The United States Federal Government should favor the MAD policy over disarmament.
Debate Rounds (4)
Just a note to voters: the ELO minimum has been set to 2500.
Thank you to lannan13 for accepting this debate! I've been on the site and interacted with you quite a few times, but we've never actually sat down and had one of these. I look forward to it.
There are a few important terms in the resolution, so I will do my best to define them.
The United States Federal Government: Relatively straightforward. In this case, since we're referring to aspects of the military capacity of the U.S., we're necessarily referring to what should be done by the U.S. Legislature and President. However, since this is a "should" debate, we won't be discussing the means by which they make this possible, but rather comparing two separate plans of attack and seeing whether the outcomes are preferable.
MAD: An abbreviation for Mutually Assured Destruction, MAD is defined as "a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of high-yield weapons of mass destruction by two or more opposing sides would cause the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender. It is based on the theory of deterrence where the threat of using strong weapons against the enemy prevents the enemy's use of those same weapons." [http://en.wikipedia.org...] In other words, this strategy focuses on the probability of mutual destruction that results from nuclear launch to prevent the usage of nuclear weapons.
Nuclear Disarmament: "Nuclear disarmament refers to both the act of reducing or eliminating nuclear weapons and to the end state of a nuclear-weapon-free world, in which nuclear weapons are completely eliminated." [http://en.wikipedia.org...] Rephrased, this position advocates for a reduction in nuclear weapon stockpiles without a subsequent increase.
Note that our positions are spelled out clearly from the outset. It is Pro's burden to support the resolution, and as such, to support a significantly stronger emphasis on MAD as compared with disarmament. Con's burden is to negate the resolution, requiring that I support that the emphasis be placed on disarmament over MAD. To be clear: neither of our positions requires that we advocate one strategy in the complete absence of the other, but rather for strong preference.
As a result of these burdens, the overall burden of proof will be shared.
This debate will have a total of 4 rounds. I leave it up to my opponent to decide whether he will kick off this debate in the first round, or wait for me to start it next round, requiring that he use this round solely as acceptance and clarification. If he chooses the former, Pro must type "No round as agreed upon" or some variation in the final round and not include any arguments or rebuttal therein. Apart from that, the usual rule of no new arguments in the final round still applies as always, and the opening rounds may include no rebuttals, in order to balance the debate.
And with that, I await my opponent's acceptance and a good debate!
In order to fully explore this topic, however, we need to understand how well MAD works by comparison. In order to understand why we shouldn't focus our efforts on MAD, I'll present some circumstances where it has/will become ineffective. MAD is entirely doctrine, and Pro needs it to be correct in order to get anywhere with his case. Any holes in that analysis effectively leave the door open for nuclear war and the massive harms that accompany it. So any of the following points being true is reason enough to reject MAD. I'll start going through these points in this round, and add to them next round.
1. It doesn't apply to non-rational actors. Whether irrationality results from hatred, desperation, or mental derangement, leaders aren't always rational. Whether we're talking about Islamic fundamentalism and anger towards Israel, or a North Korean leader whose cult of personality makes him out to be the equivalent of a god, MAD doesn't apply to everyone. MAD encourages these actors to get nuclear weapons under the faint hope that they will become less dangerous, when in reality they become far more so. Disarmament seeks to prevent this acquisition and remove those that they have.
2. Even if they are rational, there is sometimes a logical reason why an attack would do more harm than a counterattack:
"Twenty-two Arab states comprise more than 5 million square miles and more than 350 million people. Israel has just 8,000 square miles and 7.6 million people... Israel must possess weapons so powerful that even a united attack by all aggressors in the region is overwhelmingly discouraged."
Again, pushing for MAD over disarmament allows countries to make these value judgments and determine a potential benefit for themselves, as well as forcing mass acquisition of nukes by many nations placed under duress.
3. MAD is a policy based off of psychology rather than logic. The argument often goes that MAD has kept us safe before, so it will continue to do so. However, as technologies have gotten more destructive, simpler to deliver, more accurate, and detection has improved, MAD as a concept is disappearing. Only reducing access to those destructive technologies can improve long-term outcomes.
4. Ownership of nuclear weapons is never absolutely safe. The Cold War was littered with occasions where nuclear launch became exceedingly likely. We cannot function based on the mentality that the presence of nuclear weapons will suffice as a preventative measure - if anything, an increased preponderance of these weapons makes the danger that much larger. All of those nuclear scares occurred when just the US and USSR were jockeying for power, both nations with extensive resources and tremendous bureaucracies in place to reduce the capacity of any individual to launch a nuclear weapon. And they still came close to nuclear annihilation at least 20 times.
5. We should be concerned about the possibility that any given nation that has nuclear weapons may find reason to use them. However, the bigger concern is accidental. A perceived threat from another nation could lead to a retaliatory launch, accidental explosions could occur, they could be used by an unauthorized source, as the result of a simple mistake or technological error, or even basic human fallibility. Even with "safe" systems like those in the UK and US have endured several close calls with accidental nuclear explosions, many of which remain classified. W e cannot expect every nation that acquires this technology to also institute a number of fail safes to prevent these from happening, yet MAD encourages that acquisition.
6. Rogue states controlling nuclear weapons are extremely dangerous. In particular, Iran is considered a major threat to Israel as a result of a number of threats made by the Iranian leadership  and its proximity, and North Korea (NK) is a major threat to South Korea due to their ongoing border disputes during this long-suffered armistice. They're also using nukes to threaten other neighbors. The inherent destructive power of having a nuclear weapon presents a significantly more dangerous threat than conventional arms alone, which increases their coercive powers over other nations. The threat of nuclear weapons has been such that NK has been able to bilk resources out of the western world on the assumption that they will abide by long term changes that they routinely ignore.
But they can always launch them. As their economy continues to falter, NK's desperation and potential collapse makes them all the more likely to turn their threats into actions in order to show the world that they are serious. The possibility that its collapse could lead to the distribution of such technologies to other nations, and further that this could lead to their spread to non-state actors, is a big concern, as this increases the likelihood of their eventual usage. The collapse of a nation can create a black market for their distribution (and of the expertise required to make them) to other nations or even non-state actors, as was the case in the wake of the USSR's collapse.
7. Speaking of non-state actors, the presence of more countries with more nuclear weapons increases the chance that they will end up in the hands of rebel, criminal and terrorist groups. In nations like the US, this is because it increases the number of storage sites and creates more opportunities for mistakes to be made. But that assumes that they're stored securely to start. Whether this is the result of a lack of technology, national instability, or government corruption, this produces "loose nukes," which can fall into the wrong hands. This is especially problematic, as non-state actors have no constituencies to look out for, are not constrained by laws, and aren't confined to national borders, thus removing the "mutual" part of MAD.
It doesn't require instability either, just enmity. Iran and Syria are reportedly engaging in the practice of smuggling weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon in order to injure Israel without having to engage in war. With Iran's extensive history of ignoring deterrence in this transfer of weapons to these groups, it becomes concerning to think about the possibility of their turning over a nuclear weapon. What's more, it functions in their defense - Iran would see the possibility of a preemptive attack from Israel as something to prepare for, and as such, could easily utilize a proxy terrorist group as an insurance policy. In any case, the more nuclear weapons they have, the more likely Iran is to outsource their usage. Only if they disarmed would they be unlikely to entrust the few they have to external bodies.
I hand the debate over to Con to establish his case.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Null vote, as requested. With that said, I really enjoyed reading Con's opening arguments, and would have enjoyed seeing this debate fully fleshed out. Regardless, good effort Con, and the best of luck to Pro in whatever personal matters arose.
Vote Placed by Jonbonbon 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I read con's case so I may as well just write down a review on it even if I don't allocate points. Con's case was very strong, and it consisted of a multitude of arguments all backed up by strong evidence to back up the position that MAD may not work in all cases, which would lead to severe consequences. Now, this case did not have to weather any storms, and I'm sure that with the right arguments, pro may have been able to defeat this case. However, the only problem I found with it was that to me it felt more like a list than a persuasive argument. Granted, it was a very compelling and persuasive list. However, I think maybe a little bit more flow could be added between points or some sort of transition statements could have been better. Aside from that though, it was a very strong and well thought out case.
Vote Placed by MyDinosaurHands 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Liked Con's opening. There were some really good points in there that I hadn't thought about before.
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