to keep them and all other states would need to either disarm or never test Nuclear weapons in the future [6]. This is not justified as it allows some states to use use their political power to push other states into complying with the treaty.

C3) Accidents involving Nukes can be extremely dangerous

The disaster at Chernobyl cost over 30,000 to 60,000 lives as a result of cancer and crippled the Soviet economy [7]. Over 135,000 people had to be evacuated [8]. Other dangers include radiation from nuclear power plants and radioactive waste [9].


Rebuttals

R1) Deterrence

"In other words, its highly unlikely that a nuclear state will ever attacked by another nation because of the strength of the weapons they possess. Thus, the possession of nuclear weapons serves as an effective deterrent to both nuclear and conventional warfare by making the ramifications too costly."

This is answered through my C1 that nukes don't really deter conventional warfare but increase tensions between countries therefore encouraging proxy wars.

"Zero nuclear wars between two possessing states.
Zero conventional wars between nuclear states.
Zero conventional wars initiated by a non-nuclear state against a nuclear state.
Zero nuclear wars between two non-nuclear states. (who would have thought?)"

Again, there have been proxy wars. Pro forgot about those.

Pro's example about US and USSR has been negated by Proxy wars as well. As for the India and Pakistan example, Pro's source [9] and the original link [10] clearly say that the problematic nature of relationships between South Asian countries changed considerably because they developed regional organizations such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation as well as because of the emergence of the US, Europe, and Southeast Asia as economin powers, and South Asia felt the need to compete. The corelation could just as easily be explained by this as opposed to nukes. My point on proxy wars stands as well. Nukes don't deter war.

R2) Chemical and Biological weapons

Pro does a great job arguing about the harmful effects of Chemical and Biological weapons but doesn't really show HOW Nuclear Weapons deter Chemical and Biological weapons. I am arguing that states are not justified in possessing nuclear weapons. My position in this debate would be that they shouldn't possess chemical or biological weapons either so this argument is irrelevant.

R3) Asteroids

Nuking an asteroid won't work as intended. There are various sizes of Asteroids. Nuclear explosives would be needed only for deflecting the largest of asteroids such as those over 10 km in diameter. However, all such asteroids have been found and none of them threaten Earth in any way [12].

As for the smaller asteroids, nuclear explosives do more harm than good.

Scientific American points out "it is important not only to deflect a asteroid from a collision course with Earth (primary deflection) but also to avoid knocking the object into a potential return orbit that would cause it to come back a few years later (secondary deflection). Nuclear explosions are not controllable in this way. But a nonnuclear kinetic impact—that is, simply smashing a spacecraft into an NEO—can provide the primary deflection for the vast majority of objects, and a precise secondary deflection, if necessary, could be performed by an accompanying gravity-tractor spacecraft."

To conclude this point, nuking a small asteroid is worse than using conventional means to deflect it and no large asteroids threaten Earth. So, protection from asteroid strikes isn't adequate justification to possess nuclear weapons.

R4) Military spending


Pro says that Nukes reduce military spending. His source shows five states which spent a smaller share of their GDP on defense in 2000 than in the year they first acquired nuclear weapons. However, Pro's source 12 clearly states on page 167 that the analysis cannot demonstrate that the decline was caused entirely due to nuclear weapons.

Pro also very carefully states that it only declines conventional military spending. What is important is total military spending, not just conventional. The total military expenditure of the US as a percentage of GDP has fluctuated with no definite corelation as can be seen in [3].

Sources


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://carnegieendowment.org...
[3] http://bit.ly...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[9] http://www.physics.isu.edu...
[10] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[11] http://books.google.com...
[12] http://www.scientificamerican.com...

Debate Round No. 3
BlackVoid

Pro

I thank F-16 for his argument. A late response is better than no response.


Con case -


1. Proxy Wars

My opponent lists three examples or indirect fighting and uses it to say "nukes cause proxy wars". This is a hasty generalization.

More importantly, all of his examples involve the US. This means he has no argument about proxy wars for the several other nuclear states not called the United States.

Also, nuclear states are less likely to engage in any kind of war, including proxy. The Sechser evidence in my source 12 monitored 5 countries' participation in interstate conflicts:

"four of the five states examined here participated in fewer interstate conflicts, on average, once they became nuclear states... These data tell us that proliferation optimists are right to expect a decline in the frequency of interstate wars as more states acquire nuclear weapons."

So even though some proxy wars may happen, empirically they are less frequent after nuclear acquisition. This disproves my opponent's main argument.


2. Non-proliferation treaty

Con spends some time saying that this treaty is unfair, but I'm not sure what the nuclear NPT has to do with this debate. We're debating a cost-benefit analysis of nuclear possession, not the fairness of a treaty.

Furthermore, the NPT being unfair is actually a Pro argument. The NPT restricts nations from getting nukes, which my opponent would want given his position on this debate topic. If restricting nuclear possession is bad as my opponent says, it follows that states are justified in possessing nuclear weapons.


3. Accidents

All my opponent's arguments here are completely nontopical. Chernobyl isn't a nuclear weapons plant, its a nuclear power plant. They're completely different.

Con's sources 7, 8, and 9 all make the same mistake. They all refer to nuclear energy, but nuclear weapons aren't powered by nuclear energy. They're powered by uranium and fission. Con has made a good critique of nuclear power, but thats not what we're debating. Nuclear power =/= nuclear weapon.


Pro case:



1. Deterrence

He tries to use his proxy war argument to say that wars still happen between nuclear states. Extend the Sechner evidence which indicates that all types of wars happen less frequently after nuclear acquisition.


India Pakistan:

My opponent's source 9 and 10 say nothing about the South Asian Association, nor do they ever mention India and Pakistan cooperating in order to compete with other countries.

Furthermore, remember that the reason for India and Pakistan's wars were because they both believe they rightfully own the area of Kashmir. However, the South Asian Association "has intentionally laid more stress on "core issues" rather than more decisive political issues like the Kashmir Dispute" (4). Also, "SAARC has also refrained itself from interfering in the internal matters of its member states", which would include Kashmir, the reason India and Pakistan were fighting. Thus, my opponent's alternatives are NOT the reason these 2 countries have stopped fighting wars, and you should prefer their acquisition of nuclear weapons as the real reason.


2. Bio/chemical weapons


Con says virtually nothing on this. He claims I never explain how nukes deter bioweapons, which must mean he skipped my entire subpoint titled "nuclear deterrence is key", which explains all that. This means he has dropped and therefore conceded the Utgoff evidence, which states that nukes deter the use of bioweapons, and the Payne evidence giving empirical proof through the deterrence of Saddam Hussein's chemicals attacks. He also concedes the Gompert evidence which shows that bioweapons kill just as many if not more people than a nuclear war.

Con later says that he doesn't advocate states possessing biological weapons. Well I don't advocate states engaging in proxy wars. But we have to deal with it. The resolution doesn't give either of us the ability to use pixie dust and say "so yeah, nobody has bioweapons in my world." The resolution deals with nuclear weapons, which means that other types of weapons stay the same.

This is a key point in the round. Since he's conceded that a biological assault would have global ramifications on par with a nuke war, this immediately takes priority over his proxy war argument. Global disease outbreak > a few indirect conflicts. Its also never been disputed that nuclear weapons make states too nervous to use pathogens as a weapon, which means that nukes are 100% necessary to prevent bioweapons from being used.


3. Asteroids

Con says we can launch a spaceship into an asteroid (kinetic impact) instead of nuking it. You will prefer nukes for the following reasons:

1. Building a spaceship costs over 58 times more money than a nuke. NASA's most recent spaceship costs $1.7 billion (1). Whereas a nuclear ballistic missile costs around $29 million (2). The cost is magnified even more if we need to deflect more than one asteroid, which is probable given that there are 186 of them.

2. A study from Science and Global Security finds that while kinetic impact would likely be effective, depending on the size of the asteroid we need to hit, full development of the the technology could take anywhere from 5 to 100 years (3).

In contrast, nukes exist right now.

3. The previous timeframe is just to build the ship and work out the technology. We haven't even developed a kinetic spaceship yet. There likely won't be a major push to create one until we actually locate an asteroid with a 100% chance to hit Earth. But at that point we would have to rely on nukes, since the asteroid would likely hit before we actually created the ship.


He also quotes an article that says we would need a gravity tractor to prevent the asteroid from coming back in a few years. Thats not a positive argument for him because we can easily use the gravity magnet after nuking the asteroid as well.


He's dropped the Dearborn evidence which states that a nuclear strike would be effective in deflecting an asteroid, so you know voting pro solves for this problem. His alternative would take 5-100 years to create. Also remember my previous argument, that an asteroid hitting Earth would be a "global calamity", blocking out the sun with the dust sprayed into the atmosphere, and equaling the damage of a nuclear assault. This outweighs his proxy war argument.


4. Military spending

I don't have to prove that the reduction in military spending is "entirely" due to nukes. So long as I prove thats its a significant contributing factor, I gain the economy advantage. That analysis is provided; I explained last round that nuclear states don't need strong militaries because they're never attacked. Thus, less military spending.

Con also says that the US's total spending hasn't necessarily gone down after we got nukes. However, this is cherry picking data. The US is a crazy interventionist state thats been involved in 2 wars and plenty of humanitarian missions for most of last decade. Thus they're going to have high military spending. But the US is an outlier; the other nuclear states don't engage in wars like the US does, and the Sechner evidence shows that they war even less after acquiring nukes. So on balance, military spending goes down.



Conclusion


If I win any of my first three contentions, the ballot must go Pro. If nukes deter war, even some war, then thats saving millions of lives. If nukes deter biological weapons (that entire contention is pretty much unanswered), thats saves billions, outweighing Con's arguments. If nukes are the best way to deflect asteroids, thats saving the world, outweighing Con's arguments about proxy wars and unfair treaties. I believe that based on the evidence I've provided in this debate, you can vote Pro on any of those arguments. Thus, the benefits of nuclear weapons outweigh any potential harm.


Thanks for the awesome debate.


1. http://tinyurl.com...
2. http://tinyurl.com...
3. http://tinyurl.com...
4. http://tinyurl.com...




F-16_Fighting_Falcon

Con

I thank BlackVoid for this fun and awesome debate. I'll start by defending my arguments and then rebut Pro's arguments.

DEFENCE

C1) Proxy Wars

My opponent says that all my examples of proxy wars refer to the United States. This isn't true as my examples refer to both the US and the Soviet Union, the two states that have the most nuclear power. The five states mentioned in Pro's source: China, Israel, South Africa, India, and Pakistan have a combined total of 556 Nuclear warheads whereas the United States and the Soviet Union have a combined total of 19,500 nuclear warheads [1]. My opponents source mentions 5 states that have 3% of the nuclear weapons in the world. My examples refer to 2 countries that have 97% of the world's nuclear weapons. Since my exampes are more relevant and accurate with regards to who actually possesses nuclear weapons, my point about Proxy wars stands. Nukes cause indirect fighting and proxy wars which involve other states like Vietnam and Korea because the nuclear states don't want to directly fight each other. It doesn't reduce fighting but causes more states to be involved.

"So even though some proxy wars may happen, empirically they are less frequent after nuclear acquisition. This disproves my opponent's main argument."

Less frequent after nuclear acquisition in states that possess 3% of the world's nuclear power. Note that my opponent's source does not include the USA and the USSR which makes the source highly inaccurate as it cherry-picks countries which barely have any nuclear power at all.

C2) Non-proliferation treaty

My point about the NPT was that states are not justified in possesing nuclear weapons as they can use means such as the NPT to unfairly restrict other states from posessing them. The unfairness makes it unjust for only some states to possess them and not all.

C3) Accidents

I'd like to clarify my point. Pro says:

"Con's sources 7, 8, and 9 all make the same mistake. They all refer to nuclear energy, but nuclear weapons aren't powered by nuclear energy. They're powered by uranium and fission."

Pro however did not mention that nuclear energy is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity [2]. He says that nuclear weapons are powered by Uranium and Fission. With the source of energy being the same (Uranium and Nuclear Fission), the potential accidents that can be caused by Nuclear power and Nuclear Weapons are the same.

Pro admits that I made a great case. Extend all my arguments on this point. To summarize, I mentioned the Chernobyl disaster, radiation and cancer.


REBUTTALS

R1) Deterrence

"He tries to use his proxy war argument to say that wars still happen between nuclear states. Extend the Sechner evidence which indicates that all types of wars happen less frequently after nuclear acquisition."

- This is only true when considering states that possess 3% of the world's nuclear weapons.

- Extend arguments on proxy wars. My opponent's source omits the US and USSR which skews the results dramatically and gives a completely inaccurate picture of the likelyhood of proxy wars and whether nukes are a deterrent.

"My opponent's source 9 and 10 say nothing about the South Asian Association, nor do they ever mention India and Pakistan cooperating in order to compete with other countries."

I apologize for the confusion. It was supposed to be source 10 and 11. My source does mention the South Asian Association for regional co-operation on page xii, the right hand column, first paragraph [3].

I quote: "Since the mid 1980s, the problematic nature of the relationships between South Asia and its general international environment changed considerably for two main reasons (1) South Asia began to develop some regional infrastructure and organization, notably the SAARC and (2) The main constellations of power and influence on the world stage at large underwent some striking changes."

There are much larger reasons for the decrease in warfare between India and Pakistan such as the SAARC. My opponent shows corelation between having nuclear weapons and decrease in warfare. However, I have shown:

1) The corelation for India-Pakistan depends on factors other than nuclear weapons.

2) The same corelation does not exist between the US and USSR.

Pro tried to explain the causation by saying that nuclear states are afraid of attacking each other directly. I negated the point by showing that they still engage in Proxy wars. Pro chose 5 obscure countries with 3% of the world's nuclear power to attack that point. For this reason, my evidence is more accurate.

R2) Bio/chemical weapons

Pro makes a point that nuclear weapons deter warfare and then says that biological weapons are even more dangerous. That means that biological weapons should deter warfare as well according to Pro's own logic. Pro goes to great length and uses many reputable sources to prove this point, However, it does not affirm the resolution. This is a summary of what Pro proves:

- Nukes deter the use of bioweapons

- Bioweapons are even more destructive than nukes killing just as many if not more people than a nuclear war

Well, Pro wants to advocate nuclear weapons as it deters war as he contends by his C1 (my R1: Deterrence). This point directly negates C1 as by Pro's logic, an even more dangerous type of weapon would deter war even more.

As I mentioned, states are not justified in possesing nuclear weapons just because they deter bioweapons. Pro does not advocate bioweapons because they are destructive. However, he advocates nuclear weapons because they are destructive. For that reason, this point negates itself in addition to negating C1 as I mentioned above.

R3) Asteroids

Pro doesn't address my point about large and small asteroids. My point in Round 3 already negates Pro's Round 4 argument. He doesn't show for which size of asteroids, nukes are effective.

R4) Military spending

Pro again uses the same flawed Sechner evidence and tries to negate my point by saying that the US is an outlier. As I already mentioned, the states that he mentioned have 3% of the world's nuclear power. Extend argument.

Pro's Conclusion

"If I win any of my first three contentions, the ballot must go Pro."

That is pretty unfair, isn't it?

Voters should use their discretion in deciding which points are left standing and which are negated. Pro can't throw in four arguments and say that if he wins any of them, he wins the debate. I could say the exact same thing if I wanted :P

I thank BlackVoid for this debate. It was really engaging and interesting.


Sources
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://books.google.com...

Debate Round No. 4
24 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Raisor 2 years ago
Raisor
There is plenty of literature saying nuclear war will/wont happen
Posted by Raisor 2 years ago
Raisor
There have been lots of war games that have ended in nuclear war. Either India or Pakistan actually had plans for using defensive nukes in the case of invasion by the other country. The Cuban Missile crisis came very close to nuclear war. There was also an incident where US defense systems incorrectly reported that the Soviets had launched an all out attack; similarly the USSR incorrectly detected a nuclear launch by the U.S. and almost decided to retaliate with a nuclear option- these were both close calls for nuclear war. There are tons of close call examples.

The issue is that the risk is real and that each time we have a close call we are rolling the dice on the fate of humanity. Eventually we will have an unlucky roll.

Additionally, the threat of terrorism means the usual nuclear deterrence arguments dont apply.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 2 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
I am not sure. It never happened and is completely hypothetical so I can't actually prove that it would happen.
Posted by BlackVoid 2 years ago
BlackVoid
Don't give me all the credit, you also really good job. The proxy war argument was interesting and something I hadn't seen before. I'm with Raisor though, why didnt you run the possibility of nuke war? If just one nuke is launched, the other country is obligated to fire one back, at which point the first country has to launch more, and so on.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 2 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Raisor, thanks for the RFD. BlackVoid totally kicked a$$ in this debate. Me, never having played devil's advocate before could barely keep up especially when I pretty much agreed with all of his points. Also, I have to give credit to BV for his strong arguments considering he too was playing devil's advocate. Thanks for your feedback. It helped me understand better how to organize a debate. You are right about the offensive arguments point. I just couldn't find any good arguments to support the Con position.
Posted by Raisor 2 years ago
Raisor
I hope my RFD doesnt come off too harsh, F-16. My criticism is always meant to be constructive.
Posted by Raisor 2 years ago
Raisor
At this point in the RFD Pro has won more than enough to win the debate, but Ill address deterrence anyways.

I am more inclined to lean Pro on this issue. Con makes the right arguments- proxy wars- but doesnt respond adequately to the charge that this is an issue specific to a peculiarly interventionist U.S. I think Con is right that nukes are not the driving factor in the decrease of violence in Kashmir. Not to mention the statement that there havent been any wars is patently false- Kargil War (1999). Plus the widespread insurgent activity has left tens our thousands missing or dead over the past two decades. So even if there isnt conventional warfare, there is still a huge amount of violence in the area. Anyways that didnt factor into my decision, its just a side note. So I also give this issue to Pro- Con did an ok job here but could have done better.

The question I have to ask at the end of this round is, why the heck didnt Con make global nuclear war the heart of his offense??? This is the threat that haunted the U.S. for decades during the Cold War. There is plenty of ground to argue that it is a distinct possibility and the magnitude of it easily outweighs deterrence. Additionally there are issues of nuclear terrorism, which really depends on states creating the tech and materials. So yeah, personally I think those would have been much much better choices than "the NPT is unfair."

Vote: Pro.
Posted by Raisor 2 years ago
Raisor
RFD:
Con suffers a major strategic flaw that I frequently see on this site, lack of offensive arguments. This is one of those debates where I could tell just by the opening arguments who was going to come out ahead; Con simply doesnt lay down the foundations for a solid strategy. Too much defense not enough offense.Con's only offensive arguments are the NPT and nuclear accidents (proxy wars is really defense against Pro's Deterrence argument). The NPT argument is just not developed at all, I really didnt consider it. The accident argument Im not totally sold on. All the evidence is specific to nuclear power, and the processes involved in developing nuclear weapons and nuclear power are different. Granted, Chernobyl was also engineered to produce weapons- this wasnt mentioned in the debate. But ok, Ill give Pro that nuclear weapons increase our risk of accidents involved in their production.

What do we have to weigh against Pro's risk of nuclear accident? We have increased rate of conventional warfare, the use of chem/bio weapons, asteroid impact (extinction), and economic expense. Any one of these except the economy easily outweighs the accident impact.

Straight off, I didnt consider the economy- it was underdeveloped and not very convincing compare to the other arguments.

Chem/bio weapons - I give this issue pretty much 100% to Pro. Con cant just say "well Im against those too"- Pro is right that you cant just wish away problematic issues of the world. Pro gives pretty clear examples of when nukes have actually deterred these weapons and these examples are unrefuted.

Asteroid- I give this marginally to Pro. I dont totally understand Con's argument about secondary deflection- I ask, with Pro, why a gravity magnet cant be used after nuclear impact to prevent secondary deflection? Con has a chance to answer this but doesnt. Pro also makes good points about non-nuke tech not existing yet. In the end it seems like for now nukes are a little more preferable.
Posted by BlackVoid 2 years ago
BlackVoid
LDF thats exaxtly what I think. Deterrence is solid, but it only has to fail once.
Posted by Lickdafoot 2 years ago
Lickdafoot
Very interesting read. I'll put my vote up tomorrow.

So, did either of you change your position by debating for the other side?

My opinion is that even if war is deterred for now, all it takes is one nuclear war to potentially kill us all. not worth it.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Raisor 2 years ago
Raisor
BlackVoidF-16_Fighting_FalconTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by WriterSelbe 2 years ago
WriterSelbe
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Reasons for voting decision: Didn't read the debate. Just browsed. But to break tie, Pro gets conduct.