The Instigator
innomen
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

The United States should withdraw from NATO.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/2/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,618 times Debate No: 18149
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (38)
Votes (4)

 

innomen

Pro

"Beware of entangling allances" - George Washington

It is my position that the United States should withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for reasons of original intent, need, effectiveness, and purpose.

By withdraw I simply mean that the membership of the United States be ended completely within that organization. Further implications of the organizations dissolution are also welcomed, but not the primary purpose of this resolution.

The first round is just for rules (standard), and clarifications.
No semantics. Keep to the resolution.

NATO: http://en.wikipedia.org...

Good luck.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon

Con

Thanks to Innomen for posting this challenge. This is a very interesting topic. The benefits of staying in NATO outweigh the potential drawbacks of withdrawing. I accept the definitions and terms and will show why the US should not withdraw from NATO.
Debate Round No. 1
innomen

Pro

The following are the arguments to support the resolution that the United States should withdraw from NATO:

INTENT IN ORIGINATION:

NATO was created with a specific reason, and is representative of countries who shared a common concern. That concern no longer exists, and the member states no longer possess the conditions that required assistance from the U.S.

1.The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in 1949. Its purpose was clear in a post WWII Europe.[1]
-Western Europe in 1945 was depleted of its resources in defending itself from any hostile initiatives. [2]
-The USSR was a clear threat to the borders of Western Europe with its newly gained client states in Eastern Europe, and a new military presence. [3]
-Post WWII was the beginning of the nuclear era and the Cold War. [4]
-The Soviets were able to have medium to long range nuclear missiles throughout Eastern Europe and the USSR with a target of the major cities of Western Europe.[5]

2.The origins of NATO are really an extension of the Marshal plan which was to provide assistance to Western Europe at a time of military and economic devastation. It had nothing to do with protecting the borders of the United States, but rather providing a defence of Europe. There was a need for a "trip wire" and a follow up plan for all of the states of Europe. Soon after NATO the Warsaw Pact emerged which gave a further need for NATO. The needs of this sort of assistance to Europe is long since gone.
During the cold war the United States spent more on the defence of Europe than Europe spent on their defence. More specifically the amount spent by each American citizen on the defence of Europe was greater than that of the average citizen of Europe. Any such expenses by our original intent does not hold justification in today’s economic situation.

3.Such a need for Europe no longer exists.

-The USSR has been dissolved along with its client states[6], so that the original threat that precipitated the creation of NATO no longer exists.
-There now exists a European Union[7]. Since the purpose of NATO was to provide a united front against the Soviet threat, and essentially the EU is a united front by its nature such a mechanism no longer is needed.
-The EU has a military contingency plan[8]. Since The EU has within its frame work a defence plan, NATO would be redundant.

The entire premise and need for NATO at our present time has been negated. It remains an unnecessary and redundant organization.
Furthermore without a unifying common cause, the membership of the alliance is baseless. If a new common cause were to be manufactured, it would be difficult to justify the current membership at the exclusion of other interested parties.

NATO is anachronistic in its existence, it is extra constitutional in its power to the executive branch, and exerts imprudent resources and authority with less than clear objectives.


1.http://www.history.com......
2.http://www.worldology.com......
3.Expansion and Coexistence by Adam Ulam, pages 189 – 191 http://www.amazon.com......
4. http://en.wikipedia.org......
5.http://en.wikipedia.org......
6.hthttp://europa.eu.......
7.htmtp://www.coldwar.org......
8.http://www.consilium.europa.eu......
F-16_Fighting_Falcon

Con

Resolution: The United States should withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

I will first rebut my opponent's arguments and then make my own showing why the United States should not withdraw from NATO.


REBUTTALS

The core of my opponent's argument seems to be that NATO was originally intended to protect Europe from the USSR.

Now, it may be true that Europe no longer faces a threat from the USSR. However, the real issue here is not whether Europe needs protection but whether the US has more to gain than to lose by withdrawing from NATO. That should be the biggest factor on which the United States must base its decision on.


1) Original Intent & Expense

My opponent's only argument showing how the US could benefit from leaving NATO is that the United States is spending a lot of money on NATO. However if the United States withdraws from NATO, it can no longer expect NATO countries to support it in the same level as they currently do. As I will show, NATO is a very tight-knit alliance.

Everytime there is a war, the US would need to spend even more money. The lower amount of support would lead to more spending on war. As a country that is currently engaged in three different wars, the US cannot afford to cut itself out of a formidable alliance and go solo.

The total spending on National Defense for the US in 2010 was $693 billion [6]. The spending on NATO was $515 million[7]. That is less than 1% of our total defence budget. Considering the benefits of having 19 countries on our side, it is a small investment.


2) Such a need for Europe no longer exists

The issue here is not whether Europe needs protection but whether staying in NATO is beneficial to the United States. While the Soviet Union may longer exist, there are new threats such as terrorism and wars in the Middle East that threaten both Europe and the United States. A strong alliance is necessary. The original need of NATO is irrelevant to a discussion on whether the US should leave NATO as new needs have cropped up.



OPENING ARGUMENTS

(A) NATO is a Powerful Alliance

The countries in NATO include the most powerful western European nations such as the UK, France, and Germany. As a continent, the economy of Europe is greater than that of any other continent [4].

The United States is part of a very tight-knit alliance. In fact, Article 5 of NATO says that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all [2]. Many countries in NATO are developed countries with a strong military. Such a clause makes the United States a part of a very formidable alliance. The United States is currently in multiple wars and losing the support of NATO members will undoubtedly make our enemies stronger and more confident.

My opponent points that EU takes care of threats against Europe, but again the issue here is, who will take care of threats against the United States? Sure, Europe may still support the US, but will it be in the same level as the legendary Article 5? Will European response be as quick as it was after 9/11? Is it advisable for the US to go solo when it is engaged in 3 wars, military strength non-withstanding? There are strategic and locational advantages that the US cannot get after withdrawing from NATO merely by having a lot of military power.

The United States can place military operations in NATO countries allowing it to have a military presence in Europe to balance the threat of war in the Middle East. Despite the fact that the United States has the most powerful military in the world, it is not the same as having powerful allies, which have their own military and intelligence agencies which can support the US military and make it even more powerful.

My opponent's point that NATO is not intended to protect US borders is easily negated by Article 5 which clearly mentions that North America will be defended as well.


(B) NATO proved that it will help the US in times of need

When the United States was attacked on Sept 11, 2011, NATO states regarded it as an attack on all 19 members of NATO invoking article 5 of NATO [3].

As a result of 9/11, the members of NATO agreed to do many things for the United States [3] including providing access for the United States to ports and airfields on the territory of NATO nations for operations against terrorism [3].

NATO radar aircraft were sent to help patrol the skies over the United States; in which crewmembers from 13 NATO countries flew over 360 sorties [3] in operation Eagle Assist. NATO also performed Operation Active Endeavor to prevent the movement of terrorists and WMDs [5].

In short, when the US was attacked, all NATO nations took it as an attack on them and rose to the occasion to help the United States. It is highly beneficial to the United States to be in such a close alliance with many powerful countries which have proved that they are ready to preserve and protect the United States.

My opponent says that NATO's original purpose was to protect Europe, not the US. However, as I have shown that since NATO does in fact protect the US currently, the original purpose 50 years ago is irrelevant. NATO protects the countries that need protection. At the end of WWII, Europe needed protection so NATO protected it, but now the US needs protection from terrorism and NATO has shown that it is willing to protect the US.


(C) The actual process of withdrawal will cause the US to lose political influence

While the US may spend more on NATO than European countries, the US also wages war much more than Europe does. European countries support wars that were mostly started by the US. It is only fair that the US spends more. Withdrawing will make the US lose the polical power that the US has with Europe and European countries will be less willing to support the US in its wars.



Conclusion

The decision on whether to leave NATO must not taken on the grounds of original intent. As the decades passed since WWII, it can be seen that Western Europe and North America have made new enemies in Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The United States should not withdraw membership from a powerful alliance that has proven time and again that it is ready to support the United States in times of need in exchange for less than 1% of its spending on defence.



Sources

[1] http://www.nato.int...
[2] http://www.nato.int...
[3] http://www.nato.int...
[4] http://www.university-world.com...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://www.whitehouse.gov...;(Download Table 3.2 and look under total national defence)
[7] http://www.outsidethebeltway.com...

Debate Round No. 2
innomen

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response to my argument.

He agrees with my primary assertion that the original need and intent of NATO no longer exists. The bulk of my argument stems from this fact.

My opponent dismisses the cost of NATO to the American tax payer by citing the expense of $515 million in 2010.
-Although I do cite the expense of NATO as a component, it is not my primary objection to the US membership, but rather the entire appropriateness of the US involvement and commitment to NATO. However, since he brought up the spending, I would point out that cherry picking 2010 was far less than 2011 in US expenditures, where the Libyan involvement has probably reached the one billion mark by the time this is read.[1]
Let us also consider the indirect costs of NATO in support and base costs. There are 9 major bases in Germany, the most expensive of which costs one billion dollars annually, not to mention people and equipment. Our military presence in Germany is directly connected to our commitment to NATO.[2]

My Primary objection is the inappropriate connection to this alliance without a clear and unifying objective or purpose. It is not in the US self interest to be associated with this alliance. I ask the readers of this debate to look at the 28 members of this alliance and consider what reason we have in heading up, or even being part of this group of nations.

Current members (A-Z): Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, UK, USA.[3]

Let us consider this particular collection of countries. Why is the US intrinsically connected to them now? How is it in the best interest to lead this particular group of countries, and why can they not rely upon their own European Union and its resources for any efforts that we might be doing for them? We are in essence continuing the subsidization of the European defense.

Now my opponent brought up an example of terrorism; we all have a unifying desire to address terrorism. I don't understand why such an effort would be limited to this exclusionary group in the area of terrorism. If we look at this particular threat, India is at greater risk than any of these countries [4]. Whereas Canada, a member of NATO is rated as the lowest of all western nations for terrorist threats[5]. There is no need for Canada to be amongst those addressing the risk and threat of terrorism when compared to India which is excluded from NATO. Is our relationship with Bulgaria so much better than that of India? I don't think so.

My point is, the membership is almost completely European, and although they may have unifying and common causes that they should address, they are not those of the United States, and they now have the ability to address these issues without our help. There is no reason for the US to be connected to this particular alliance, and although I don't necessarily condone it, the fruits of concentrating on our own hemisphere would be of greater benefit, and more appropriate self interest than being compromised into the support of Europe.

My opponent states the original intent is irrelevant to NATO as it stands today, and I would vehemently disagree since the very make up of the alliance is based on those original reasons, the essential structure of the alliance remains, but has only expanded along those same lines. NATO is really a European alliance headed by a non European country, and as such it is not appropriate for either Europe or the US to have such an alliance.

My opponent asserts that NATO is a powerful military force, I don't deny that, but lets not pretend that it's all for one and one for all. France has denied the US on several occasions their airspace for military fly overs[6]. It would seem that it's indeed a one way street in that when the US is needed the US responds as in the Balkan conflict [7], a completely European problem, and yet when the US addresses a threat we are met with a no fly zone over Europe, so I'm not seeing how it's in the US best interest, or how they come to the aid of the US. My opponent cites article 5 where the US will be protected by the alliance if the US is attacked. First, that's hardly comforting, and secondly it's a little hard for any American to picture Romanian soldiers on US soil fighting to protect the best interests of the US. Besides, would it make more sense to develop relationships with countries in our own hemisphere to help if such a need should emerge? Isn't it more likely that we would have shared concerns with nations in our own hemisphere than in Europe? Something along the lines of the Monroe Doctrine[8]?

My opponent asserts that the US will lose its political influence in the world should the US withdraw from NATO. A completely unsupported assertion I might add. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that our influence would diminish one iota, and to make an assertion requires some sort of support from my opponent. The BoP falls on you to prove that assertion, but I don't want to digress from the thrust of this debate.

My opponent believes that NATO is of great benefit to the US when faced with military confrontations, and I would assert that this is a one way street, that we help the countries in the alliance but they are quick to critique and leave the US alone in its international challenges. Look at the Cuban missile crisis, the US was not joined by any member of NATO in quarantining the island of Cuba; on the contrary, the US was called out for adventurism by many of the European countries that belonged to NATO then. In dealing with threats in Central America NATO was not a factor in dealing with hostilities there, and when President Reagan confronted Qaddafi in 1986 both France and Spain denied US air space and refueling [9].

Furthermore, why should the US be beholden to this particular set of countries? At this point my opponent has agreed that the make up, which is based on original intent is essentially arbitrary for the US and Europeans in essence. Ina dispute with a country like Argentina and the Falkland's, what possible benefit could the US have in getting mixed up in a situation like that?

I contend that the US membership in NATO is anachronistic, a net negative to the US, and inappropriate at many levels.

Thank you.

1. http://abcnews.go.com....
2. http://fluglaerm-kl.de...
3. http://www.nato.int...
4. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com....
5. http://news.nationalpost.com...
6. http://cofcc.org...
7. http://www.nytimes.com...'
8. http://www.ushistory.org...
9. http://news.google.com...
F-16_Fighting_Falcon

Con

Thanks to Innomen for this thought-provoking debate. It is interesting to consider what will happen if the US leaves NATO. I would like to address and summarize all the points brought about in this debate. There are two major points that were brought up: Costs and Purpose, and I will address them both here.


C1) Cost of NATO

My opponent's response to my argument that NATO is only a small part of the US defense budget is to show the costs of the Libya war. His source says $896 million but my opponent assumes that it must have been a billion by now. As I have shown in the previous round, the total spending on National Defense for the US in 2010 was $693 billion [1]. While 2011 data is not available yet, it is reasonable to assume that it will be about the same. According to my opponent, spending on Libya accounted for $1 billion. That is 0.15% of the total defense budget.

Adding US expenditure on NATO and the expenditure on Libya, the total still does not reach 1% of our defense budget! Now, a billion dollars might seem like a lot to one person, but we are discussing national expenditure, not individual expenditure. 0.15% of the defense budget is a very small fraction of the total expenditure on defense.

An important point to note is that Pro concedes that NATO is a powerful military force when he says:

"My opponent asserts that NATO is a powerful military force, I don't deny that."

Since Pro concedes the point without arguing for the shortcomings of NATO in the Libya War or elsewhere (if there were any at all), I will take for granted that NATO is indeed a very powerful military force with or without the United States.

Isn't it worth it to spend such a small fraction of total expenses to be in a treaty with the support of multiple powerful nations? It is not as if NATO is asking for half or even 5% of the US defense budget.


C2) The purpose of this alliance
My opponent's main points seem to be that the US has no reason to be associated with the NATO countries, that European nations have not reciprocated our help, and that the US should pursue alliances with non-NATO countries like those in North and South America and India. I will address all three points here:

(A) NATO states have helped the US

(i) Germany: My opponent says that the US spends money on Germany but leaves out information from his source that Germany pays $1 billion for the upkeep of US bases in Germany [3]. US bases in Europe help the US have a military presence in Europe to counter attacks from the Middle-East. It is fair that both the US and Europe are paying for it.

(ii) France: Pro asserts that France denied its airspace to US planes. However, It must be noted that France had withdrawn from NATO during the time in question [5],[6]. This argument actually works for my side as it can be seen that European countries who are not a part of NATO are unwilling to support NATO members. Similarly, if the US withdraws, Europe probably will not let the US use European airspace. To continue to get the benefits of European military assistance, the United States should remain in NATO.

As I have shown, 9/11 is a prime example where NATO invoked article 5 declaring 9/11 to be an attack on all of the then 19 member states and sent radar aircraft to patrol the skies over the United States and launched two counter-terrorism operations [2]. Before withdrawing from NATO, one must ask if this show of solidarity and prompt military assistance isn't a good investment of a mere 1% of the defense budget.

It is worth mentioning at this point that my opponent's contention that NATO was intended to protect Europe and not the United States is completely negated as Europe has protected the United States after 9/11 when the US needed military assistance.

(B) Non-NATO countries
My opponent prefers that the United States form alliances with India which share a common goal such as eliminating terrorism. I agree with this. NATO does not prevent this. Giving 1% of the defense budget to be in NATO is in no way stopping the United States from forming an alliance with India or countries in the American Hemisphere.

NATO nations too share that common goal and withdrawal from NATO is not a prerequisite to forming bilateral alliances with other countries. The United States should stay in NATO as it has been its most useful alliance, and also pursue alliances with India, Mexico, and South America.

(C) Connection with NATO nations
My opponent does not want the United States to be associated with European countries. However, most European countries have free markets, are secular, democratic and economically developed much like the United States. They have a common goal to preserve democracy and stop the spread of terrorism. True India and others have the same goal but I've addressed that point above.

My opponent says that the make-up of NATO is based on its original purpose, and that is why the original intent is relevant. This isn't true because NATO has expanded to include states which were previously part of the Warsaw pact, i.e. former communist states [4]. What hapenned 50 years ago is no longer relevant as nations that NATO had a conflict with such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are now part of NATO [4]. With Turkey which is predominantly in Asia joining NATO, NATO is expanding to include all countries that share a common goal as opposed to just European countries. The phrase "North Atlantic" is now more an indication of where NATO started as opposed to an indication of the geographic location of its current members as it now expanded deep into Eastern Europe and Asia.

My opponent's assertion that NATO is based on its original make-up is negated, and with that, it must be accepted that NATO has evolved over the years and its original pupose is irrelevant. Current activities such as 9/11 response as well as the United States being allowed to have a military presence in Europe must be considered, and the benefit that NATO has provided to the United States far exceeded the miniscule costs of being a member of NATO. For this reason, the United States should not withdraw from NATO.

Sources
[1] http://www.whitehouse.gov...
[2] http://www.nato.int...
[3] http://fluglaerm-kl.de...
[4] http://www.nato.int...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://www.washingtonpost.com...

Debate Round No. 3
38 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by innomen 3 years ago
innomen
I'm convinced that the voting is due to the age of the voters who cannot appreciate the actual context of NATO's history and now obsolete utility for the US.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
No problem.
Posted by innomen 3 years ago
innomen
I suppose. I thought it was poor ettiquette during the debate, but perhaps you are correct as long as the voting period is still open. Not that it's getting that many votes. Apologies.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Because I thought that the debate has a certain character limit and time limit and should stand by itself as opposed to continuing it in the comments section. I've also seen many posts/comments where most members considered it poor etiquette to debate in the comments.
Posted by innomen 3 years ago
innomen
Why not?
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
I can't believe that you are using the comments section to tell me that my arguments were weak.
Posted by innomen 3 years ago
innomen
Very weak arguments on the benefits.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
I don't think you made an argument for the Bosnian situation in the debate, so I couldn't address it. As for the benefits, I did address them during the debate.
Posted by innomen 3 years ago
innomen
I said members of NATO were an impediment such as France and Spain. YOu need to understand that there were 2 engagements with Lybia in the last 20 years or so, and i speak of the first.

There is no great benefit to the US that out weighs the cost. Actually i still cannot think of a single benefit that comes as an actual sacrifice to the other members (Europe) with no benefit to them. How did we benefit from the whole Bosnian situation? Why in God's name should the US have been over there sorting that mess out? Europe should be able to take care of themselves at this point, and we need not subsidize them any longer.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
I never said that the US was DEPENDENT on Europe, I just said that benefits of staying outweighed the costs. You never said during the actual debate that NATO was an impediment to Libya, you only said that it cost a lot, a pointed that I addressed.

As for the Cuban Missile Crisis, it was part of a much larger contention from you regarding France, Germany, the Balkans, Cuba about who is helping who. I addressed that contention. I can't point out every single country because that contention was just one of many that needed to be addressed.

Also, I don't think debating in the comments is a good idea, but I wouldn't mind debating you again on a similar topic from a different point of view this time addressing whether NATO is beneficial to the US as I really enjoyed our current debate.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
innomenF-16_Fighting_FalconTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro relied upon the original purpose of NATO, which was agreed to have passed. However, it's not unusual for organizations to evolve to other purposes. Con made the case that the alliance remains useful and that it is worth the cost. I worry that Europe is too militarily dependent on the US -- a reason for splitting. That didn't come up in the debate, so that argument is irrelevant.
Vote Placed by DetectableNinja 3 years ago
DetectableNinja
innomenF-16_Fighting_FalconTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Both sides were great. Pro did make a fairly sound argument for the resolution, but Con did a superb job of negating it. What this really came down to was who's argument covered the most ground most effectively--and Pro's argument relied on a premise which Con dismantled.
Vote Placed by PartamRuhem 3 years ago
PartamRuhem
innomenF-16_Fighting_FalconTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Both debaters did wonderful, but Pro used examples that were weak, I believe, in trying to show how NATO isn't there for us. Cuban missile crisis? Like we needed more boats or something...anyway, I feel that Con addressed and refuted all of Pro's arguments and solidified his own in the process, giving him the 0:5 win. This was enjoyable to read
Vote Placed by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
innomenF-16_Fighting_FalconTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This was a high quality debate. CON showed the spending on NATO to be irrelevantly small, and since pro conceded that NATO is powerful, why not be in it at such a small expense? Also, CONS turn of the argument about France denying airspace was highly convincing. This showed that U.S. heg. may not be able to be projected fully w/o our allies.