The Instigator
chesleya
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
dfhdavid
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points

The US can use military force to stop threats from acquiring nuclear weapons.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/6/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,118 times Debate No: 1456
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (7)

 

chesleya

Pro

First, nations should only take actions that are in their best interest for three reasons.

1. the ultimate purpose of a nation is to protect its citizenry from outside threats or else the citizens wouldn't give up some of their freedoms to be a part of it. If a nation poses a threat to the citizens of another nation, that government has a moral responsibility to act in the best interest of its people.

2. Nations wouldn't exist if they failed to act in self-interest. They must do everything to provide for their own survival. John Mearsheimer writes:

"States in the international system also aim to guarantee their own survival. Because other states are potential threats, and because there is no higher authority to come to their rescue when they dial 911, states cannot depend on others for their own security. Each state tends to see itself as vulnerable and alone, and therefore it aims to provide for its own survival."

3. Governments are most capable at analyzing what is good for their own country, not for other nations. Trying to look outside of ourselves to other goals in international relations and being altruistic has bad results for everyone.

So, the United States should use force to prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons by nations that pose a military threat because it is in its best interest.

Nuclear weapons in the hands of rogue states or terrorists pose a threat to the US because it increases the risk that, in the event of an attack, the government will be unable to protect its citizens. Further, the risk of nuclear attack is always imminent if the weapons are in the hands to enemies of the US because it takes as little as 10 minutes to kill millions, so a preemptive military strike is the only option.
dfhdavid

Con

First, and foremost, I am not against the government using military force if it has actionable intelligence that they are about to be attacked. However, your topic asks whether or not the US can use force to stop the "acquiration" of nuclear weapons.
The answer is no.

Military action cannot be used if there is nothing to attack. When dealing with the prevention of gaining a nuclear weapon, the only choice is to use diplomacy, to stop development.

For instance: there was a recent report from the Director of National Intelligence which stated that Iran had halted their nuclear weapons program in 2003. This is primarily as a result of diplomatic sanctions, etc. by the United States. Therefore, diplomacy and sanctions do work, and should be used as often as possible.

And now for your points:
1. "the ultimate purpose of a nation is to protect its citizenry from outside threats." That is completely true. However, it would be foolish to resort to it when diplomacy could be used.

2. "Nations wouldn't exist if they failed to act in self-interest." It certainly is possible to protect a nation's self-interest, while also preventing war in the process. The point of diplomacy is to achieve a certain goal through the most peaceful means necessary. When dealing with nuclear weapon acquisition, diplomacy is absolutely necessary, simply because it has proved to work.

3. "Governments are most capable at analyzing what is good for their own country, not for other nations." So, basically what you are saying is that we shouldn't care for the state of other nations? Well, first of all, that sounds an awful lot like the Bush Doctrine to me. Second of all, what happens to other nations absolutely affects US interests. If the US attacks a country, and there is no immediate threat, then we are seen as the aggressors. And I'm guessing that the whole point of a nuclear attack on the US is because we had a negative view in their eyes.

Just to restate things, we are dealing with the acquisition of nuclear weapons, which is different from a case in which someone already has nuclear weapons. Like I said, diplomacy can prevent the acquisition, because it's impossible to attack when the threat doesn't exist. If there is actually a weapon, then we can attack.
Debate Round No. 1
chesleya

Pro

I will begin by addressing my opponent's arguments then moving onto defend my own.

My opponent first states that "there is nothing to attack". This statement is completely false. We can have information about the location of exchanges for nuclear weapons, or, the more likely scenario, we prevent nations that don't currently have a completed nuclear weapons from assembling one from parts.

His second point is essentially that diplomacy works. I have two responses.

1. Diplomacy means nothing without some form of military force to back it up. We are seen as tacitly consenting to the nuclear program if we allow it to continue unabated by our military.

2. Nations that pose a threat to the US won't respond rationally to diplomacy. If anything, the NIE example my opponent brought up proves that Iran didn't cave to sanctions immediately. Further, the NIE report only says things with "moderate certainty" and believes that Iran could still construct a nuclear weapon.

3. Diplomacy is always worse for civilians than military force because we take away the food and shelter of innocents whereas all the pro side is advocating is destroying military complexes. The pro only harms the military whereas diplomacy hurts everyone.

Onto my arguments. The first important one is that nuclear threats are always imminent so a government that fails to stop the acquisition of nuclear weapons has few if any other options for protecting its citizens from them.

The first argument I make is that the purpose of government is to protect its citizenry and my opponent agrees to this but says that it would be foolish to use force if diplomacy is possible. I have just shown that diplomacy is an inappropriate response to a nuclear program, so it always goes against the best interest of the government and its citizens to not use force.

On my second argument of self-interest, he asserts that diplomacy is absolutely necessary because it has been proven to work in the past but I have already shown that military force is the necessary action to stop the acquisition of nuclear weapons because the threat is always imminent.

In response to my third argument, my opponent fundamentally misunderstands it. The argument is that the government of a nations is best at analyzing what is best for itself only, not for other nations. We don't know if democracy (which is good for America) will work out for the best in, say, Palestine. Of course we should care for the state of other nations, but in examining our relations with other nations, we should pick the action that is best for use because it's the only one that we can predict the results of.

So, in summary, the United States must prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons because, once they are built, the threat will be imminent and no US action can ensure the protection of American citizen interests.
dfhdavid

Con

I'll go right to my opponent's attack:

The pro is suggesting that military action can be used to prevent the assembly of a weapon before it takes place. However, both of the pro's examples could be done through diplomacy. There also isn't any evidence provided that military action could indeed provide solutions, and that diplomacy cannot.

My response to the pro's attack on diplomacy:
1. We were able to stop Iran's nuclear program without the military backing it up.

2. Let me bring up a different example that could better prove this point: the Cuban missle crisis. Now, the Soviet Union definitely was a rational nation, and responded rationally. When the Cuban crisis came up, they still bent to diplomacy, even with a bomb and coming so close to their goal. So, rationality means nothing when nuclear weapons are involved, whether it be Iran or Russia.

3. This third point is completely wrong. The pro is claiming that diplomacy harms the general populace, but this example only applies to sanctions. Diplomacy is convincing the nation to give up their weapons by means that is reasonable to them. If anything, military action would have a more devastating effect on the population.

And now for their case:

1. Their first point they brought back up was that nuclear threats are always imminent. But even in imminent cases (like with the soviet union) diplomacy is the best option.

2. A government has a responsibility to respect its citizenry. As I've already proven,as with Iran and the Soviet Union, diplomacy was able to work.

3. (see first point) self-interest of nations

4. Pick the choice that we can predict the results of (what they say). Ok, I think I see. Well, historically, military action has produced unpredictable results. Take the Iraq War's example, in which an unexpected outcome came from an attempt to stop nuclear weapons. Overall, this point doesn't stand up to the fact that diplomacy has proven positive outcomes.

So in summary. So far, the pro hasn't provided any real evidence that military action could honestly do better than diplomacy, so a con vote is in order.
Debate Round No. 2
chesleya

Pro

Let's launch right in.

On diplomacy, my opponent says that Iran proves that we can use diplomacy and that military did not back it up. But Iran would never have followed our efforts at diplomacy if not for our military prowess. We need to be able to use our military force to stop threats to not only protect our citizens but to ensure that our future use of diplomacy means something. In other words, we need the option to use force.

On my third point of diplomacy, that it harms everyone, he responds that I am only talking about sanctions. But my opponent doesn't show other methods of diplomacy so in most cases sanctions will be used and they will harm citizens. Instead, we should use tactical military strikes to take out key offensive structures in the production of nuclear weapons.

So, we need to use military strikes to prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons by threatening nations. As my opponent has admitted, they are always imminent threats and because it's clear diplomacy doesn't work, we must protect our interests through military force.
dfhdavid

Con

I'd just like to point out right now that I could have ended this debate in the very beginning. Really, I only had to prove that the US COULD NOT possibly use military option, meaning to prove it's not feasible. But, for the sake of fairness and debate, I'd like to defend what I've said so far.

My opponent has stated over and over again that diplomacy "doesn't work." But, they themselves have dropped the evidence that I've given regarding the success with the Soviet Union, so you can accept that there as proof.

As to what they said about Iran and having military force "backing it up." First of all, there was no evidence to support this. Second of all, even if it is true, the military never actually used force, but was figuratively used to put pressure on them. So, this point doesn't support their side, or change anything about my Iran arguments.

Now to Diplomacy. They claim that I don't show any methods of diplomacy, but in my last "speech" I pointed out directly the differences by definition of diplomacy and sanctions. Moreover, there is no evidence provided that using military strikes would work more effectively than diplomacy, simply because there is no evidence to support that.

Over the course of this debate the Pro has dropped most of their original main points, as well as failed to effectively respond to some of mine. Remember, when a nation doesn't have a weapon, then it is not an imminent threat. Even if it were, my evidence already disproves it.

Vote Con. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by AK-47debater 9 years ago
AK-47debater
using the LD topic as a debate and losing, sheesh
Posted by chesleya 9 years ago
chesleya
thanks for accepting so quickly
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Sherlock_HolmesXXI 9 years ago
Sherlock_HolmesXXI
chesleyadfhdavidTied
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Vote Placed by AK-47debater 9 years ago
AK-47debater
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Vote Placed by beem0r 9 years ago
beem0r
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Vote Placed by SocialistRI82 9 years ago
SocialistRI82
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Vote Placed by chesleya 9 years ago
chesleya
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Vote Placed by tarsjake 9 years ago
tarsjake
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Vote Placed by dfhdavid 9 years ago
dfhdavid
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