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

The United States has shown itself to be a threat to developing democracies

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/4/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,401 times Debate No: 24560
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




This is my first debate, so if I've gone about it incorrectly do not hesitate to let me know.

I will be arguing that, through unwarranted acts of hostility, the government of the United States of America has shown itself to be detrimental to developing democracies that do not submit to American hegemony. While the US has always been able to buy out dictatorships hoping to become protectorates, democracies (if they are not already allied with the US) are defiant and seek independence. Because of this, the US has repeatedly taken covert and overt military action against developing democracies to ensure that they will submit to American hegemony.

However there are many people, the entirety of the US government included, who claim that the US promotes democracy around the world. Whoever accepts this debate will argue that the United States of America respects the sovereignty of and encourages developing democracies.

Protectorate (from The relation of a strong state toward a weaker state or territory that it protects and partly controls

Democracy (from a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections

I would like to note that by developing democracies, I mean that some may be in transitional stages and still hold remnants of their previous forms of government. In order to make this distiction I will refer to certain governments as parliamentary monarchies, or whatever term that is agreed upon.

Thanks, and good luck (:


I accept the challenge. I will argue that, on balance, America respects the sovereignty of and encourages developing democracies.

Unwarranted - Without justification
Hostility - An expression or act of war

Happy Independence Day! Go America! (Pronounced Amuricuh)
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting the debate, and happy Independence Day to you too! I agree to the definitions that you have provided.

I will begin my argument by citing instances of US aggression towards developing democracies throughout history. I would like to acknowledge that while some of these governments are indeed developing governmentally, others are developing as nations, as in they still hold third world status and/or have only been democratic for a relatively short period of time.

1. Iran 1953

Since the beginning of the 1900s Great Britain exploited Persia's oil. During that time the country went through a series of Britain friendly monarchs up until the man who would be the last Shah of Iran, Shah Pahlavi. In the early 1950s public pressure forced the Shah to give more power to his people, leading to the election of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. When the Shah reduced himself to a figurehead, the country become a parliamentary monarchy, although because the prime minister held more power than the Shah it could have been considered a full fledged democracy. Meanwhile, the Iranian parliament voted to nationalize the oil industry so that they would no longer be exploited by British companies. The country was completely within their rights to do this, however Great Britain reacted by attempting to undermine the country and send it into economic turmoil. During this time Mossadegh actually requested help from the President of the United States, saying "Remember your own revolution against Britain" This clearly stated Iran's intent to follow in America's foot steps and remain a democracy, and even become an ally. But due to pressure from Great Britain, President Eisenhower was unable to aid the country. Mossadegh also made it clear that if the United States was unwilling to help, then he would have to turn to the Soviet Union instead. When their original tactics did not work immediately, Great Britain convinced the United States that Iran had in fact followed through on their threat and were allied with the Soviets (this was untrue, however the Soviets had shipped Iran weapons hoping to win them over, without success). The US government sent in agents from the CIA (at that time a new organization) to topple Iran's democratic government and reinstall the Shah. CIA agents worked to undermine the government, even bombing a religious leader's house in order to stir up Islamic hate against the government. In the end the agents failed, however a last minute coup by the Iranian military achieved their goals and put the Shah back in power. The Shah's US backed government, although reformist and generally progressive, arrested, tortured, and murdered thousands of innocent people.

This instance shows that the US government acted with utter disregard for the sovereignty of Iran. President Eisenhower even turning down Mossadegh' s requests for assistance in which he made it clear that he had a choice between allying with America and the Soviet Union, and that he came to America for help first. Mossadegh was sympathetic towards the communists, but he was clearly a democratic leader.

2. Guatemala 1954 (Don't worry, this isn't going to be a year by year list.)

In 1944 a dictatorship in Guatemala was overthrown, and the country became a democracy soon after. From 1945 onward Guatemala's elected leaders implemented popular reforms, giving more power to the poor, peasants, and workers. These policies worried the US government, who dreaded the thought of a communist sympathising nation so close to its borders. In addition the government's policies threatened the might of the United Fruit Company, which essentially owned Guatemala. When the government nationalized unused land owned by United Fruit, the company urged the US government to intervene to defend their economic interests. The CIA set to work organizing an army, and in 1954 Guatemala's democracy was toppled and replaced by a US backed military dictatorship. What followed was over forty years of bloody civil war and instability. And to top it all off, military forces trained and financed by the United States went on a genocidal killing spree, murdering 200,000 innocent Native Americans.

3. Chile 1973

From 1970 to 1973, President Allende of Chile made major reforms viewed as a push towards socialism amidst an extremely divided government. The Chilean people continually elected far left and far right candidates, ensuring a volatile political situation. You can probably guess the rest. Mines owned by US companies were nationalized, the CIA was sent in to cause political and economic chaos in order to weaken the already frayed government, and ultimately Allende committed suicide, making way for a US backed military dictatorship. Many members of the Chilean government were assassinated, however it is unclear to what extent the CIA was involved in these incidents. Chile's new government went on to purge the country of suspected political opposition, arresting, torturing, and murdering thousands of people, often with the aid of lists provided by the CIA.

The actions were unjustified-

The supposed justification for the US's actions was that these countries were under Soviet influence. That does not justify overthrowing a democracy, Soviet influenced or otherwise, and replacing it with a dictatorship, when that is the very threat that the Soviet Union would have posed. This boils down to a flawed logic. That is, that the US had to overthrow democracies and create dictatorships to stop the Soviet Union from convincing democracies to become dictatorships. The only difference between the actions of the Soviet Union and the US was that the US imposed (with some exceptions) right wing dictatorships, whereas the Soviet Union imposed left wing dictatorships. Because the United States claimed to support democracy, the argument that a right wing dictatorship had to be created to prevent a left wing dictatorship makes no sense when the preexistent democracy could have been preserved instead.

Other developing democracies are at risk-

In each of these cases, the supposed offenses committed by these countries were to take action to prevent a foreign company from exploiting the countries' natural resources or land, and/or to implement socialist policies. Under these requirements, a foreign company that controls an American resource might complain to their country's government when the US decides to nationalize it. Perhaps the country's government will say that they find welfare and health care in the US to be a sign that it is leaning away from democracy towards communism, and that just can't happen. So America's democracy gets toppled in the name of democracy. But of course there is no country capable of doing such a thing to the US. However, if the same situation were applied to an weak, developing nation, it could occur. And if communism is not used as an excuse, then perhaps if a religious fundamentalist is elected the US could claim that the country has been taken over by radicals. The point is that those 3 instances were not extraordinary, and there is no reason to assume that any other developing democracy that decides to resist American hegemony is any safer than those 3.


1. Texas

This emerging democracy had escaped the brutal repression of the Mexican Empire under Santa Anna. The United States brought this emerging democracy under its benevolent wing and eventually annexed, with permission.

2. Liberia

An idea that gathered some support in Congress, this democracy was founded with monies from Government and American philanthropic organizations such as the American Colonization society. Some slaves' freedom was purchased so that they could live in this paradise on the continent of Africa.

3. France
As everyone knows.. rescued France in WW2 with the help of La Resistance. Not Communist as direct result of Allied liberation, along with all the other countries that the Allies liberated. I'll probably list them later on if I need to.

4. Libya - Plenty of twists and turns in this relationship. We supported them, than Gadaffi came to power, than he disavowed nukes, so we started normalizing relationships.. When democracy came last year, we supported it, economically and militarily. I don't see how America failed any ideals here

5. South Korea - Chesty Puller, American hero, won his fifth Navy Cross here liberating this country. Unfortunately, the communist Government of the North held power above the 38th parallel. Stark differences in quality of life as there are still mass starvations in the North (Communist) and everyone has playstations in the South (Democracy). Americans have protected this democracy for over 50 years. Seems to me like a pretty big commitment to Freedom.
Debate Round No. 2


1. Texas- It's easy to twist this one, especially with the legend of the Alamo and all. Before 1821, Texas was a part of Mexico. The United States wanted the territory, so US citizens began to settle there. Eventually, because the US population in Texas claimed that they deserved to be a part of the US, they revolted. It was an obvious case of imperialist expansion, as was the later Spanish-American war. Mexico was actively avoiding conflict, and they were trying as hard as possible to remain friendly with the US, but the US government purposely continued to provoke Mexico. The US took every step that they could to make sure that Mexico could not remain friendly. The US army was sent over the border to harass Mexican citizens and incite violence to make it look like Mexico wanted to fight. The US army was just as brutal as Santa Anna's. The point is that the US didn't rescue Texas from Mexico, they took it by force. And the ragtag US resistance were not under dog heroes, they were settlers laying claim to a piece of land that they had no right to take.

2. Liberia- I'll give you this one, although it's more of an example of the good intentions of individuals pushing the government to act.

3. France- First of all, we liberated Europe from fascism during World War II, not communism. Secondly, the European countries that we liberated were powerful countries with empires of their own. They certainly do not qualify as developing democracies. And thirdly, we liberated the European countries because they were our allies, not specifically because they were democracies.

4. Libya - Helping to overthrow a dictator does not translate to creating a democracy. Not that there was anything wrong with helping out the rebels, in fact it was the right thing to do, but it remains to be seen what happens to the country.

5. South Korea - Its funny that you should mention South Korea, because it was actually a protectorate of the United States for a long time, as was Japan. In fact, from the 1940s until 1993, South Korea was ruled by US backed dictatorships. In one instance, during a pro-democracy student revolt, government troops cracked down and massacred students with bayonets and flamethrowers. To be sure, South Korea is an infinitely better country to live in than their communist neighbor, but until the 1990s the government was so wracked by corruption that it could not be considered a democracy. And the US government liked it that way, because it ensured that an unfriendly ruler would not take power.

Just because the US supported the South in the Korean war does not mean that we were fighting on the side of democracy. South Korea was already a corrupt dictatorship even during the Korean war. The war was about communism versus capitalism, and as you can see from my earlier examples, capitalism does not equate to democracy.

My first 3 examples still stand. The one constant theme here is that the US government will almost always choose to make a dictatorship rather than a democracy, not because of some sinister agenda, but because of convenience. If the US sets up a democracy, the voters might (GASP!) not choose to support exploitative US companies and to keep intrusive US military bases in their country. It's much easier to just set up a dictatorship that is guaranteed to support the US because they are being paid off and then just look the other way when that government cracks down on its people.


trippledubs forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Frederick53 6 years ago
Don't be so hard on yourself man, I thought Liberia was a decent point. But yeah, I made it very clear why I rejected Texas. It was a simple case of the US annexing a territory belonging to another country. I don't see how that counts as aiding a developing democracy, as I made it clear that by that I meant independent democracies.
Posted by trippledubs 6 years ago
Wow you give Liberia and contest Texas, did not see that one coming. You must have taken history from a revisionist! Good debate, sorry I didn't finish, July 4th weekend and all, I didn't notice it was such a short debate period. I stand by my one round! Vote Con!
Posted by Frederick53 6 years ago
Thanks for the advice guys, I'll specify.
Posted by ldcon 6 years ago
If you define what you meant a bit more, I might take this one.
Posted by Cermank 6 years ago
I feel the topic is too wide. There are a lot of developing democracies. USA isn't a threat to all of them. Eg. India.
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
The best tip for new debaters, DEFINE, DEFINE, DEFINE!!!!

Define the key words in your debate. This one not so much, but for many words there are multiple common definitions, if you don't define, you leave yourself open to semantics.

By the way, welcome to the site.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by nerdykiller 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had no sources to back up his arguments. Amazing 1st round from Pro. The arguments from round 1 stood and PRo rebuttaled the Con's arguments.