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

This House Would Condem American Actions During The Cold War

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/3/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,646 times Debate No: 8090
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (10)
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Before I begin, I would like to thank my prospective opponent for engaging in this debate and I hope that their Cold War knowledge is up-to-date.

I would first like to begin by defining 'this house' as the United Nations and 'condemn' as a symbolic resolution that would act a guideline for future foreign policy for all nations.

During this debate I will focus on, although will not be limited to, the following failures;
--The Domino Theory and subsequent policy of Containment.
(Defined here; )

--The covert operations and intelligence gathering of the CIA.

--The Marshall Plan
(Defined as; )

--The establishment of foreign governments, both democratic and authoritarian, throughout the world.

--The use of force in Latin America, Indo-China and Korea.

As I have limited this debate to two rounds, I will do my best to sum up my arguments now and use the next round for rebuttals to my opponent's platform.


The world in 1945 did not resemble the previous colonial world. Because of the two previous wars, old colonial powers cut loose many of their substituents and countries around the world to find themselves just so; countries. They were no longer cogs in the German, British, French or Japanese empires. At the same time, a new fever was sweeping the world; Communism. The so called 'Specter' that Marx spoke of now floated freely over Europe, Asia, Latin America and even North America. Soon paranoia took hold. The United States' plan for European reconstruction was hindered by Stalin's greedy grab for territory. The 'Big Three' (U.S, U.K, U.S.S.R) focused on reorganized a tattered Europe. Agreements were made to divide Germany, and herein lies the first mistake. The concession of East Germany and East Berlin to the Soviet Union was a thorn in the side of Western foreign policy for years to come. Furthermore, the appeasement of Stalin's grab of Romania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia to name a few was unacceptable and uncorrected for 50 years.

I have established a context and now will build my case. Firstly, American indirect interventionism should be recognized as counter productive because of its unintentional bolstering of Communist parties throughout the world. The CIA's dropping of ex-pats into Eastern Bloc (such as Poland), Latin America (Honduras and Nicaragua) and Asian (including Korea) countries resulted in the deaths of thousands of opponents to the authoritarian governments and caused them to increase security. The American government, anticipating large-scale riots in Czechoslovakia and Poland, planted machine guns in the ground at various points throughout the country, yet once the actual revolution started, the rioters could not find the weapons. In some cases, these machine guns fell into the hands of the army and were likely used to kill those they were intended to help. Furthermore, its indiscriminate undermining of democratically elected governments sets up a precedent of hypocrisy. In Nicaragua, the Sandinista movement overthrew a ruthless dictator (on U.S payroll) and replaced him with a revolutionary government. Before given the chance to govern or hold elections, the CIA was given permission to start a right-wing paramilitary campaign against the government. This resulted in billions lost from the Nicaraguan economy, a campaign of torture and murder of thousands of civilians by the right-wing paramilitaries and the transformation of Nicaragua into a perpetual war-state. A similar situation occurred in Chile, where the CIA funded operations that led to the deposition and murder of a democratically elected, non-aligned, moderate Socialist and the installation and support of the brutal dictator Augusto Pinochet.

But we see a more dire pattern being established. In the so called post-imperialist age, a new hegemony appears. With the use of 'dollar democracy' (a.k.a. The Marshall Plan) a mirror effect can be observed in that whenever American dollars were poured into Western bloc countries, a similar effect would happen on the Eastern side. This, in effect, caused an even steeper decline in U.S-Soviet relations and a hastening of the arms race. Furthermore, this foreign aid likely created a European dependence on the American Dollar that would make them more susceptible to economic collapse. If we look at the example of Japan, we see an economy that modernized and recovered at a blistering pace with absolutely no U.S aid whatsoever. Furthermore, it successfully fended off Communism (while still allowing Democratic Socialism) despite dire predictions of the Domino Effect being caused by neighboring Korea.

While the economic and covert imperialism did become a concern in the Soviet Union and later an important point of propaganda for the Soviets, the more blatant face of U.S ambition was her military adventures. U.S interventionism in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, China, Cuba, Lebanon, Thailand, the Dominican Republic, Iran, El Salvador and Honduras (among others) caused international outrage. It gave Communists everywhere a bully pulpit from which to oppose U.S military domination of the globe The so-called policy of 'containment' was, in reality, an erratic path of destruction through which the U.S plowed, removing some Communist governments while bolstering every neighboring Communist party. The Domino Effect certainly came true in Indo-China, where the invasion of Vietnam led to increased activity by the Viet-Cong, the success of the Khmer Rouge and the eventual success of the Burmese junta in taking over Mynmar and establish their own way to authoritarianist Socialism.

And what exactly did the U.S achieve? The Cold War was ended not by dollar diplomacy or the Truman doctrine, but by poor economic and social organization by the likes of Stalin and Brezhnev. American foreign policy in the Cold War came very close to destroying the world in the Cuban Missile Crisis. By a further failure of the CIA, Kennedy had no knowledge of the tactical nuclear weapons on Cuba. The only reason America knew of these weapons and averted a large-scale invasion of the island was due to a meeting in which a Soviet ambassador let the information slip to John Foster Dulles, thinking the Americans already knew. The only reason Cuba needed the missiles was due to a rejected by Washington of Casto's overtures of diplomacy (going so far as to send a low-level aid to meet with him when he visited New York.) Castro turned to the Soviet Union only because he feared for the safety of his island and was worried of the reinstallation of the brutal dictator Batista (at the time staying in Florida at the expense of the U.S government.)

I have presented a case where nearly every action of the United States against the Soviet Union resulted in wasted resources, brutal dictatorships and countless deaths. I look forward to my opponent's defense of these tired policies and look forward to responding.


One positive outcome of the cold war is that although, the Soviet Union was a horrible dictatorship, it did keep certain ethnic groups in check. By controlling a certain country, the Soviet Union did not allow civil unrest. The end of the Cold War brought about the current unrest in the Balkens. The Balkens have always been considered the powder keg of Europe, because of so many different ethnic groups living in one area, and each wanting to claim themselves to be a sovereign nation. Well with a limited amount of space, not every group can have a piece for themselves, hence the Bosnian wars and genocide of the 1990's. The Cold War, and mostly the Soviet Union kept these groups completely controlled. Another positive of the cold war, is that with the Soviet Union still a major power, one of two actually, it kept other smaller, more ambitious countries from gaining too much power. That is why there is a huge problem now with North korea, there is no major power to control them. This house will not condem the cold war
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for his response.

To some extent, you are right. The Soviet Union did control opposing ethnic groups, but at what cost? Stalin alone killed around 20 million people. Billions lived under undemocratic, repressive regimes with inadequate resources to live happily. Despite internal strife, countries deserve the right to self-determination. To quote Patrick Henry; "Give me liberty or give me death!"

And what of the near-death experience of the world? Perhaps the Soviet Union kept smaller powers down, but it also helped to increase nuclear proliferation. The fact that North Korea has a nuclear weapon is due partly to America's sloppy invasion and partly due to the fact the U.S.S.R did not do anything about their nuclear ambitions when they had the chance. Beyond that, world-wide nuclear proliferation largely started because of the sharing of technology by the U.S and U.S.S.R with other states during the Cold War. At the same time, although a nuclear strike would be devastation, it would not be nearly as devastating as thousands of subsequent nuclear strikes that would destroy the modern world.

Your two points, while logical, do not stand up against the wealth of evidence to the contrary.


Im sorry i dont know how to forfeit but i would like to congradulate you.You have changed my opinion. So thankyou for that and congratulations. i do agree whith you this house would condem against it.
Debate Round No. 2
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by MistahKurtz 7 years ago
Canadian. British lite.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
Ah, parliament... ARe you a brit?
Posted by MistahKurtz 7 years ago
'This house' is never contentious is parliamentary debates. It'd be like debating over 'be it resolved.' Seriously...

I don't think this'll turn into Bill Clinton's impeachment hearings,so I would hope my opponent leaves 'would.' And I properly defined 'actions' in the context of my debate.

My opponent (if anyone will accept) can debate semantics if they want, but they won't win.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
"This house"

This would be too easy.
Posted by MistahKurtz 7 years ago
Holy crap, things exist beyond your knowledge. I'm not going to dignify your grammatical mess with a answer, I will simply tell you there is a Google button about 15 centimeters (I'm sorry, 5.9 inches) from the "post comments" button and only a short trip away from your Caps Lock key.
Posted by James.ticknor 7 years ago
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY "this house" ?!?!?!?!
Posted by MistahKurtz 7 years ago
1. You have misconstrued my points
2. Your facts are incorrect.

I'm not saying that Soviet expansion should not have been opposed, I'm arguing that the means in which it was opposed were counter productive and morally questionable.

The Kennedy administration had photos of intercontinental missile sites, but that is a big difference from having nuclear material. They did indeed have ICBMs, but the Kennedys and John Foster Dulles were ignorant to their nuclear capability.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
The argument is that Soviet expansion should not have been resisted anywhere. There is no question that the Soviets wished to expand, because they did. So if expansion were never resisted, then they would dominate the world. That would have ended the Cold War much earlier, via the collapse of the West. What Pro is arguing is that authoritarian rule under communism is better than Western alternatives and therefore should have been adopted quickly. The pro-communist position was much more popular years ago than it is now.

The missiles in Cuba were well known prior to the official crisis. I read about them at the time in a magazine published by Cuban refugees. They had photographs. It also turns out that at the time the Soviets had extremely limited ICBM capabilities, with no ability to launch a major attack from Russia. That was known to the Soviets, of course, but as far as I know was unknown to the Americans at the time.
Posted by MistahKurtz 7 years ago
Thank you.

I don't agree 100% with the resolution, as I believe hindsight is 20/20. I think the policies of containment and dollar democracy were actually built on really solid ideas, they were merely executed in morally questionable ways. If they had truely succeeded in establish democracies throughout the world, I would say that the Cold War would have ended in the 70's or 80's under much more favorable terms.
Posted by Lawsonishere 7 years ago
very good debate idea i would take this on if i didn't feel the same.
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Vote Placed by pewpewpew 7 years ago
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