The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

The USA needs to sort itself out before trying to help everyone else.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/11/2015 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 739 times Debate No: 82419
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I, Pro, will be arguing that the US needs to step out of the global spotlight and focus on its own people before giving aid to other countries. Con will be arguing that the US's support on the global stage is necessary and by pulling out troops and ceasing financial aid will be economic suicide.


World superpower: A nation or group that has great economic influence and/or militaristic strength. A nation or group that can give aid to other countries and care for it's own people as well. Synonymous with "world leader."
Poverty level/line/rate: The approximate bottom line of income needed to secure life sustaining necessities.
Financial aid: Giving significant funds to another nation/group without expecting return payment.
Military aid: Supplying troops/munitions to other countries or conflicts that the US was not priorly engaged in.

The USA is no longer a world superpower and we can't act like it anymore. We'll sooner run to another countries aid than to our own people's. Our poverty level is currently over 16% (as of 2013)[1] yet we still send financial aid to 96% of all countries (as of 2012)[2]. We (the US) can't afford to provide 96% of the world with aid when our own people still struggle to stay afloat. A 16% poverty rate doesn't include the middle class working from paycheck to paycheck and still trying to give back to the community. It doesn't include the terminal patients that only want to be healthy once again, even for just an hour.
We need to pull out of other nations, no more military aid or financial aid until we're stable again. Our cities are crumbling and we seem more worried about other nations than our own.




This debate is one of pragmatics and humanitarian morality, essentially asking whether or not the United States should promote national sovereignty above global humanitarianism. Essentially, this ideology stems from a foreign policy of interventionism, which is how this debate is to be argued. An isolationist US would be one that does not intervene where needed, and instead focuses solely on national prospects. Basically, the US should pursue a foreign policy of interventionism (rather than isolationism) to compensate for humanitarian needs worldwide. Argumentation should center around pragmatics and morality, where humanitarian welfare is the optimal metric.


For years, we’ve recognized the state of US foreign policy, and perceive it as crippled -- stretching from one extreme (under Bush) to another (under Obama). It’s widely accepted Bush did far too much and Obama has not done enough to exercise military presence internationally. However, a fix to this problem wouldn’t be total isolationism, and only working on internal issues. Instead, as Wall Street Journal reminds us, “...we need… a foreign policy that is just right—neither too ambitious nor too quiescent, forceful when necessary but mindful that we must not exhaust ourselves in utopian quests to heal crippled societies.” [1] Again, that doesn’t come from completely refraining for actively engaging in foreign policy affairs, but it also doesn’t mean we should exert our powers when uneccessary. The balance can be found with a measured policy of interventionism, which is how I aim to prove the US should maintain its presence in foreign countries as well as in the US.


Contrary to popular belief, an interventionist foreign policy actually spurs nationalism in the US. Opponents claim by intervening elsewhere, we forfeit ourselves. However, this isn’t true. The proliferation and exertion of US power in international affairs encourages citizens their nation is powerful and can keep itself at the top of global powers. Moreover, the assistance which can be provided can facilitate improved international relations. The more we help, the more friends we make. The more allies we have, the more national pride we achieve by exercising international peace. In the past, similar interventionist actions have facilitated national pride. For example, the War of 1812 promoted patriotism in the US in its ultimate conclusion. Yuhao Wu of Osaka University explains “ The United States emerged out of the War of 1812 with an increased sense of national identity.” [2] Regardless of overall success, it still produced national pride the likes of which the US had not previously witnessed. It was it’s first interventional endeavor, and though not broadly successful, fabricated patriotism and nationalism. Their victories in the war, however small, demonstrably increased their loyalty and pride. The war concurrently generated our current national anthem, the “Star-Spangled Banner.” [3] Essentially, the exercise of global dominance is a major cause of nationalism and increased patriotic pride. This results in national unity, which can only serve to heal a wounded national division.


It’s generally accepted that heightened security will lead to less crime. This theory, time and again, has been demonstrated true. Crime rates in the US since 1990 have fallen [4], and the Economist points out one pivotal reason why. “Better policing is a more convincing explanation than bigger prisons: the expectation of being caught undoubtedly deters criminals.” [5] The WSJ again supports this concept by quoting “techniques that emphasized policing by foot patrols and the strict enforcement of laws against petty crimes and “social incivilities”—tended to register sharp drops in crime and improvements in the overall quality of life.” [1] The ideology of policing and the practice thereof has a substantial and verifiable positive effect on criminal activity. By intervening in a police-like manner, we achieve the same logical results. A study by Emma Stewart of the University of Bradford comes to the same general conclusion, that conflict prevention can be a resultant of interventionist foreign policy. [6] Terrorist organizations realizing the US is caring for its allies and neutral territories alike will ultimately dissuade activities against international law. Worldwide, if we prioritize global concerns, we help the a larger pool of individuals, which renders interventionism a more utilitarian policy.


There is great need for a world power to help international rule be kept in check and assist in crisis that arise. Conflicts, even in the past year, have plagued the earth -- and it’s important to note the US can help in them all -- including tyrannical acts by the Islamic State, Boko Haram, Ukraine, and Syria are only a few of the plethora of horrific crisis that currently (or very recently) plague our world. A superpower like ours is not one incapable of providing the means to achieve the ends of helping the adversely affected societies and individuals. However, without an interventionist foreign policy of policing the world, we can’t provide them with the assistance they so desire and of which they are in dire need. Even in the past, intervention has been necessary. [7] Moreover, international law mandates intervention. The Council on Foreign Relations shows, “There are, to be sure, lots of international laws on the books prohibiting genocide, land mines, biological weapons and other nasty things. But without enforcement mechanisms, they are [...] meaningless.” [8] If no nations enforce international law, it’s illogical to abide by it. The US is well-equipped in doing so, and must therefore assume the position. Moreover, the world relies on the US for assistance in times of egregious circumstances. [9] Furthermore, there’s implications of detriments subsequent of our ill-decisions of not helping. The Atlantic demonstrates the possibility in 2013. “A bloody, grinding stalemate in Syria will not only empower Islamist extremist groups, who are currently still limited in their support and power inside Syria. It will also increase tensions in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq. Both scenarios have catastrophic consequences for regional stability and for the position of the United States in the Middle East.” [10] Their prediction is dangerously accurate. This calls for US intervention globally to promote humanitarian welfare.


Some individuals may express their distaste on ethical grounds, but this is inherently false. The ethical case for interventionism of global concern prioritization is quite strong. First of all, interventionism is justified simply due to the fact of defense of aggression. Dealing with a problem before it becomes a personal one is sufficient grounds to intervene when deemed necessary. Australian philosopher C. A. J. Coady expresses “The power of the defense-against-aggression model can be derived from the moral appeal of a simple model of legitimate self-defense.” [11] Self-defense is acceptable and ethically necessary, and the following logic is cross-applied to international affairs. Intervention is ethically justified on the grounds of self-defense logic. However, Coady also further establishes two forefront reasons as to why intervention is justified. (1) Threats to International Peace, and (2) Massive Violation of Human Rights. Both of these reasons are logical and present in cases of intervention.


The position of interventionism can act as a gateway for the spread of democracy and other US ideals, which is a huge benefit. Democracy gives rights to the people, and should be at the forefront of our foreign policy concerns, even if not on a military level, but on an economic basis. Najtev Dhillon of Brookings Institute expresses agreement for this concept. “Democracy is hugely important… we are seeing some of those [democratic] movements emerge, and we ought to support them.” [12] Economic prosperity can become subsequent if we prioritize development of democracy by way of maintaining our presence as an interventionist super power. These benefits are only the follow-up of one policy: interventionism and the prioritization of global concerns.


It’s imperative to recognize the ramifications of the lack of interventionism and global prioritization. It promotes nationalism, is a prevention of infringement on international law, is necessary, is ethical, and can be utilized to promote democracy and the proliferation of Western ideals. Vote CON














Debate Round No. 1


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Debate Round No. 2


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Debate Round No. 3


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Debate Round No. 4


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Debate Round No. 5
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Vote Placed by famousdebater 2 years ago
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