The Instigator
innomen
Pro (for)
Winning
42 Points
The Contender
bluesteel
Con (against)
Losing
41 Points

The US should not recognize the results of the latest Nicarguan election.

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Post Voting Period
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after 21 votes the winner is...
innomen
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/11/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,769 times Debate No: 19202
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (126)
Votes (21)

 

innomen

Pro

Resolved, the government of the United States of America should not recognize the recent election results in Nicaragua.

Namely the election of Daniel Ortega.

First round acceptance; rounds 2 & 3 arguments.
bluesteel

Con

I look forward to the debate innomen.
Debate Round No. 1
innomen

Pro

It is my intention to give sufficient reason for the resolution, ‘The United States Government should not recognize the results of the recent Nicaraguan election'
The Nicaraguan national election was held last Sunday, November 6th. The controversy of the election started before the election.


1. Constitutionally illegitimate candidate:
Daniel Ortega was violating the Nicaraguan constitution in both the term limits, and the running consecutive terms.
In the Nicaraguan constitution it is stipulated that the president cannot run for more than two terms, and a president cannot run in consecutive terms. This is to prevent a dictatorial regime, and put a safeguard on the democratic process. Simply by running he is in violation of the country's constitution, and his blatant disregard for the rule of law, and the rule of the land is justification alone for a country that values the integrity of the electoral process to not acknowledge this man in his bid for re-election. [1]

[Although the elections of the national seats that took place in this last election are also fraught with fraud, I will keep the argument to Daniel Ortega, since he is running as President, and it is he who the US Government would recognize.]

It is key in understanding how Ortega has held and grown his control over the country, by understanding the role his party, the Sandinista Party his played in the country since he gained control. All possible judges, particularly Supreme Court Judges, and election officials are Sandinista, all police force and military forces are loyal to the Sandinistas over the Nicaraguan people. Sufficient branches of government and those with influence over the economy are loyal Sandinistas to facilitate Ortega's designs.


2. Fraudulent electoral process:
The Ortega administration mandated, prior to the election, an identity card would be required for the election, and these cards would need to be obtained through members of the FSLN (Sandinista Party). Members of FSLN easily and quickly received their cards, whereas other requestors of the identity cards were waiting for a year or more. Essentially Ortega achieved an election that would be wholly managed by his party the Sandinistas, and two thirds of the places in Nicaragua were run by Sandinistas, and those that were not had the greatest instances of identity card rejection.[ 2]

At the time of election the voter must present this identity card, and it must have an authorized stamp that the Sandinistas created. Without that stamp the identity card was invalid, and countless identity cards were found invalid because they did not have the proper stamp, all those people were not Sandinista. The incidents of fraud are too numerous to list, and was so rampant that it will never be truly documented. [3] The entire election was controlled and managed by the Sandinistas under the dictates of Daniel Ortega, for the benefit of Daniel Ortega's reelection and total control over the Nicaraguan people. [4]


3. Impact of fraudulent election in Nicaragua:
With a total disregard to the constitution in the running of Daniel Ortega as president violating the constitution, and the principles that safe guard its people from a dictator he degrades the constitution in its intended purpose of providing a democratic rule of checks and balances over the land.

What is even more important to note is that if a president is elected with more than 50% of the popular vote he is empowered to change the constitution as he sees fit. This is a massive coup of power to the presidency, and by illegally obtaining that number of votes he has effectively taken control of all aspects of governance within the country. It is a true theft of total power with the obvious intentions of a dictatorial regime in perpetuity.

It is also important to understand the corruption within the Ortega regime, and the personal corruption of the man. He has become one of the richest men in Central America, leader of the second poorest countries in the hemisphere. He has skimmed oil wealth from his mentor Hugo Chavez, and has instituted a party and government of kleptocracy beyond anything people commonly know about. [6] [7]


4. Organizations and Governments of the world community not recognizing the election: [8]
European Union
Organization of American States
Honduras
Canada
Costa Rica
Panama
Israel


5. Countries and organizations that recognize Daniel Ortega as the duly elected leader of Nicaragua:
Cuba
Venezuela
El Salvador
ALBA (client states Hugo Chavez) [9]
Russia [10]


6. Why the US position should be firm against recognition:
In our hemisphere in particular it is important as both a leader of the world, and a member of the world community to take a position of intolerance to would be dictators who corrupt the very mechanism of democracy in order that they may amass more power and more wealth at the expense of the very poor. As long as we are the prominent member of the world stage, and one who hopes to encourage the values of freedom and democracy the United States must join other countries who do not give any legitimacy to an election that was not just stolen but orchestrated in the most blatant of attempts to emasculate any opposition, and to entrench a putrefied regime.
It is beyond obvious that the US government should not recognize the results of the recent Nicaraguan election; it would be borderline accessory to a crime to provide an ounce of legitimacy to this farce, and an insult to the Nicaraguans who are fighting against this fraud with their lives.



1. http://pdba.georgetown.edu...
2. http://www.lab.org.uk...
3. http://www.confidencial.com.ni...
4. http://www.radio-corporacion.com...
5. IBID 2
6. http://wn.com...
7. http://politic-bazooka.blogspot.com...
8. http://actuable.es...
9. http://www.nicaraguadispatch.com...
10. http://eng.kremlin.ru...

Apologies for the sources in Spanish, but Google Chrome will translate much of it. My best sources were in Spanish, and doing the searches in English just didn't provide the information I needed.
bluesteel

Con

Thanks innomen. I'll start with some important background info and then offer my arguments. I'll rebut my opponent's points in the next round, if necessary, although my responses should be clear from my case.

== Realism vs. Idealism ==

There are two competing theories of international relations (which governs how nations ought to view the world): Realism and Idealism. Idealism argues, among other things, that promoting democracy will solve the all worlds' woes. Idealism claims, under democratic peace theory, that democracy will make the world a safer place. However, democratic peace theory has been widely debunked. For example, a study by Edward Mansfield found that partially democratized countries are far more likely to go to war with their neighbors than are autocracies. [1] My opponent constantly refers to Idealism when he implores us to "uphold democratic values." In contrast, Realism acknowledges that sometimes you must deal with dictators to accomplish your agenda in international politics. Realism, as the name suggests, is much more "realistic" than Idealism.

In this debate, I urge a Realist approach to international politics, as opposed to an Idealist one.

== Prevalence of illiberal democracies ==

Fareed Zakaria coined the term "illiberal democracy" to refer to governments that are democracies in name only; these governments have the trappings of a democracy (elections, a parliament, a supreme court), but they fail to actually uphold liberal values, like free speech and fair trials. Illiberal democracies are extremely common in today's world. According to the Democracy Index of 2010, 31 nations are illiberal democracies. [2] Among the newest democracies (founded in the past 30 years, during the "Third Wave of Democratization") most are illiberal democracies or have reverted to authoritarianism.

As Paul Collier, Development expert at Oxford University, explains, stolen elections are the norm among illiberal democracies; the incumbent usually resorts to a voter fraud strategy. [3] So voter fraud in illiberal democracies should not surprise us. Collier explains that dictators merely use elections to maintain the fa´┐Żade of democratic institutions.

Even prior to the most recent election, Nicaragua was ranked as an illiberal democracy. [4] Why should it surprise us then that Daniel Ortega behaved the way we'd expect a president to behave in an illiberal democracy? Are we any more surprised or outraged when the Saudi monarchy refuses to yield the throne in the face of Arab Spring protests?

== Marginalizing ourselves from international politics ==

If we refuse to recognize the leaders of undemocratic countries, we can no longer deal with those countries diplomatically. Diplomacy requires meeting with a country's recognized leader.

If we give into Idealism and refuse to recognize undemocratic leaders, we could no longer deal with any of the 56 authoritarian regimes, including China and every single Middle Eastern country, save Israel.

In addition, if we refuse to recognize the leaders elected during "stolen" elections, we would have been forced to refuse to recognize Hamid Karzai as the leader of Afghanistan [4], Vladimir Putin as the leader of Russia ("Observers said the poll and run-up campaign were the least fair in the entire post-Soviet period"), [5] the current government of Poland as legitimate [6], Calderon of Mexico as the legitimate leader, [14] the current government of Pakistan as legitimate, [7] and most others. This would massively hamper our ability to accomplish our international agenda if we were forced to cut ourselves off from the entire world.

For example, President Saleh of Yemen is a KEY ally in our War on Terror. Any potential alternative to Saleh would be horrible and would force us to withdraw our CIA and drone presence from Yemen. However, Saleh's elections are anything but "fair."

So unless my opponent would have us withdraw from the world stage, we must adopt a Realist approach to international relations, rather than an Idealist one. Political realities often demand recognizing "unfairly" elected leaders.

== Futility ==

Ortega doesn't care whether we recognize the election results or not: he's not going to step down. If we refuse to recognize him, all we do is two things: lose all our influence over him and hurts ourselves by losing our good relations with his regime. CBS reports that: "[Ortega] has maintained ties to the U.S. . . . according to the World Bank . . . Ortega's macroeconomic policies [are] ‘broadly favorable.'" CBS continues that if the U.S. cuts off our ties to Ortega, this would only force him closer to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

If we want to alter his regime and nudge Ortega towards liberalizing his country, we are better served by MAINTAINING ties and using conditional aid than in cutting off all ties. If we cut off ties, we lose any influence over Ortega that we had.

== Quick response to "Constitutionally illegitimate candidate" ==

The Supreme Court let Ortega run. [16] It was probably a dumb decision, but so was Bush v. Gore.

== Coup ==

A study by the University of Kentucky entitled "Supporter of Stability or Agent of Agitation" specifically examined whether U.S. support or distaste for a Latin American regime increased the chance of a coup occurring against that regime (yes, the study is literally about the U.S. and Latin America). [9] The study found that internal actors considering a coup are more likely to pursue their coup if the U.S. sends a hostile signal against the regime (such as cutting off aid or removing diplomatic recognition): "The empirical test showed that hostile signals significantly increase the likelihood of a coup attempt." In fact, a coup is 179% more likely if the U.S. sends a hostile signal.

The following study by Andrew Miller found that there is no such thing as a "good coup." [10] Coups always hurt the people of the country and rarely result in a democracy. Edward Mansfield found that when a stable government breaks down, the chance of civil war increases by 200%. [11] Coups rarely end "nicely." They usually end in massive bloodshed. In addition, a study by Paul Collier finds that once a country has a civil war, the chance of having another (if the autocrat loses) becomes 70%. [12] In a post-conflict country, different factions end up fighting and often refuse to yield.

Nicaragua is better off stable than unstable.

== Authoritarian Transition ==

Samuel Huntington coined the term authoritarian transition. He observed that democracies were not good at enduring temporary hardship for long-term gain. As a result, most of astounding economic growth in the previous three decades, such as in the Asian Tiger economies, has come through autocracies, which can make the tough decisions necessary to achieve long-term growth. Countries like South Korea achieved massive growth under autocracy, then once they were ready, transitioned to democracy. Huntington concludes that this may be the only successful model.

Poor democracies do not fair well. As Paul Collier explains of the Third World, "the increased democracy has quite probably retarded the reform of economic policies and governance. It has gone far enough to lose whatever might be the advantages of autocracy, while not yet having gone far enough to gain the benefits of democracy." Without a middle class, people are not educated enough to successfully employ democratic institutions on their behalf.

In addition, a study by Adam Pwezorski found that poor democracies almost always fail; he found that for countries under per capita income of $9300, the chance of democracy failing EVERY YEAR is 12%, with the average democracy lasting only 8 years. [13] Nicaragua's per capita income is $1100. It is NOT ready for democracy.

In addition, a study by Victor Polterovich of Moscow University finds that in illiberal democracies, which he defines as democracies with weak governance and rule of law, democratization actually undermines economic growth. [15]

As expected of an autocratic transition, Ortega's economic policies have been broadly favorable, according to the already cited World Bank study. He has helped his people with "microcredit, farm aid, subsidies, [and] bonuses for civil servants." [8]

Lastly, autocrats CAN rule by consent of the governed. Ortega is extremely popular in Nicaragua. While he may not have won more than 50% of the vote without fraud, legitimate pre-election polls had him leading his opponent by 18 percentage points. [8] It seems like we are undermining the will of the people if we refuse to recognize him as the legitimate leader of Nicaragua.

== Sources ==

[1] Mansfield, Edward D., Snyder, Jack L. Democratic Transitions, Institutional Strength, and War, International Organization - Volume 56, Number 2, Spring 2002, pp. 297-337
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] Wars, Guns, and Votes
[4] http://tinyurl.com...
[5] http://tinyurl.com...
[6] http://tinyurl.com...
[7] http://tinyurl.com...
[8] http://www.cbsnews.com...
[9] http://www.uky.edu...
[10] http://www.africa.ufl.edu...
[11] http://www.humansecuritygateway.com...
[12] Paul Collier, 2009, Wars, Guns, and Votes, page 80
[13] Larry Diamond, 2008, The Spirit of Democracy: the Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World, page 27
[14] http://www.americasquarterly.org...
[15] https://kb.osu.edu...
[16] http://www.globalpost.com...
Debate Round No. 2
innomen

Pro

Thank you Bluesteel for that impressive and quick resonse.

== Realism vs. Idealism ==

My opponent is essentially saying that having a democracy is not necessarily better in all cases, and is only seemingly better as an idealistic concept and has the connotation of “solving all the worlds woes”. An application to Nicaragua and a reference to this particular resolution is required before you can actually see if it makes any sense.

We ask ourselves, better than what. The use of my opponent’s realism here would mean that a blatantly rigged and corrupted election is acceptable for this country, and a dictator not elected by the people is also acceptable as an application of realism. Whereas I would contend that such ‘realism’ is a generic dismissal of a people. It needn't be this way in this reagion especially when we consider the modern history of that region, and the current political dynamics, both of which my opponent neglected to cite here. Currently there are countries moving toward a more democratic system Honduras, and Columbia, and there are those who go toward a Chavez – Castro type of dictatorship. Nicaragua has a choice of being a Cuba or a Costa Rica[1], and that is only possible through some window of democratic change. It is both realistic and reasonable that Nicaragua could aspire toward their neighbors to the south (Costa Rica) through democratic movement in process via elections.

Furthermore, my opponent infers in his argument that a dictatorship is beneficial in matters of peace and prosperity. Again I point to Costa Rica[2][3]

== Prevalence of illiberal democracies ==

Here my opponent is essentially saying, they (dictatorships) exist in places like this, get used to it and accept it. A variation of the previous point. I would add to my last points that this is also not necessarily the case if you are to identify the prevailing cause of this particular dictatorship. Again, I ask for actual application of the theories that my opponent cites. Hugo Chavez and his oil wealth is the prevailing influence over the behavior of Daniel Ortega; this particular variable is optional, and has been refused by other countries in the region (Honduras [4] and Columbia) The generalization that my opponent is asserting is unwarranted and doesn’t stand up to actual application. It needn’t be a foregone conclusion that a dictatorship is inevitable, and better (see Costa Rica).

== Marginalizing ourselves from international politics ==

My opponent fears that by taking a stand in not recognizing this sort of behavior will marginalize these sorts of countries, and we will be disengaged with them internationally, and we lose all opportunity in a diplomatic and economic exchange.
Once again I ask my opponent to look at the state of Nicaragua now they already are marginalized and stand to be further marginalized through relationships with Chavez, Russia, and Iran[5] [6]. If you Google Nicaragua and Russia you will find endless references toward increased cooperation and partnerships between the two countries, and in particular joint military operations.

The net result of not encouraging a more democratic society will be a in fact be a more marginalized society and country.

My opponent lists a myriad collection of leaders and countries who held elections that were filled with fraud and illegitimacy. I don't know that we ever recognized these elections as being legitimate. We may accept their leaders as the leaders of these countries out of pragmatic consideration, but I am unsure if we actually accepted them as a result of their elections. Keep in mind my resolution is not about recognizing the leader, but recognizing the results of the election. I made this quite clear in the discussion leading up to the debate.

== Futility ==

My opponent asserts that there really is no point in not accepting the election results because it will remain anyway. As I write this there are protests taking place all over Nicaragua and the people are desperately looking for the US to take a position.[7]
Furthermore, things are different now. We are seeing changes taking place in the world as a result of popular protest and world recognition of what it deems as being corrupt and counter to the good of the people. There are real results to such demonstrations and protests that haven't happened before, and in countries of similar make up as Nicaragua.
Furthermore, it is part of our national integrity to disavow such corruption, in the vague hope of establishing some sort of relationship with Nicaragua, or self interest. It is also preposterous to think that Ortega could get more influenced by Chavez, and that we could hope to provide some sort of direction toward Daniel Ortega. Keep in mind that Daniel Ortega despises the United States. There is very little to lose by standing up to the corruption used in the election, because he would never look toward the US for any direction, and is completely dependent on Hugo Chavez for all matters economic and political.[8]

Two key points why it is not futile:
1. Hugo Chavez and his influence will soon be in jeopardy as it is expected that he will not live for another 2 years, and his death will provide a window of opportunity for Venezuela and the region. [9]
2. There is a legitimate opposing party which is currently gaining popularity among splinter factions, so there is greater unification behind the Constitutional Party of Nicaragua.[10]

== Quick response to "Constitutionally illegitimate candidate" ==

My opponent asserts that Ortega is operating within the parameters of the supreme court.
I'm glad that my opponent brought this up, but for reasons of space I will try and summarize how it got to this point: The Chief Justice of the Nicaraguan Supreme Court called the decision unconstitutional and illegal in how it was achieved [11]. So here's what happened: Ortega went around the National Assembly and went straight to the Supreme Court for an immediate ruling (illegal process), the day of the decision that he forced, the 15 member court consisted of 6 Sandinista members, 3 non Sandinista members were replaced by Sandinistas, 2 other non Sandinista members were not called in time for the vote. Initially it was mandated that it must be a full 15 member agreement decision, but it was decided at that moment, by that court that this would not be necessary. "Martinez insisted that the Sandinista magistrates showed "complete and flagrant disrespect for the Constitution, for the laws and even for the ethics that every individual should have for himself." – Supreme Court Chief Justice of Nicaragua.

== Coup ==

I don't believe I am actually advocating a coup, but simply to join those in the world who are not going to recognize the recent election, and advocate a new election that would be safeguarded against corruption.

== Authoritarian Transition ==

My opponent is essentially saying that they are better off with an authoritarian rule; that Nicaragua isn't ready for democracy.

First, they have nothing to lose. Proposing that a democracy will make things worse is a little ridiculous. Nicaragua has improved despite Ortega, but still remains the second poorest country in the hemisphere
Second, following in the path of Costa Rica, or even Honduras is a real option. Nicaragua has enormous natural resources and economic potential that can benefit the people of that country, but have long been held back by the authoritarian governments that are hostile to economic relations with prospering democracies. In realistic terms, countries such as Nicaragua have the resources to create a much more prosperous country than what currently exists, if there is any moderate gains in

Next, to call Daniel Ortega extremely popular is to not understand Nicaraguan politics. Nicaragua is deeply scarred by the experience of the civil war, and speaking out publicly against the Sandinistas is an invitation to trouble.

Sources will be in coment section due to space confinement.
bluesteel

Con

Thanks for the debate innomen.

== Realism vs. Idealism ==

My opponent seems to confuse my point here: I'm arguing that the United States' approach to international politics should be Realist, not Idealist. If we refuse to recognize someone as the "legitimate" leader of a country, then we can no longer deal with that person or that country. Examples abound in history: the KMT in "China," Manuel Noriego in Panama (1989), Gbagbo in the Ivory Coast (recently), Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah's election in Lebanon, the recent election in Georgia [1], etc. Idealism gains us nothing, except a moral victory, but has bad Realist implications.

My opponent suggests under the "marginalization" point that we can "just" refuse to recognize the election. He suggests we have done so before. This is untrue. On the world stage, refusing to recognize election results EQUATES TO removing diplomatic recognition of that leader. Otherwise, such a gesture would hold no actual force. This is not Obama saying in a press release "this election was fraudulent," this is the US, as an entire country, refusing to recognize the election results. Why did we sanction Karzai's stolen election? Because we still had to deal with him, diplomatically. Why did we remain silent on Putin's "most unfair election since the fall of the Soviet Union"? Because we still had to deal with him, diplomatically.

I don't even understand innomen's point: if you "don't recognize the election results," as the resolution states, then that means you REFUSE to acknowledge that person as the leader of the country and refuse to deal with his government, until he steps down. Otherwise, you are tacitly "recognizing" the results by validating him as the leader.

== Pre-election polls ==

My opponent never responds to the CBS evidence, which says that Ortega is popular among the peasants (because of micro-loans, farm subsidies, and civil servant bonuses). Legitimate pre-election polls (which are anonymous random samples) showed Ortega leading his closest opponent by 18 percentage points. The anonymity of the poll answers my opponent's objection that people are afraid to speak out. If Ortega won anyway, refusing to recognize him actually violates Idealist principles and subverts the will of the people of Nicaragua. I should win the debate right here.

There *are* protests right now by supporters of the opposition party, but this is to be expected. This proves nothing about Ortega's popularity.

== Nicaragua is too poor for democracy ==

Remember the key Adam Przeworski study that democracies under a per capita income of $9300 always fail after an average of 8 years. Every year, they have a 12% chance of failing, which adds up fast. Nicaragua has a per capita income of $1100. It is dirt poor.

Innomen cites Costa Rica to prove that Nicaragua can model itself on Costa Rica. However, Costa Rica has a per capita income of $11,000 [2], which is well above the threshold. Przeworski ALSO found that above the $9300 threshold, a democracy, once established, NEVER failed.

Innomen also cites Honduras and Colombia as good democracies. Honduras is rated by the Democracy Index as an illiberal democracy and had a coup in 2009 – hardly a good model. Colombia's per capita income is also above the $9300 threshold, but it is hardly a model of perfect governance. [3] Some assert that it is a violent failed state. [5]

Paul Collier explained why poor democracies fail: they lose the efficiency of autocracies, without having enough institutions and education to protect rights. Inevitably, after the people become frustrated with the slow pace of progress and growth, these countries collapse back into autocracy.

== Marginalizing ourselves from international politics ==

Firstly, innomen seems to misinterpret this point. I'm not arguing that NICARAGUA will be marginalized, but that the U.S. will be marginalized from international politics if we have to keep taking a stand against every contested election.

I agree with innomen here that Ortega is close to Chavez, as are many other Latin American presidents. However, the CBS article says that Ortega also maintains close ties to the U.S. and economic policies that are favorable to us. We don't want to lose that. The rest of Nicaragua doesn't like us very much, given our history with the country. [4] Innomen's source #7 NEVER says that Nicaraguans want the U.S. to get involved in their politics; if anything, the protesters would be like those in Syria, who told us to stay out of it.

We have everything to lose and nothing to gain. If we refuse to recognize the results, that will not change Ortega's behavior one iota. However, Development experts like Larry Diamond (of Stanford) and Paul Collier have noted that we have made progress towards democratic reform by maintaining relations and using conditional aid. Conditional aid stipulates that a President gets more aid money if and only if he implements some agreed-upon democratic reforms. Choosing to "not recognize" Ortega would eliminate this possible option.

== "Constitutionally illegitimate" ==

Lol, innomen answered this exactly as I hoped he would: the Sandinista's loaded the court, and their members voted for Ortega. The same thing happened with George W. Bush. His father loaded the Court, and those same justices voted for Dubya in Bush v. Gore, circumventing the electoral process and declaring the loser of the popular vote the winner. Using my opponent's reasoning, other countries should have responded by revoking diplomatic recognition of the U.S. and refusing to deal diplomatically with Bush. However, this is unrealistic.

== Coup ==

Innomen may have never advocated for a coup, but the University of Kentucky study says that when the U.S. sends a signal that we don't approve of a Latin American regime, this makes a coup 187% more likely. The reason the U.S. is so key is because we have intervened militarily (Grenada 1983, Panama 1989, and Haiti 1994) and with sanctions (Guatemala, Paraguay, Ecuador) against coups in the past. If we show that we wouldn't oppose a coup, this makes coups much more likely.

The study is AMAZINGLY specific and uses empirical data over the last 40 years. Once the country has a bloody coup, it just leads into a never-ending cycle of violence, as Collier has demonstrated (70% chance of more coups).

How does innomen think that the opposition party would get rid of Ortega? If he won't step down, a coup is the only option, and the Sandinistas won't go quietly. But if we're concerned about the people of Nicaragua, a coup is the last thing they need. Collier points out that civil wars generally wipe out 30% of a country's wealth.

Nicaragua can't follow the Tunisian model, either, for a bloodless revolution: Tunisia had a much more benign leader and was much wealthier and better educated.

== Authoritarian Transition ==

Remember, the World Bank did a study and found Ortega's policies "broadly favorable." His micro-credit, farm subsidies, and civil servant pay raises have all helped lift his people out of poverty. His country would be even worse off without him.

Their economy would have to achieve China's astounding growth rate, and it would still take them 50 years to achieve Costa Rica's average per capita (per person) income. They can't do this amid political upheaval and with the cronyism and corruption that always accompanies democratization in poor, weak governance countries like Nicaragua.

Innomen merely asserts, without a source, that Nicaragua has grown "in spite" of Ortega. Prefer the World Bank study. Also, remember the Moscow University study that in an illiberal democracy, like Nicaragua, democratization undermines economic growth. This study is based on empirical data from all the countries in the world.

Reasons to vote Con:

1) Ortega actually DID win, according to legitimate pre-election polls. He is ruling by consent of the governed, albeit in an autocratic fashion.

2) Forced and rapid democratization would undermine economic growth (Moscow Univ. study).

3) Ortega has "broadly favorable" economic policies, according to the World Bank. He is a positive force within his country. Nicaragua is in dire poverty. It needs economic growth more than it needs democracy.

4) A hostile signal against Ortega would result in a bloody coup. Nicaragua, as a poor country, needs political stability. Investors don't invest during times of political upheaval.

5) Refusing to recognize autocrats or fraudulent election results is an unrealistic approach to international politics, which ultimately undermines our mission not only in the world, but also in Nicaragua itself.

== Sources ==

[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
[4] http://tinyurl.com...
[5] http://www.csa.com...
Debate Round No. 3
126 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Chthonian 2 years ago
Chthonian
Tough loss, Blue.

In any event, my knowledge of Nicaraguan politics comes directly from this debate and the internet linked references that were in English. Good luck on your future debates. Cheers!
Posted by ApostateAbe 2 years ago
ApostateAbe
What an epic debate. Mirza, I just took you off of my block list.
Posted by Zetsubou 2 years ago
Zetsubou
I agree innomen didn't make a strong case for Ortega's weakness but this is true:

"Next, to call Daniel Ortega extremely popular is to not understand Nicaraguan politics. Nicaragua is deeply scarred by the experience of the civil war, and speaking out publicly against the Sandinistas is an invitation to trouble. "

>> Sources
The assertions you gave in "Authoritarian Transition". Backed by these "%" studies annoyed me, especially Paul Collier's. A side from how you attributed government collapse due to the form of government the study more or less pops these numbers out of thin air; I would argue it is impossible to work out the chance of government failure thanks to a system of rule because no two governments are alike, nations can be called democracies to suit an agenda. The use of that source in my eyes was damaging to your argument. I don't have access to a copy of the book so I don't have access to this miracle study. Either way, I can't get my head around why you would have used such a weak argument.

Your other sources in round two: - 4, 5, 6, 13, 7 - on governments without democratic mandate. I dismissed them all because because no#14 claimed that Obrador should have won the 2006 Mexican election, "he lost due to foul play". That was a lie, your source lied. It's well known that Karzai and Zardari are cheats but the general weakness in citability and the outright LIE of source 13 put you at a losing end.

(How in hell could you call Ortega legitimate but call Calderon a cheat; how did you think that through?)
Posted by socialpinko 2 years ago
socialpinko
May the best man win.
Posted by bluesteel 2 years ago
bluesteel
"A failed democracy is superior to a government that does more harm than good"

If your goal in this RFD is to help me debate better or understand your vote, please elaborate on this with arguments innomen made about why Ortega is a bad president and why you chose to disregard my arguments regarding Ortega's favorable economic policies.

If you're being helpful, I'd also like to understand why you considered innomen's sources better than mine.
Posted by Zetsubou 2 years ago
Zetsubou
**

...that Daniel Ortega is not [++] one of those benevolent dictators.
Posted by Zetsubou 2 years ago
Zetsubou
On too poor for democracy. The rule of a benevolent dictator can work and does work but understand that Daniel Ortega is not.

A failed democracy is superior to a government that does more harm than good.
Posted by bluesteel 2 years ago
bluesteel
thanks for the RFD. I'm impressed by how much you know about the inner workings of Nicaraguan politics and that you read that much of the U of K study.
Posted by Chthonian 2 years ago
Chthonian
Overall, this was a great debate. Well done, gentleman!
Posted by Chthonian 2 years ago
Chthonian
Pro does an exceptional job at establishing the facts behind why he believes the Nicaraguan election is flawed and potentially illegal, but doesn't provide a compelling reason why the US should not recognize it. It was unclear from Pro's argument if the act of not recognizing the election implied disengaging in diplomatic relations and no longer providing economy support. This would certainly have ramifications on the Nicaraguan populace and should have been addressed. Pro could have also done a better job at refuting Con's "Authoritarian Transition" claim by pointing out the major problems with Ortega's economic policies: 1) Chavez provides aid to Ortega that is handled by a private company Ortega created, which operates outside the government budget and public transparency; and 2) Ortega has a political apparatus, the Citizen Power Councils (i.e., party loyalists), which funnels money to those local governments that support him politically (from Con's round 2 #8 reference).

Con does an excellent job at providing a plausible framework for a pragmatic approach to US foreign policy, but had some weaknesses embedded in his argument. For example, Con may have overstated the concern of the US provoking a coup. The University of Kentucky study Con cited stratifies hostile signals into costly and cheap. The authors of this study defines cheap hostile signals as "verbal criticism of the government and withdrawing high-level diplomats", which are less credible because of the uncertainties in material support. I also think that Con's rebuttal of Pro's "Constitutionally illegitimate candidate" claim was weak. While Con may feel that the Bush v Gore ruling was an equally bad decision as the Nicaraguan supreme court ruling; it was only Ortega who circumvented his constitution, not Bush. So in my mind, the two decisions aren't even comparable.

In the final analysis I think Con made a slightly more convincing argument establishing and defending his position than Pro.
21 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Mirza 2 years ago
Mirza
innomenbluesteelTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Everything tied except arguments. The debate was incredibly close, and a very hard one to judge. My vote on arguments goes to innomen. The resolution itself is specific, but not detailed enough. What is the meaning of "recognize" and what are the effects thereof? See comment for a brief explanation.
Vote Placed by Zetsubou 2 years ago
Zetsubou
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Reasons for voting decision: Bluesteel's argument is horribly fatalistic, toleration for the sake of toleration. Summed up by innomen here: "Here my opponent is essentially saying, they (dictatorships) exist in places like this, get used to it and accept it." His "realism" is the unreasoned tolerance of that he KNOWS to be undesirable. He expects the USA to be complicit with Ortega because "sometimes we must deal with dictators". His reduction of the subject to simple "Realism vs. Idealism" was inaccurate.
Vote Placed by Raisor 2 years ago
Raisor
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Reasons for voting decision: I could almost cast my vote on the coup issue alone. Innomen never addressed this and bluesteel provides super specific evidence. Same goes for the "too poor for democracy" issue. Bluesteel just provides a very solid case that goes unrefuted on most fronts. Innomen you did a decent job. You just need some strong arguments/evidence in support of foreign policy that backs democracies.
Vote Placed by Chthonian 2 years ago
Chthonian
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Reasons for voting decision: See comments
Vote Placed by Maikuru 2 years ago
Maikuru
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct and grammar were appropriate from both parties. Sources were also used well by both sides and weren't deciding factors. If the crux of this debate is "What does the US gain by not recognizing the election results," Con comes out on top. The US may gain some moral standing but it harms itself and Nicaragua (economically and, as an extension, its citizens) in the process. Pro didn't persuade me as to why this trade-off was worth it.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 2 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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Reasons for voting decision: See Comments
Vote Placed by socialpinko 2 years ago
socialpinko
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Reasons for voting decision: This was a close debate. The part that pushed me towards Con though was the study showing that refusal by America to recognize a regime made a coup much more likely. Pro's response that a coup is not what he is specifically advocating ignored the fact that it is likely to happen if the U.S. refuses to recognize the results, whether that was what he had supported or not. Everything else was tied. Great debate by both.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
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Reasons for voting decision: In my eyes con never addressd the issue of the constitutional problems. So since that is probably the biggest part of the debate, well the best argument for pro then he wins. Con never addressed it really. Sorry to change my vote, but I looked over the scources and innomen gets that, I will give grammar to con though after this re-read
Vote Placed by Greyparrot 2 years ago
Greyparrot
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Reasons for voting decision: I can't make up my mind!
Vote Placed by thett3 2 years ago
thett3
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Reasons for voting decision: Commentos