The Instigator
bigbass3000
Pro (for)
Losing
25 Points
The Contender
C4747500
Con (against)
Winning
26 Points

" That Russia has become a threat to U.S. Interests"

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/29/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,546 times Debate No: 2300
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (16)

 

bigbass3000

Pro

"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me." Because we interpret this quote as a threatening message by Ayn Rand, a Russian born Novelist, we have come to the conclusion, Resolved: Russia has become a threat to United States interests.

To clarify the round, we offer the following definitions:

Russia: The Federation of Russia
Become: Come into existence
Threat: A source of danger
United States: United States of America

Contention 1: National Security

The US must value National security for the protection of its people and the nation. If there was no national security, then anyone could take over the United States and they could be a superpower. This contention will go into the depths in how Russia impedes on national security.

Sub-point A: Nuclear

Russia has done its part in aiding nuclear treats in the world. This poses a major threat to our national security. Moreover, they are a nuclear threat themselves. After all, they are world's largest owners of WMDs.

Little a: Russia

The Federation of Russia has a stock of approximately 8,400 nuclear weapons. This is the largest in the world. The world can be destroyed if only 15 nuclear bombs detonate. Obviously, this is a threat to national security because if the world is destroyed, then what nation would be left? The United States would be destroyed and thus, its interest to uphold national security will ultimately be obsolete.

Little b: Iran
The Russian Government has delivered nuclear fuel to Iran, a developing nuclear power. This can cause Iran to develop quicker and then they can start on their planning on technology for longer range capabilities. If and when they develop this technology, then they can destroy the East Coast of the US or the United States Embassies all across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Contention 2: Economics

The United States, although the largest economic power in the world, is hurting economically. One of the problems, internationally speaking, is Russia.

Sub-point A: Stability

While the United States faces a recession, depression, and total economic collapse, Russia is stable to the point that they can sell their dollar for profit. They sold $4 billion in August '07 to stop the fall of the dollar by .5%. "[Russia] has enormous foreign-currency reserves and a huge current-account surplus, as well as a fast-growing economy, while public debt is very low." (Global Agenda 07). This means that they are very rich and are only going to get richer. Since the public debt (people owned debt) is low, the overall debt of the nation is relatively low as well. Also, their GDP is 7th in the world. However, they can easily catch up to the United States and pass us in terms of economics.
C4747500

Con

Are you a policy debater? PF maybe? I was one in high school and it still burns me today that policy debaters never bother to actually provide warrants for arguments, they just make grandiose claims.

"The US must value National security for the protection of its people and the nation. If there was no national security, then anyone could take over the United States and they could be a superpower."

You don't define national security, nor do you provide a brightline as to what length we should go to achieve it. I'll skip over this though as its irrelevant to the actual debate.

What do you mean by 'anyone could take over the United States'?

The United States has large advantages over most of the world in technological superiority, a nuclear stockpile, and a large standing army. You don't provide any scenario under which a country would invade the mainland US, and I would contend that it is impossible.

The sheer size of the United States makes it a strategically difficult country to conquer. Look at the historic examples of Napoleon and then Hitler's invasion of Russia. To gain true control, i.e. 'take over' a country, you must be able to apply force to every area of the land which you are trying to control. You must be able to keep the populace sedate and content, i.e. keep things the way they were before the invasion, or you must be able to suppress the populace and crush any chance of resistance. No country in the world has the ability to launch an attack against the United States and then succeed in controlling the mainland US.

Look at the difficulties the United States is having in Iraq, a country of around 25 million people (I think?). Imagine trying to suppress a populace of 300 million, even assuming the United States military is somehow taken out of the equation. So if your implication is that Russia is going to 'take over' the United States, you don't show how this is possible.

"The Federation of Russia has a stock of approximately 8,400 nuclear weapons. This is the largest in the world. The world can be destroyed if only 15 nuclear bombs detonate."

Where do you ever establish that Russia will utilize nuclear weapons against the United States? Where do you provide evidence that the world will be destroyed from 15 nuclear weapons?

If you're going to make ridiculous claims like this, provide the logic to back them up.

During the Cold War the chance of a nuclear engagement was exponentially higher than it is today, and yet no nuclear exchange happened. Why is the situation so dire today that we have to fear Russia using nuclear weapons on us?

Iran
"If and when they develop this technology, then they can destroy the East Coast of the US or the United States Embassies all across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia."

I will grant that Iran is working towards peaceful nuclear development.

The faults in your argument:

You don't establish that Iran is attempting to build nuclear weapons.

"Iran insists the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose board of governors meets in March, will confirm that its nuclear activities have not deviated toward weapons development.

But on January 13, the IAEA announced that Iran had agreed to clear up remaining questions on its nuclear programme -- including any military activity -- by mid-February."

You don't consider the fact that the majority of the world is against Iran gaining nuclear weapons, and will stop them if proof is found that they are working towards them.

"Iran has been slapped with two sets of UN sanctions for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment and a third package is currently being considered by the Security Council.

Israel has called for tougher sanctions on Tehran and its Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said all options are on the table to prevent 'an Iranian bomb'."

The fuel that Russia has sent to Iran is being used for its nuclear power plant in Bushehr.

"Russia completed fuel deliveries for the plant on Monday and said it would "ideally" go online this year."

http://afp.google.com...

Even presuming all of my arguments here are wrong, you still don't show that Russia is a threat. You concede that Russia is providing nuclear fuel, not weapons technology, and if anything, Iran is the threat to national security.

To say that Russia is the threat only diverts attention from the true problem at hand. Even if Russia stopped giving them nuclear fuel for their power plant (assuming that they are using it for weapons development), they will find another way to get fuel, or they will continue working on uranium enrichment themselves. Blaming Russia only diverts energy and attention from where it needs to be focused, on Iran.

Economics.
While the United States faces a recession, depression, and total economic collapse

What? Where do you draw this from? We face a slowing economy, not unexpected after almost 6 years of uninterrupted growth. The economy is cyclic in nature, just because it is slowing down doesn't mean that we face 'total economic collapse'.

You also fail to relate what a strong Russian economy has to do with a weak US economy. Why would Russia be a threat to US national security because they have a strong economy? We had a recession less than 10 years ago and the economy didn't collapse, and Russia didn't attack us, why would they do so now?

To sum it up, you draw no logical conclusions from any of your claims. You provide no reasoning as to why Russia would attack us, which is critical to assuming that they 'have become a danger to the US'.

Unless you can establish that A. Russia has the means to attack us and B. Russia has the desire to attack us or harm us, then you can't establish that they are a threat to the United States, and therefore fail to win this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
bigbass3000

Pro

Russia has arms transfer agreements between the Russian Federation and Iran from 2002 through 2005 have been valued in total at $1,700,000,000 and arms transfer agreements between the Russian Federation and Syria over the same period have been estimated at over $800,000,000. Russian state-owned arms selling agency, Rosoboronexport, has sold and delivered to Iran 30 anti-aircraft missile systems (known as the `Tor M1' missile), worth over $1,000,000,000 and Russia has agreed to upgrade Iran's MiG-29 fighter aircraft and Su-24 jets, the latter aircraft having the capability to carry nuclear weapons. All of this is indicating that Russia has increasingly given arms deals with Iran a terrorist sponsoring country. In fact Whereas reports indicate that, during the conflict between Israel and Lebanon in the summer of 2006, Iran and Syria provided Hezbollah with weapons that included Russian-built anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades and Russian-made missiles such as the Kornet AT-14 that were used by Hezbollah to attack Israel. Transfers of arms to Iran and Syria by the Russian Federation and Russian entities therefore pose a threat to peace and stability in the Middle East.

Russia according to the Carnegie Endowment has viewed the U.S. as a threat and the Number 1 enemy. Also to attack your Iran arguement, Russia has not put sanctions on Iran, Iran has had sanctions on its economy and business since 1996 according to Congress. Russia also is giving these weapons to a terrorist sponsoring state, thus the nuclear fuel which they are to deliver may lead to nuclear Terrorism or a terrorist using a nuclear bomb on Us. Your arguement about the U.S. being to big to invade, is valid, but I merely am pointing the fact that it is a threat because it has the means, Nukes, and has intentions of harming our interests. I have evidence on everything, I have posted and can prove everything, but I don't want to post it all, for free of someone stealing my arguement evidence. I have mainy other cards on how they can attack us and get away with it. Very logical statement, but misguided.
C4747500

Con

How does anything in your first paragraph indicate that Russia is a threat to US security interests?

A. You say that between 2002 and 2005 over 1.7 billion in arms transfers was made between Russia and Iran, and then say 1 billion of that was in anti-aircraft missile systems.. certainly not offensive weapons?

B. You don't ever show that Iran will, or is planning to attack the United States.

C. You don't show that Russia is *using* Iran as a means to harm the United States. Even if you win that Iran is trying to harm the United States, it doesn't matter where their weapons come from, so long as Russia doesn't intend the weapons to be used to harm the US.

For example, gun sales in the United States. A person who owns a gun store sells a gun to another person. The person then takes that gun and uses it to harm someone else. Do we hold the person who sold the gun accountable? No, the person who sold the gun is maintaining a legitimate business, and as long as they abide by the proper standards, you can't hold him/her accountable.

Now, its a different story if the gun store owner sold say, an illegal automatic weapon, or sold a handgun without doing a background check. Similarly, if Russia sold Iran nuclear weapons, they would be at fault. But last time I checked theres nothing wrong with international arms sales- The US sells weapons technology to many countries around the world. We sold weapons to Afghanistan in the 80's that were used against us when we went to war with them after 9/11. It is just as legitimate for Russia to sell weapons to Iran in this sense.

You say 'I'm just showing they have the means to hurt us, therefore they are a threat'

What kind of logic is that? So now any country with nuclear capacity is a threat to us? You fail to answer my point that for a country to be a threat they must have the A. Means and B. the INTENT to cause harm to the United States.

You don't ever establish that Russia INTENDS to harm the United States, and therefore, they can't possibly be a threat to us.

Also, why are you wasting my time by saying "Oh I have evidence but I'm not going to use it here." If you have evidence, use it, otherwise don't bother. Its not a legitimate position to say "Oh well there's evidence out there, and you're wrong, but I'm not going to provide that evidence. And therefore I win." Either show the evidence for us to read and evaluate or don't bother.
Debate Round No. 2
bigbass3000

Pro

On Aug. 17, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin announced that a dozen missile-carrying strategic bombers, accompanied by support and tanker planes, will be permanently airborne. Their mission: to protect Russian territory. From whom?

Putin didn't name the enemy that caused the resumption of such flights after a 15-year hiatus. But only one other country has similar air capability -- the United States.

Twenty-four-hour bomber missions is one of many recent flexes of Russian military muscle. Last month, Putin presided over a joint military exercise in Russia of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a new club of autocratic and semi-autocratic regimes including China and most of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia.

Also in August, Georgian officials reported that Russian planes had entered Georgian airspace and launched a missile at a Defense Ministry radar. The missile did not explode.And earlier this year, the Russian leader approved a seven-year, $200-billion rearmament plan to build planes, missiles and ships.

Did the Cold War sneak back?

Thankfully, no.

Should the United States be worried about a new Russian threat?

Yes.

Early in his tenure as general secretary of the Communist Party, Mikhail S. Gorbachev moved to end Soviet isolation from the outside world by integrating his country into the West. He withdrew Soviet troops from Eastern Europe, signed arms control treaties that dramatically reduced Soviet nuclear arsenals, and allowed Soviet citizens to travel to the West. The results were profound: The Cold War ended.

Throughout the 1990s, President Boris N. Yeltsin pursued the same foreign policy goal with even greater vigor. He sought to join such Western multilateral institutions as the G-7, the World Trade Organization, the European Union and even the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Yeltsin's successor, Putin, also began his term cozying up to the West, a policy course that gained momentum after 9/11, when Putin placed Russia firmly on the side of the West in the global war on terrorism.

But today, integration with the West is no longer a goal of Russian foreign policy. Putin instead seeks to balance his and other nations' power against that of the West and the United States in particular. Resuming strategic-bomber missions, conducting joint military exercises with other countries and threatening U.S. allies such as Georgia reflect the fundamental shift in Kremlin thinking about global politics and constitute new potential threats to U.S. influence.

Why the turn?

First, Putin has rebuilt autocracy at home by undermining the power of regional leaders, independent media, both houses of parliament, independent political parties and civil society. At the same time, he has increased the role of the Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB, in governing Russia and has arbitrarily politicized such state institutions as the courts, tax collectors and the police. Putin's regime also has made it increasingly difficult for U.S. business and nongovernmental organizations to operate in Russia. As Russia's retreat from democratic values increasingly becomes a source of tension between it and the West, Moscow, in turn, sees less value in trying to cooperate with NATO, the European Union and the U.S.

Second, as Russia has drifted toward autocracy and away from Western norms of governance, Putin and his government increasingly portray the United States as Russia's No. 1 enemy. If Americans watched Russian state-controlled television, they would be shocked to learn that the U.S. is surrounding Russia with military bases, fomenting pro-American revolutions in countries neighboring Russia and seizing Russian natural resources.

President Bush, of course, has many more immediate security challenges than trying to rekindle a balance-of-power game with Russia in Central Asia, Georgia or Ukraine. But the Kremlin's new need for an enemy has reframed previous Russian-U.S. efforts at cooperation -- be it joint investments in oil production; the opening of U.S. military bases in Central Asia to fight a common enemy, the Taliban; or building a shared missile defense system -- into issues of zero-sum competition between Moscow and Washington.

At times, Putin himself has described these U.S. "schemes." For instance, in April, he warned, "There is a growing influx of foreign cash used directly to meddle in our domestic affairs. . . . Not everyone likes the stable, gradual rise of our country." In May, Putin said that threats to Russia from the West "are not diminishing. They are only transforming, changing their appearance. In these new threats, as during the time of the Third Reich, are the same contempt for human life and the same claims of exceptionality and diktat in the world."

Finally, American weakness is driving Russian assertiveness. When the U.S. emerged as the world's undisputed superpower in the 1990s, Russia looked weak in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and subsequent economic depression. Today, according to the Kremlin, fortunes have turned. The U.S. is bogged down in unwinnable wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and morally discredited in the eyes of the international community as a unilateral, interventionist power and violator of human rights.

By comparison, Russia sees itself as stronger and more respectable. As Guantanamo remains open and Iraqi civilian casualties mount, intermittent U.S. complaints about democratic erosion inside Russia do not resonate with Russian elites or citizens. Instead, Russian leaders point to giant inflows of foreign investment, Russia's victorious bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics and Bush's continued courtship of Putin as evidence that only hard power -- not values -- matters in international politics.

The probability of direct military conflict between Russia and the U.S. is very low. At the same time, an autocratic, anti-Western Russia poses serious trouble for America and its allies. Putin's Russia sells military equipment to Syria, Iran, China and Venezuela. It supports the development of Iranian nuclear technology and blocks Kosovo independence. It has cut off gas to Ukraine, imposed economic sanctions on Georgia and launched a cyber war against a NATO ally, Estonia. A Russia less constrained by Western values, institutions or opinion might be tempted to pursue even more provocative policies, such as deploying military power to secure independence for the territory of Abkhazia inside Georgia.

Michael McFaul is a Hoover fellow and professor of political science at Stanford University.

Click here to see the original article on the Los Angeles Times website.
They have the means and intent to harm our interests.
C4747500

Con

C4747500 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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