The Instigator
Rousseau
Pro (for)
Losing
27 Points
The Contender
stk1990
Con (against)
Winning
29 Points

The United States Is a Faltering Nation.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/7/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,437 times Debate No: 1374
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (18)

 

Rousseau

Pro

Well, I'd be more than happy to get further in depth after my opponent brings up his points, but here are mine:

The United States is on the decline. This is because of several reasons, not all of which are necessary for a downfall, but just contribute.
1. Lack of serious global competition, power-wise.
2. Severe Lack of Soft Power, and Hard Power that may be faltering.
3. Enemies that are transboundary and practically invisible.
4. Dependence on Foreign Oil and Oil in general.
5. Economic stagnation.
6. Policing policy failing.
7. Usurpers, surpassing us in areas we used to excel at.

I'll explain them.

1. Lack of serious global competition, power-wise.

Competition is the universal reason that empires stay empires. Let me clear this up a little bit. I don't mean terrorists or barbarian tribes or any such mall group. I mean a Persia to our Greece. Something to unite us under one. Isolationism, when recuperating, is fine and dandy. However, when faced with long bouts of Isolationism, well it is empirically proven that a empire will become weaker and more divided. A threat is needed to prolong any empire, specifically one that is united behind a single facet (unlike terrorists). I can go into how it is empirically proven if you disagree

2. Severe Lack of Soft Power, and Hard Power that may be faltering:

I'll just define Soft Power and Hard Power real quick. This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Soft Power: Soft power is a term used in international relations theory to describe the ability of a political body, such as a state, to indirectly influence the behavior or interests of other political bodies through cultural or ideological means.

Hard Power: Hard Power is a term describing power obtained from the utilization of military and/or economic power to influence the behavior or interests of other political bodies.

The influences of Hard Power and Soft Power are kind of parallel to the influences of a Bully and a Friend (respectively), if that helps at all.

3. Enemies that are transboundary and practically invisible

Terrorists hate us the most out of any other country. Kind of self-explanatory. I'd like to mention also, the Latin Americas. The Monroe Doctrine is failing, and the rise of the Anti-American left seeming eminent, the Latin Americas need to be watched.

4. Dependence on Foreign Oil and Oil in general.

Again, not much to explain.

5. Economic Stagnation.

http://www.nytimes.com...

6. Policing policy failing

I guess this goes back to Iraq and all the other messes. I'd love to see a link or evidence that is contradictory.

7. Usurpers, surpassing us in areas we used to excel at.

This ties in a little bit with Hard/Soft Power, but basically this point is about Russia and China being on the rise while the U.S. is falling. Specifically because those two countries are economically skyrocketing (at least China) and making alliances with other countries.
stk1990

Con

1. The United States does have serious global competitors. We have China, which is growing at an incredibly fast pace economically and militarily. We have India, which is growing also. We have Russia, which is on the rebound and is also turning into a competitor. I agree that if a nation lacks a competitor it will be on the decline. But I disagree with your assertion that terrorism is not a competitor that unites Americans. While they may be disorganized, decentralized, and not very damaging to the American homeland, Americans are afraid of terrorism. While Americans do not agree on the best way to fight terror, we know that they are the enemy. And even those who wish to pull out of Iraq are for the most part not isolationists. It's only the Ron Paul whackos that want to return to isolationism. Most anti-war people want America to play a major role in world affairs.

2. Might I remind you that most people in the world respect America, just not it's current leaders. Even Hugo Chavez says he loves America - the America of Abraham Lincoln and Dr. King. Once this President's term is over, this blemish on American foreign relations called the Bush administration will just be history. So yes, we are bullies right now in Iraq, but were we not friends to most of the world, why would the entire world have come to our side (including Iran) after 9/11?

3. What you're saying is more a potential threat than an actual threat. Terrorists, so far, have not done much to harm America. It is interesting, and this goes back to point number one, that the percieved danger of terrorism is much greater than the actual danger of terrorism. In terms of the Latin Americans, the illegals are looking for jobs, not to take back the Mexican Cession. But get back to me in 40 years, because I do worry that might change.

4. The dependence on foreign oil is a problem. But it is on the road to being solved. How do I know? When all major presidential candidates, including far-right wingers like Mitt Romney, advocate getting us off foreign oil, that's in response to an electorate that wants alternative energy. If the people and the leaders want it to happen, it will.

5. I don't think you can cite one article and say that the United States is on a road of consistent, steady economic decline.

6. Our policing policy is not working as well as it could be, but that doesn't mean it is failing. And even if it were, it doesn't mean that America is on the decline.

7. So here you agree with me that Russia and China are growing and making alliances. This is a danger to American hegemony, but mind you that the United States still has NATO and a whole host of non-NATO allies to back her up. The United States is still powerful and in a fair fight would probably be able to destroy China and Russia simultaneously. It would cost a lot.
Debate Round No. 1
Rousseau

Pro

Rousseau forfeited this round.
stk1990

Con

That's alright, I've been away from the house lately, so I have not been able to check this. I look forward to your response.
Debate Round No. 2
Rousseau

Pro

1. On this point you basically argued we had global competitors in four groups: China, Russia, India, and Terrorists.

Well, as for the first three, I agree they COULD fill the role we need, but the problem isn't that we lack candidates; the problem is that we lack a centric enemy. All of them could oppose us, and be a uniting enemy. The problem is, they aren't. None of them have done anything that has aggressive connotations towards us, and none of them are likely to.

As for terrorists, I don't believe that terrorism has the desired effects. Sure, they oppose us, but the distinction that must be made, is that they oppose us indirectly. The type of enemy America, and superpowers in general, are good at fighting, are ones that oppose the power directly. Enemies that use indirect methods of conflict; such as suicide bombing, being transboundary and not associated with just one country, or overall being hard to strike down with force, are not the countries we need conflict with to jump-start us. Let's look at some examples. The time when America arguably became a world power was right around WWI. It was at this time, that we could face a single enemy (Central Powers) and grow into a stronger nation. I believe this point is relatively evident, and is empirically proven. The next example I'd like to look at would be Rome. Now obviously, Rome didn't face terrorists. The closest parallel (in tactics and name) would be the barbarian tribes that plagued them, and eventually played a key role in Rome's downfall. However, when Rome faced a single nation to unite against (Carthage), Rome succeeded and grew. Thus, I think my point is historically clear, and empirically proven.

2. Well, this point, in theory sounds good. However, there are two problems. First, I'd like to see some evidence that says that your claim is true, and that if we get a good leader, everyone will love us. I don't think that is the case at all. I think that many countries just don't like our culture or the way we do things. Secondly, assuming the point is true, in order for it to matter we need to assume we will get a good president. Well, I guess that isn't strictly true. For your point to be valid, we need a president that can appeal to countries that don't like us now. Obviously, neither of us can predict the future, but I don't believe any candidates that are likely to be elected will fill this role anyway. I don't think you can give any guarantee we will get a president that fills the shoes of, Abraham Lincoln or Dr. King. Such leaders are one in a million, a needle in a haystack. I'd argue that the current nominees won't face up to well with the countries that don't like us. First off, I'd like to make a disclaimer. The points I bring up aren't personal problems I see with the candidates, rather logical issues I can foresee. First off, Clinton is a woman. This in no way is a statement on her leadership ability. Rather, I'd like to bring into focus that it's pretty well proven that the Middle East isn't too fond of women in politics (see Bhutto assassination). Clinton would have the same issues. A fundamental lack of respect would ensue, and not help us in the least. I see the same potential problems with Obama, although to a lesser extent and only being a possibility. This probably wouldn't happen in the Middle East, but the point stands. Again... no guarantee of a good leader coming from either of the Democratic leaders. As for the Republicans, most of them are strikingly similar to George Bush, except maybe Giuliani (who doesn't have much of a chance any more). Regardless, I think a Democratic presidency is rather imminent.

3. The point is that they have some threat. Whether or not they are acting on it, terrorists are surprisingly good at holding a chunk of our attention. Just another enemy that, should they have the chance, is likely to act against us. This helps lead me to the conclusion that on the current road, America is slipping off its throne.

4. The real point on this wasn't whether or not we are prioritizing weaning ourselves off foreign oil, but rather if we can stop our dependency at all. Just because candidates advocate getting off foreign oil, doesn't mean it can happen. Get some evidence that says we can, and we can talk from there. I for one, just simply don't think we can do so in a timely manner. By the time we do get off it, it may be too late.

5. http://www.americandaily.com...
http://www.cambridge.org... - You'll just have to read the quotes on this one, as they talk about American Economic Decline as a foregone conclusion, rather than a theory.

Michigan is in a declared recession, debt per capita is harking back to the 1940s (the days of war), and unemployment is at its highest in awhile. Doesn't sound so peachy keen to me.

6. Bring up some evidence that says our police policy is a success, as that's the only real point to negate the point. As for my burden of proof, I'll just cite the example of Iraq. Regardless of how it is going now, overall it hasn't been a success. We went in for Nukes, and 4 years later we're still there, even though we know there aren't nukes. North Korea wasn't exactly a success, and any wins weren't resulting from us. All in all, our policing policy isn't a success, and is arguably failing. You say it wouldn't be an indicator of the U.S. failing, but I disagree. I think that us trying to police the world just contributes to our lack of Soft Power and takes more of our power away from us.
http://www.globalcomplexity.org...

7. The point here was that China and Russia are growing as powers. I'll take the fault here for not clarifying enough, but what I meant was that China and Russia aren't opposing us. All they are doing is just growing rapidly. Even if you think that we are growing (I'd argue we aren't), you can't possibly say we are growing at a rate in which we keep above China and Russia. The point is, Russia and China are growing faster than us, and we don't oppose them and they aren't our enemies. We aren't doing anything to stop this. Thus, our seat upon the current throne will eventually be lost, and we would be on the decline.

In conclusion, I believe I have won this debate. I have refute my opponents arguments, and made the better points. I do wish I hadn't dropped the round, or that this debate was longer, however we'll go with what we have. To win this, I really just have to argue that the U.S. is on the decline in a worldview. My opponent has (sort of) conceded that Russia and China are growing. So the question is: Are they growing faster than the U.S.? I believe they are, mainly because of points 1-6.

Just as some last minute linkage to go over and help cement my position: http://www.secure-x-001.net...
http://www.secure-x-001.net...

Thanks for the debate, and thanks for reading.
stk1990

Con

stk1990 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Vikuta 9 years ago
Vikuta
I think that America, as an empire, has reached its peak. The third-world countries it has historically oppressed and exploited are beginning to take control of their own destinies, freeing themselves from Washington's control. This is particularly true in South America.
Posted by Rousseau 9 years ago
Rousseau
Pardon me about the forfeited round, please. I did not have enough time to formulate a response.
Posted by Rousseau 9 years ago
Rousseau
You were quite right, and I'm looking forward to this.
Posted by Logical-Master 9 years ago
Logical-Master
I'd argue with you, but I got enough debates as it is for the time being. This is a hot topic though, so I'm sure someone will hop right on it.
Posted by Rousseau 9 years ago
Rousseau
Just want to state: This is a little bit of a Devil's Advocate Position.
I'm not stating when this will happen, or whether or not it is a definite. Just wanted to get some opinions.
18 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by U.n 11 months ago
U.n
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture.
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