The Instigator
bsh1
Pro (for)
Winning
30 Points
The Contender
SitaraMusica
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The UN is a Force for Good

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
bsh1
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/11/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 658 times Debate No: 64960
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (6)

 

bsh1

Pro

Preface

Sitara expressed interest in having a debate, and I suggested this topic to her. She asked me to challenge her, so I am looking forward to an interesting discussion.

This debate has a 48 hour response period, with an 8,000 character maximum per round.

Full Topic

That, On Balance, the United Nations is a Force for Good in the World.

Context

UN Main Site - http://www.un.org...
About the UN - http://en.wikipedia.org...

Rules

1. No forfeits
2. Any citations or foot/endnotes must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final round
4. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No semantics--general/common understandings of the terms are acceptable
7. Violation of any of these rules or of any of the R1 set-up merits a loss

Structure

R1. Acceptance
R2. Constructive Cases are Presented
R3. Pro rebuts Con's Case, Con rebuts Pro's Case
R4. Pro defends Pro's Case, Con defends Con's Case, both Crystallize

Thanks...

...to Sitara for the debate! Good luck :)
SitaraMusica

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
bsh1

Pro

Thanks so much to Sitara for accepting! I'll do my best to affirm!

I think that there are perhaps three key genres of activity that we can examine to evaluate the UN's impact on the world at large. Those genres are: poverty and development, health, and security. I will proceed to discuss each one of these individually as this round progresses. There are areas where the UN has had an important impact as well (e.g. the arts), but due to the character limitations, I'll be unable to address these other areas of benefit.

I would, however, begin by noting that UN subsidiary organizations, like the WHO and UNESCO, should be considered part of the UN. These institutions are constituting bodies of the broader organization, and so are topical. With that out of the way, we can get into the nitty-gritty of the arguments.

The UN has engaged in an extensive poverty reduction and economic development campaign that has had innumerable positive impacts on the world. Perhaps the most noteworthy of these endeavors is the Millenium Development Goals project, which aims to totally eradicate poverty. The UN has acted as a focal point and a forum for the negotiations and discussions needed to implement this vast, international project, helping to coordinate the efforts to meet them. "The UN is also working with governments, civil society and other partners to build on the momentum generated by the MDGs and carry on with an ambitious post-2015 development agenda." [1] This program has met with myriad tangible successes, including [2]:

- Halving extreme poverty across the globe
- Averting 3.3 million malaria-related deaths
- A 76% increase in access to drinkable water across the globe
- A 15% decrease in severe malnutrition among children
- A nearly 50% decline in Child mortality
- Increase in antiretroviral treatments for victims of HIV/AIDS
- 25% of the world has seen improved sanitation
- 90% of children in the developing world now attend pre-school


These are all advances that can be attributed in part to the UN, the large sums of money it invests in these projects, and its willingness and ability to coordinate international efforts towards these and other ends. One example of the UN's work with local governments to effect change is taking place in India, where "the UN’s Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council is working with the Indian government to change the curriculum in India, and change the future of girls." [3]

Clearly, the UN has helped improve the lives of the poor and to cut back on the harsh, negative impacts of poverty. Moreover, the World Bank provides aid to countries' development programs, to local entrepreneurs and inventors seeking to contribute to their nations' economic growth, and to fight climate change, which can negatively impact economies as well. [4] All of this indicates that the UN is having a positive impact on the world.

The UN's global health arm, the World Health Organization (WHO), as also been very efficacious in its mission. For instance, the WHO "contributed to a 40% fall in the number of deaths from tuberculosis between 1990 and 2010, and since 2005, it claims that over 46 million people have been treated and an estimated 7 million lives saved through practices advocated by WHO. These include engaging national governments and their financing, early diagnosis, standardising treatment, monitoring of the spread and impact of tuberculosis and stabilising the drug supply." [5] Other successes include a 99% eradication of polio in the world through the WHO's partnership with groups like UNICEF and the CDC; the "WHO Surgical Safety Checklist," which is used "worldwide in the effort to improve patient safety;" and conducting successful and massive research programs on health issues such as aging, to better inform individual countries about how to craft their health-related policies. [5] The WHO is also the main international body (others are Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross) that responds to disease outbreaks such as Ebola--their ability to respond quickly, with large amounts of ground personnel is vital when tackling deadly diseases.

Here again we see the UN's positive impact--reducing disease and responding to disease outbreak is crucial in a world that is becoming more interconnected. The UN is helping to fill that important niche, and has, as its track record illustrates, done so well.

Finally, we can discuss the UN's impact on security. We can do this from two perspectives: human security and collective security. Human security is, very simply, the idea that individual people are safe and that their rights are being respected. I could be under no threat to my physical safety, but my human security is still violated if my rights and liberties are under threat. The UN has improved the global human rights situation tremendously; namely, by getting passed a series of treaties that codify these rights into international law. Three of these treaties, the UDHR, ICCPR, and ICESCR, have gained the greatest repute, and the latter two's legally binding regulations are enforced in most nations in the world. [6, 7, 8] The UN treats human security has a high priority [9] and has developed a strategic plan to continue promoting it through 2017 and beyond. The UN also has 16 on-going peacekeeping missions designed to halt violence and promote human security in various regions, such as Syria or South Sudan. [10] While these missions are not offensive in nature, they do help manage refugee flows, provide safe base-camps within conflict zones for people in need of shelter, and provide medical supplies, foodstuffs, and other necessities to those in need.

Speaking specifically about refugees, The UN, through the UNHCR, does a lot to help people in conflict-affected zones. "The agency has helped millions of people restart their lives. Today, a staff of more than 7,600 people in over than 125 countries continues to help tens of millions of people." [11]

In terms of real security, or simply physical safety and sovereign integrity, the UN is also an important actor. The Security Council is, perhaps, one of the ultimate realizations of the idea of global collective security. The doctrine of collective security suggests that when one nation threatens another nations, the whole collective, the whole global community, punishes the aggressor. [12] This deters conflict, because it is not usually feasible for one actor to take on the collective, and where conflict isn't deterred it is often blunted, reversed, or halted. And, where those things don't occur, the aggressor is still almost always ostracized from the broader worldwide community.

The Security Council doesn't act in every case where it ought, but an imperfect means of collective security is better than no means at all. Regions like Kosovo, Bosnia, and Korea could have been vastly worse off had the Security Council not decided to intervene.

The only conclusion I can draw is that the UN is a force for good in the world. It's reducing poverty, tackling disease, and making the world a safer place. These are critical, and wholly positive functions that speak very well for the UN. It certainly has my endorsement. Thus, I affirm. Over to Con...

SOURCES

1 - http://www.un.org...
2 - http://www.un.org...
3 - http://blogs.un.org...
4 - http://en.wikipedia.org...
5 - http://en.wikipedia.org...
6 - http://www.un.org...
7 - http://www.ohchr.org...
8 - http://www.un-documents.net...
9 - https://docs.unocha.org...
10 - http://www.un.org...
11 - http://www.unhcr.org...
12 - http://en.wikipedia.org...
SitaraMusica

Con

Thank you for the debate. Let's begin. I will list my reasons for opposing the UN. 1. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. If the wrong person gets in power, human rights abuses will be rampant. You can see this with the Roman Empire which often crucifies criminals or fed them to lions. I believe that individual nations have the right to be independent if they are not hurting anyone. I cannot think of one leader that is worthy to rule the whole world. 2. With a global UN led society, taxes would be very high as more money would be needed to cover the cost of running the government.
Debate Round No. 2
bsh1

Pro

Thanks again to Sitara! I'll now review her points.

"If the wrong person gets in power, human rights abuses will be rampant."

The problem with this is that the UN, despite all its successes, doesn't have much power. Being Secretary-General of the UN is not a powerful role. Ban Ki-Moon, the current Secretary-General isn't even among the top 72 most powerful people in the world. [http://www.forbes.com...] Why is that? The UN is not a powerful organization in itself, because it relies on its members totally. If members don't agree or cooperate, the UN cannot function independently from them. The Security Council is a great example of this--states have and use veto power so that the interests of no single bloc reign supreme. So, the two conclusions we can draw are (1) the UN isn't powerful enough meaning that the maxim of Baron Acton's (that power corrupts) isn't really applicable, and (2) the UN has checks built into it so that no single group or person dominates the organization--power is heavily diffused.

"I believe that individual nations have the right to be independent if they are not hurting anyone."

Sure, but they chose to be a member of the UN. If they choose membership, they can't complain when they're asked to follow the rules.

Moreover, one of the UN's main missions is top stop countries from hurting either their own people or those of other countries. The UN is the primary international organization that does this. If the UN weren't there, there would be no organization left to fill this void.

"With a global UN led society, taxes would be very high as more money would be needed to cover the cost of running the government."

But, the issues of higher taxes to finance governments' contributions to the UN are offset by the enormous benefits I outlined earlier. In other words, the UN is worth it.
SitaraMusica

Con

Thank you for responding. I will try to address each of your points. Point 1: You said the UN does not have much power. I agree, but if we do not keep them in check, they will. Point 2: You said that if they choose to join they cannot complain about the rules. I disagree. The UN should not force its will on countries that are not hurting people. Of course I support controlling dictators, but that is the exception to the rule. My concern is that in a global UN led society the government would have too much control over civil liberties. This has been a good debate. Good luck.
Debate Round No. 3
bsh1

Pro

Thanks once more to Sitara!

I would like to note that Con did not address any of my points about the UN's poverty reduction efforts, the UN's development assistance programs, the UN's disease control and prevention efforts, the UN's impact on human security, and the UN's impact on collective security. Extend these points as clean offense for Pro. You can vote for me based off of these points alone, as they are totally unaddressed, and have impacts that weigh in the millions of lives save/improved. Do not allow Con to address these points in the last round, as I would have no chance to defend these points, which would be unfair to me.

Regarding Con's points, let's review my arguments there. Con agrees that the UN doesn't have much power (which undermines the weight of her argument and her maxim), but qualifies this by noting that the UN could have power if allowed to act unchecked. But, as I pointed out last round, the very structure of the UN makes it unlikely that the UN will ever be too powerful. Firstly, it is beholden to the whims of its members. If states don't contribute money, if states refuse to cooperate, if states can't agree, there isn't much the UN can actually do. Moreover, the veto power in the Security Council is an important check against any one bloc--for instance, the U.S. can ram through resolutions unfavorable to Russia, because Russia will veto. In these two ways, check and balances are already built in to the UN, so it is highly unlikely it will ever (at least in our lifetimes) have the kind of power Con is worrying about.

Finally, we're debating whether the UN is a force for good in the status quo. It's not topical to speculate about the future of the UN, because the resolution is just asking about what is going on right now.

On her second point, she says that the UN should not enforce its will on countries that are not hurting people. Well, the UN rarely does that, IMO, and Con hasn't provided a single example to show that the UN actually does it. So, this assertion lacks a warrant. Moreover, if Countries agree to join the UN, they give de facto and de jure consent to abide by the UN's decisions. If I become a U.S. citizen, I agree to follow the laws of the U.S., even if I disagree with some of those laws or if those laws are turned on me (e.g. prosecuting me in court). So, countries that join the UN really cannot complain because they have, in an indirect way, already agreed to follow the UN's decrees.

Con also notes that she does want dictator's controlled--that is one thing the UN does, which is a point in the UN's favor. There is also no evidence to suggest that the UN will curtail or is curtailing civil liberties--however, there is a TON of evidence showing that the UN is actually increase and promoting civil liberties (as I noted in my first argument). Con drops her arguments re: taxes.

Thank you to anyone who reads/votes, and to Sitara for a great, cordial discussion. Please VOTE PRO!
SitaraMusica

Con

Thank you to my opponent for a well rounded debate. May there be more in the future. While I think my opponent is awesome, I have to disagree that the UN is a force for good. If we allow the UN too much power, what happens if the wrong person gets in power? It is better to not take that chance.
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by bsh1 2 years ago
bsh1
Thanks, though it's more about the exchange of ideas than winning.
Posted by SitaraMusica 2 years ago
SitaraMusica
Good job on winning.
Posted by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
ah ah, but you ARE winning every debate you do. :D
Posted by dtaylor971 2 years ago
dtaylor971
With all due respect to con, who is a well rounded individual, he never really stood a chance. Bsh1 started off with a very good platform and obviously created a strong outline. In the second round, pro showed overwhelming statistics that the U.N has helped contribute to, specifically to stop the spread of disease. Pro lies heavily on disease and security, but does explain them to a great point and uses fresh, true, and wonderful statistics to back up his point that the U.N is a force for good. Pro later states,

"...It's reducing poverty, tackling disease, and making the world a safer place."

Thus, I see if con's rebuttals focus on these main three points. Con did not even attempt to refute these points raised by pro. Therefore, those points were dropped by con and, in my eyes, wins pro the arguments. Con does make arguments, but they are weak and without much reliable evidence (i.e: Roman Empire.)

Both debaters had wonderful conduct, so that point will remain tied. Pro's sources, upon review, were solid and up to date. Con did not use sources, so he forfeits this category. Last, spelling and grammar. Pro had a very well rounded argument, and used fantastic word choice, and did not make a single significant mistake in his writing. Con was much harder to understand, due to both his formatting and his grammar. Thus, pro wins my vote six to nothing.

And kudos to bsh1 on an interesting debate topic, and extra kudos to Musica for going up against bsh1!
Posted by SitaraMusica 2 years ago
SitaraMusica
I hope I am doing good. You are a good debater.
Posted by bsh1 2 years ago
bsh1
@9space - Please stop doing that. I am not going to win every debate I do.
Posted by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
sitara will lose.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by JayConar 2 years ago
JayConar
bsh1SitaraMusicaTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's argument was essentially based on irrelevant 'what ifs' with no source use. It was well argued from Pro though.
Vote Placed by Hawkeye117 2 years ago
Hawkeye117
bsh1SitaraMusicaTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro gave a great debate and was clear and elaborated on all the points he gave and the the rebuttles made while con gave a pitiful debate just making statements not giving any evidence or sources.
Vote Placed by UchihaMadara 2 years ago
UchihaMadara
bsh1SitaraMusicaTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con pretty much just resorted to saying "I disagree" by the final round, after Pro had refuted all of his points... "I disagree" is not a valid argument. Also, down-vote for taking bsh's actual 101st debate!
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
bsh1SitaraMusicaTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: it felt like con, especially with no sources, could not rebut pro with sufficient evidence. I told you bsh1 would win. :D
Vote Placed by Juan_Pablo 2 years ago
Juan_Pablo
bsh1SitaraMusicaTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: I like Sitara. She's my friend. But Pro addressed a number of points that showed the UN is a force for good in the world. Unlike Con, Pro also used sources, which beefed up his arguments. I think Con could have created more paragraphs and spent more time in defense of her position. Her arguments, which were not backed up with sources, are simply too short and appear to be simple generalities.
Vote Placed by dtaylor971 2 years ago
dtaylor971
bsh1SitaraMusicaTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in the comments.