The Instigator
DavInChains
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
airmax1227
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The US's decision to cease funding the UN's Unesco organization is fundamentally unjust.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
DavInChains
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/1/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,616 times Debate No: 19079
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)

 

DavInChains

Pro

I will argue my assent towards the Topic statement. Round 1 is for acceptance only.

Definitions/Clarifications:
• Unesco = United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; which aims to "contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and the human rights along with fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the UN Charter". (http://en.wikipedia.org...).
•Unjust = Not based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair.
•Funding = refers to the money due next month ($60m (£37m))
airmax1227

Con

Accepted. Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
DavInChains

Pro

Great, thanks a lot for accepting; this is my first debate. Good luck too.

First of all, I think that the US government's decision to end its funding was unjust and wrong because:

a) It directly counters the core principles of the US democratic system.
b) Appertains to self-interest and a political stance, at the expense of others.
c) An action that has profound negative impacts development projects, humanitarian aid and public improvement programmes.
d) Represents the immoral power of the elite; in essence the US is arguing against a choice made by the majority, yet due to its position within the global international order, it is able to 'strike back'.
e) Palestine is a tiny region! Why punish the whole world just to withhold development, support and aid to a tiny landmass?

My main argument is as follows:

The US government's decision to end its funding of the Unesco organization was made in retaliation to the outcome of the UN vote, which saw that out of 173 countries taking part, 107 voted in favour, 14 voted against and 52 abstained. The vote itself indicates the support of an overwhelming majority for the full admission of Palestine to Unesco. In essence, 62% of the countries were in favour, compared to only 8% against (without taking into account the neutrality of abstinence; 30%). As a democratic country, and one that prides itself in the core facets of liberty, freedom, individual rights, justice and equality, surely it should respect the free and democratic decision made by the UN? Consequently the US's decision to withhold funding can be interpreted as a retaliatory (and almost petty) action, in the face of democracy and justice.

As an analogy, one could say that when a vast group of supporters of a candidate in a hypothetical presidential race discover that their hopeful has been defeated democratically, they would decide to stop paying taxes to the government in retaliation. In effect; they would be striking a blow the institution that they oppose, but in the process, they would be harming the states spending power, negatively impacting aid, health care and support. The main effort of this analogy is to emphasise both the immorality of the US's decision and it's inherent illogicality. It shows to the world, and those critics of the US, that all is not what it seems. Perhaps the US's ideals of democracy and freedom (and the imperative respect of those aspects) are false? Perhaps they mean nothing other than empty and coercive political rhetoric? These are questions that I like to consider, for I honestly feel that the US's principles of freedom, liberty and equality are tantamount to none; the most advanced in the world, yet seem to be frequently forgotten.

Palestine, as a (currently) unrecognized entity or social conglomerate, represents both a tiny landmass and a relatively small population. Therefore, the financial impact of such a decision on Unesco's funding would be minimal. The funding would undoubtedly bring great social and economic improvements to the region, while in relative terms, having a small impact on the funding capacity of the organization. Unesco supports and funds a plethora of social, economic, humanitarian and cultural projects world wide, and Palestine would represent a small proportion of the total aid and assistance provided. So, if it was argued that the US's decision was based on a (politically motivated) need to prevent funding for Palestine, then it is essential to consider that they would be achieving their aims at the expense of numerous countries, and millions of people. The level of US funding - $60m (£37m) - represents a massive proportion of the total capital that Unesco receives; around 20% of its total budget. This strikes me as immoral and unjust. To pertain to a political stance (which in itself is also arguably immoral!)

Moreover, with the removal of ~20% of Unesco's total annual funds, millions of people will suffer and numerous projects and development programmes will suffer significantly. The year of 2010 saw developments made in countries ranging from the bedraggled and earthquake stricken country of Haiti, to the rapidly expanding and developing country of India, to name a few. Programmes saw the education of many, the protection of key areas within these countries, and the improvement in the living standards of many. These represent just a few of many improvements that Unesco brings to not only the developing world, but to a vast number of nations. Therefore I would like to point out the intrinsic and inherent immorality of the US's decision to withhold funding. They are countering development and advancement with the ambition of a Machiavel and the tactlessness of a revenge seeking bigot.

While I do not advocate any utilitarian approach, I do feel that the US should have taken a reasoned approach of adroitness when dealing with this issue. The US government should realise that their actions will be negatively impacting many, and should act accordingly. Therefore, even though the admission of Palestine to Unesco may oppose their fundamental political stance in the Middle East, they should accept it as fair. I am neither a devout supporter of consequentialism nor deontological ethics but I would say that the US should appertain to moral obligation and social duty; they should have retained funding solely because it would have the most positive impact on the greatest number; because it was the morally correct thing to do; and because it would result in a just and righteous eventuality or outcome. But then again, governments do not abide to morality. My point still stands, however, that the US's decision to cease funding the UN's Unesco organization is fundamentally unjust.

I look foreward with anticipation to your reply!
airmax1227

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for this debate, welcome him to DDO, and wish him good luck in his first debate.

This is a specific resolution within a complex issue that should allow for an interesting exchange.

My opponent has framed his initial arguments rather nicely which should allow for an organized rebuttal.

A) "It directly counters the core principles of the US democratic system."

The core principals of the US democratic system generally only apply to the US. While the US believes that spreading democracy is a good thing, this is only for the greater cause of stability. The US has historically tolerated and installed dictatorships that would maintain stability, specifically with regards to global markets and commodity prices. Human rights are often additionally useful to stability, but generally not as much an essential policy for regime support.

On a global scale, the US certainly isn't interested in a democratic system. Once again, the US tolerates (and funds) global diplomatic bodies like the UN while they promote stability, but time and again will veto or block anything not aligned with its interests. This is all typical of any sovereignty throughout history.

Furthermore, the US passed laws in 1991 and 1994 that forbid it's funding for any UN organization accepting Palestine as a full member. Abiding by this federal legislation, created within the US democratic system, would be far more reflective of its core values than ignoring it. [1]

<<<"As a democratic country, and one that prides itself in the core facets of liberty, freedom, individual rights, justice and equality, surely it should respect the free and democratic decision made by the UN?">>>

The US does not respect democratic actions simply because it implies, liberty, justice and equality. It respects them if they lead to those things. The current evaluation of the US is that this step, among many others to come, will indeed not lead to those things my opponent mentioned.

Democracy: When a functional Palestine is established the US has it doubts whether it will be a democracy.

Liberty: The levels of liberty are reflected by its likely lack of democracy.

Equality: The equal rights of homosexual and women will be in doubt.

Justice: I want to focus on this point further as it allows for a greater understanding of my argument.

Within the whole context of this issue we all need to ask ourselves what is the end goal that will bring Palestinians justice. At each step along the way of this process, at least 2 goals should be quite clear,

A) Rights for Palestinians
B) Security for Palestinians

Being that nearly half of all Palestinians would not be given citizenship in the current imagining of this state, those points are not realized, and an entirely new approach seems necessary. [2][3]

Being that the goal should be, at the very least, finding a solution to Palestinian suffering, and that this plan has yet to be even properly conceived, leads the US to be wary of funding such an entity. Not to mention that this entity likely would not reflect many of the values my opponent believes epitomizes the US.

Therefore this instance (UNESCO vote) does not reflect anything to do with US values other than the fact that it involved voting.

B) "Appertains to self-interest and a political stance, at the expense of others."

UNESCO was aware that this vote was going to lead to the U.S. cutting it's funding. It was aware and did so regardless. This vote would then certainly qualify as a political stance by UNESCO at the expense of others it wishes to help.
While the US certainly acts out of self-interest, I can't imagine the country that doesn't. While those interests haven't yet been fully defined, we shall certainly get to that later.

C) "An action that has profound negative impacts development projects, humanitarian aid and public improvement programmes."

UNESCO should have considered the value of this vote with regards to US funding. It is unfortunate US funding had to be lost, however UNESCO managed to be active from the time US president Reagan defunded it, until they, under President George W. Bush, returned to doing so.

<<<"They are countering development and advancement with the ambition of a Machiavel and the tactlessness of a revenge seeking bigot.">>>

I believe my opponent is misrepresenting the conduct of the US. The US is a democracy that functions by the rule of law and its own public opinion. As mentioned, the outcome regarding the loss of funding by this vote was determined nearly 20 years ago by US laws created in the early 90's.

D) "Represents the immoral power of the elite; in essence the US is arguing against a choice made by the majority, yet due to its position within the global international order, it is able to 'strike back'."

<<<"the US is arguing against a choice made by the majority">>>

It is indeed. The US, as it has done many times before, will defend its own interests among any global, voting majority. All countries would do exactly the same thing.

<<<"due to its position within the global international order, it is able to 'strike back'.">>>

I believe my opponent is once again misrepresenting the US position. The US public, through taxes, grants money to UNESCO out of their own good will. It would be nice to be thanked for this, but no US taxpayer expects it. In the mean time I think most US citizens would prefer not to be condemned for the equivalent of ‘not providing charity'.

US laws and foreign policy generally reflect US public opinion. In this case it follows as well that the core values of the average US citizen were not met when UNESCO decided to take this vote. Therefore the incredible generosity of the people of the United States shall not be forthcoming in the near future.

E) Palestine is a tiny region! Why punish the whole world just to withhold development, support and aid to a tiny landmass?

<<<"Palestine is a tiny region!">>>

When my opponent refers to ‘Palestine' what exactly is he referring to? It is a shame that much of the verbiage on this issue has become so politically loaded as to need clarification on what should be a very simple statement.

While ‘tiny' is a relative term, historic Palestine is a decently sized area, made up of several countries including Israel and Jordan. There are others who may refer to Palestine only as the land area Israel exists upon, while other say ‘Palestine' is a reference to Gaza and the West Bank. While in other instances such as the most recent debate regarding a Palestinian state, generally refers to it in place of only the West Bank, with Gaza not being included.

For the moment, I am going to assume my opponent is referring simply to the West Bank, and if so, we can agree, it is not a huge landmass by any standard.

<<<"Why punish the whole world just to withhold development, support and aid to a tiny landmass?">>>

The US fails to see how such an action contributes to the pragmatic approach of finding a solution to the conflict, thus does not reflect its interest in a meaningful way. With that goal in mind, this is not a reasonable action, especially for those people that my opponent insists pay for it.

I will stop here and respond to any issues I may have missed in future rounds as I am nearly out of space. I would like to thank my opponent for sharing his thoughts on this issue and look forward to his response.

[1] http://turtlebay.foreignpolicy.com...

[2] http://www.theblaze.com...

[3] http://www.commentarymagazine.com...
Debate Round No. 2
DavInChains

Pro

A very interesting rebuttal. Thanks for your promptness.

A) I would like to thank my opponent for pointing out these laws of 1991 and 1994. The US has actually consolidated this political stance into law. But is this enough to justify it?

I do not think so. The fact that laws legally ‘justify’ the policy does not necessarily mean that they are moral and ethical. In the same way that (and here I’m sure that my opponent will agree) while the racist segregation laws of the first half of the 20th century were a part of the US constitution, they were unquestionably wrong. They served not to justify or substantiate action and crude rhetoric, but rather represented deeply bigoted and immoral social conventions of the past. They were removed and amended in due course. Similarly, there is no reason to think that these laws of 1991 and 1994 won’t be amended or abolished. I will build on this point in a moment – (a)i) why these laws can be interpreted as illogical and (a)ii) the issue of domestic support.

Moreover, my opponent seems to induce that: abiding by this federal legislation, created within the US democratic system, would be far more reflective of its core values than ignoring it.”

I find this to be rather confusing. So is he/she stating that by ‘abiding’ to the laws they are fulfilling a sense of legal obligation? This would counter the point made by my opponent in that the US would “will veto or block anything not aligned with its interests”. The US would be withholding funding due to a legality, not a conscious choice of the government? Perhaps. Or is my opponent stating that by ‘abiding’ to the laws, the US would be pertaining to the traditional core values (i.e. freedom, equality and justice etc.)?

a)i)Within this web article, (see opponents first citation), a number of important points are raised regarding the peculiarity of the US’s decision, and the illogicality of the laws that seem to enforce the decision

Interestingly, Timothy Wirth from the article states“the implications of this [withholding funding] are really dangerous for the United Nations and the United States”. He has reason to believe this, for Palestine has also outlined its intentions to apply for membership of a number of other UN bodies, such as the UNIDO, WIPO and UNCTAD. Assuming it Palestine is able to succeed in these three other bodies (as is highly likely), the US would consequently cut funding to these organizations, “jeopardizing funding to programs that protect international intellectual copy rights and promote trade in the developing world” and would “hamper the United States ability to protect the existing interests of the U.S. music, film, and pharmaceutical industry”. These points indicate why it would be against the US’s financial, economic, social and political interests to end funding here.

a)ii) I will now move on to the dilemma of public support. My opponent has cited this contentious issue on a number of occasions, and I can see where he/she is coming from. If the US’s decision to actively hamper Palestine’s (arguably) justified ascension onto the political stage, did reflect the will of the American people, then maybe it would be constitutionally justified? Although I must stress that the tyranny of majority does in no way provide ethical or moral justification. May I also reaffirm that I did define ‘unjust’ in the preliminary round as: ‘not based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair’, rather than being a synonym for legal or justified, as is sometimes suggested in my opponents arguments.

But my point is this: did the US’s decision reflect the will of the American people? Well, one would believe that since it was carried out under US law, then it should.

“The US is a democracy that functions by … its own public opinion. [The outcome] was determined nearly 20 years ago by US laws created in the early 90's.”

However, I would like to contend this. At the time, in 1991 and 1994, perhaps it can be said that the US people did support such a stance, but a whole 20 years later? There is no way of knowing this unless certain opinion polls were conducted. The US carried out its decision to withhold funding without consulting the American people. Thus, the argument that it reflects their will is invalid.

To back up this point, I would like to emphasize the fact that the will of the American people does change frequently, in a sense, mirroring the inexorable dash from left to right seen in every successive US presidency. During the 20th century, American support for Israel (and currently lack of support for Palestine) would fluctuate, much like the ebb and flow of the tide. A good example of this could be support for Israel in 1973, after the Yom Kippur, which saw 54% of Americans state their strong support for Israel, while only 8% supported the Arab Nations in the Middle East. However, after a period of 9 years, we can observe a significant drop in support for Israel, down to only 32% in 1982, and a significant rise in the support for the Arab States, up to 28% from 8%. [1] This is very important, as I highlight the brevity and inconsistency of US support for Israel, and how the status quo from 20 years ago (1991 & 1994) cannot reflect the current stance today. This is why I believe that the US lacks the ‘political’ and ‘social’ justification to enact the laws.

B) “UNESCO was aware that this vote was going to lead to the U.S. cutting it's funding. It was aware and did so regardless.” This is an interesting perspective… but perhaps a bit biased? My opponent argues that UNESCO itself is to be held accountable for the consequent lack of funding.

It is essential for the UN to retain its current level of international credibility. Therefore it is important that the international organization does not buckle under the pressure of a single country (US). Also, to be fair, each country’s opinion should be equal in votes of this nature.

“While the US certainly acts out of self-interest, I can't imagine the country that doesn't” Indeed, but there is a point at which many countries stop. And anyway, I’m not arguing with this point.

C) “UNESCO should have considered the value of this vote with regards to US funding. It is unfortunate US funding had to be lost, however UNESCO managed to be active from the time US president Reagan defunded it, until they, under President George W. Bush, returned to doing so.”

There is no question that UNESCO will manage to be ‘active’ in spite of losing 20% of its funding. It just means that it will be 20% less effective.

“UNESCO should have considered the value of this vote with regards to US funding”. They have no choice. The UN abides, in relative terms to elements of justice and morality. They lack the authority and immorality to deny Palestine the opportunity to enter UNESCO. The decision did, does and will lie with the world stage.

D) "The US, as it has done many times before, will defend its own interests among any global, voting majority.”

My opponent seems to contradict himself on numerous occasions. On the one hand he/she states this, then on the other states that: “The US is a democracy that functions by the rule of law and its own public opinion”

I do not mind which viewpoint is adopted, because neither detract from the fact that the US’s actions were immoral and unjust.

E) Apologies, I should have actually added Palestine to the list of definitions. I view Palestine as a contiguous state neighboring Israel, which should bear resemblance to the borders that existed prior to the 1967 war. http://www.ccmep.org...

Here we can see an illustration of the various stages of Palestinian territory. I think we can agree that Palestine resembles the ‘tiny’ state in ‘Stage 3’ of the diagram; that is both Gaza and the West Bank.

[1] De Boer, Connie. “The Polls: Attitudes Toward the Arab-Israeli Conflict.” Public Opinion Quarterly 47.1 (1983): 121-31. JSTOR. Web. 3 Nov. 2011.

airmax1227

Con

It's my position that the US did NOT act ‘unjustly' in ceasing to continue to fund UNESCO. In other words, the US is justified in not continuing to fund UNESCO, as it is a necessary reaction to a broader issue.

I accept the definition of ‘unjust'. I simply find usage of the word ‘moral' to be unnecessary. Saying something is right or fair summarizes a point of view. I know what these words represent, and will not use semantics to debate them.

My opponent believes it's NOT right that the US cut UNESCO funding, for one, because it harms people. My opponent and I agree that harming people is not ‘right and fair'. It is my responsibility then to show how it is not harming people, or that the harm is due to the motivations of others.

Is this action (UN vote) motivated by something ‘right and fair'? Will it lead to something better for the Palestinians? Will it lead to the stated goal of a Palestinian state with rights and security for Palestinians?

If no: Then the action can't be considered right and fair as it perpetuates the conflict. Something far less ‘just' than what my opponent is accusing the US of.

A) Not reflective of US Values

My opponent points out the evolution of society dictating what is considered to be moral. This consideration of morality is reflected entirely by popularity (To points of moral absolutes regarding laws of slavery and racism. This is reflected in the flaws of the US constitution, showing it, and societies evolve to new standards).

This ‘new view' isn't the case regarding these laws or public opinion on Israel (the latter to be proven in this round). Thus my opponent's argument doesn't apply. The US may find laws allowing consumption of beef to be immoral in 300 years. But that time has yet to arrive, in either case.

Ai) Laws are illogical

Aii) Public Support

Ai)<<"Timothy Wirth…states "the implications of this [withholding funding] are really dangerous for the United Nations and the United States".>>

My opponent neglects to state that Timothy Wirth is the head of "the UN foundation". By citing this article to point to the laws in context does not mean I endorse all statements within the article.

Risks regarding private business and legality of such will secure other options, like direct funding and alternative options that will mitigate the lack of the established bureaucratic method, thus will not likely hinder US business interests substantially long term.

Even if it creates difficulty, these actions are intended to end the escapade now, before escalating into what would be a far greater inconvenience to US interests as it snowballs. This will be shown in the latter part of this round.

Aii) Public support

<<"However, I would…contend this…in 1991 and 1994, perhaps it can be said that the US people did support such a stance, but a whole 20 years later?">>

<>

My opponent lays the validity of this section on these statements. If it can be shown that US public opinion is consistently in support of Israel the past 20 years, the argument is negated.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org...

This link provides a detailed table showing clearly where US public support stands.

Gallup has done monthly opinion polls on this since the 60's. It can be seen by the table, overwhelming public opinion for Israel has never come close to shifting into support for Palestinians/Arabs. [2]

The US public didn't feel a unilateral Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN was in the best interest then, and equal to greater support for Israel would indicate a similar stance now.

In my opponent's final attempt to make this point he blatantly uses ‘selective data points' to imply waning/fluctuating support for Israel.

(I'm not accusing my opponent of doing this intentionally. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, but will prove the point is outright dishonest)

The data in the table confirms my opponent's numbers yet show they are statistical abnormalities followed by a return to expected (typical) statistical norms.

To illustrate the egregiousness of this ‘selective data' argument: He points to the results (though doesn't specify) of -Gallup poll OCT 1982-, results: 32% Israel- 28% Arabs, yet neglects to point out that one month before this, the results were 41-12. The six months following: 40-17, 49-12, 49-12, 49-12, 43-20, and 37-15.

Looking at the rest of the data no one could conclude what my opponent has misrepresented. This, unfortunately, speaks for itself.

He concludes:

<<"This is very important…the brevity and inconsistency of US support for Israel…how the status quo from 20 years ago…cannot reflect the current stance today.">>

This has now been debunked. US public support for Israel remains consistent without ambiguity.

<<"This is why I believe that the US lacks the ‘political' and ‘social' justification to enact the laws.">>

Perhaps my opponent now reconsiders. Regardless, this contention has been resolved, and will hopefully be dropped.

B) My opponent dropped most of this, and subsequent arguments that paint US as bigoted/mean-spirited. I assume this is due to the laws being cited, showing this action was NOT the US being simply reactionary, as asserted.

C) "…no question that UNESCO will manage to be ‘active' in spite of losing 20% of its funding…means that it will be 20% less effective."

The effects of UNESCO in my opponent's definition of ‘Palestine' would be negligible. The loss of effectives on a global scale is an unfortunate result that I will have defended as justified by the end of this debate.
My opponent argues my assertion that UNESCO could reconsider this vote:

<<<"They have no choice…the decision did, does and will lie with the world stage.">>>
An Executive board lets the vote proceed. They voted 40-4 (14 abstains). At this point, the results of the proper vote were a forgone conclusion.

It'll be interesting to see how executive boards of other UN organizations vote knowing the US stands by its core values. If they fear support wane from their greatest benefactor (and Canada [2]) then the US maintaining its position may prevent the charade from going further.

We can't know the results until the next executive board votes. Which may be followed by another, and so on, perhaps until someone finally asks the question: What's the point?

I hope my opponent offers an answer that presents a path to statehood with rights and security for Palestinians. Otherwise, US citizens are justifiably concerned about endless litigation that has no coherent, positive goal.

D) These aren't contradictory. If it's being implied that the US is violating a law, please cite it.

E) Palestine is Tiny

I accept my opponent's definition of Palestine, though I don't generally agree and think my opponent is mistaken for using it in the context of this debate.

Furthermore, I would like to point out that the ‘maps' my opponent links, have been debunked as propaganda. Here are five sources/opinions/illustrations proving as much: [4][5][6][7][8]

On the actual point about ‘tiny Palestine', it doesn't make a difference. The UNESCO vote is not an isolated incident that the US can allow because its cost will be minimal. It's intended to prevent the continuation of an effort that is counter-intuitive to a stated goal.

The action created a disincentive for this ruse to continue. Should threats of defunding be considered, we can hope one less route devoid of meaningful steps toward justice for Palestinians can be eliminated, and one step closer to a substantive one.

In summery, I believe I have negated all my opponent's points and shown that the US has acted in an effort to prevent a greater unjust action. This effort is intended to stop this costly and lengthy charade, and the laws/policy have now proven effective in doing so,

"Palestinians drop plans to Join other UN agencies." [3]

(Sources in comments)
Debate Round No. 3
DavInChains

Pro


This is an interesting approach to the debate. My opponent seems to relish in ‘debunking’ my points and is set on misconstruing my stance. It is a shame, because I was hoping to debate on matters of interest, rather than technicalities and nit picking. Anyway, I must act as such to defend my points from ad hominem critique.

Why does my opponent state that the “usage of the word ‘moral’… [is] unnecessary”? Well I would hasten a guess that it lies with the reason that morality divides the argument into two clear-cut sides. Right and Wrong. I believe that the US was unjust and thus wrong in its actions. My opponent seems to be sitting on the fence, and is clearly unable to definitively state that the US was right.


“…will not use semantics to debate them”. Discerning arguments semantically lies at the core of many debates. I have chosen the terms ‘unjust’ ‘moral’ etc. based on their explicit and innate meanings. I am also assuming that, as semantics also refers to derived meaning from logic, my opponent is attempting to avoid clear cut and logical reasoning.

Now, back to the points. Lets stick to it.

A)i) Apparently, I ‘neglect’ to state that “Timothy Wirth is the head of "the UN foundation”. I am assuming that my opponent is indicating that there would be an element of bias against the US regarding Wirth’s views. Wirth was also a US senator for a number of years.

However, because he is head of the UN Foundation, his views must be biased, right? In an attempt to construe my opponent’s subsequent paragraph, he so confidently discounts his opinion by saying that it “will not likely hinder US business interests substantially long term”. I would like to ask my opponent to elaborate on this point further, because without evidence and support, I fear that he is simply arguing ad hominem.

A)ii) My opponent’s accuses me of using ‘selective data points’, but clearly fails to grasp my underlying intentions when I used them. I was comparing two arbitrary points in time, and taking note of the net change in public opinion between the years.

He claims to have ‘debunked’ my point, saying:US public support for Israel remains consistent without ambiguity.”

Hold on a second. I find it very interesting how (according to his source), in 1991 Israeli support was listed between 59-64%, while within a few years had dropped significantly to between 38-42% in the years 1993-6. That is, in general approximation, a decrease of 20%. It then proceeds to fluctuate from around 40-50% throughout the early 2000s.

Is this “consistent without ambiguity”? If my opponent can find a single source that indicates that Israel received unambiguous and consistent public support, I would be most surprised. I think my opponents coarse and bigoted rebuttal fails to actually aid in the presentation of his view regarding the debates motion.

B) This is interesting. My opponent now accuses me here of portraying the US as “bigoted/mean-spirited”. I do not mention or even suggest anything of the sort. I thought my opponent was going to avoid arguments based on semantics, yet he deliberately misconstrues my points?

If you refer back to my ‘B’ section in Round 3, I criticize my opponents inferred slandering of the UNESCO body, where he indicates that they are to be held to blame, for spurring on the US’s decision to withhold funding.

So here it is suggested that the US is absolved from any moral guilt because they were provoked by UNESCO’s actions. If this is the stance that my opponent chooses to take (and I am assuming that he does, because he has deliberately avoided any reasonable rebuttal towards my section ‘B’ in Round 3, however, given that he has one more chance to in Round 4, I would ask him to elaborate on his point made in Round 2), then we can safely say that ‘the US’s actions were unjust, but it’s okay, because UNESCO provoked them.’ Once again, ambiguous, ‘on the fence’ ad hominem.

C) Yes, this is likely the case, as Palestine, (however my opponent deems it best to define), is an important recipient of UN based aid, and thus would not suffer greatly. But as I have been arguing throughout the debate, the immorality and unjustness of the US’s actions are to be noticed globally.

I state in Round 2: “Palestine would represent a small proportion of the total aid and assistance provided”. I don’t feel the need to elaborate any further.

And here we go again. “the US stands by its core values” I have expressed my views regarding this in prior arguments.

“I hope my opponent offers an answer that presents a path to statehood with rights and security for Palestinians.” I encourage you to stick to the motion. If you want a viable answer, I suggest you read some interesting papers and books by N. Chomsky and N. Finkelstien. They both offer reasoned and logical solutions and approaches to tackling the ‘mess’.

D) It is not being implied that the US broke any laws. Let me reaffirm this point.

“<<<"the US is arguing against a choice made by the majority">>>

It is indeed. The US, as it has done many times before, will defend its own interests among any global, voting majority.”

So here we are acknowledging that the US has, in terms of foreign policy and global politics, distanced itself from its core values of liberty, democracy, equality etc. in preference for self-interest. Yet. “The US is a democracy that functions by the rule of law”. I’m afraid I was not clear enough. The contradiction I see is the element of hypocrisy: the advocating of democracy within the US, and throughout the globe, yet the blatant (and unchallenged) dismissal of such core values, to satisfy self-interest. I think that here we can see a contradiction. I am not accusing the US of breaking a law of such, especially when the laws (I refer to the ones mentioned earlier) have been tailored to suit the countries aims. I argue that it’s immoral and unjust, not that it’s technically or legally ‘wrong’.

E) I used that map to illustrate the defined Palestinian region that I have chosen to use in this debate. I specifically stated that it ‘resembles’ Stage 3. One of the sources that you list claims to deconstruct the ‘propaganda’. I do not argue that some of the stages may indeed exaggerate and exacerbate the gravity of the Palestinian situation, but some are fair and accurate.

I quote from the source (which in itself doesn’t seem to be devoid of bias): this is an accurate representation of the partition plan”, and although the author bases his argument on the principle that the land was not Palestinian.

Look at the authors map. The caption reads that: “All of the land Israel gave up was in the pursuit of peace”. But this is clear and obvious bias and misrepresentation. However, I am not too bothered about these technicalities, I only intended to illustrate for my opponent my definition of Palestine. One could debate on this point alone.

In response to your final quote (a misleading one too!): “Palestinians drop plans to join other UN agencies.” I can only say this:

Rather than copying the article’s title, why not fairly represent what’s being detailed within. The reasons for Palestine’s decision to drop admission attempts lie with the fact that the pros don’t out weigh the cons. Palestine sees that the US will continue to unjustly withhold funding from UN bodies, and as the significance of Palestinian membership to these said organizations is mainly symbolic, they have adopted a different approach. It is later stated that Palestine would would instead focus its efforts on its bid for full U.N. recognition”. Where the US’s impact would not lead to financial consequences and repercussions on the UN bodies. I suggest you read the article.


“I have negated all my opponent's points”

Hardly, I think an element of arrogance comes across here. But whatever, one must fight fire with fire: my point still stands. The US acted unjustly in its decision.

airmax1227

Con

I'd like to apologize to my opponent. In an effort to respond to as much as possible, while presenting reasons that the US did not act unjustly, there is much that I am forced to delete from my responses to fit the debate restrictions.

Due to this, it's possible there are areas in which my points may be unclear, perceived as a slight to my opponent, or where I may be forced to simplify an idea. I'll attempt to remedy that in this final round. I would also like to thank my opponent for the debate as I have very much enjoyed debating this topic with him and would enjoy debating again in the future on another, should he be willing.

Since my opponent insists on the term 'moral', I shall continue to respond to it by request. To make this point, I need to ask, is something generally considered immoral ever justified? Is something generally considered to be wrong, ever possible to be right within a context?

To answer those questions one can't look at the result of one action to judge. Instead, as with all cases where my opponent insists on evaluating the morality of actions, we must look at motivations. It is only through the motivations that justify whether an action can be considered ‘moral'.

There is no doubt to my position, (in this debate) as my opponent asserts. I have made clear my position that actions by the US are right because they are motivated to counter the actions of motivations that are not right. My opponent can refer to wrong motivations as immoral if he insists, it is simply redundant, or points to an individual's personal beliefs, values and nothing more.

I'd also like to point out that it is the responsibility of my opponent to prove his case that the US is unjust, of which he has the burden of proof. It would be sufficient for me to simply cast doubt upon his assertions, thereby creating enough doubt via the resolution.

Rather than simply doing this, I am presenting an alternate point of view in which the US is not only ‘not unjust', but is motivated to prevent actions it perceives to be motivated by something ‘wrong'. In this way, I am not merely debunking my opponent's points, but doing so in an effort to provide a greater context in which the US is indeed justified.

For the sake of space, I am going to engage the important withstanding contentions in one missive.

A) The US is justified
B) The political motivations of this vote are unjust, justifying US action

And (C) as the conclusion.

C) The dubiousness of some my opponent's arguments reflect the similar reasoning for doubts the US has in supporting dubious motivations.

A&B)

Regarding this vote of whether or not Palestine should be recognized in UNESCO, my opponent has pointed out that it's symbolic, while still leaving these ‘symbolic motivations' unexplained.

The Palestinians have gained nothing. They have earned no rights, and earned no security. If the goal is rather to attain ‘Palestine' itself, these actions have provided no such path to that end in general, or any my opponent has explained. If such things were the motivation, more reasonable actions could take place. Being that UNESCO is an organization for science and education, (something entirely within the hands of Palestine domestically, and yet untended properly) this event has no practical meaning or result.

(Though globally, (and perhaps by design and motivation) paints the US/Israel with such words supplied by my opponent as, "the ambition of a Machiavel and the tactlessness of a revenge seeking bigot")

This is an easy stance for the US therefore, (it isn't motivated by world opinion) and one in which can hopefully be reflected by its action in future international arenas. That is: The US will not bow to the popular opinions of a world (that shares few of its values) for a short-term gain leading to a continuation of a conflict with greater consequences for the future.

The greater consequences?: The unfortunate status quo of ‘lack of freedom, rights and security for Palestinians', legally codified without any of the institutions necessary to counter the continued lack of rights and security for Palestinians.

That my opponent can endorse such a path and consider it ‘moral', once again reflects the subjectivity of the word.

So what were the actions motivated by? They would appear to be motivated as a symbolic gesture to allay the nationalistic enthusiasm the Palestinian President had instilled while saying statehood for Palestinians was imminent. (He later realized "full UN recognition" politically impossible) So what did it achieve? Well it forced the US to defund UNESCO for the sake of a popularity contest. (Is this moral?)

Throughout this debate I have tried to get my opponent to cite clearly what the motivations are, yet he does not. There were many opportunities for my opponent to rebut my statements questioning the validity of these actions, and yet he couldn't.

He avoids answering any of the questions I repeatedly ask throughout this debate. How does this lead to Palestinian statehood? How do Palestinians gain rights and security from this? etc. (I had offered this so that we could evaluate motivation). It is clear why my opponent doesn't attempt to respond to these questions: Because he can't without bringing into question whether the vote itself was ‘moral and just'.

By the end of the debate we agree it is symbolic (But to what end?) and now knowing the actions of the US have been successful, it has negated my opponents points regarding risks to US interests, having preserved them from further (and future) risk, by standing resolutely.

C)

I apologize for engaging in the tangential point of defining Palestine. However the greater point is that nothing in the arena of this discussion should be taken for granted. My opponent put up an (not sourced) image of maps often (and specifically) intended to be misleading, and did similarly with the sourcing of his polling data. When we are pointing to data which can easily be linked to a source, and the lack of which can be construed as an attempt to mislead, it can't go ignored in a debate.

As I said earlier, I am not accusing my opponent of doing this intentionally. If he is unable to properly link his sources and is presenting data similarly to how it is presented to him, I would be unable to assume his motivations (and call him immoral). Nonetheless the manifestation is clear.

My opponent insists on pointing to the data again, to the point of it nearly becoming insulting. To justify this he says: "I was comparing two arbitrary points in time".

Looking at the table we can see [results: SEP 1982] is not arbitrary. It is chosen because it represents a statistical anomaly and is intended to intentionally mislead (propagandize). If my opponent wanted to prove opinion trends, he could simply look at the results per decade (as opposed to ONE month reinforcing his view), which prove his source is undeniably incorrect and intended to misinform.

(At the bottom of the table provided by ‘The Jewish Virtual Library', verified by the polling company responsible for it, linked in the previous round.)
80's: 45.76 – 14.59
00's: 51.46 – 14.67

The ‘constantly changing' US view my opponent purports on this issue results in a .08% increase of support for Palestinians over 3 decades, with nearly 6% increase for Israel.

(I will not supply further data and sources that my opponent requests (though it is available). He incorrectly attributes this data to me in his last round, but these polls were by HIS standard, as it was HE who cited them. I ONLY added the source and context)

And so I am left with this question:

Can a view that requires dubious labels, intentionally misleading data, and a conscious effort to ignore the greater motivations and context, be indicative of what is supposedly, ‘moral and just'?

It shouldn't be, and it isn't.

I may not have a sufficient number of words to undoubtedly establish ‘truth', but I have more than enough to show deceit.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DavInChains 5 years ago
DavInChains
But....... how is funding humanitarian aid (incl. education development) to Iran a bad thing?

In time, the people will realise that the autocratic islamist regime in Iran is a bad thing... and they'll rise up against it, like in Libya and Egypt. Without education, aid, development and an exposure to western societies etc. how will they do it?

This would be a great debate topic!
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
this is a mixed bag, funind UN means funding things like Iran indirectly, but it also helps the lesser counties like the congo or ghana.
Posted by airmax1227 5 years ago
airmax1227
Don't worry about it DavInChains. It happens... Hope you enjoyed your first debate. I enjoyed debating with you, and wish you good luck on future ones.
Posted by DavInChains 5 years ago
DavInChains
Yes, I'm really sorry about that - I wasn't familiar with the voting system at all, and I just left it at the default.

I know for next time :D
Posted by airmax1227 5 years ago
airmax1227
Thank you Kinesis... I agree, this debate probably isn't the easiest read due to length, and would have benefited from a longer vote period.
Posted by Kinesis 5 years ago
Kinesis
I should clarify, however, that even if this doesn't get many votes, lots of people have read it judging by the view count and you both did a very good job. What I've read so far has been informative.
Posted by Kinesis 5 years ago
Kinesis
It takes most people several days to read a debate this long. It may have been a mistake for the voting period to be only a few days.
Posted by airmax1227 5 years ago
airmax1227
My mistake.. the sources should instead be listed as such:

[2a] http://www.gallup.com...
[2b] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
[3] http://www.cnsnews.com...
[4] http://translate.googleusercontent.com...
[5] http://www.masada2000.org...
[6] http://208.84.118.121/pf_maps.php
[7] http://cifwatch.com...
[8] http://www.americanthinker.com...
Posted by DavInChains 5 years ago
DavInChains
My opponent might find this debate rather interesting. It certainly has shaped my views quite a lot.&#8232;
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by drafterman 5 years ago
drafterman
DavInChainsairmax1227Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Clincher for me: "The contradiction I see is the element of hypocrisy: the advocating of democracy within the US, and throughout the globe, yet the blatant (and unchallenged) dismissal of such core values, to satisfy self-interest."