The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
11 Points

The US has shown itself to be detrimental to third world democracies

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/11/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,067 times Debate No: 25049
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (25)
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Con will begin debating in their first post. Burden of proof is shared.

I will be arguing that, through unwarranted acts of hostility, the government of the United States of America has shown itself to be detrimental to democracies that do not hold first world staus. While the US has always been able to buy out dictatorships hoping to become protectorates, democracies (if they are not already allied with the US) are defiant and seek independence. Because of this, the US has repeatedly taken covert and overt military action against such democracies to ensure that they will submit to American interests.

I will begin my argument by citing instances of US aggression towards third world democracies throughout history.

1. Iran 1953

Since the beginning of the 1900s Great Britain exploited Persia's oil. During that time the country went through a series of Britain friendly monarchs up until the man who would be the last Shah of Iran, Shah Pahlavi. In the early 1950s public pressure forced the Shah to give more power to his people, leading to the election of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. When the Shah reduced himself to a figurehead, the country become a parliamentary monarchy, although because the prime minister held more power than the Shah it could have been considered a full fledged democracy. Meanwhile, the Iranian parliament voted to nationalize the oil industry so that they would no longer be exploited by British companies. The country was completely within their rights to do this, however Great Britain reacted by attempting to undermine the country and send it into economic turmoil. During this time Mossadegh actually requested help from the President of the United States, saying "Remember your own revolution against Britain" This clearly stated Iran's intent to follow in America's foot steps and remain a democracy, and even become an ally. But due to pressure from Great Britain, President Eisenhower was unable to aid the country. Mossadegh also made it clear that if the United States was unwilling to help, then he would have to turn to the Soviet Union instead. When their original tactics did not work immediately, Great Britain convinced the United States that Iran had in fact followed through on their threat and were allied with the Soviets (this was untrue, however the Soviets had shipped Iran weapons hoping to win them over, without success). The US government sent in agents from the CIA (at that time a new organization) to topple Iran's democratic government and reinstall the Shah. CIA agents worked to undermine the government, even bombing a religious leader's house in order to stir up Islamic hate against the government. In the end the agents failed, however a last minute coup by the Iranian military achieved their goals and put the Shah back in power. The Shah's US backed government, although reformist and generally progressive, arrested, tortured, and murdered thousands of innocent people.

This instance shows that the US government acted with utter disregard for the sovereignty of Iran. President Eisenhower even turning down Mossadegh' s requests for assistance in which he made it clear that he had a choice between allying with America and the Soviet Union, and that he came to America for help first. Mossadegh was sympathetic towards the communists, but he was clearly a democratic leader.

2. Guatemala 1954 (Don't worry, this isn't going to be a year by year list.)

In 1944 a dictatorship in Guatemala was overthrown, and the country became a democracy soon after. From 1945 onward Guatemala's elected leaders implemented popular reforms, giving more power to the poor, peasants, and workers. These policies worried the US government, who dreaded the thought of a communist sympathising nation so close to its borders. In addition the government's policies threatened the might of the United Fruit Company, which essentially owned Guatemala. When the government nationalized unused land owned by United Fruit, the company urged the US government to intervene to defend their economic interests. The CIA set to work organizing an army, and in 1954 Guatemala's democracy was toppled and replaced by a US backed military dictatorship. What followed was over forty years of bloody civil war and instability. And to top it all off, military forces trained and financed by the United States went on a genocidal killing spree, murdering 200,000 innocent Native Americans.

3. Chile 1973

From 1970 to 1973, President Allende of Chile made major reforms viewed as a push towards socialism amidst an extremely divided government. The Chilean people continually elected far left and far right candidates, ensuring a volatile political situation. You can probably guess the rest. Mines owned by US companies were nationalized, the CIA was sent in to cause political and economic chaos in order to weaken the already frayed government, and ultimately Allende committed suicide, making way for a US backed military dictatorship. Many members of the Chilean government were assassinated, however it is unclear to what extent the CIA was involved in these incidents. Chile's new government went on to purge the country of suspected political opposition, arresting, torturing, and murdering thousands of people, often with the aid of lists provided by the CIA.

The actions were unjustified from a pro-democracy point of view-

The supposed justification for the US's actions was that these countries were under Soviet influence. That does not justify overthrowing a democracy, Soviet influenced or otherwise, and replacing it with a dictatorship, when that is the very threat that the Soviet Union would have posed. This boils down to a flawed logic. That is, that the US had to overthrow democracies and create dictatorships to stop the Soviet Union from convincing democracies to become dictatorships. The only difference between the actions of the Soviet Union and the US was that the US imposed (with some exceptions) right wing dictatorships, whereas the Soviet Union imposed left wing dictatorships. Because the United States claimed to support democracy, the argument that a right wing dictatorship had to be created to prevent a left wing dictatorship makes no sense when the preexistent democracy could have been preserved instead.

Other third world democracies are at risk-

In each of these cases, the supposed offenses committed by these countries were to take action to prevent a foreign company from exploiting the countries' natural resources or land, and/or to implement socialist policies. Using this logic, a foreign company that controls an American resource might complain to their country's government if the US decides to nationalize it. The country's government could say that they find welfare and healthcare in the US to be a sign that it is leaning towards socialism, which is unacceptable because it supposedly poses a threat to sourrounding democracies. So America's democracy could be toppled in the name of democracy, and replaced by a dictatorship. If communism and/or socialism is not used as an excuse, then perhaps if an evangelical Christian is elected the country could claim that the US has been taken over by radicals. With slight modifications, similar excuses could be used to topple any sovereign nation which does not hold first world status and therefore cannot defend itself from a coup. The point is that those 3 instances were not extraordinary. Any third world democracy that implements policies that the US does not agree with and/or refuses to allow their natural resources to be exploited is equally at risk of being toppled.


Analysis [1]

What is the third world?

The third world can be described as countries with two-interrelated factors: the first is that of non-alignment during the Cold War, and the second is low prosperity economics. The first world was the allies of the U.S, the second world was the satellite states and allies of the USSR, and the third world was of non-alignment.

Con Case

C1: U.S. Primacy/Hegemony maximizes the spread of democracy [2]

Kagan writes, “History shows that the distribution of world power at the top affects the course of smaller and weaker nations across the globe.”

Between the 1970s and 1990s, with a decrease in soviet influence, the number of democracies increased to 120, well over half the world’s nation population.

U.S. Primacy was necessary for this 3rd and continuing wave of democracy: in the 1970s and onward the U.S. reversed its policy of aiding dictatorships financially and militarily which was critical for regime survival; the U.S. compelled the international order to protect human rights in the Eastern bloc and other Soviet satellite states; Carter promoted democracy in the Dominican Republic and Reagan in Granada; the U.S. prevented military coups in Honduras, Bolivia, El Salvador, Peru and South Korea; the U.S. influence on governments such as Poland, Chile, Portugal and Taiwan gave the edge necessary for democratic victory. The list goes on.

Here is a short list with explanations:

Granada: Reagan used direct military intervention to prevent a coup and to assist American’s in a hostage situation. President Bishop had first established himself in a coup during a tumultuous attempt at democracy, but the reign was short lived. A member of his own party attempted a coup which threatened U.S. citizenry. As such, direct intervention resulted in the displacement of the Marxist-military government and helped establish democracy.

Dominican Republic: Carter threatened military action against the sitting President who nulled elections, frauded elections, and who refused to give up power. Moreover, in 1965, direct military action prevented a coup from establishing power in the Dominican Republic.

Philippines: In 1968, the U.S., by threatening military action, prevented Marcos from destabilizing the newly established democratic constraints on the government. Marcos attempted to remain in power by nulling the elections.

Panama: Bush’s military intervention prevented an internal power-grab by Noriega and the military. They had previously attempted to null elections and establish themselves as the ruling elite.

Honduras and Bolivia: In both countries, the military attempted to seize control of the government through a coup. The U.S. in both cases threatened military action if the military attempted to overthrow the government. In Honduras, the U.S. sent troops to prevent Nicaraguan aid in the overthrow.

El Salvador: Anti-government insurgents tried to destabilize the transitioning democratic government through guerilla warfare. The U.S. assisted the government by sending tactioners and military strategists to counter the insurgency. With U.S. assistance the insurgency movement was dismantled.

Haiti: In Operation Uphold Democracy U.S. military intervention reestablished the democratically elected President who was deposed by a military coup in 1991.

Egypt: The Obama Administration formally renounced ties with Mubarak which led to his overthrow and imprisonment by democratic protestors with the aid of the military. The government is currently in transition.

Libya: The U.S. along with the Europeans aided the democratic rebels in the overthrow of Qadaffi. The government is currently in transition to a democracy assisted by Western monitors and other human rights agencies.

C2: Authoritarian Expansionism [3] [4]

Within the current regime of international affairs there are essentially three main players (in order of influence): The United States, China and Russia. China has been increasing its influence in Africa by propping up dictators in exchange for raw materials, China’s support of the Iranian regime in exchange for oil and China’s support of weak communist nations in Asia such as North Korea, Vietnam and Laos. If the U.S. loses primacy the result will most likely be a rapid retroaction of the Arab Spring, the collapse of democratic movements in the post-U.S.S.R. states and pretty much no chance for democracy in Africa. Moreover, Russia has been destabilizing the move of the former-Soviet States from authoritarianism to democracy, a move which was fostered by the U.S. when the USSR collapsed. In the Middle East Russia has been pivotal in preventing the collapse of the Assad Regime (making the prospect of democracy there improbable) and has also been aiding the Iranian’s in military capability expansion.

Pro Case

C1: Iran

My opponent makes the argument that the U.S. instituted a dictator (the Shah) in Iran however this example is non-topical because depending on your analysis Iran is either a first or second world nation. Moreover, from an economic standpoint they are considered first world due to the capital gained from oil and OPEC.

C2/3: Guatemala and Chile

Ill concede that Guatemala and Chile was a mistake in terms of U.S. intervention, however this example does not prove on balance that the U.S. is detrimental to third-world democracies.

Underview Points

First, the analysis my opponent provides cannot be applied to U.S. foreign policy today since our foreign policy is dominated by neoconservative rather than realist doctrine. Realist doctrine was our policies during the Cold War, especially under Kissinger, where short-term goals of preventing the spread of Communism outweighed long-term impacts such as the repression of right-wing dictators. Today, however, our foreign policy follows the neoconservative doctrine which indicates that long-term stability through democracy promotion outweighs any potential short-term blowback. We can see this to be the case with the Clinton Administration with their actions in Balkans, the Bush Administration in the Middle East and the Obama Administration in Northern Africa. Thus, under the status quo neocon foreign policy the U.S. is not a threat.

Second, U.S. intervention was the reason that soft-Soviet dominance was prevented in Latin America. Nelson writes,

“Additionally, the Latin American armed forces...trained under the guidance of U.S. advisers...So the sum of U.S. hegemony in this hemisphere is a formidable obstacle to Soviet penetration, for although U.S. influence may be weakening, by comparison with that of any other nation, including the U.S.S.R., it is awesome.”

Essentially Nelson makes the point that one factor that prevented U.S. dominance in the area was constant U.S. economic and military intervention which made influence improbable. And this prevented hard-line communist takeoever which was a good thing. It was good because hard-line communist governments are the most oppressive on their people. The democide count for communist governments are in the hundreds of millions, and in terms of an example of Latin America Cuba to this day continues to be one of the most repressive regimes.

Third, my oppont has failed to meet his burden in proving the resolution true. Even disregarding all the examples of positive U.S. intervention for democray, the vast majority of non-intervention would prove that the U.S. is not detrmental. Accounting for the 120 emergent democracies, the U.S. has intervened in only a minimal amount. Examples of non-intervention include India, Malyasia, Indonesia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, many other Caribb Islands, etc.


[2] Kagan. The World America Made.




Debate Round No. 1


I agree to your definition of the third world.

1. U.S. Primacy/Hegemony maximizes the spread of democracy

Con claims that US primacy was necessary for the wave of democracy seen in the 1970s. This is false, and many of the examples that he cited only serve to undermine his case. Con also claims that the US reversed it's previously held policy of supporting dictatorships in Latin America in the 1970s. This is also false.

Grenada: In return for his generous concession on 2 of my examples, I will give Con this example.

Dominican Republic: The US acted only in order to prevent communists and/or communist sympathisers from being elected, legitmately or otherwise. Concern for the integrity of the Domincan Republic's democracy was not the driving force behind the intervention, anti-communism was. The US also supported an oppresive dictatorship there from 1930 to 1961.

Philippines: The US has done much more to prevent the Philippines from becoming a true democracy than they have done to promote it as such. When the US gained the Philippines as a result of the Spanish-American war, they fought so viciously to prevent the country from becoming independant that as many as 1.4 million Philippine citicens were murdered by American soldiers. From 1902 until shortly after the Second World War the United States controlled the Philippines, and thus the country was a protectorate and not a true democracy. Even today the country, although it is democratic, is very corrupt, something which the US government does not see as a major problem because as long as the government cooperates there is no reason to pursue reform.

Panama : While the US did push for true democracy in 1989, before then Noriega had been employed by the CIA and had been a good friend of the US. The US government supported him up until his corruption became known in the US. The actions taken against Noriega's rule do not make up for the US's prior and long lived support of him.

Honduras: The US gave significant aid to both the democratic government and the brutal military which committed many human rights abuses. The US actually worked to cover up such abuses and discredited human rights watch groups that tried to expose them, not only in Honduras but in El Slavador, Chile, Nicarauga, and Guatemala as well. I do not deny that the US supported the country's elected government, but it is important to note that the Honduran military did not yeild to democratic constraints, and that the US was instrumental in allowing them to operate in such a way. The US used Honduras and the Honduran army to aid right wing narco terrorists in Nicarauga. In that respect, the US put pressure on the democratic government by ecouraging it's military to act outside of it's government's control.

Bolivia: The government of Bolivia was a military dictatorship, not a democracy. The US helped them suppress popular revolutions.

El Salvador: The government of El Salvador was a military dictatorship that committed countless atrocities and murdered 75,000 innocent people, which the United States government blatantly condoned. This was evident in the US government's choice to continue to train and arm the Salvadoran military, which made great use of death squads and assasinations, even after the US government became fully aware of what the army was doing. The US as previously stated, ignored and/or covering up human rights abuses.

Haiti: The US tried to fix the election in Haiti in 1988, but failed. The CIA was involved in the 1991 military coup that overthrew Haiti's democracy. After attemping to prevent Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the rightfully elected leader of Haiti, from taking office two times, the US decided to restore his government in 1995. However, the US government continued to work with those who participated in the coup even after 1995, and in 2004 the US was likely involved in yet another Haitian coup.

Egypt: The fact that the US government went along with the extremely popular sentiment vocalized by most other first world powers does not even begin to make up for the US's 29 year long support of Mubarak's regime. If anything this is yet another example of a US supported dictatorship that the US only renounced because it would have looked bad not to do so.

ybia: As with Egypt, the US played only a small and reluctant role. The US government was no more helpful than they felt they needed to be to satisfy the expectations of it's allies.

Over all Con's examples only serve to undermine his case.

2. Authoritarian Expansionism:

The detrimental effects of China and Russia on third world democracies may be kept from their full potential by the US, however the process through which the US combats China and Russia in the third world is equally detrimental.

The US has done just as much as China if not more to support dictatorships in Africa, such as Swaziland, Congo, Cameroon, Togo, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Rwanda, Gabon, Egypt, and Tunisia . North Korea is not a third world country. During the Vietnam war, South Vietnam was a dictatorship backed by the United States. In Laos the US has done nothing to push for democracy.

Neither Syria nor any former Soviet satellites are third world countries. The Arab Spring is not dependant on the US. The movement represents a push for independance and nationalism. Such traits usually antagonize the US government because countries that adopt them are not cooperative and are more likely to refuse to accept protectorate-like conditions asserted by the US.

1st: Neoconservative foreign policy implemented by the US has directly produced very few democracies. US actions in the Middle East have caused destruction and instability in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The current governments there are corrupt and unstable. Blowback, although it may begin to appear in the short term, is generally a long term occurence. No matter how pure the US's intentions may have been when invading Iraq and Afghanistan, the civilian populations there who had to endure the wars will harbor anger which will inevitably result in blowback even after stability returns. The Clinton Administration's actions in the Balkans did more harm than good. Indirect participation in Northern Africa aided in the overthrow of 2 dictators, one of which the US supported for 29 years. Both of these regimes were condoned by the US until the international community decided to take action, and the US aided in these actions simply to appear cooperative.

2nd: Many of the governments that the US overthrew in Latin America were democracies. When a Marxist or socialist leader is elected, that does not equate to a Soviet takeover. Saying that the alternative to US backed right wing dictatorships would have been worse is based purely on conjecture. Cuba, which has murdered up to 17,000 people, is not nearly as oppresive or violent as the US backed governments of Guatemala (200,000 murdered) or El Salvador (75,000 murdered) were. If such camparisons were used as the basis for claims regarding whether US backed Latin American governments or Soviet backed Latin American governments have been more oppressive, then it would appear that US backed governments have behaved much worse.

3rd: Not only are none of the specific examples third world countries, but the US has supported dicatatorships in both Indonesia and Turkey. The other examples are not enough to disprove the resolution.



U.S. Primacy/Hegemony maximizes the spread of democracy

He argues that U.S. primacy was not the cause for democracy, yet he gives no alternative to explain my analytic reasoning. As argued by Kagan, following history demonstrates that power at the top of the global chain affects those nations at the bottom.

Grenada: He concedes Granada.

Dominican Republic: My opponent’s argument is that the US intervened to prevent communism and not to promote democracy. Regardless of the intention, the coup which was prevented (due to military action) allowed the democracy to survive. Otherwise, the coup would have most like succeeded which would have ended democracy in the Dominican Republic. Remember, my burden is only to show that the U.S. is not a threat, and this example demonstrates that the U.S. is not a threat. He also argues that we supported a dictator in the 1930s – prefer arguments with more recent timeframe and always keep in mind that depending on our foreign policy doctrine our actions will change.

Philippines: My opponents timeframe is way off – we might have been a threat to them in the early 1900s and we may have been a threat to Spain too (but clearly now, no sane minded individual would say we are a direct threat to Spain). My opponent never direct addresses the argument which is that (even if the democracy may be corrupt) there is a democracy in the Philippines because the U.S. intervened to prevent Marcos from seizing power. Again, due to US intervention democracy was allowed to survive.

Panama: My opponent argues that Noriega was supported by the US, but they key to this argument was that the US supported him until he tried to establish an autocracy. As soon as the foundations for democracy were beginning to erode, the US intervened and prevented an internal takeover.

Honduras: I would like my opponent to present a credible source on this one for his argument. However, as my opponent mentioned the US did back the democratically elected government. Aside from the potential illiberal policies of the government does not negate the fact that the US helped maintain democratic control.

Bolivia: In this case, during the early 1980s the US assisted the people in transition the government from military rule to democratic rule in 1982. My opponent was probably looking at the wrong time period on this one.

El Salvador: Irrelevant what the policies where before the transitioning democracy. As I previously mentioned the Us assisted the democratic government in preventing insurgency and combating guerillas.

Haiti: There is negligible evidence of the U.S. being involved in the 1991 coup and besides the lack of evidence it is illogical that the US staged the coup and then fought itself in Operation Uphold Democracy and then preserved the integrity of the system of which the system they allegedly tried to overthrow. Moreover, evidence indicates that Aristide actually frauded his elections so he would not be the legitimate president. [1]

Egypt: Again his argument is outdated foreign policy. Regardless of what we have done in the past, our foreign policy requires different actions and in specific democracy promotion.

Lybia: My opponent says we did little, but seeing as we helped tip the balance in favor the rebels and are assisting the Libyan Council I would say that yes we have promoted democracy in Libya.

Authoritarian Expansionism:

My opponent misses the main point which is that comparatively in a world without US intervention then there would be vastly more threats to developing democracies then there are at this moment. Yes the US has backed undemocratic regimes in Africa, however the problem with my opponents analysis is that the vast majority of those countries have little to no prospect of democracy anyway.

1st: My opponent misses the important argument about neoconservatism vs. realism. Even if the US hasn’t actually created many democracies doesn’t mean it’s a threat. The analysis here indicates that by the very fact that neoconservatism espouses democracy around the world means that the US wont endanger developing democracies as they have under the doctrine of realism. Most of the empirics my opponent presents deals specifically with regimes fostered by the US, like Chile and Egypt (Mubarak) under the influence of realist doctrine. Remember, it is the burden of my opponent to prove that at this point in US policy the US is a threat to 3rd world democracies. Unless my opponent can prove how the US foreign policy doctrine now threatens democracies around the world, he has not met his burden.

2nd: Again, he misses the point. As the evidence indicates it is because of US primacy in the region which prevented Soviet dominance over those elected governments. Soviet influence could not reach into Latin America which led to the soft-communism you see in Latin America today, not hardlining Soviet communism. And in terms of the death toll, the vast majority of democide has been committed by communist regimes.

3rd: The vast majority of the examples I provided were 3rd world where we have not intervened. From a macro-perspective the US has not intervened in most developing democracies, which would include 3rd world democracies.


Debate Round No. 2


U.S. Primacy/Hegemony maximizes the spread of democracy

Dominican Republic: The US supported a brutal dictatorship from 1930 until 1961. The US had the dictator killed when he began to garner harsh criticism from other nations. Following the assasination, a democracy was formed in the country. That democracy was overthrown by the military in 1962, who proceeded to try to set up their own democracy. The US intervened to uphold the 2nd democracy, which most Dominicans felt was illegitimate. The rebel forces were those who supported the previous, left leaning democracy, and they wanted the properly elected leader of the country to be reinstated. Either way a democracy would have existed. The US only caused damage with military action. [3] (Page 8, top of page)

Philippines: The US may have acted to keep Marcos in line in 1968, but after that, when he became a true dictator, the US strongly supported him. From 1972 until the end of Marcos' rule, the US did not question his authoritarianism, and thus allowed the afformentioned severe corruption in the Philippine government to move the country towards a dicatatorship. Had the US not intervened in the Philippines to begin with, there is no reason why the country would not have become a democracy. In fact, the US may have delayed the country's advance towards democracy by refusing to grant it independance for almost half a century and allowing corruption to take hold in the government. [3] (Page 4, bottom of page)

Panama: The US government supported Noriega after he had already corrupted the government in Panama. Overall, the US's support of Noriega caused much more damage to Panama than his eventual ousting was able to correct, and the government that came after was also criminally involved. [3] (Page 5, 2nd from bottom)

Honduras: The government of Honduras, as with most of the other democracies mentioned by Con, was extremely corrupt to the point of being undemocratic in it's conduct. The military was given free reign in the country and those that bordered it. The conduct of the US supported government of Honduras was abhorrent and in violation of human rights, and by endorsing and maintaining such behaviour and suppressing all movements that opposed it, the US government was damaging the democracy. [3] (Page 3, 3rd from top)

Bolivia: The US supported a brutal dictatorship in Bolivia from 1970-1982. The CIA was involved in the overthrow of Bolivia's previous democracy. Whatever pro democracy actions the US eventually took do not reduce the anti democratic nature of their previous actions. [3] (Page 1, Bottom of page)

El Salvador: From 1979 until 1989 the government of El Salvador was a military dictatorship, whose false elections were rigged by the CIA. The US explicitly supported the military government and the death squads which were trained and armed by the CIA. [2] (#15) [3] (Page 3, 3rd from bottom)

Haiti: The fact that the US attempted to intervene in the Haitian elections in 1988, and then participated in a coup to overthrow the leader who they tried to keep from winning the election, which resulted in a dictator taking power, shows that the US's actions were detrimental. The US having ousted the dictatorship and restored Aristide's government does no make up for the aformentioned actions taken to undermine Haiti's democracy. [2] (#17)

Egypt: Con claims that my arguments are irrelevant because they refer to past US foreign policy. However, the term of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak began in 1981. Con has used examples dating back to 1965. Furthermore, Egypt is not a third world country, so it is a moot point.

Lybia: The US acted to appease it's allies, and such actions do not reflect standard US foreign policy. Thus such actions are not representative of the US's usual treatment of third world democracies.

Authoritarian Expansionism:

1st: Con's explaination of current US foreign policy is inaccurate, because he discounts the influence of US hegemony. The essence of democracy is freedom and independence, and US hegemony requires that countries surrender aspects of their sovereignty by being forced to cooperate with the US. Because of this, US foreign policy continues to pose a threat to third world democracies regardless of whether Realism or Neoconservatism is used. The US's overthrown of Haiti's democracy in 2004 and attempted coup in Argentina in 2002 are clear evidence that the US remains detrimental to democracy.;

2nd: Con states that the US prevented Soviet influence over 'those elected governments'. If Con is refering to the governments of Guatemala and El Salvador, then he would be incorrect. Neither government was democratically elected. Both were military dictatorships which remained so under specific US guidance. El Salvador's elections were rigged by the United States, and Guatemala was clearly a dictatorship. Con has continualy ignored the fact that almost every one of the US supported governments in Latin America has been a military dictatorship. He continually insists that the governments were elected without giving evidence to support such claims. Con states that over all, Communist regimes are responcible for the largest death tool. That is true in Europe and Asia. However, in Latin America Rightwing Military regimes such as those supported by the US are responcible for the most deaths by far.

John Stockwell, a retired CIA operative, says of the US backed government of El Salvador and the elected government of Nicarauga that the US launched terrorist attacks against-

"(The CIA) launched a campaign to discredit (Nicaragua's) elections. International observer teams said these were the fairest elections they have witnessed in Central America in many years. We said they were fraudulent, they were rigged, because it was a totalitarian system. Instead we said, the elections that were held in El Salvador were models of democracy to be copied elsewhere in the world. And then the truth came out about that one. And we learned that the CIA had spent 2.2 million dollars to make sure that their choice of candidates - Duarte - would win. They did everything, we're told, by one of their spokesmen, indirectly, but stuff the ballot boxes...." [1]

Talking about the death toll of US intervention in the third world, Stockwell says-

"800,000 in Indonesia alone according to CIA's estimate, 12,000 in Nicaragua, 10,000 in the Angolan operation that I was sitting on in Washington, managing the task force. They add up. We'll never know how many people have been killed in them. Obviously a lot. Obviously at least a million. 800,000 in Indonesia alone. Undoubtedly the minimum figure has to be 3 million. Then you add in a million people killed in Korea, 2 million people killed in the Vietnam war, and you're obviously getting into gross millions of people..." [1]

The estimates given by Stockwell do not even include the 200,000 killed in Guatemala, 75,000 killed in El Salvador, or the hundreds of thousands killed in Bolivia, Honduras, Chile, Argentina, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and others.

3rd: Con claims that overall the US has not intervened in most democracies. This is true. However, this debate concerns third world democracies. All of Con's examples except for the Carribean Islands were second world countries, 3 of which the US has intervened in (Turkey, Indonesia, Sri Lanka) and Con failed to provide specific Carribean Islands. Con has yet to name a single third world democracy that the US has not intervened in, and he has named only one third world democracy (Grenada) in which US intervention did not at some point encourage dictatorship over democracy. [1] [2];[3]



Since it is the last round I will not exploit that fact and spam evidence sources and arguments. That would be very unfair to my opponent. However, I will explain why, with the evidence and arguments presented my opponent has failed to prove the resolution true.

Macro Analysis

The macro analysis is essentially evaluating the arguments from a global perspective rather than a case by case basis, democracy by democracy.

The first macro analysis can be found with the distinction of realism vs. neoconservatism.

My opponent argues that 3rd world democracies are still at risk because of US hegemony which undermines the prospects of democracy such as freedom and independence. This disregards the distinction of illiberal vs. liberal democracy. Even though countries such as India and Egypt have very illiberal democracies does not mean that the government is not a democracy. There is simply a scale of how liberal a democracy becomes. But moreover, he misses the argument about realism and neoconservatism entirely. Essentially all of my opponent’s listed countries and mine included (from a micro perspective) where all examples during the height of realist foreign policy. However, at this point in US foreign policy neoconservatism and the belief in a global spread of democracy is primary doctrine. The US is not a threat to 3rd world democracies because democracy is a means towards future stability in the eyes of the US.

My opponent cites the coup in Haiti but this coup, as I mentioned before, resulted in the displacement of an illegitimate president who violated the integrity of the democratic system. From my research there was no coup in Argentina in 2002. The voters can look for themselves.

Why is this point important?

The resolution asks my opponent to prove if the US is detrimental to 3rd world democracies. However this resolution cannot be affirmed from a macro perspective if current US foreign policy has a stated goal of protecting and fostering global democracy. All of the micro arguments become null and void because they represent an outdated source of US foreign policy doctrine.

The second macro analysis is the prevention of Soviet dominance in Latin America. Remember, the evidence tells us that it was because of US hegemony that prevented the spread of Soviet influence in the region. The reason was because with US hegemony strongly implemented in Latin America the Kremlin and communist leaders thought it was too difficult to actually infiltrate communist parties in Latin America. My opponent always mentions death tolls, albeit with analysis about how CIA intervention directly lead to the death toll, but these numbers pale when compared to the deaths arising from countries with direct Soviet Influence.

Micro Analysis

A first important point must be noted before I go through the list: pay attention to the timeframe analysis by my opponent. There is a point when dates become so outdated that it is irrelevant to the debate at hand.

Dominican Republic: My opponent argues that the democracy was one established by the military. This is completely false. We do not know what government would have resulted from the military coup. What we do know is that Carter’s military intervention removed the president from power and prevented a coup by the military. The attempted coup in 1965 was after the fact that the US, according to my opponent source, assassinated the sitting leader. The US prevented the coup from destabilizing the transitioning democratic government.

Philippines: My opponent argues that the US supported his dictatorship up to 1972. At this time the US was under the Reagan Administration and had to deal with issues with the USSR. However, the Carter Administration’s human rights campaign models the neoconservative position that the US has today more so than the realism of the Reagan Administration.

Panama: My opponent’s source indicates that the US supported him, in an effort to prevent communist influence, but removed him after he nulled elections and destabilized the democratic regime. When the US intervened they removed him from power and he was arrested. On this point the US prevented the breakdown of democracy in Panama, albeit it was still an illiberal democracy. Remember, the resolution only specifies democracy and does not make the distinction of liberal vs. illiberal.

Honduras: Again my opponent argues that the democracy was not liberal enough. That point is irrelevant. The US protected the foundations of the democracy by going so far as the prevent Nicaraguan military intervention against the democracy.

Haiti: My opponent argues that the US was detrimental because of past attempts. The most recent in 1991 and 2004 restored the legitimacy of the democratic governments by removing from power a corrupt leader.

Libya: My opponent’s only argument is that the global regime supported intervention as well. The US is not mutually exclusive to other nations. By intervening the US has aided in the institution of a transitioning democratic government.

Debate Round No. 3
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
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Posted by daniel.droege5 4 years ago
Con must be kicking himself in the arse for those comments about Libya.
"Oh we helped the rebels in Libya, even though they were affiliated with al-Quida and they killed people in our embassy."
Funding the terrorist that are against democracy is the best way to spread it. ::rolls eyes::
What about blow back?
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
This: "The US has shown itself to be detrimental to third world democracies."

is much more debatable than

This: "The US has shown itself to be a threat to developing democracies that resist US hegemony."
Posted by CiRrK 4 years ago
I'd debate the resolution u just proposed, however I think developing is more accurate than third world.
Posted by Frederick53 4 years ago
What I would be willing to do is change the resolution to something to the effect of 'The US has shown itself to be detrimental to third world democracies'. I can see that 'developing' might have been the wrong term to use. I would alter the specifics of the debate accordingly, but overall my evidence and arguments would remain the same. In response to YYW, the democracy aspect of this debate is important to me, and to cede that and simply go with 'developing countries' would be too big a step away from the central idea for me.
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
I would GLADLY accept a debate that read "US hegemony is a threat to the interests of developing countries" or anything that sounded even roughly close to that.

BTW: The adjective "developing" is specifically what I took issue with, and be careful about causal reasoning in international politics. (As an aside: the Iranian people are directly responsible for the situation they are in now.) As it were though, if you want to make arguments about presently "developing" democracies and how US imperialism/expansionism/intervention/world economic manipulation/general domination/etc. is a threat to them, then sure... I can see myself debating that too, but there were too many other factors in play in the middle east and south/central america to isolate the US as a "threat" with any academic precision, during the times you mentioned.

As it's written though, it's a good debate, I just don't want it.
Posted by CiRrK 4 years ago
I would definitely take it if the resolution was modified to: "U.S. Hegemony is a threat to developing democracies." or something of that. The current resolution, as pointed out by YYW is too broad and semantical
Posted by Frederick53 4 years ago
"Iran is and was not a "developing" democracy. It once had democratic elections -sort of- but it is now, invariably, a modified theocracy. I see little point in debating what happened before or after 1979."

I'm not sure if I understand what you're saying. In 1953 Iran had an elected prime minister, a parliament, and they held referendums. As a direct result of US intervention, Iran became an autocracy. Then, in 1979, Iran became a theocracy. Are you suggesting that we should just ignore the 1953 coup?

"It is the duty of the US to advance it's interests in the world. The idea that somehow the actions that the US has taken are unjustified -while popular among liberal internationalist academic circles- is nonsense."

Whether or not the actions were justified is beside the point, unless your justification is that the actions furthered democracy, in which case that would be precisely what we are to be debating.

In any case, I'm disappointed that you won't take it. Thank you anyway.
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
So the more I read over this, the more semantic issues I have with it. What -specifically- are we going to call a 'threat'? Does that mean that the United States has taken actions to advance it's interests at the expense of other nations' interests? Behold, the realist experience of foreign policy. Secondly, Iran is and was not a "developing" democracy. It once had democratic elections -sort of- but it is now, invariably, a modified theocracy. I see little point in debating what happened before or after 1979. Third, "US hegemony" invokes a negative connotation that I don't personally care to correct. It is the duty of the US to advance it's interests in the world. The idea that somehow the actions that the US has taken are unjustified -while popular among liberal internationalist academic circles- is nonsense.

I'll be happy to debate the resolution: "Iran presents a threat to the stability of the middle east." or something like that, but there is too much that I don't have the character space to deal with in this debate. That's not to say that the argument is stupid, only that it's complicated and we wouldn't be able to effectively clash because there is too much foundation that I would have to lay to counter. Call this a cop-out if you like -it sort of is- but I have decided not to take this debate.
Posted by Frederick53 4 years ago
Well, I'd say a very good example would be defying US owned companies, such as United Fruit. Generally doing things that while the countries are entirely within their rights to do so, the US finds them to be actions that threaten US dominance. Other examples would be the protest of the US rigged election in Lebanon in 1957, or the nationalization of various valuable resources within a country's borders. I know that this is a jumbled answer, but does it give you a sufficient idea? I can come up with a more detailed explanation if you'd like.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by ceruleanpolymer 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I think Con won based on his neoconservative argument. The wording of the resolution troubled me because of the past tense, but the working is alluding to the US in the past elucidating its modern policies. So even if the US had done bad things in the past it does not show that the US within modern policy is detrimental to 3rd world countries. On the other hand we have done much in the Arab Spring.
Vote Placed by Travniki 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Excellent debate. I gave this debate to pro because of the analysis on individual countries, or the micro analysis as Con called it. I thought pros analysis was stronger on country by country basis, and he won me over with Guatamala and Iran. he showed that the US has indeed hindered third world democracies. Also, counter VB Dylan catlow
Vote Placed by dylancatlow 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro did not make as good arguments as con did
Vote Placed by vmpire321 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Overall, Con's arguments seemed to have made more sense to me. Pro's overall argument was that the US has created many failed or hindered third world democracies. On the other hand, con presented counterexamples along with the important argument that there would exist even worse enemies to democracies if the US did not involve itself with the third world. I felt like sources and s/g were even on both sides; conduct was also fine.