The US should be more agressive dealing with Russia
Debate Rounds (3)
My opponent's claims are mostly false and all lack evidence. Since he has the BoP I will spend most of my time refuting his statements but will still devote a portion of my round to arguments.
My opponent starts with a huge error. He presents a slippery slope when he claims that Russia is becoming more aggressive and might "act more aggressively raising the stakes. Allowing Putin to increase his sphere of influence would be a mistake similar to what Nevile Chamberlain did with Hitler." My opponent contests 3 actions of Russia.
1. Supporting Assad's Regime in Syria
Russia, China, and Iran are all staunch supporters of Syria for various reasons. Russia has strong economic and ideological ties to Syria; China also supports Syria for economic reasons . This cannot be seen as aggressive, or dangerous to the US in any way. We are not accusing China of being aggressive for supporting Syria. The US also has a history of supporting less than admirable leaders to promote our own ideology like the Containment Policy during the Cold War, and being aggressive to Russia for doing the same thing would be downright hypocrisy.
2. Russian Action in Ukraine
My opponent makes this claim but provides zero evidence. There is no solid evidence that any Russian soldiers or agents are in Ukraine and this point should be ignored until Pro provides evidence.
Background on this issue is vital. Crimea was part of the USSR; in 1954 Nikita Khrushchev gave Crimea from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR in a symbolic gesture, which was no big deal at the time, since it was all part of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union then collapsed and Crimea was lost to Ukraine. "Incidentally, the total population of the Crimean Peninsula today is 2.2 million people, of whom almost 1.5 million are Russians, 350,000 are Ukrainians who predominantly consider Russian their native language, and about 290,000-300,000 are Crimean Tatars, who, as the referendum has shown, also lean towards Russia" . He is referring to the Crimean Referendum where about 96% of voters were for joining Russia. 
President Putin said "In people"s hearts and minds, Crimea has always been an inseparable part of Russia. This firm conviction is based on truth and justice and was passed from generation to generation, over time, under any circumstances, despite all the dramatic changes our country went through during the entire 20the century."
There is also precedent. Kosovo separated from Serbia, without a referendum, and without the approval of the central authorities. The UN International Court said that "No general prohibition may be inferred from the practice of the Security Council with regard to declarations of independence," and "General international law contains no prohibition on declarations of independence." Crimea separating from Ukraine was a fair action.
A War with Russia
Escalation of events with Russia could very well result in a Cold War scenario with no guarantee we would win this time. It would surely cost the US economically at a time when we are already economically weak. Anything more would be disastrous. A nuclear war is a worst case scenario and would obviously result in the complete destruction of both countries, possibly lead to the extinction of humanity . The US would probably win a conventionally war but it would be an extremely bloody affair, following other wars that the US just fought . The American public, and the USA in general, are not prepared for an escalation of events with Russia.
(1) This is from the Economist magazine: Evidence of deeper Russian involvement is ever clearer: not just rising numbers of Chechen and other Russian mercenaries but also the supply of weapons, including missiles that may have been used to shoot down a Ukrainian military aircraft, and even tanks that have rumbled over the border.
(2) In a vote in the Security Council about the legitimacy of the referendum fourteen nations said it was illegitimate with China abstaining and Russia voted down the resolution alone. If Russia did not have veto power the UN would have condemn the referendum.
One last thing about the Crimean referendum when you get a 96% vote for something so controversial it's like winning poker with five aces something is obviously not right. Here are some other "elections" with similar results:
Kim Jong Un wins 100% of votes in North Korea
1934 Hitler wins 90% of votes for referendum making him de facto dictator
The Russian taking of Crimea was land grab with an unconvincing referendum to back it up.
Far from an stronger response to Russian aggression increasing the chance for wider conflict it can be argued in the long term it would decrease the risk of war. This is because Putin takes only what he thinks he can get away with without the west retaliating in series way. In the early 2000 he learned he could flatten a city in his own nation and have his army commit terrible massacre against Chechen civilians. In 2008 Putin leaned he could annex parts of Georgia and the world wouldn't respond. Now he has openly seized Crimea and supplied weapons to armed separatists without the world really responding. He shows a pattern of pushing the limits seeing how far back he can push the west, what if he believes later he can take the Baltic states inside NATO? The west needs to draw a line now before Putin becomes overconfident and plunges Europe into war.
Russian Agents in Eastern Ukraine
My opponent cites an article in the Economist that says "Evidence of deeper Russian involvement is ever clearer: not just rising numbers of Chechen and other Russian mercenaries but also the supply of weapons, including missiles that may have been used to shoot down a Ukrainian military aircraft, and even tanks that have rumbled over the border." No evidence is given to support this in the article or in my opponents argument. Many allegations have been made but no actual conclusive evidence has been provided. Referring to the allegations, President Putin claimed "This is nonsense, there are no Russian troops in the east of Ukraine... All the people that are in the eastern Ukraine are local residents, and the main proof is that they've taken their masks off - literally. It's their home, and they have nowhere to leave to". (http://rt.com...) There is a disturbing lack of evidence to support this bold claim. If Russia was sending tanks into Ukraine this would be stated in more places than a single news article in the Economist.
My opponent attempts to refute my argument in two ways:
1) Voted down by 14 nations in the UN- This is an argument ad populum and a poorly formulated one. All countries who attempted to discredit the referendum had a vested interest/bias in making sure Ukraine as a whole chooses the EU over Russia. My opponent provides no actual evidence as to why the referendum was flawed, just claims that it was. He also failed to respond to the precedent (Kosovo) that I presented.
2) Other countries like Nazi Germany and North Korea experience landslide elections, this must discredit all landslide votes!!- This is a hasty generalization because just since 2 bad countries had landslide elections that were flawed, does not mean other landslide elections are also flawed. In 1984 Ronald Reagan won with 525 electoral votes, or a 97% win. Does this mean his election was rigged? Of course not! My opponent must provide evidence that the vote was rigged, and he has not done this.
Increased Aggressiveness Leads to... Less Chance of War??
My opponent's argument is a slippery slope. He thinks that since Russia claimed back Crimea, which had a precedent (Kosovo), then Russia might try and "take back the Baltic states inside NATO". Of course there is zero evidence to support this. Russia would never willingly go into a war with the US, a war that would guarantee their destruction. They had justification for taking Crimea since it was the will of the people to secede from Ukraine as demonstrated by the referendum.
The last thing the US needs is an escalation tensions right now. We do not need, or want, another cold war. Russia accepted Crimea, a place that was historically and undeniably Russian and the will of the people was to go back to Russia. The UN has declared that it is up to the people to secede from a nation, and the people of Crimea made a clear decision. My opponent has no serious evidence to support his position and the BoP is unfulfilled.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Alright, so there's a lot of back and forth claims here with some evidence behind them, but it seems pretty clear how things swing. Supporting regimes was successfully rebutted by Con, though I'd say there's no real impact to hypocrisy (at least none that is stated) so I lack any real impact to the turn. I agree with Con that there's too little evidence to be sure that Russia's in eastern Ukraine, and the risk that they are is insufficient reason to escalate. It seems like there's more evidence to support Crimea's referendum being good than bad, since much of what Pro offers as evidence here is other cases where the vote was obviously problematic, whereas Con shows that the population dynamics support the outcome. I think both sides present good arguments on the impact of escalations, but realistically, we now lack a solid reason for escalation. Perhaps it would reduce conflict as Pro claims, but there has to be an obvious conflict to reduce first. So I vote Con.
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