The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

The United States should develop missile defense systems.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/24/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,860 times Debate No: 5526
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (2)





The idea concerning the defense of an incoming nuclear attack has been prevalent in the United States since the Cold War era. Today, various systems currently exist and continue to be developed by the U.S. as a pro-active effort to avoid turmoil and destruction. As Pro, I am advocating for the missile defense systems that are currently in place, as well as for the development of future systems designed to serve and protect the United States of America.


Missile Defense -- A system, weapon, or technology involved in the detection, tracking, interception and destruction of attacking missiles [1].

Social Contract Theory -- The view that persons' moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement between them to form society; It implies that the people give up some rights to a government and/or other authority in order to receive or jointly preserve social order [2 & 3].


1. Threat --> The possibility of a nuclear attack is not as far-fetched as one might think. As it stands, America is one of the least popular countries in the world. Other nations see us as arrogant, expensive bullies. Our presence in the Middle East can very well be a catalyst for a strike, or perhaps terrorist-riddled nations such as North Korea or Iran will launch an attack on the U.S. for either moral or political gains.

2. The Value of Life --> An incoming nuclear attack could take thousands or even millions of lives. Because we live in a society where life is considered of high moral value, protecting and saving lives should be a major priority.

3. Social Contract --> The Social Contract Theory is one of the most dominant theories within moral and political theory throughout the history of the modern West [2]. It is the concept upon which America was founded and maintained. According to this philosophy, the government should provide protection to its citizens through any feasible means, as citizens should be willing to sacrifice some tax dollars to ensure the protection of the nation and each other. This would certainly be feasible through the elimination of other unnecessary government funded projects, such as Abstinence Only sex education, or possibly even the highly unsuccessful and frankly unconstitutional War on Drugs.

4. Role of Government --> The government has both the right and the responsibility to protect its citizens. Failure to do so would speak volumes about our country and change the way we are perceived both domestically and abroad. In the past, the United States has been regarded as a strong and powerful country to be respected and revered. Today, many people doubt, ignore or deny our prestige in terms of politics, the economy and our military. Such a project has the potential to change the world view about our nation, and inspire Americans to achieve further economic growth.

5. Psychological Impact --> We live in a volatile world where many people fear or are preparing for the worst. For Americans, this type of defense can serve as a reminder that for the most part, We Are Safe. There's nothing wrong with embracing freedom rather than fear, so long as we do not remain ignorant or isolated to the world's problems. To clarify, I am not suggesting that we ignore potential threats, but rather improve the quality of our lives by not being hindered by fear of something as catastrophic as a nuclear attack.

6. Technological Advances --> The U.S. does currently have several small-scale nuclear defense systems in place. I propose that seeking to revamp or improve the quality of said systems would lead to technological innovation that could change the world in terms of defense, or possibly other aspects of science. Results have the potential to globally impact the world in a positive way.

7. Global Repercussions --> The assumption that this type of defense would lead to militant opposition by other nations is a logical fallacy. Instead, we can assume that our efforts will serve as a useful deterrent, and hinder any inclination to launch an attack on the U.S. After all, if we were equipped to defend our nation, then to attack our country would be illogical as it would only instigate a hostile (and probably violent) response. To leave our country open to an assault would be irresponsible. Further, in addition to making other countries think twice about launching a nuclear attack, there is also the chance that it would discourage other nations from trying to develop nuclear weapons in the first place.

8. Economic Repercussions --> Sure, a massive project such as this would cost the government a great deal of money. However, it would require a large amount of personnel; i.e. the creation of new jobs. In a country where outsourcing is a major threat to the workforce today, this could potentially save many people and families from the undesirable reality of unemployment. The logic behind this thinking is that the many workers and contractors employed to design and maintain these systems will in turn pump some money back into the economy. They will also be able to contribute via taxes, and not deplete economic resources such as Welfare or Unemployment.


That's all for R1 -- I look forward to my opponent's response :)




Thank you, Con - my reply:

The Value of Life, Role of Government, Social Contract, and Psychological Impact:

I'm confused as to how a missile defense system will bulk up the economy and or give our government prestige? It seems like a Machiavellian idea of fear over love, and giving the citizens themselves false information -- the government doesn't have a RIGHT to interfere in citizen's lives -- just like it interferes with drug policies etc - the government is a tool for the citizens, the citizens are not a tool for the government. Nuclear threats are not made every day, and we have organizations like the NTI trying to fix that in peaceful ways ( When you have countries like the United States violating and pulling out of nuclear treaties, of course you are going to have countries that feel threatened by them and pointing weapons across the ocean at them.

The psychological effect it has on other countries will be discussed in the next section, but here I will discuss the psychological effects this has on American citizens.

American citizens are already overtly cautious, xenophobic, and stressed with fear from terrorist attacks that could not have been anticipated. With Nuclear defense missiles that only have a 50% chance of success, this will A. Cause them stress at just the mere fact of thinking that we are in need of them, and B. Stress them at the news that they only have a 50% success rate to begin with. (CPSR, Volume 19, 2)

Life is valued, but true information is valued more. We have a social contract for informing out citizens of true threats, not misinforming and scaring out citizenry. That is dishonest and cruel, and goes against human values.

Threat, Global Repercussions, and Economic Repercussions:

No country has deployed or initiated to deploy nuclear weapons other than the United States on Japan. Wouldn't putting them up threaten more countries and make them think we are bigger bullies and military heads? When Russia placed weapons in Cuba, America reacted with military and diplomatic efforts to remove the threat, and it worked. There are no nuclear weapons that a country possesses now that can even reach the United States. North Korea gave up the means for nuclear weapons in exchange for aid (,, Iran doesn't possess the weapons yet (, and the middle east is in too much turmoil nor has the technology to create such weapons.

I will play devil's advocate here and ask my opponent why Iran can not create nuclear weapons as a sort of missile defense mechanism against Israel? If Iran has the weapons, Israel is less likely to use their weapons on Iran. What my opponent doesn't realize is that it does not create trust but singed feelings and more distrust and fear.

The U.S. wanting to place Missile defense systems in other countries is also dividing them. Let's take Europe as an example, where if America places the systems in Poland, it will divide the diplomatic continent because of their reliance on Russia's natural gas. Russia has already threatened to take military efforts if such a thing is installed, and that would also include drastic problems for our allies in Europe. If the United States is looking to avoid conflict and protect people with these systems, it is not realizing the reality of the situation. Russia feels threatened, as they should, because setting up something as such is both threatening and insulting. We can also see the legitimacy of Russia being threatened by the U.S.'s withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treat (That could be seen as a Social Contract violation in itself). With steps like this, America building anything in another country with the word "missile" in it is a threat to other countries. It is like America is taunting them to reply, be it not with nuclear weapons, but with military force. (

As for economics -

With the new horrible economic crisis the U.S. is under, I doubt that putting *more* money into our military is a proper idea. We are already trillions of dollars in debt, to start off, and the housing market collapsing, the stock market depleting, and other problems skewed here and there, tells us it is not a proper time to invest in defense but a better time to invest in helping us get out of this problem.

"One hundred and twenty-two billion dollars have been spent on Theatre and National Missile Defence (NMD) since World War II. The Pentagon forecasts it will cost 26.6 billion dollars to maintain a single missile defence site in Alaska, with an additional 4 billion dollars in annual maintenance fees. Each ballistic missile test conducted by the US has cost over 100 million dollars, with around half resulting in failures. In total, the US has spent 5.6 trillion dollars in nuclear arsenals. I'm sure we can all think of better uses for the money being spent.

It has twice as much funding as any other weapon system. The last US financial budget included the elimination of 141 programs for $15 billion. In addition to restraining discretionary spending, the 2007 Budget proposed reforms to mandatory programs that would cut an additional $59 billion. The government is drastically cutting programs to fuel unnecessary spending. To put it in perspective, remember this is a single defense program, not the entire Armed forces budget; education receives 54billion, National Science Administration receives a measly 6 billion."
(, Spiral

Character Limit.
Debate Round No. 1


Like Con, I agree that the government is a tool for the citizens and not vice versa. That is why the government has both the right and the responsibility to protect its citizens through any feasible means. This proposition has nothing to do with promoting fear; in fact, doing the opposite -- eliminating fear to allow ordinary citizens to go about their lives without worrying about our enemies' intentions. Despite Con's assertion that the United States is not being threatened with nuclear attacks, the truth is that our Special Intelligence investigates numerous threats (both potential and overt) on a daily basis.

To ignore the danger our society faces today would serve a great injustice to the people of the United States. Even Con recognizes the position of America right now -- "When you have countries like the United States violating and pulling out of nuclear treaties, of course you are going to have countries that feel threatened by them and pointing weapons across the ocean at them." Yup. That's precisely why we've got to protect ourselves.


In terms of the economy, I have already answered Con's questions about how this project would help (quite sufficiently, might I add) when I noted, "The building project would require a large amount of personnel; i.e. the creation of new jobs. In a country where outsourcing is a major threat... this could potentially save many people and families from the undesirable reality of unemployment... workers will in turn pump some money back into the economy... contribute via taxes, and not deplete economic resources such as Welfare or Unemployment" back in R1.


In regard to psychological effects, "American citizens are already overtly cautious, xenophobic, and stressed with fear from terrorist attacks that could not have been anticipated." I highly disagree with this opinion. How can the most diverse country in the world be considered xenophobic? While new measures may have been implemented to divert terrorist attacks from this country, as a whole we still have extremely unsecure borders and easy access into our ports. The common citizen is aware of possible terrorist attacks on this country; however, it is fair to say that the vast majority of individuals have not had their lives altered in any way out of fear of being attacked. Furthermore, any minor hysteria can easily be attributed to the government's strategic use of fear-mongering -- a policy directly associated with the Bush Administration, which should no longer be an issue as of November 2008.

Con has said, "We have a social contract for informing our citizens of true threats, not misinforming and scaring out citizenry. That is dishonest and cruel, and goes against human values." I agree. The fact remains that the United States in unpopular, and other countries have the technology (and possibly the inclination) to pose a threat to the U.S. History is riddled with wars, and it only takes one crazy individual to instigate a nuclear holocaust. I say that it is in our best interest to protect ourselves, just in case. That does not mean spreading lies or trying to scare citizens in any way.


Con asked, "Wouldn't putting them up threaten more countries and make them think we are bigger bullies and military heads?" Hmm, I don't see why. Afterall, I never said that the U.S. should develop offensive nuclear technology. What I did propose was a system of missile DEFENSE, whatever that may be. This same reasoning applies to Iran and Con's other examples. If Iran wishes to develop technology that would keep them safe from an incoming Israeli attack, I'd say good for them. In fact I think every country in the world could benefit from a system of missile defense that does not necessarily have the ability to achieve highly intentional and destructive missile offense. Unlike Con, I believe that this would actually encourage trust and peace.


Con's next point mentioned a U.S. missile defense base in Poland. In response, If Russia were to feel insulted or threatened by our defensive strategy, I could just as easily say that Americans should feel threatened and insulted that we are being given a hard time about wanting to protect our country. Further, in addition to protecting the United States, the agreement with Poland to have a base within its borders is win-win for both parties (and other European nations) involved.

Under the new agreement, Poland would host an American base with 10 interceptors designed to shoot down a limited number of ballistic missiles, in theory launched by a future adversary such as Iran. A tracking radar system would be based in the Czech Republic. In exchange for providing the base, Poland would get what the two sides called "enhanced security cooperation," notably a top-of-the-line Patriot air defense system that can shoot down shorter-range missiles or attacking fighters or bombers [1]. Given the recent conflict in Georgia, it has become evident that Russia will not hesitate to use military force to achieve political gains. This is yet another reason as to why the United States, and other nations bordering Russia should have the ability to properly defend themselves against hostile countries.


As far as the U.S. backing out of nuclear non-proliferation treaties, in a sense I agree that this could essentially be a bad idea. However, fortunately for Pro our involvement (or disinvolvement) with said treaties has nothing to do with the topic of debate, so I digress. Additionally, I understand Con's concerns about our current economic crisis... However again, it has little to do with the resolution of this debate. What the United States *should* do should not be based on our actual ability to do it. Moreover, I've already expressed how eliminating ridiculous (failing) government programs can severely lessen our financial burden.




Vi_Veri forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Hmm... a forfeit. I didn't see that one coming.

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Well, as we all know, Con cannot introduce any new arguments in R3 (since I will not be able to respond). Therefore, all she can do is attempt to refute the points that have already been discussed. As it stands, I am confident that Con will be unable to disprove any of my valid arguments in support of missile defense systems. Here's why:

* I have established our (the U.S.) society's insurmountable value of life. For that reason alone, in order to win, Con would have had to prove that NOT establishing a missile defense system would actually save more lives than a defense system would save, should an attack ever be launched. The only possible way to argue this point would have been to prove that other countries would be more likely to attack America IF the missile defense system was in place. Now because Con has not done so, this very important point of saving lives must go to Pro. Thus far, I have pointed out why a defense system in place would make other countries LESS likely of attacking the U.S. (it would be pointless, as we could easily intercept the missiles; and it would only increase tensions and likely begin a nuclear war which a country like Iran would most likely lose).

* The U.S. has reason to believe that a country would in fact exercise its military prowess on us. In addition to oweing various countries trillions of dollars, we are also an unpopular face in the world of global politics, and have alienated our allies on numerous occasions. Many nations see us as a threat, and we're in the process of pissing off Russia -- a country which has just recently taken military action against another territory. Nobody can say for sure that we're not next... especially since we keep violating or brushing off non-proliferation treaties.

* Con has not argued the government's right and responsibility to protect its citizens. She spoke against brainwashing and fear-mongering -- a practice I also vehemently oppose. Instead, I am for creating a pro-active system of defense instead of relying on other nations to keep the United States' best interest at heart. While I acknowledge there are some economic hinderances to this, I also recognize the far-superior benefits, including nation-wide protection; a chance for innovation to flourish in regard to technology; a political symbol of U.S. prestige (i.e. We're not gonna take your sh1t); an opportunity to create new jobs; and the encouragement of cooperation with other nations (i.e. our military alliance with Poland).

Because Con has not yet sufficiently argued any of these points, it is fair to assume that by not introducing any new arguments in R3, that I will have won this debate based on the facts that I have presented thus far. Thank you.


Vi_Veri forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
UltraGuru, care to debate it?
Posted by Vi_Veri 7 years ago
Why are you posting this here? What a sore loser....
Posted by UltraGuru27 7 years ago
There is no reason to like the Yankees. A rod cheated on his wife and took steriods. Andy pettite did steriods. The fans are anti-semetic, as they jeered the hell out of Hank Greenburg just because he is Jewish. They are the richest and snottiest team in baseball.
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Correct, RR.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Dominique I presume?
Posted by Danielle 9 years ago
My esteemed opponent.
Posted by Logical-Master 9 years ago
Who is Francon?
Posted by Danielle 9 years ago
It's okay, Francon. Most people can't handle me ;)
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by constitutionfirst 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by Danielle 9 years ago
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