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

The United States has a moral obligation to mitigate international conflicts

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/19/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,674 times Debate No: 46291
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




- Affirmative Case -

On September 11, 2001, the United States experienced one of the largest terrorist attacks of all times. This massive attack, which killed around 3000 people, reminds us how important national security is. It is because of the critical importance of National Security that I stand RESOLVED: The United States has a Moral Obligation to Mitigate International Conflicts. For the sake of clarity, lets define some terms.

1. Moral: "A particular system of values and principles of conduct." [Merriam Webster"s Collegiate Dictionary]

2. Obligation: "Something that you must do because it is morally or legally right." [Merriam Webster"s Collegiate Dictionary]

3. Mitigate: "To cause to become less harsh or hostile." [Merriam Webster"s Collegiate Dictionary]

4. International Conflict: "A conflict between two or more countries."

Resolutional Analysis
Let us examine a brief resolutional analysis. For the purposes of this resolution, I will treat the United States as the US government since the population cannot directly exercise control over foreign policy. The government possesses the only legitimate authority over foreign policy, so in the context of the resolution, the United States must be the United States federal government. Also, an international conflict, for the purposes of this resolution, must be initiated by two countries outside the United States. This is intuitive, because in order for us to mitigate, we cannot be involved in the conflict in question beforehand.

Value Analysis
My value today is that of National Security, defined as "A collective term for the defense and foreign relations of a country." [Oxford American Dictionary].

My value of National Security is linked to the resolution by my criterion of Social Contract. Social contract is defined as, "An agreement, entered into by individuals, that results in the formation of the state or of organized society, the prime motive being the desire for protection, which entails the surrender of some or all personal liberties" [Free] In other words, social contract states that the people give up some of their freedom so the government can keep them safe. Thus, the government"s primary moral obligation is to the security of it"s people, making National Security the paramount moral concern of any and all governmental policy, domestic or foreign.

Ct. 1: National Security is the Principle Moral Obligation of Government
According to "Du contrat social" by John Jacques Rousseau the government has a moral obligation to protect its citizens. Also, we see in John Locke"s Second Treatises of Government the same sort of idea, "The great and chief end, therefore, of men's uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property. To which in the state of nature there are many things wanting." In this quote, the preservation of property is another saying for national security. Thus we can see in this example that John Locke, primary founder of Social Contract theory himself said that national security is the primary goal of the government.

This principle is proved by the story of our own Constitution. The terminology in which the Constitution was written is extremely important to keep in mind. It is obvious when reading the Constitution that some things are more important to the government than others. For instance, take this quote directly from Article 4, Section 4 of the US constitution. "and [the United States] shall protect each of them [the States] against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence." This quote alone proves that the government must protect the national security. However, if we look at another quote from the Constitution regarding territory, we see that it says "Congress shall have the power to dispose of"." While in one circumstance we see the Constitution says it is a must, the other circumstance the Constitution left it up to Congress to decide where and when certain actions should take place. This proves that national security is one of the most important obligations of the government.

Ct.2: Mitigation leads to National Security
One of the biggest factors in determining national security is the security of the world around the nation. So if we can prevent war by mitigating conflict, then we have just protected our national security. For this I have 3 applications, the first of which is WWI. WWI is a supreme example of a time when we entered a conflict, and, in doing so, upheld our national security. 1914 was the year a raging war broke out across all the world. Even though President Wilson originally declared neutrality in the war, in 1917 the US entered the war. Those three years of delay proved to the US that staying out of the conflict would prove to be harmful to our security. We waited, and as a result, Britain was beginning to want to get us involved. They sent the Zimmerman telegram to Mexico, which told Mexico to attack the United States. Because of that, we entered the war.

My second application is WWII. WWII is profound proof that mitigating conflicts will uphold our national security. WWII started in 1939, however, similar to WWI, the US did not get involved at the beginning. In December of 1941, the US officially entered WWII, due to the pearl harbor attack on December 7, 1941. These two years of delay cost the US her national security, at the pearl harbor attack. So in this case, when we didn"t mitigate the conflict, our national security was compromised.

My third and final application is the First Persian Gulf War. Many Islamic leaders at the time of 1999-2001 were working on restoring the Caliphate, a complete unification of all Muslim middle eastern countries. The US saw the potential for a third world war, if this giant Caliphate was formed. So the US proceeded to mitigate the conflict. The US supported the election of Iraqi president Sadam Hussein. Hussein was a firebrand who was eager for war with Iran. Once elected, the promised conflict did indeed begin. This war between Iran and Iraq prevented the unification of the middle east. The mitigation of this conflict through the initiation of the Gulf War prevented a third world war and protected US national security.

So lets summarize. Today we have looked at my value of national security, and then dived into the intricacies of Social Contract Theory. We saw that, because of social contract, the government"s principle moral obligation is national security. We then saw that mitigating international conflicts upholds national security so thus, the government has a moral obligation to mitigate international conflict. Thank you and I strongly urge that you stand with the resolution, and say yes the United States does a moral obligation to mitigate international conflict. Cx


== Burden of proof ==

Pro defines an “international conflict” as “a conflict between two or more nations,” and Pro defines “obligation” as “something that you must do.” Therefore, the resolution requires Pro to defend that the United States must intervene in every conflict that occurs between two or more nations. If Con proves that the US should not intervene in every conflict between two or more nations, Con wins.

== Con case ==

(1) Cost

A. Nation building

Whenever the US intervenes militarily, we always get stuck nation-building because of the Colin Powell Pottery Barn rule – “you break it, you buy it.” For example, after our “peace-keeping operation” in Kosovo, the US spent $80 billion nation-building there. [1] We never manage to get out of these operations scot-free because once we “win” and are left with a worn-torn country with no infrastructure, we are forced to build democratic institutions, roads, power plants, schools, courts, and a police force. The expensive part of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was not ousting the hostile regimes (i.e. the Taliban and Saddam Houssein); rather, the main cost came afterwards – from the nation-building. In Iraq, in particular, our intervention caused a violent civil war to spring up between the Sunni’s and Shi’ite’s. So there are always collateral consequences to intervening.

B. Opportunity cost

The United States has $17 trillion in debt and our unplanned military expenditures have greatly contributed to putting the United States on the path to bankruptcy. At the end of the day, the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost us $4 trillion. [2] Because of this, Andrew Bacevich says that the US can’t keep being the world’s peacekeeper and treating an act of war in any part of the world as tantamount to a direct attack on US soil. [3] According to Robert Kagan of the Carnegie Endowment, since the Cold War ended, the US has had “an average of one significant new military action every sixteen months.” This cannot continue because it is not sustainable.

Christopher Preble points out that we could build 171 schools for the price of one B-2 bomber and that every bomb dropped is a theft from those within the United States that hunger and are not fed. [5] It makes little sense to be paying billions of dollars to build schools in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq when we “can’t afford” to build more schools in the United States.

(2) Interventions undermine our national security

A. Limited resources

The US military developed a test of our military capabilities called the two-MRC test, which stands for the ability to engage in two Major Regional Conflicts simultaneously. [6] While the US had such a capability during the height of World War II (when we fought Japan and Germany simultaneously), our military is too small today to meet the two-MRC test. [6] The result is that a conflict in one area eliminates our ability to engage in a conflict in another area. We saw this when the Iraq War started and diverted most of our resources away from Afghanistan, which led to our failure to sustain major victories there against the Taliban, resulting in a long drawn out war that lasted much longer than the one in Iraq.

Therefore, if we intervene in a conflict between two other nations, we lose the ability to project power in other regions of the world and the ability to defend our own nation. There are some indications that China’s increased belligerence over the last decade is due, in part, to a loss of American power projection capabilities in the region because so many of our forces were tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Therefore, this turns my opponent’s national security argument against him in two ways: (1) when the US engages its military to stop an international conflict, it makes international conflicts *more likely* somewhere else in the globe because the US erodes its deterrent capabilities and its ability to project power, and (2) when the US intervenes, it makes the homeland more vulnerable because it overstretches our military capabilities and garrisons our troops far from where they would be needed in the case of an attack. As Professor Andrew Bacevich has explained, national security requires adopting “a strategy that accepts war as a last resort and not a policy option of first choice. [Because] the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have [demonstrated] the [finiteness] of military power, it would suit America’s interests to reorient its military towards homeland defense.” [7]

B. Intervention breeds resentment

The primary reason that Osama bin Laden issued his Declaration of Jihad Against Americans in 1996 was due to the American occupation of Kuwait after the US had defeat Saddam Hussein (the first time). [8] In general, when we have a large force presence, we are viewed as occupiers and eventually despised by the local population. Intervention really does show the dilemma that you either “die a hero or live long enough to become a villain.” In Afghanistan, we were initially welcomed as heroes and liberators, but when we failed to provide quick and tangible progress, we were soon treated as villains, particularly in rural southern Afghanistan where we focused very little “nation-building” initially (and which has an uncomfortable relationship with Karzai, who is seen as an American puppet dictator). Thus, interventions cause backlash against the US and stoke terrorist sentiment.

(3) Regional actors should intervene instead

As Professor Paul Collier explains, the cost to neighboring countries when their neighbors go to war can be catastrophic (for example because conflict always sparks a refugee crisis). [9] Collier explains that when there was a violent conflict in the DRC, “several of the neighbors got involved: indeed, three of them, Rwanda, Uganda, and Angola, sent their troops into the country. The neighborhood dimension of security could scarcely be more geographically illustrated.” [9] In fact, the African Union has formed its own peacekeeping forces to police regional conflicts locally, and they have been quite successful in the past. The US is not the only nation in the world that can do peacekeeping.

== Rebuttal to my opponent’s previous round ==

R1) My opponent argues that Social Contract Theory obligates our government to engage in national defense

Yes, national defense – not international defense. Professor John Mearsheimer writes in “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics” that the State has an obligation to protect its own citizens, not the citizens of other countries. He explains that the primary purpose of the nation-state is to secure the survival of its own citizens. My opponent fails to explain how a regional conflict between two African countries would put Americans at risk and why we would therefore be obligated to intervene in such a conflict.

R2) My opponent provides three examples of supposedly good interventions in international conflicts.


My opponent does not explain how our intervention this war upheld our national security. In addition, US intervention was rather limited, and our military forces were not critical to the outcome of this war.


The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor precisely because we meddled in an international conflict and instituted an embargo against them due to their invasion of China. The Pearl Harbor attacks illustrate my point that intervening causing backlash against the United States.

Many people would argue that WWII is the exception to non-intervention that proves the rule. Our key Allies were involved in that war, so it made sense to intervene. Rebuilding industrialized countries after the war was relatively easy. In contrast, interventions today are mostly going to be in impoverished developing countries. Nation-building in the UK and Germany is very different from nation-building in Somalia, Kosovo, and Iraq.

(C) The First Gulf War

Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institute has noted that the invasion of Iraq was what convinced the Iranian government that no country was safe from a US invasion and that it should seek a nuclear deterrent against the United States. Thus, the collateral fallout from the First Gulf War is a nuclear armed Iran. In addition, our own failures in the First Gulf War led to the second invasion of Iraq, which proves my point that military intervention is a never-ending process. We cannot afford the collateral spillover effects, the resentment, and the extreme costs that constant military intervention entails.

Global Response

Even if my opponent proved that these were three good examples of our intervention, it was our choice to intervene because these interventions supposedly served our self-interest: WWI and WWII because they involved important strategic allies and enemy countries that may have eventually posed a threat to the homeland and the Gulf War because Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait threatened to disrupt our supply of oil. These were strategic choices motivated by self-interest, not obligations motivated by some sense of moral high-handedness. A Con vote would preserve the ability to make strategic choices about when intervention is in our best interest, whereas a Pro vote obligates us to intervene in every instance.



[3] Mises Daily: Thursday, May 14, 2009 by David Gordon, Book review: End of American Exceptionalism.

[4] Robert Kagan, 2008, The Return of History and The End of Dreams, page 50

[5] Christopher A Preble, 2009, The Power Problem, page 76




[9] Paul Collier, 2009, Wars, Guns, and Votes, page 222.

Debate Round No. 1


First of all, my opponent used the term intervene in his Burden of proof. However I would like to say my proof is not to prove that the United states must intervene in every conflict. First, that is not the resolution. Its that we have a moral obligation to MITIGATE international conflicts. Second, take the term "moral obligation." That is insinuating a singular term, which means "one." Then the the term "international conflicts" is plural, meaning two or more. So I must prove that we have A moral obligation to TWO or MORE international conflicts. My opponent is breaking grammatical rules by making this assumption.

When my opponent was crafting his case, he failed to keep one thing in mind: National security is paramount. As that was my value, it should be valued highest in today's round, and seeing how he did not address it, it counts as a dropped argument and flows toward my side. The reason national security is so important is because that our obligation to national security is higher than our obligation to save money. I don't know about you, but I would rather be alive than live in a nation with a debt. So yes, the point my opponent's making about cost is a semi-valid one, however, as John Locke and Section 4 Article 4 of the Constitution state: National security is the principle obligation of the government. So even though it costs, that does not mean we don't have a moral obligation to our national security. Its simply that our moral obligation to national security is more important than making sure we are saving more. I would like to make another point: INTERVENING IS NOT MITIGATING. My opponent did not respond to any of my definitions, so they count as dropped arguments. Mitigating REQUIRES the conflict to BE MADE LESS SEVERE. My opponents applications that he brought up were examples where bad things occurred, SO WE DIDN'T MAKE IT LESS SEVERE, thus we didn't mitigate us, and does not fall under the resolution. My opponent's application of the two-MRC test has the same problem. If it led to more war, then it did not make it less severe, thus not qualifying as mitigation, thus not falling under the resolution. Keep in mind, if it makes a conflict bigger or more drawn out, it is not mitigation, which is what my opponent is using as proof against my case and value. THIS IS NOT MITIGATION. Thus it doesn't fall under the resolution

Once again, with my opponent's example of Afghanistan, if we didn't make the situation better, then it was not mitigation. Interventions are not mitigations, there is a fine line between the two.

What Professor Paul Collier was saying was absolutely accurate, however that does not disprove the moral obligation. He never said we don't have a moral obligation to uphold national security. He never even said mitigation DIDN't lead to national security. His point was that wars cause damage. But everyone is already aware of that! In order to uphold national security, mitigation is necessary, thus a little damage economically in surrounding countries is expected.

Under my case, I never said we had a moral obligation to the national security of OTHER nations. Its our nation I am talking about. Two African countries fighting will not affect us, but there are many examples of conflicts that would result in breeches of national security. Remember, you are grammatically incorrect when you say this resolution is absolute. I have been debating this resolution at my job for months, and this argument falls into the absurd category.

While my opponent brought up some main ideas against SCT, my opponent never argued my proof. If you didn't argue the proof, how can you argue the claim. The question we must ask is this: Why is my opponent not agreeing with a brilliant man such as John Locke or John Jacques Reuseau? Does she think they are not educated enough? This is absurd to be contradicting these men. SCT still stands.

If we would not have mitigated, Germany and Mexico would have attacked. (Zimmerman Telegram) Thus we mitigated, and they never attacked. As a side note, It is invalid for my opponent to bring up any applications in which INTERVENING did not lead to our national security, because intervening is not mitigating.

Its very simple. Germany was bombing our ships. Japan was planning on continuing their attack sequence against us. If we would not have mitigated, our national security would have been breached further. As a result of us mitigating, no other pearl harbor attacks occurred, and the bombing halted immediately.

(C) First Persian Gulf War
My opponent never really responded to this one by saying "here mitigating did not lead to national security" This point still stands. In this conflict, mitigating prevented the unification of the middle east thus protecting US National security.

The readers reading this debate should take 3 things into consideration.

1. My opponent does not believe national security is moral! How would you like to live in a country in which the government's morals did not include keeping you safe! This is a machevelian, totelerianistic, and overall evil thought.

2. Mitigating is not Intervening. Just because we intervened in a conflict does not mean we mitigated it. In future, my opponent needs to bring up examples in which we made it less severe.

3. Obligating is not choosing. Just because we are morally obligated, does not mean we have to act in concordence with that obligation. There may be certain reasons we wouldn't want to mitigate, but we are still morally obligated to this. If my opponent would like to argue this, she will have to argue with John Locke and other profound philosophers. With all due respect, neither I nor my opponent have the education to be arguing with philosophers such as these.


== Burden of proof ==

In Round 1, I argued that my opponent must prove that the US is obligated to intervene in every conflict between two or more nations. My opponent responds by saying: (1) intervening is not mitigating and (2) moral obligation is singular, so he only has to prove one or two interventions to prove the resolution.

Response to #1: Intervention is not mitigation

The only way to mitigate an armed conflict between two or more nations is to intercede militarily. I challenge my opponent to cite a single example of when "asking nicely" (diplomacy) or economic sanctions have ever succeeded in ending a war. Sanctions empirically fail. For example, when we imposed brutal economic sanctions on Iraq to get Saddam Hussein to end his nuclear program, Hussein did not change his behavior. However, the sanctions were responsible for killing 576,000 Iraqi children who could not get food or medical necessities. [1]

Conclusion: military intervention is the only way to actually do peacekeeping.

Response to #2: Moral obligation is singular

My opponent's resolutional analysis is flawed. While the term "moral obligation" is singular, a single moral obligation can obligate you to act in more than one circumstance. In fact, an obligation is meaningless if it does not force you to act in all instances in which the obligation applies. For example, if one were to conclude that "I am morally obligated to save a child from drowning," and I encounter five circumstances in my life where I have an opportunity to save a child from drowning, then the moral obligation requires me to act in all of these circumstances. I cannot satisfy the obligation by saving the *first* drowning child, but letting the next four children die. The obligation would be meaningless if I could choose to let the latter four children die without violating the obligation.

Thus, it doesn't matter that obligation is singular. A singular obligation requires that you act in all circumstances giving rise to the obligation.

Conclusion: my opponent's resolutional analysis if flawed. He must defend that the US should intercede in all wars between two or more nations. If my opponent could win just with the examples of WWI and WWII, then supposedly the obligation is already "satisfied" by these wars, and we never have to intervene again to satisfy the obligation. This interpretation, however, seems absurd. It seems to say, "yes, we are obligated to intervene, but we fought in WWI and II, so we're good." That is not how moral obligations work.

== Extending my case ==

Extend C1, cost and opportunity cost.

My opponent's only response is "national security outweighs cost." However, my opponent fails to show how every single war between two or more nations directly threatens US national security. To the extent that some wars *do not* affect US national security, my argument carries the day. In addition, even if an intervention *did* increase national security by a small amount, it is possible that the cost of the intervention did not merit the increase in national security. Iraq is a good example - $3 trillion was not worth the marginal improvement in our national security from knowing *for certain* that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.

It's naive for my opponent to say "costs don't matter." Every great empire (from the Romans to the British) has had a period of constant warfare to try to maintain their empire, followed by bankruptcy due to the cost of constant war, followed by the collapse of their empire. The United States is no different. If we continue to view a threat to *any country in the world* as a direct threat to the United States, we will bankrupt ourselves fighting war, after war, after war.

Extend C2: intervention undermines our national security

This is where my opponent really loses the debate because he concedes my turns. Intervening in other nation's undermines our national security because (1) it overstretches our military, and (2) it breeds resentment. On the first point, our military can only fight in one place at a time. When we enter an armed conflict, we lose the ability to project power elsewhere, making it more likely that our other allies will be attacked or that our own country will be attacked. On the second point, when we attack another country, we are eventually seen as occupiers, which stokes terrorist sentiment towards us and causes us to get attacked. The first Gulf War and our occupation of Kuwait spurred bin Laden to form al Qaeda and to decide to attack the United States. In this way, the first Gulf War is directly responsible for 9/11.

This argument turns my opponent's case, since his whole case is about national security. Intervening in other countries' business actually makes us less safe by overstretching our military resources and by causing resentment among the local populations.

Extend C3: regional actors

We are not morally obligated to intervene in every conflict because neighbors, who have more of an incentive to intervene, should do so instead of us. The US is not the "indispensible nation." There is no reason that we have to be involved with every single military conflict that springs up anywhere on the globe.

Extend my "global response," which I will call C4 from now on

Voting Con allows us to intervene *not* out of a moral obligation, but when it serves our own self-interest. Assuming that you buy the argument that we needed to intervene in WWI, WWII, and the first Gulf War, you would still want to vote Con because we did so because it was in our self-interest, not because we were morally obligated to do so. The first two wars had to do with protecting really important allies and shielding ourselves from a global threat that would eventually threaten our homeland. The latter war had to do with protecting our oil interests. We did not intervene out of a sense of moral obligation to protect countries from themselves. So voting Con preserves choice, whereas voting Pro means we are obligated to intervene whenever the circumstances of a war between two nations arises.

Rebuttal, cont'd

WWI and WWII: my opponent drops my argument that these past examples are not proof that we should intervene in future. It was in our self-interest to intervene and it was relatively easy to rebuild Europe under the Marshall Plan, etc. because Europe was composed of industrialized countries. Future interventions will most likely be in developing countries, so future interventions will mirror the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (the second one), not WWI and II.

Gulf War I: my opponent drops my arguments that (1) the first Gulf War led to a nuclear armed Iran, and (2) that the first Gulf War necessitated the second Gulf War. Both are proof of how intervention undermines our national security due to its collateral consequences.

It is better to protect the homeland and save our resources than to expend an infinite amount of money meddling in complex regional politics that we don't fully understand.

Debate Round No. 2


Response to Intervention is mitigation
My point I was making was not that mitigation did not have to be militarily. My point that I was making was mitigation had to be making less severe. I raised this point because many of my opponent's applications did not actually make the conflict less severe, thus do not fall under the resolution. Just for the fun of it, North Korean conflict in fall of 2013 was an example where diplomacy made a conflict less severe.

Conclusion: Mitigation MUST be making less severe, thus my opponent's examples she has brought up are not all valid.

Conclusion 2: Whether its militarily or diplomatically it does not matter, as long as we made the conflict less severe.

Response to "Resolution is absolute"

I agree that a moral obligation can morally obligate you to one thing many times. HOWEVER, my opponent dropped the part of the argument that said "because international conflicts is plural, and plural means two or more, therefore the obligation is to TWO OR MORE conflicts." This was an important part of the argument. Sure we may be morally obligated to mitigate in more than two circumstances, but the minimum is two. the fact is a singular obligation, if not specified, requires that you act in all circumstances. However, because it does specify, using the term international conflicts, we can see it is two or more conflicts that we must be morally obligated to.

Conclusion: My burden of proof just as I stated in my last speech is to prove the US has a moral obligation to mitigate two or more international conflicts.

Response to my opponent's extensions

I have already said that there are only some conflicts that threaten our national security. There are more than you may think, but I do agree that not all of them are potential breaches of national security. Because the resolution is not absolute, not all conflicts need to threaten national security.

I don't believe I ever said, cost doesn't matter, although pardon me if I did. The point I was trying to make is that, when in conflict, national security should be valued above economic stability. Conflicts that are potential breaches of national security are mitigated to uphold our national security and to keep our citizens safe, even if it costs along the way. Keep in mind the resolution says "The US has a moral obligation to mitigate international conflicts" IT DOES NOT SAY "The US should mitigate international conflicts." There is a fine line between the two. Just because we have a moral obligation does not mean we should do it. This is the whole, End justifies the means, factor. If we want to achieve national security, that's one thing, but we must make sure if we mitigate, other immoral consequences won't occur. HOWEVER, that does not stop us from having a moral obligation to it. I have a moral obligation to stop a drug cartel from killing a baby, but if it will get me killed in the process, I most likely won't do it. It's the same sort of idea with the resolution.

Response to my opponent's extension to Contention 2

(1) Our military can be in two places at is right now. For instance, we have troops in Afghanistan, and also in Iraq. Certain squads went to Afghanistan, others went to Iraq. To only fight one enemy at a time is rather old-school, back when armies were smaller. The US now has a pretty large army that can split up and go multiple places at the same time. This fact is helpful to us because if there are two simultaneous conflicts going on that are harmful to our national security (As in the case of the N. Korean conflict I brought up earlier) then we can mitigate them both at the same time.

(2) While in some cases, it breeds resentment, it still protects our national security. It seems that my opponent is under the inclination that not entering the first gulf war would have saved lives and time. However, it most definitely would have not. If the caliphate was formed, than a war would have broken out between Europe and the middle east. Eventually, the US probably would have gotten involved, but even if they had not, it would still have been a world war. By mitigating the gulf war, we prevented a third world war. Second, it was not because we mitigated the gulf war the 9/11 occurred. In fact, representative Ron Paul called this notion "absurd." In fact, in the opening paragraph of Osama Bin Laden's letter to the American people says it was for RELIGIOUS PURPOSES ONLY. Read for yourself, ""What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you? The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam...It is the religion of Jihad in the way of Allah so that Allah's Word and religion reign Supreme." Of course, "reigning supreme" means an international, worldwide caliphate where Sharia is forced upon all resisting non-Muslim nations." It was the spread of Islam that resulted in 9/11, not us entering the Gulf War.

So while it may lead to resentment in some cases, most conflicts that we choose to mitigate still protect our national security. So Intervention DOES NOT undermine our national security.

Response to my opponent's extension of Contention 3

Neighbors should mitigate if it does not involve our national security. For instance with Syria, we should not mitigate, because our national security is not being compromised. However, if Iran wants to mitigate, they have better reason, because they are close by. However, again, this resolution is not absolute, it needs not be proven that The United States has a moral obligation to mitigate every international conflicts.

ON THAT NOTE, If you'll recall I stated national security was value and standard in my first speech. Because of that, it automatically means that the United States has a moral obligation to mitigate international conflicts when national security is threatened. Remember, the affirmative has the burden of interpretation, and are allowed to provide a standard, or a bright line. Seeing how it did not come up in my opponent's first speech, I thought that she understood and accepted. However now that she is making arguments that say "not all conflicts are potential breaches of national security" I must restate the point. My opponent is probably going to argue, pro can't do that, that is not allowed, or something along those lines. HOWEVER, seeing how we are following regular Lincoln-Douglas debate format, the affirmative has the power to interpret a standard, a value, and a criterion. NONETHELESS, my opponent still can argue my standard, but has to break down my standard before she can make arguments claiming I have lost because not all conflicts will harm our national security.

Response to my opponent's Global Response

I would like to correct my opponent on one topic. Voting Pro does NOT mean we are obligated to intervene whenever the circumstances of a war between two nations arise. It means we are MORALLY obligated. A regular obligation can be LEGAL OR MORAL. Legal obligations are something that we MUST do. Moral obligations are something that we morally inclined to do but may choose not to do, such as the example with the drug cartel. So voting for Pro preserves our national security, and reminds the government that if needed, we should mitigate to keep you and me safe. At the same time, voting for Con will give us a government that doesn't place national security first. Voting for Con will give you a possibly safer economy, but at the end of the day, our national security will have been breached many times. How would you like to live through a pearl harbor attack every month? If we value cost before national security, or if we value our military more than national security, than that is what will happen in the long run. Lets real quick look at the TSA. If we would have valued privacy above national security, than we would have ended up with a terrorist attack at the latest super bowl, former President George Bush would have been killed in January of 2014 in a pentagon attack, among other unknown circumstances. So for that reason, we valued national security above privacy, and now we have stopped over 12 terrorist attacks and protected the United States and her citizens.

Response to the rebuttals of my case.

My opponent completely dropped my Social Contract argument, proving we have a moral obligation to uphold national security. By dropping this, my opponent has agreed to it and therefore should no longer be an object in todays debate. She also dropped the claim I made with support of John Locke and the Constitution that stated national security is paramount, so again, that should no longer be an object in today's debate. Debate has occurred on this topic in this round, but seeing how she dropped my proof for the supremacy of national security, than she has "agreed" to my argument.

I encourage the readers to go into my last speech and find where I addressed these three applications. In truth, I did not drop these applications.

With the Gulf war, my opponent is committing the pro hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Just because the Gulf War came right before Iran's nuclear program, does not mean it CAUSE Iran's nuclear program. In fact, the Gulf War helped discourage the nuclear program. If we would have not mitigated, than the caliphate would have been formed, leading to a non-opposed nuclear program in Iran. Because we did mitigate, Iran's nuclear program was decreased due to effective nuclear raids.

Just in case the readers or my opponent is still in doubt of the fact that the mitigation leads to national security, I will offer 14 more applications.
1. War in Afghanistan
2. Conflict in Phillippines
3. Conflict in Horn of Africa
4. Trans-Sahara operation
5.War in Yemen
6. War in Pakistan
7.War in Kashmir
8.The Moro insurgency.

In summary, because of dropped arguments, it stands that national security is paramount and morally obligatory, so please vote for security, that yes, the US has a moral obligation to mitigate int. conflict. Thanks!


== Burden of Proof/Resolutional Analysis ==

My opponent continues to maintain that he doesn't have to defend that we will intervene in cases where it might go wrong. He attempts to do so in two ways:

(1) Mitigation means the intervention succeeded

My opponent shouldn't be allowed to limit the resolution to interventions that actually succeeded in mitigating the conflict for three reasons. First, at the time the decision to intervene is made, the decision-maker does not know whether the intervention will succeed, and the resolution places us in the shoes of actual decision-makers. Second, just because we are morally obligated to do something does not mean we will succeed in doing it. I may be morally obligated to save a child from drowning if I encounter a drowning child, but my rescue attempt might fail. I might be halfway to the child when he succumbs and drowns. Third, debate theory does not allow a debater to fiat solvency, which means that a debater cannot say, "I argue that if we intervene, you must assume that it works." The reason debaters cannot fiat solvency is because debate is about real world events, and in the real world, you cannot simply assume that all your interventions succeed.

My opponent himself shows how stupid and unfair his resolutional interpretation is. He rejects interventions like the war in Iraq because they failed to mitigate. So he refuses to defend any bad example of intervention. Not only is this absurd, but it's not entirely true. After spending trillions of dollars, Iraq is slightly better off than they were when we first entered. Violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites has been mitigated a bit. But the war was still really expensive and probably, on balance, a very bad idea.

Conclusion: we don't make decisions in hindsight, so my opponent cannot define the obligation to mean that we should only intervene when we know - with hindsight bias - that mitigation will succeed.

(2) International conflicts means "two or more" so Pro only has defend two interventions

This argument is absurd. My opponent concedes my argument that if the resolution were: "I am morally obligated to save a child from drowning," that even if the resolution is singular, the obligation applies whenever I encounter a drowning child. The fact that the resolution contains a plural object of the moral obligation just means it is even more likely that the obligation apples in all instances. If the resolution were, "I am morally obligated to save children from drowning," this wording just implies even more strongly that the obligation applies in all circumstances. The fact that the topic drafters (since this is an LD topic which is worded very carefully) chose to make "conflicts" plural rather than singular means that they contemplated this very scenario and wanted to ensure that Pro did not attempt to shirk the obligation by arguing for it in only certain instances.

My opponent also drops my argument that the obligation is meaningless if we already satisfied it by intervening in WWI and WWII. How can you say "we are obligated to intervene," when we are not obligated to ever do so because we have already "satisfied" our obligation in the past. My opponent's interpretation is incoherent because it implies a choice of whether to intervene in the future, which is not what an obligation entails.

Conclusion: my opponent must defend the existence of the obligation, which means that morality requires us to intervene in any circumstance where there is an international conflict.

North Korea: My opponent claims diplomacy worked here, without any factual support. North Korea doesn't care what the US tells them to do.

Extending C1: cost

My opponent claims that just because we are obligated to intervene doesn't mean we can't consider any other factors when deciding whether to intervene. He cites the example of a Mexican drug cartel about to kill a baby and says that even if he has a moral obligation to save the baby, he would not do so if his life was in danger. My opponent, however, simply has mistated the moral obligation in this case. The moral obligation is: "to save the lives of others if you can do so without dying yourself." My opponent is morally obligated to save the baby, unless doing so would mean certain death.

In the present case, if my opponent agrees that the resolution should be "we are morally obligated to intervene in other countries, unless the cost to us is prohibitive," then this actually merits a Con vote. It means that the unqualified moral obligation in the current resolution is wrong. As we saw with the baby example, my opponent himself does not agree with the obligation "you are obligated to save babies' lives," but does agree with the obligation " you are obligated to save babies' lives if it entails no harm to yourself." If my opponent were faced with the first formulation, he would vote Con on the resolution because he doesn't want to die. Similarly, if you believe that cost should be a factor, you have to negate because the current resolution is unqualified: we must always intervene. It does not allow us to consider any other factors.

Extending C2: turns to national security

(1) Overstretching our military

My opponent responds by saying we *can* fight two wars at once, and he says, "look at Iraq and Afghanistan right now." However, we have almost no troops in either country. We have nearly completely withdrawn. In fact, Iraq asked us to send troops *back* to help with al Qaeda, and we said no. [1] Our present refusal to send troops back to Iraq (to fight al Qaeda no less) shows the effects of military overstretch and battle fatigue. The American people cannot bear another fight, even if the fight might have been *more useful* than the original invasion of Iraq in 2003. So there are now three ways that intervention decreases our national security: (1) it overstretches our military, which decreases its potential deterrent effect because we cannot project power elsewhere, (2) it breeds resentment among locals which causes them to join terrorist networks and attack us, and (3) it leads to battle fatigue among the American people so that if a real important international conflict happens (like WWII), the American people will refuse to enter it because they are tired of fighting.

My opponent simply asserts that "of course our military is big enough to fight two wars at once." He ignores the actual evidence I presented that we do not have the force strength to meet the two-MRC test, which means according to the military itself, it could not fight in two regional conflicts at the same time. My opponent drops my argument that Afghanistan empirically proves this. It has been well-documents that when the Iraq invasion began in 2003, we pulled most of our resources out of Afghanistan, which allowed the Taliban to regroup and become a much greater threat there.

(2) Breeds resentment

My opponent is on crack to suggest that Iraq invaded Kuwait to start a Caliphate. Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait because he was upset that Kuwait was slant drilling into Iraqi oil fields. We entered the war to protect our oil interests in Kuwait. I have provided sources that the reason bin Laden declared war on American (and not any other Western nations) was because we had troops stationed in Kuwait, which had caused massive resentment. It has been well documented that occupying forces stoke resentment among local populations (see, e.g., the Constitutional Amendment about quartering troops, when the Americans were mad about British forces staying in their homes during the French-Indian War).

If bin Laden declared war because of "Islam" and a "caliphate," then he would have declared war on more countries than the US. And 9/11 would not have specifically targeted us. The reason why there was special hatred towards us in bin Laden's heart was our choice to invade and station troops in Kuwait.

Conclusion: military overstretch, resentment, and battle fatigue turn my opponent's case because they all make us less safe and my opponent's entire case is about national security. In all likelihood, a conflict between two random nations is not going to be central to our national security. But if we intervene and waste massive military resources and make the locals hate us, that collateral effect will impact our national security.

Extend C3: regional actors should intervene instead

My opponent takes this place in the debate to say, "since this is LD, I can define the topic however I want." My opponent clearly doesn't know how LD works. You still have to prove the resolution true. Your "value" is just a lense through which the judge should view the debate. It is a weighing mechanism. When you say, "Value = national security," that means you want the judge to weigh national security most highly in the debate. It doesn't mean you can change the topic to be, "We have a moral obligation to intervene in international conflicts only when our national security is at risk." If the LD topic drafters wanted such a resolution, they would have made it: "we have a moral obligation to protect our national security." The part about "international conflicts" would just be a redundant distraction.

Extend C4: choice vs. obligation

My opponent claims I have to be anti-national security. That's a stupid reading of the resolution. I would not have taken Con on a resolution that was "National security is good." I am in favor of choice of whether we want to intervene based on self-interest, rather than obligation to intervene based on morality. Pro has to defend the latter - the resolution mandates it. This has become a silly semantic debate because Pro doesn't really like the LD resolution. But the opposite of "obligation" is "choice."

Rebuttal, cont'd

My opponent still fails to show - as is required by the Mearsheimer evidence - that intervening aboard makes us safer at home. He just laundry lists a bunch of conflicts, without proving how they made us safer.

Debate Round No. 3


(1) Mitigation means intervention succeeded.
The definition of mitigate is to "make less severe, harsh or hostile" To mitigate, by definition, means to make the conflict less severe. So the intervention must succeed in order to fall under the definition of mitigate. Mitigate is the word in the resolution, and so the fact that my opponent is claiming this "unfair" is unreasonable. My opponent accepted the debate, and has accepted to debate the resolution, which has certain words in it. If my opponent did not realize that mitigation means successful intervention than she should not have accepted the debate. For all three of my opponents points, I will have to say, mitigation is to make less severe, so by definition, successful intervention. If my opponent had a problem with debating this fact, than she shouldn't have accepted the resolution.

I am rejecting bad intervention examples, because this is not mitigation, and thus does not fall under the resolution. With the Iraq conflict, if it is less severe, than it is absolutely mitigation. However, in my first speech, I presented a standard and a value of national security, which means national security is the HIGHEST value in today's round. Because you did not argue this value ever, it still stands. Thus national security should take a higher place than cost.

Conclusion: If our national security could be breached by a conflict, than we should mitigate. We are the United States, with a very large military and the capability to mitigate in most circumstances.

(2) The Resolution is not absolute.
Why is my opponent claiming what the topic drafters were intending to do? It is my doubt that my opponent was one of these topic drafters, and seeing how she was NOT, how will she know what they meant? I am following the rules of grammar. The term children is plural, meaning two or more, so why is my opponent claiming that "children" means all the children in the world? Its the same with the resolution. International conflicts is a plural term. So why is my opponent claiming that it means all international conflicts out there. My opponent is also breaking the rules of Lincoln-Douglas Value debate by denying my standard without arguing it. The affirmative has the power to provide a standard for the resolution. If the negative doesn't like it, they address it in their next speech. Since no argument against my standard of national security in her constructive speech, she has agreed to the standard. That standard then stands for the next of the round. So even if the resolution is absolute, my standard is still applied to it.

This argument that obligations are meaningless once they are satisfied is an absurd argument. Lets take my opponent's example: I have a moral obligation to help children from drowning. So does that mean once I have already stopped one child from drowning that obligation does not exist? Morals don't work that way. Just because you have done that moral thing once does not mean you still don't have to do it in the future. God tells us to not steal, so the minute we don't steal, that obligation no longer exists? this is absurd.

Conclusion: the existence of the obligation comes from Social contract theory, and because my standard is undressed, I have to prove we should mitigate wherever there is an international conflict that harms our national security.

Factual support? I'm assuming my opponent is educated enough to look at the conflict and see for herself. I did not think I had to explain every little detail to her. However, because I do, I will now explain this conflict. N. Korea was planning on attacking the United States. The US and China sent diplomats over to N. Korea, and these peace talks took a couple weeks. At the end of those weeks, N. Korea agreed to not attack us.


Where did the the argument, "to save the lives of others if you can do so without dying yourself." come from? WHAT IF SOLDIERS HAD THAT PHILOSOPHY? What if the police had that philosophy? What if fire fighters had that philosophy? Thousands of citizens would be dead. No army would exist if people weren't willing to die for their country and its citizens. I find my opponent's argument extremely evil. That philosophy is ABSURD if you have any sense that national security is important.

I never claimed "we are morally obligated to intervene in other countries, unless the cost to us is prohibitive." I find it absurd that my opponent is claiming money is more important than human lives. This is evil. What if everyone had that philosophy? The government would not have gotten involved in WWII just because it "cost too much." However, more than 3000 people would have died in the future terrorist attacks that Japan had planned. National security is paramount, according to Section 4 Article 4 of the US constitution and also Social Contract theory, both of which my opponent have not argued.

There are still 38,000 troops in Afghanistan according to CBS news and 2000 troops in Iraq according to ABC news as of January 2014. Why is my opponent claiming our army can't be in two places at once? This is absurd. Let me introduce a concept: splitting up. OH THAT EXPLAINS IT! Troops can be two places at once. Going on and addressing the other 2 points, my opponent has no proof for point number (2) and any research will prove this is false. The amount of countries that are willing to attack us are very few, and those few countries (which are strong and big) aren't often harmed by a conflict. As for the battle fatigue, all conflicts that will potentially harm our national security our important. Some may be BIGGER potential breaches, but they are ALL important. If we don't mitigate these conflicts that could harm our national security, than it could RESULT in a world war. For instance, with the Gulf War, according to CNN news, it would have resulted in WWIII if we would not have mitigated. According to Speaker of the House John Boehner, the N.K. tension would have resulted in WWIII, we would not have mitigated. We are not simply "wasting our energy" with these smaller conflicts. We are protecting our national security while reducing the odds of WWIII breaking out.

Afghanistan is one example in which, we simple needed to focus on one conflict. That does not mean we are incapable of doing it. In WWII, the US would be fighting in Japan, and would also be fighting in Germany at the same time.

In future debates, please do not be unethical by saying your opponent is on drugs. This is unethical. Hussein did not invade Kuwait to START a caliphate. he invaded for oil reasons. We got Hussein in this conflict so that a caliphate COULDN'T be formed. If my opponent is confused, she should look back at my original speech, where it is stated clearly.

with 9/11, the reason they targeted us was because our religious freedom. I provided the quote, and I need not explain more.

Conclusion: my opponent is assuming that every time we enter a conflict, 1. we will get worn out, 2. the locals will hate us, 3.Its impossible to have two armies in two different places. This is false. While some of these could happen in some circumstances separately, it is absurd to claim these will happen all together every time we enter a conflict.

The value does not do what you said, thats the standard. Check the rules of Lincoln Douglas debate and you will be proved wrong. I am a debater specialized in LD. Do not claim I do not know how Lincoln Douglas works.

The resolution does mandate a moral obligation. My opponent has not argued Social Contract Theory, therefore can not claim that I still have to prove the obligation is moral or that the obligation exists. SCT proves exactly that, and because she has dropped it, it flows to pro. So all that i have to prove is that MITIGATION protects our national security. Seeing how my opponent has not responded to the 8 applications I brought up in my last speech, this is already done. Dropped applications means dropped proof. My opponent has not responded to the most thorough proof there is: history. So because my opponent has not addressed this proof, this point still stands.

Imagine a child crying on the street. His father is trying to comfort him, but is doing little good due to the fact that the grown man is crying himself. The child yells out words that mean "My Sister! My Sister!" This is a true account from a young 6 year old boy who lost his two sisters in a bomb attack yesterday. His house was in ruins, just a pile of cement on the dirt ground. But the story doesn't stop here. This conflict grows and grows, until we have a war that is between two countries and kills 400000 people a year. This is the case in Iraq. This conflict could very well proof to be a potential breach of neighbor's national security. As the conflict grows, the area of vulnerable countries will grow with it. Soon, the United States, is facing potential terrorist attacks. We mitigate, saving thousands of children from the fate that that one boy faced. Because we truly did make it less severe, it is no longer as large, decreasing the range of vulnerable countries. This story fits perfectly into the resolution.

So let me ask all my readers, do you want a government that is obligated to keep you safe? Do you value your freedom, your national security, and your human rights? I would think the answer would be yes, and its for the preservation of your and mine security that I stand resolved, the United States has a moral obligation to mitigate international conflict.


== Resolutional Analysis ==

I would just be beating a dead horse at this point. I leave it up for the judges to decide whether an obligation means you must act or whether obligation gives you the choice of whether you want to act. If a child's mom says, "you are obligated to do the dishes," my opponent would say, "Dishes is plural, meaning one or more dish. You can do two dishes, and then you never have to do dishes again for the rest of your life." The child tries only doing two dishes. The mom gets mad because "the dishes" meant "all the dishes." In the same way, "international conflicts" means "all the international conflicts" and "obligation" means must intercede.

I also don't want to beat the poor dead horse of whether my opponent can merely cherry pick past examples of successful interventions and say, "obligation satisfied." The resolution forces Pro to argue future interventions, and we cannot know prior to intervening whether we will succeed. Therefore, the obligation applies to whether we try to mitigate, it does not allow Pro to assume that all US intervenions will be successful in mitigating.

== LD debate lets the Pro side change the topic ==

I coached LD debaters for four years. This simply isn't true. A "value" is a weighing mechanism, not a way to narrow the topic so the Pro does not have to defend it (see sources for proof). [1]

Regardless, I never agreed to debate by the rules of LD, simply because the topic is an LD topic. To the extent that LD allows my opponent to cheat and avoid the topic, I refuse to accept the LD style in this debate.

Extend C1: Cost

My opponent doesn't really have an answer, except lives outweigh cost. However, money has an opportunity cost. People are dying in the US because of poverty. My opponent does not explain why morality requires giving money away to other countries - to mitigate their problems - when there is a moral need to save lives in the US. That is our money after all. Instead of building one B2 bomber (such as to do peacekeeping by dropping bombs in Serbia), we could instead build 171 schools.

My opponent's value is really my value: put American lives first. However, to vote Pro, you would have to believe that we are morally obligated to act even when no US lives are at stake.

Extend C2: intervention makes us less safe

My opponent's only real answer is "of course we can be in two places at once." There is a difference between our military stationing small numbers of troops in multiple places (we have troops stationed in at least 60 different countries) and our military being able to fight two major regional wars simultaneously. My arguments turn my opponent's case because intervention threatens our national security in three ways: (1) it decreases our power projection capabilities, making war more likely against our allies and homeland, (2) it stokes terrorist sentiments among locals, and (3) it causes battle fatigue so the American people are not willing to go to war when we actually need to.

My opponent has no real response to these arguments.

Extend C3: regional actors

The topic is most definitely United States specific. But why are *we* the ones who have this moral obligation. Why don't regional actors have to intervene instead? Regional conflicts affect them far more than it does us.

Extend C4: choice vs. obligation

I really fail to see why the resolution does not allow me to argue this. When we intervene out of choice - because it is in our strategic interest to do so - we are making a selfish decision about what is in our best interest. In contrast, a moral obligation requires us to sacrifice and do something that we do not want to do, but are morally obligated to do. My opponent is trying to avoid arguing the topic by saying we should intervene only in cases when we want to. A moral obligation is meaningless if it applies only when it aligns perfectly with our self-interest. Morality requires something more than pure self-interest.

Rebuttal, cont'd

My opponent seems to say in the previous round that we should send troops back to Iraq because people are dying there. First, that would be horribly costly. Second, it would exacerbate the accusation that we are occupiers (which is why we have almost no troops in Iraq - because of the accusation that we just wanted their oil). Third, Iraqi internal strife is not an "international conflict."

My opponent's own past examples have already been turned against him and remain so. In WWII, had we never meddled with Japan by embargoing them for invading China, they would have never attacked Pearl Harbor. Proof that our meddling makes us less safe. In Gulf War I, we simply managed to convince Iran to get nuclear weapons, while not making ourselves any safer (by eliminating Saddam Hussein).

North Korea: my opponent is making baseless claims. North Korea's nuclear threats against the US were meaningless. It is not diplomacy that stopped them from nuking us, but rather our own nuclear deterrent and the technological incapacity of their ICBM's to even reach Japan.

Laundry list: my opponent laundry listed a bunch of past conflicts last round. He never explains how any of them furthered our national security nor did he prove how we intervened. I find it hard to believe that anything we have done in Pakistan has made us more safe. Pakistan is a terrible ally. Had we warned them about our operation against bin Laden, the ISI would have alerted bin Laden, and he would not have been there when Seal Team 6 arrived.

Debate Round No. 4


I agree that enough argumentation has taken place for the readers to decide who has one. I would simply to like to say thx for a great debate and here are three voting issues.

1. National Security is paramount
National security is more important than money, and although money is the key to other things, with lives, those keys would be useless.

2. Moral obligation to National security
I am not the one making this claim. I am simply restating what John Locke, John Jacques Reausseau, and John Adams have said about morality in government.

3. Mitigation leads to national security
I have proved via 11 applications this point, to which only 3 of them have been refuted.

So the decision is up to you, do you want a government that is morally obligated to our national security and is devoted to keeping you safe, or do you want a government that will just upheld the welfare of its economy. So at the end of the day, you must look at the purpose of government, and the state of foreign policy. The purpose of government as stated by the famous Social Contract theory is to uphold the national security of the people, which along the way is a moral obligation. Its only moral that the government should protect our lives, and its through mitigation among other things that it can be done. Through my standard AND my value of national security, we have indeed seen that the United States has a moral obligation to mitigate international conflicts. It is because I believe that we should hold these American ideals such as national security close to us that I believe this resolution to be true. As Patrick Henry once said,

"Gentlemen may cry Peace! Peace! But there is no peace. The war is actually begun. Our brethren are already in the field. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. Forbid it Almighty God, for I know not what course others may take, but as for me, Give my Liberty, or give me death!"


I'll try to keep this short, since this has gone on long enough.

I have a few key voting issues.

(1) Choice vs. obligation

Assuming that you agree with my resolutional analysis, a Pro vote means the US must intervene in every international conflict. Voting Con allows us to pick and choose to intervene only when it is in our self-interest to do so. For a moral obligation to mean anything, it must mean that we are forced to intervene even when we don't want to.

One key reason to buy my resolutional analysis is that if the resolution were: "you are obligated to wash the dishes," this mean that you must wash all the dishes, not that you can choose which two dishes you want to wash. Pro argues that being morally obligated to intervene in "international conflicts" means we can pick two (and then our obligation is satisfied). I would argue that this is not a moral obligation at all, if you can pick and choose when you want it to apply.

(2) All my arguments turn Pro's case

Pro argues that we need to uphold national security to save American lives. However, all four of my objections show how intervening makes us less safe or costs American lives.

First, cost. If we transfer wealth abroad to mitigate regional issues, this is a theft from Americans who need that money to survive. In addition, costly wars bankrupt our nation. Remember my argument that all the great empires (Roman, British) went bankrupt from fighting so many wars. If another large war (like Iraq) bankrupts us, we cannot engage in national security *at all.* We will be forced to cut down on the size of our military. And if we bankrupt ourselves, no one will lend our government money if we need it to fight a key war.

Second, military overstretch. If we're fighting a major conflict in one place, we cannot fight a major conflict in another. This decreases our power projection and deterrence in other parts of the world. Our allies and our own country is less safe every time we dispatch most of our troops to one area. Decreased deterrence means an increased probability of war against an ally or the homeland.

Third, terrorist sentiment. Al Qaeda and the experience with the British quartering of troops in colonial America proves that a large troop presence stokes resentment, which inevitably leads to violent backlash. Thus, interventions make us less safe.

Fourth, battle fatigue. The American people are tired of war because of Afghanistan and Iraq. When there are arguably cases where we need to put boots on the ground (like when al Qaeda almost overran Yemen), we could not do so because Americans are tired of war. Thus, fighting too many times makes it less likely that the American people will support a war when we actually need to engage in it. The United States is a democracy, so battle fatigue among the American public does matter if you care about your ability to engage in strategic combat that can uphold national security.

(3) Pro offers no good, unrefuted examples

Pro says in the last round that Pro's three examples from round one were "refuted":

"I have proved via 11 applications this point, to which only 3 of them have been refuted."

Pro seems to be conceding that WWI, WWII, and the First Gulf War are not good examples because those are the ones I refuted (as being about our self interest - not morality - and proving why meddling makes us less safe with regards to Pearl Harbor and a nuclear-armed Iran).

The other 8 examples were a laundry list. My opponent's LD coach would be disappointed. When you offer an example in debate, you have to back it up with evidence and analysis. It's not my job to refute a list of 8 conflicts. A lot of these weren't even "international" conflicts because they involved internal strife within one country. And I already expressed doubt that our intervention in Pakistan has made us any more safe, given what a terrible "ally" Pakistan has been. There have been reports that the ISI (Pakistan intelligence) works directly with al Qaeda and funnels money to the Taliban.

In sum, Pro does not really give a single future example of when an intervention would be permissible and would uphold our national security. So Pro does not even meet his own burden to prove two future interventions, assuming you buy his bastardized version of the resolution.

Conclusion: Vote Con to preserve choice. We don't want to have to intervene because our "morality" dictates it. We only want to intervene when it's in our self-interest to do so. Otherwise, we will bankrupt our nation with constant military intervention (empirically, we've had one new one every sixteen months since the end of the Cold War), and we will make ourselves less safe due to the collateral consequences of intervening.

Ask yourself: do you want to live in a world where no obligation exists, but we may choose to intervene, or a world where Pro's resolution obligates us to do so.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by bluesteel 4 years ago
note to self: argue cost as a case turn as well b/c wars will bankrupt us
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Mikal 4 years ago
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 Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: The first thing that sticks out is sources. I usually allow sources to flow into the arguments point I award but Con had a variety and as far as I am aware pro used none. The debate itself was over moral and whether or not we had or should have the choice. Pro tried to lay out a case for why we actually are obligated to help . I think he provided cases that supported why it would be good to help, but failed to show why we are obligated to do so through. Con refutes most of his points in this regard, especially his point on international vs national defense. I failed to see why we are morally obligated, but did pick up some reasons as to why it would be beneficial. Hats off to pro for trying but this was a snipe by con the resolution.