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

States ought not possess nuclear weapons.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/22/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,348 times Debate No: 12807
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




I thank my opponent ahead of time for this debate.

"The major lesson of the Cuban Missile Crisis is this: the indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons will destroy nations."

It's because I agree with Robert McNamara that I affirm the resolution: "RESOLVED: States ought not possess nuclear weapons."
For the purposes of this debate I provide the following definition:
State: a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory; especially: one that is sovereign.
VALUE: Safety
CRITERION: Upholding international humanitarian law

CONTENTION 1: North Korea has nuclear weapons, and could be targeting the U.S.
Wolfsthal '06
… continued development of missiles should worry all Americans as over the past few years North Korea has acquired enough nuclear material to build a small arsenal of nuclear weapons and… they are clearly pursuing a system capable of holding American cities at risk of attack. Their success is only a matter of time… how can Americans be sure that some future "test" missile won't be fitted with a nuclear weapon and targeted on a US city? they can't… North Korea has succeeded in developing a nuclear arsenal and in advancing its missile programs… This only encourages more provocative behavior in the future.

Contention 2: Officials believe Iran is building nuclear weapons.
The Obama administration has persuaded Israel that it would take roughly a year for Iran to complete a nuclear weapon… American officials said the United States would detect an Iranian move toward breakout within weeks… Iran, would build nuclear bombs from a of nuclear material, currently enough for two weapons. Israeli officials have indicated that if they saw a race for the bomb under way, they would take military action and encourage the United States to join… Israeli officials remain suspicious that Iran has a secret enrichment site… in the tunnels it has dug throughout the country. Last September, Iran acknowledged that it had such a hidden facility near the city of Qum… Israel was particularly concerned that Iran's supreme leader could order that nuclear materials be dispersed to secret locations around the country…

Contention 3: Terrorists smuggle nuclear weapons.
Wolfsthal '05
… and terrorist groups cannot at the moment produce highly enriched uranium or plutonium--the key ingredients in a nuclear device… The International Atomic Energy Agency has documented two dozen cases of nuclear smuggling… Allison provides ample evidence that terrorists have opportunity to buy or steal either a nuclear device or the material to build one… with graphic images of recent terrorist attacks in Russia, reports of such opportunities communicate the gravity of the threat.

Contention 4: Nuclear Reduction addresses major problems without reducing deterrence.
Weber 7/13/10
The presidents of the United States and of Russia have signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, which authorizes significant reductions of the nuclear weapons and delivery systems of both countries… Whatever deterrence the United States may require is provided by its awesome air and naval power… Any hostile state so foolish as to contemplate war with the United States will be deterred because it does not want to risk fighting the United States and confronting its massive conventional might, not because it fears being blown up by nuclear strikes. The New START will not compromise that deterrent capability. This architecture of deterrence was the basis of bipolar relationships. The treaty will help work against proliferation and will reduce substantially the number of weapons available to be targeted by terrorist theft operations… Cooperation between these two powers is essential… If they work different sides of these conflicts the political difficulties will grow worse and the temptation to nuclearize the conflicts will increase.

For the aforementioned reasons, a ballot for the Negative is a ballot covered in human blood.


Before I begin, I would like to thank my opponent, all of you taking the time to follow this debate, and this website for giving me the opportunity to debate this fascintating topic.

I agree with my opponents definition of "state". And I too will argue the value of safety, but not just the safety of Americans, but world saftey. My critirion will be upholding international humanitarian law as well.

First I will negate my opponents contentions and then build my own case.

PROP CONTENTION 1: North Korea might attack the United States with nuclear weapons.
I was hoping we could avoid this issue that I am sure will come up time and time again in this debate. It is of course the issue of Mutually Assured Destruction. I believe that the government of North Korea would not dare launch a nuclear strike against the United states because it would almost immediatly be met with a counter strike that could annihilate all of North Korea. Even a extremest leader like Kim Jong Il would not be willing to sentance his entire country to destruction.

PROP CONTENTION 2: Iran may be building nuclear weapons.
This is a similar case of Mutually Assured Destruction. If Iran DOES get nuclear arms they would not dare use them for fear of being anihilated by (most likely) Israel.

PROP CONTENTION 3: Terrorists could optain nuclear wapons.
If terrorists have not yet optained a nuclear weapon in the last 65 years, it is unlikely that they will optain one now. With the global war on terror and the USA, Russia, China, Pakistan, et al. working to secure all existing nuclear weapons. A nuke in the hands of terrorist is almost impossible.

PROP CONTENTION 4: Reducing Deterrence.
My opponent claims that the United States conventional military is enough to deter enemies. This may be true in the United States itself. But I am working off the value of International Safety. Right now the United States' allies abroad are protected by the threat of a US nuclear strike, it kept western europe safe in the cold war. Getting rid of these weapons would not lower detterence in the US itself, but it would dramatically in the rest of the worlds.

Now I will go over my own contentions.

CONTENTION 1: The Globe is Safer with Nuclear Weapons.
As history has shown, there is no deterrent like nuclear weapons. In World War one and World War two alone over 65 million people were killed in wars amoung now nuclear states. In the past 65 years after nuclear weapons were invented, there have been exactly 0 deaths amoung these same nations. Coincidence? I think NOT!!!! Although they are often demonized, nucelar weapons have actually made the world a much safer place and has moved us past the age of conquest and genocide.

CONTENTION 2: Conventional warfare is worse.
With nucelar weapons there is no need for armies to walk across lands pilaging and buring as they go. For example; the rape of nankings, over 300,000 people died. The third punic war, over 78,000 people died. The Holocaust... 7,000,000 people. With conventional warfare comes horrific travasties that would be avoided just by the threat of mutual assured destruction.

CONTENTION 3: Threats of not having nukes.
Over the past 65 years nuclear weapons have been used for extremely good reasons as well. For instance Russia has scealed up 3 different oceanic oil leaks with nuclear weapons that have saved the environment from millions of barrels of oil. And without nukes, how will we fight off a future alien invasion if super-advanced aliens attack? If a astraroid is hurtling towards earth, how will we knock it off course? Nukes are often demonized, but they can do extreme good too.

I want to thank you and remind you that sure, a vote for the NEG is covered in blood. But a vote for the PROP is covered with a whole lot more.
Debate Round No. 1


I also advocate a Value that encompasses the world as a whole.
I will be going straight down the flow, in the same order as my opponent.

Aff Contention 1:
Why wouldn't Kim Jong Il use nuclear weapons? He has already threatened to use nuclear weapons, and has shown signs of aggression. Also... TURN: The "nuclear doctrine" creates a "commitment trap." Once deterrence is issued as a threat, and the other party attacks, the deterree feels obligated to use their nuclear weapons, because otherwise they have a bad reputation and are left open for others to make attacks on their legitimacy. This can be seen in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis when Kennedy said if Cuba possessed WMD's, the U.S. would launch nukes. See "The Fog of War" featuring Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense under Kennedy, talking about how the U.S. came within a hair's breadth of nuclear proliferation. Also, it doesn't matter if my opponent "believes" North Korea won't attack us. I have shown why North Korea is likely and certainly has the potential to destroy the U.S.

NEXT: My opponent tries to cross-apply his argument about MAD and deterrence. However, with that, you can cross-apply what I just said. Also, we have no proof that Israel has or does not have nuclear weapons to retaliate with. This is another example of threats we face without government transparency.

NEXT: Just because something hasn't happened in the past doesn't mean it can't happen or is unlikely to happen. For example, you and I have never debated this topic, yet here we are doing it. Your logic is fallacious in this situation. Also, I just want to know... How is that "global war on terror" coming? Oh wait, isn't the U.S. pulling out soon? Also, those countries can "try" to secure all existing nuclear weapons. That doesn't mean they can't be stolen. Also, terrorists could buy them. Nearly all the guns that are in terrorist hands came from either the U.S. or Russia. Who's to say somebody won't do a side deal with terrorists for some extra dough?

NEXT: My opponent claims that eradicating nuclear weapons would lower foreign deterrence provided by the U.S. And yet he concedes that our conventional military is enough to provide deterrence? Why can't our conventional means deter threats abroad? Truth is, they can. Thus, I still claim solvency on deterrence, except my solvency won't blow up the world.
Also, I would like to tell you why nuclear deterrence is bad for other reasons:
1.Nuclear deterrence is speculative. Just because nothing has happened in the past doesn't mean deterrence works -- the threat isn't credible.
2.Nuclear weapons don't deter against terrorists b/c they have no permanent base that will be threatened. Also, deterrence depends on rationality of deterree to NOT risk being attacked and rogue nation leaders and terrorists are irrational so they won't be deterred.
3.Deterrence only has to fail once. Even the strongest advocates of nuclear deterrence realize it cannot work 100% of the time, due to irrational, "undeterrable", and sometimes suicidal aggressors. This means when it fails once, nuclear proliferation occurs.
4.Deterrence can't prevent accidents which can escalate into global conflict
5.Link Turn: Deterrence is based on perception, so you don't actually need nuclear weapons to achieve same effect.
6.For deterrence to work, it is necessary for the attacker to find the cost of retaliation extremely high. If they don't, nuclear deterrence isn't effective.
7.Nuclear deterrence only works if the deterree is credible. This depends mostly upon the state leader's reputation and the state government's legitimacy.
8.TURN: President Kennedy made a deterrence threat against the Soviets, and failed miserably.
9.Deterrence can often be set in place after a nuclear decision has already been made. For example, President Kennedy set deterrence in place after the Kremlin decision had sent missiles to Cuba.
10.An aggressor nation could believe its actions are below the threshold of what could trigger a nuclear response. Then, the defending nation retaliates.
11.There often is not a certain threshold for when retaliation is necessary. Thus, the "nuclear threat" is often not set into action after an aggressor attacks, OR the deterring nation could proliferate nukes at the drop of a hat.
12.There's always the threat of "catalytic nuclear war." This is where a third party launches nukes on "country X," and blames it on "country Y." Thus causing nuclear war between these two countries. This was especially feared to happen during the Cold War.
13. Nuclear deterrence makes other countries want to possess nukes, leading to even higher danger.

Onto my opponent's case..

Contention 1: TURN: The globe is a much more dangerous place with nukes.
My opponent claims that nuclear weapons are the reason that no other countries have nuked us. This is untrue. He provides no empirical evidence on this. Do you know why? Because there is no empirical evidence saying that. There's a phrase called "the fog war." This means in war, there's too many variables to predict what your opponent will do, just like I don't know how my opponent will respond to this. This means we cannot conclude that MAD was the only reason we weren't nuked. When my opponent jumps to this conclusion, he actually commits a "Post Hog Ergo Propter Hoc" logical fallacy. And nukes have moved us past genocide? So... What about Darfur? Also, my opponent claims there has been no death in the U.S. What about 9/11? This is from a terrorist attack, and nukes certainly didn't prevent it. And if you're speaking internationally, what about the U.S. troops in Pakistan who have been victims of bombings? And it's moved us past the age of conquest? What about Palestine and Israel arguing over land?

Contention 2: TURN: Conventional warfare is better. This is because while conventional means might kill thousands or millions, nuclear warfare will cause 7 billion. Let's do a little math... And we can see that my impact calculus is much bigger, thus I outweigh. Also, the Holocaust isn't conventional warfare. That was a genocide, which is not synonymous with conventional warfare.

Contention 3: Nukes have been used with good reason??? I don't think so. When we nuked Hiroshima, we did so unnecessarily. Experts agree that the U.S. could have invaded with conventional means, and killed less people. So is killing extra people a good justification? That certainly doesn't sound like upholding international humanitarian law or safety. On his 3 examples, I want to point out he steals these from a blogger, thus committing plagiarism, a crime. He stole them from Jim Anderson on his site ( But I will still answer them in order:
1. We have other (and more efficient) means of sealing up oil leaks. TURN: What if one of the nukes had, some how, for some absurd reason, (God forbid) gone off underwater? Does that sound like environmental protection? "Hey kids, want some tuna with highly-enriched uranium?"
2. Aliens. Aliens. Really? Look, if we nuke them, we're nuking ourselves too because they're obviously on Earth. Anyways, they come in peace, right? "Live long and prosper." See, they're friendly. Worst-case scenario, we have to call Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sigourney Weaver.
3. "Guess what guys, it's time to embrace the horror! Look, we've got front row tickets to the end of the earth!" Yes, I understand the Armageddon reference. Let's be honest, if there's a giant asteroid, we might as well give up. But if we're feeling really lucky, we can call in Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, and Owen Wilson. They're "the bomb!"

My opponent tries to claim advantages that nukes claim, but truth is, there are none. For the aforementioned reasons, you must affirm.


GriffinGonzales forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent (in the Comments) has forfeited this debate.


I am back from my trip, and I'll just put this in so that we can end the debate! Thanks SuperCapitalist for the great begginning of the debate (I wish i could have seen it through)!
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by GriffinGonzales 8 years ago
I agree. Taking online sources is okay.
Posted by SuperCapitalist 8 years ago
Why is that bad? That's like saying using evidence is bad because it's not my own work.
Posted by TheBear 8 years ago
that was an amazing debate from both sides. However, I must comment that super capitalist stole his part of his list as to why deterence is bad from a wiki dedicated to LD topics
Posted by SuperCapitalist 8 years ago
As far as I know, nobody can switch out mid-debate. It's ok though. Thanks for the start of the debate though.
Posted by GriffinGonzales 8 years ago
I wiould love to see this debate through, but I am going on a surprise trip and I will be away from my computer and wont be able to post my arguments. Is there any way somebody else could take my place? If not, I am sorry to SuperCapitalist, and I forgfeit,
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by pheonixduprese 8 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by SuperCapitalist 8 years ago
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Total points awarded:70