The Instigator
whiteflame
Con (against)
Winning
28 Points
The Contender
CJKAllstar
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Tier Tournament [Top], R1: All nations have a right to nuclear weapons

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Post Voting Period
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after 4 votes the winner is...
whiteflame
Voting Style: Judge Point System: Select Winner
Started: 6/13/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,479 times Debate No: 56561
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (17)
Votes (4)

 

whiteflame

Con

Thank you to CJKAllstar for accepting this debate! It's a pleasure to finally debate him, and I think this is just the issue to do it on. I look forward to an impressive discussion.

As the resolution is pretty straightforward, I won't spend much time specifying in this round, but I will make one thing clear. This is not meant to be a conversation about whether any nation should have nuclear weapons, or whether some nations should. It's a question of whether all nations should have equal opportunities to produce their own nuclear weapons. As such, this applies to every nation, including those that currently have them or are purported to have them.

I will define nation, as this can be an ambiguous term:

A large aggregate of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory: (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...)

However, I will clarify a little more to make this simpler. A nation should be demarcated by defined borders accepted by the majority of the international community. As such, Al Qaida and Hezbollah would not be nations, but Iran and Lebanon would be. If any further clarification is necessary, I will gladly oblige.

The burden of proof will be shared. I will have to make a clear case for why some countries should not be allowed the opportunity to build nuclear weapons, while it is up to Pro to defend why those countries should be allowed said opportunity. It is up to him/her how he/she would like to shoulder this burden within the debate.

The structure of this debate will be as follows:

R1: Acceptance only
R2: Opening arguments
R3: Rebuttals, new argumentation
R4: Rebuttals, new argumentation
R5: Rebuttals and conclusion

And with that, I await my opponent's acceptance and a good debate!
CJKAllstar

Pro

I accept. Good luck to you whiteflame, it is an honour debating you.
Debate Round No. 1
whiteflame

Con

Thanks again to CJKAllstar for entering into this debate with me, and with that, let's get started.

As I am starting this debate, I will delve into my case, which is composed of 3 basic points.

1. Rogue states and terrorism

One possible harm is that the "wrong" countries can also pursue (and in some cases, have pursued) these technologies. This begs the question: what makes a nation the "wrong" nation for nuclear weapons ownership? I will aim to elucidate that here, but the main principle that separates those that should be able to access these weapons from those that shouldn't is whether they can be trusted to wield their access safely by not being a constant risk to their neighbors.

We could look at any number of nations we would consider to be rogue states as examples, though Iran and North Korea (NK) come up first and foremost in the minds of most, mainly due to their acquisition of nuclear technologies. I would say that both of these nations meet the definition of a rogue state based on the following definition, though if Pro wishes to contest that he may:

"a nation or state regarded as breaking international law and posing at threat to the security of other nations."[1]

In these cases, both countries pose a threat to their neighbors and, more distantly, to other nations to which they are disaffected. In particular, Iran is considered a major threat to Israel as a result of a number of threats made by the Iranian leadership [2] and its proximity, and NK is a major threat to South Korea due to their ongoing border disputes during this long-suffered armistice.[3]

It's likely that none of this is new to anyone reading this debate. But what does it mean that these nations now have access to nuclear technologies? What's changed?

For one, they're using it to threaten their neighbors for these very reasons.[4] While one could argue that they always present a threat whether they have them or not, the inherent destructive power of a nuclear weapon presents a significantly more dangerous threat. This represents a significant increase in their coercive powers over other nations, which is a big problem. The threat of nuclear weapons has been such that NK has been able to bring the western world to the table, negotiate its acquisition of resources in exchange for long term changes, and then buck the long term changes while keeping those resources.[5] And that would be the best case scenario for NK in the long term, since they have little incentive to change their practices due to China's continued support.

But the reality is that they can always use those as the weapons they are as well. It's entirely possible that China will decide to remove their support, causing a huge problem for a nation that severely lacks for trading partners. Even if China continues to help them, their economy is far from stable. As their economy continues to falter, their desperation and even their collapse makes them all the more likely to turn their threats into actions in order to show the world that they are serious. This decline may take a while, but even if it does, the uncertainty itself creates a risk of miscalculation that could lead to the use of a nuclear weapon.[6] The possibility that its collapse could lead to the distribution of such technologies to other nations, and further that this could lead to their spread to non-state actors, is a big concern, as this increases the likelihood of their eventual usage. The collapse of a nation can very easily create a black market for their distribution (and of the expertise required to make them) to other nations or even non-state actors, as was the case in the wake of the USSR's collapse.[7]

And speaking of non-state actors, it is entirely feasible that the presence of more countries with nuclear weapons increases the chance that they will end up in the hands of rebel and terrorist groups in any number of nations. This doesn't just happen in the event of collapse. Nations with the capacity to make nuclear weapons do not necessarily safely secure those weapons. Whether this is the result of a lack of technology, national instability, or government corruption, this produces "loose nukes,"[8] which are then capable of falling into the wrong hands. There is a persistent concern that such weapons would end up in the hands of non-state actors who have no constituencies to look out for and are not constrained by laws.

It doesn't require instability either, just enmity. Iran and Syria are reportedly engaging in the practice of smuggling weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon in order to injure Israel without having to engage in war.[9] With Iran's extensive history of ignoring deterrence in this transfer of weapons to these groups, it becomes concerning to think about the possibility of their turning over a nuclear weapon. After all, many of the people in these terrorist groups are willing to sacrifice their lives to cause tremendous harm to a perceived enemy. What's more, it functions in their defense - Iran would see the possibility of a preemptive attack from Israel as something to prepare for, and as such, could easily utilize a proxy terrorist group as an insurance policy.[10] So it presents a very real possibility of nuclear destruction.

However, these are only two examples. We could talk about new governments in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, which are fragile and vulnerable to a resurgence of fundamentalist groups. We could talk about Syria, which has proven willing to use chemical weapons at its disposal on its own people. Any one of these could dramatically destabilize their individual regions and the world with a single nuclear explosion.

2. The end of the Responsibility to Protect

Whether we're talking about Syria, Sudan, Rwanda, Libya, Iraq, or any number of other nations where leaders are actively killing their own people in droves, there is a very large need for the international community to intervene in instances of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing.

Now, we can argue about the necessity to intervene in any single situation, and even discuss how effective interventions have been, but I think there is no question that some interventions are required to prevent the greatest transgressions against a people within any given nation. This has also been phrased as the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), which has been an emerging norm in the international community, stating that nations lose their sovereignty when they are not acting responsibly in the protection of their people. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Security Council most recently reaffirmed this in 2009.[12]

A nation that has nuclear weapons is going to have a very big threat available to it should the international community threaten to take away its sovereignty. Any possibility of military intervention effectively disappears, and even arming rebels becomes a far more dangerous exercise. Interventions and preventative measures of all sorts would essentially become impossible without causing massive internal and external harms.

3. Increased possibility of nuclear war

Nuclear war may never have taken place, but we've come close on multiple occasions.[13] We cannot function based on the mentality that the presence of nuclear weapons will suffice as a preventative measure - if anything, an increased preponderance of these weapons makes the danger that much larger. All of those nuclear scares occurred when just the US and USSR were jockeying for power, both nations with extensive resources and tremendous bureaucracies in place to reduce the capacity of any individual to launch a nuclear weapon. And they still came close to nuclear annihilation at least 20 times.

Now, imagine a situation where you have more countries have control of nuclear weapons. We should be concerned about the possibility that any given nation that has nuclear weapons will simply get upset with a neighboring nation and decide to utilize its weapons. However, the bigger concern is accidental. A perceived threat from another nation could lead to a retaliatory launch, accidental explosions could occur, they could be used by an unauthorized source, as the result of a simple mistake or technological error, or even basic human fallibility.[14] Even with "safe" systems like those in the U.K. and U.S. have endured several close calls with accidental nuclear explosions, many of which remain classified. [15]W e cannot expect every nation that acquires this technology to also institute a number of fail safes to prevent these from happening.

With that, I will leave it to my opponent to establish his case.

1. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
2. http://www.adl.org...
3. http://www.historyguy.com...
4. http://www.au.af.mil...
5. https://www.armscontrol.org...
6. http://thediplomat.com...
7. www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/north-korea/130927/north-korea-s-impending-collapse-3-grim-scenar
8. www.cfr.org/weapons-of-mass-destruction/loose-nukes/p9549
9. http://www.jpost.com...
10. http://www.jewishpolicycenter.org...
11. http://www.who.int...
12. http://responsibilitytoprotect.org...
13. http://nuclearfiles.org...
14. http://www.ippnw-students.org...
15. http://www.theguardian.com...
CJKAllstar

Pro

I. Deterrence and Decreased Possibility of War

If everyone has the right to nuclear weapons, there will be a reduction in all forms of war. Succinctly put, this is due to MAD. MAD, or mutually assured destruction is the process in whereby, when a country launches nuclear missiles at anonther country. Said victim would in turn launch nuclear missiles in retaliation and the process would either stop there, or more likely continue in that both countries ultimately, face destruction.[1] MAD is a situation that is never wanted by any of the two or more parties. Whoever fires first, is destroyed second, but all parties are destroyed inevitably.

Due to this MAD acts as a deterrence. Because neither of the two or more parties are willing to fire at all, or they will face inevitable death, MAD can be utilised. A country can promise the threat of nuclear retaliation if attacked by a nuclear missile, and in turn the other country will not take the risk.

In the National Review, Clifford D May writes[2]:

"During the Cold War, the United States adopted a strategic doctrine called MAD: Mutually Assured Destruction. The logic behind it was both perverse and compelling: So long as we were vulnerable to missile attack by the Soviets, and so long as the Soviets were vulnerable to missile attack by us, neither side would benefit by attacking first - on the contrary, a devastating retaliation would be assured. Assuming that both we and the Soviets were rational, the result would be a stand-off, stability, and peaceful coexistence."

And this is what happened.


Case Study: The Cold War

During the cold war, it goes without saying that there was major nuclear proliferation. Nuclear missiles were deployed at the iron curtain, and America and there were various examples of nuclear close calls.


Firstly was the Suez Crisis. In which NORAD had recieved warnings about impending nuclear strikes from the USSR, which took place in November 1956[3]. We could then talk about the famous Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, in which the U.S were ready to retaliate with nuclear weapons, to possible nuclear threats by the USSR in Cuba[4]. There was also the Carter administration, in which information about impending nuclear strikes from the USSR, not dissimilar from the events of 1956[4].

The whole Cold War provided each America and the USSR an opportunity to do what they had at heart. Respectively, stop the spread of Communism, and spread Communism. But not a single nuclear missile was fired. Why? Because the nuclear missile which had hit Hiroshima hit 13 square kilometres of the Japanese city[5]. It killed 75,000 people immediately, and everyone within half a mile stood no chance[5]. 92% of buildings were gone, the centre reached millions of centigrade and many tens of thousands died after the intial death, due to shrapnel, radiation, etc.[5].

The effects of a nuclear strike had been seen. People were frightened, governments were frightened, yet these death machines were being stockpiled in their thousands. MAD was brilliant because the monstrosity in Hiroshima and the one in Nagasaki could be replicated on a larger scale as America and the USSR had these weapons in their tens of thousands, and at more power than the previous bombs.

So imagine the effects of MAD today. If every country could get nuclear missiles, then MAD would be replicated everywhere. The threat of nuclear missiles were present with nuclear missiles then, but today, 50 nukes could kill 200 million people[5]. The Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuke designed, is 1400 times more powerful than the bombs which hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined[6].

With this sort of power available, it would be absolutely ludicrous for one to be fired without expecting some sort of retaliation, but if retaliation is going to be combatible, then countries such as North Korea can pose a threat to south Korea. But if South Korea were to also have nuclear missiles, North Korea would not want to fire any, for there is a risk of MAD, and in which case, it would be stupid for North Korea to do such a thing.

If Syria for example posed a threat to its own people, it could fire a nuclear missile at its own people and was only one of few countries which had the ability to fire nukes, then they would not fear as much. However, if any country were to have nuclear missile, Syria would think twice as its opponents could just as well have nuclear missiles. Any other country could intervene.

Even the likes of human fallibility and illegal activity regarding nuclear missiles could decrease. If a country new there is more likely going to be MAD if a nuke is accidentally fired, they will do more to prevent this situation from happening. Because of this paranoia, we can expect to see there be very harsh rules and regulations. Because no country around the world would want to see nuclear destruction, the UN would hammer down brutally on any illegal activies found with a nuke. This threat is a benefit. Now that I have neutralised this issue, I can proceed to my other arguments.

In the long run, what this means is that any country will think twice before intervening or attacking. Any nuclear threat; there is enough interest of the citizens of the country regarding safety, that they would want the war to be called off and the government ideally would comply. There are long term benefits, in that nuclear deterrence will become more effective, as history has told us.

II. Trade and Job Opportunities

When we do allow nuclear missiles to be in the hands of various nations, we can predict that they will be desirable. After all, the aforementioned deterrence is something that various states would like to get their hands on. Many countries in the middle east, South Korea. They can also, be not too expensive. A simple deterrent, such as the U.K's Trident program will be what is desired, and the cost of this was about 5 billion pounds. to start with[7], and annually at least recently about 2-2.4 billion pounds.[8] This is very expensive, but a lot can be taken from this.

From a rudimentary economic perspective, if we accept the logical premise that there would be high demand, then the law of demand states that prices will go down due to competition to sell the parts. This means a market will form as nuclear missile parts are being bought and sold. Countries such like India, which have large uranium stores[9] can actually start putting good use to their materials rather than leave them there. Various parts can be sold and prices will lower for these meaning international trade will only increase.

I do not want to go on a tangent about globalisation, but international trade is healthy. It:

1) Boosts international relations.
2) Forces an increase in infrastructure.
3) Forces development of one's country so that trade can be done.
4) Allows there to be more solidarity between country, so further deals which are more significant can be done.

And the list goes on. Let us not forget the profits that that would raise. It is not a rash assumption, that a lot of countries would want some sort of nuclear deterrence. It would be a few billion to sell it to, as we've seen with the selling of Polaris and Trident from the U.S to the U.K, but then this amplified would mean dozens of billions would be made in revenue, and billions in profits.

And with markets, come a labour market, in other words, jobs. Production, sales, etc. With this market there will be jobs. I do not believe I need to go deeply to what all of this means. Billions of money made is billions helped towards reducing deficits, and boosting the economy.

In summary, if you accept my major point about the decreaed chance of war, the trade opportunities are a benefit.

III. The Balancing of Power

This argument follows of marginally with my first argument, but is still an important one. It is about the balancing of power.

As of now, it is expected that only nine countries have nuclear missiles. Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea[10]. What this does is makes these countries an international threat but also a nuclear superpower.

The risk of nuclear war is one that people do fear, as soldiers do not need to be sent out. But having an elitist system in which very few countries are allowed only makes the countries which are allowed even more of a threat. MAD cannot be applied to these countries and each of these countries are able to inflinct damage on their opposition fairly easily.

Also, it means that many countries are going to try to illegally build nuclear weapons, and that serves an even bigger threat. Firstly, because it is more likely to be inconspicuous an unregulated. MAD in this case cannot be applied meaning the country with the nuke can afford to fire one, and be successful.

With these two combined, it allows any country to not only illegally and serendipitously do this, but then as countries around them do not have this sort of power, they are powerless therefore that country is successful. There are fears with this an Iran. Because nuclear missiles give you power and authority if we run by this elitist system, the only way to combat this is to allow MAD to be applied. I urge the floor to side with Pro.


Sources:

[1] https://www.princeton.edu...
[2] http://www.nationalreview.com...
[3] http://mentalfloss.com...
[4] http://people.howstuffworks.com...
[5] http://newint.org...
[6] http://gizmodo.com...
[7] http://www.theguardian.com...
[8] https://fullfact.org...
[9] http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
[10]http://www.bbc.co.uk...

Debate Round No. 2
whiteflame

Con

Thank you to Pro for his very cogent and rational argument.

R1) MAD

There's a large claim made here - that all forms of war will be reduced by MAD. At first glance, it seems rational, since a country that acquires a nuclear weapon could respond devastatingly to a given attack. However, I think there are a number of problems with the theory behind MAD.

First and foremost, it doesn't apply to non-rational actors. MAD requires that all actors be perfectly rational. Whether this is the result of hatred, desperation, or simply mental derangement, there is a distinct possibility that this will not be true. Leaders don't always function rationally. We could be talking about religious extremism, cults of personality, economic woes, a disintegrating power base, or even just a long standing enmity.

Even if they are functioning rationally, there is sometimes a logical reason why an attack would do more harm than a counterattack. It all comes down to basic land area and population density. The capacity of one nation to inflict equal damage on another depends on their ability to hit equivalent targets. As an example, Israel feels the need to stockpile massive amounts of nukes in order to counter the threat imposed by a much bigger, more disseminated population surrounding them.[16]

Second, MAD is a policy based off of psychology rather than logic. The argument often goes that MAD has kept us safe. "Gen Henry H. 'Hap' Arnold perhaps best answered this by asserting that modern equipment is but a step in time and that 'any Air Force which does not keep its doctrines ahead of its equipment, and its vision far into the future, can only delude the nation into a false sense of security.'"[16] In other words, as nuclear technologies have gotten more destructive, simpler to deliver, and more accurate, and as intel gets better, this concept is disappearing.

The main reason MAD survives is because, when one nation attacks another, the nation being attacked will be capable of retaliating powerfully. The advancement of technology has dramatically altered this dynamic, since the capacity to retaliate can be ameliorated, and as such, has removed the benefit of psychology.

Third, as I pointed out in R2, MAD ensures that the capcity to intervene in humanitarian crises is essentially nil. Many leaders would be concerned with the precariousness of their seat of power if they allowed other nations to intervene in their countries, and thus they would always at least respond with the threat, if not the actual usage, of nuclear strikes.

But the problem isn't just external - it's a method for holding power over the country's own people. Many nations have shown a willingness to utilize their superior firepower to level any rebel forces or perceived opposition, often with wide collateral effect. We can look to Syria, where Bashir al'Assad and his father were responsible for countless deaths in their efforts to quell opposition forces. There's no reason to believe that, given access to a nuclear weapon, people like Assad would not at least make a very real threat to use that weapon, preempting any efforts at unseating him.

Of course, we could believe Pro's analysis, and therefore that these people would still rise up, thus testing his willingness to use nukes. I think this is even worse. In the instance where Assad feels threatened for his life and power base, he's not going to hold back because of some uncertain external threat of intervention. Those external powers are going to be very wary about instigating a nuclear war for the sake of the people of another nation, and so therefore unlikely to counter Syria's threat with their own. So when the people rise up, Assad will crack down, as he always has. Only this time, nuclear weapons will be a part of that suppression.

Fourth, even if we buy that MAD prevents nuclear wars, it doesn't prevent warfare as a whole. Despite the threat of nuclear launch, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, the Middle East, the Balkans, as well as many African and Latin American nations have experienced tremendous conflict.[16] And each war creates another opportunity for their use.

R1a) The case study

This is a good example of a standoff between two individual countries that were both rational actors. I've already shown how many of the actors in a world where everyone is allowed equal access to nuclear weapons are non-rational, but let's put that aside for now.

There's a difference between having a one-on-one and a melee. The Cold War involved two strongest superpowers staring each other down. Each country was constantly engaged in spying activities, and focused on watching every move the opposing country made. This incredibly focused, highly selective effort still led to a number of extremely close calls. Note my [13], which showcases 19 incidents where we were placed incredibly close to nuclear annihilation. Pro grants that these occurred.

Even in Pro's best case scenario, where we only have one country to worry about and each country involved has the best resources available to them, we came close to nuclear war. He claims that our understood the power of a nuclear strike was what prevented nuclear war, though our capacity to dole out death with one massive bomb certainly didn't affect our willingness to kill far more people with smaller ones, destroying over 90,000 lives, countless homes and untold acres of land in Vietnam.[17, 18] But if Pro is correct in this assessment, then both rational countries should have realized that there was nothing to be gained from a standoff. And yet they both were seconds away from nuclear strikes multiple times.

Uncertainty is the key problem. Countries like the U.S. and USSR were both against the idea of mass annihilation, but the possibility that one would launch nuclear weapons before the other controlled their actions. Despite all their efforts to monitor each other, there were too many unknowns, and so they were constantly prepared to respond, even knowing that it was fully possible that their response meant if they were wrong. They let their fear of the unknown drive them to the brink of destruction.

If uncertainty was an issue between these two nations, then we should be seriously concerned with the notion of expanding that uncertainty dramatically. Every single one becomes a point of uncertainty. They all have to be monitored in order to keep down that uncertainty, further harming relations, but that's asking too much in a world this large with so many possible actors. Each one could launch a missile at any point in time, and every other country has to be prepared to respond before it reaches them. This dramatically increases the chance that each nation will be the impetus for nuclear war. For nations that don't have advanced satellite networks, their uncertainty is even greater, and all of them are not going to have the extensive fail-safe systems that prevented the Cold War from turning hot.

Even if we assume that Pro is right, and that every future interaction between nuclear nations will be akin to that experienced between these two nations, do we really want to see scenarios like these play out in practically every nation and simply hope for the best? Can we, and should we, assume that none of these interactions will play out into nuclear war?

R2) Economics

Please, grant this point. Pro is entirely right - prices will go down as a result of competition, more nations will have access to not only the nuclear materials, but the capacity to launch them reliably. This market will also give them access to nuclear physicists from nations that have these weapons, allowing them the capacity to create more. The economic benefits that he places in here are incredibly small by comparison to all the conceivable harms, and since this increased spread also increases the possibilities of those harms, this only supercharges the scenarios I've provided. Pro will have to show how these benefits outweigh the massive harms in relations that can result from threats and usage of nuclear weapons, and show that the increased need for defense development (which would easily swallow most, if not all, of the funds garnered) is substantially beneficial.

R3) Balance of Power

Here, I think Pro is arguing that the lack of retaliation in the form of a nuclear weapon makes countries with nukes feel invulnerable in their usage, but this is patently absurd. In a world where nuclear umbrellas cover many non-nuclear countries, the capacity of any nation to engage in this sort of behavior is nil. Any such retaliatory benefit exists in status quo, and it isn't improved by spreading those weapons around. Since this exists now, the idea that accidental launch is more deterred in a world where everyone has nukes is unwarranted. Retaliation for accidental launches would occur now - all that increases here is the number of countries with the propensity for fallibility on this grand scale.

But I'm similarly bewildered by his later statement about the illegal building of weapons. The ways in which nuclear weapons are regulated after their creation are either voluntarily or through coercion, and this doesn't change based on how they were acquired. There's no reason MAD wouldn't still apply. Why can a country that creates a nuclear weapon illegally afford to fire one, whereas one that acquires theirs legally cannot? Does the legality of the weapon itself alter the legality of its usage? I would say not.

It's better that countries that would build nuclear weapons illegally be forced to deal with the associated difficulties rather than being allowed easy access. Those countries are obviously non-rational in their illegal pursuit of these ends and thus should not be allowed easy access to such dangerous weapons.

Back to Pro.

16. http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil...
17. http://en.wikipedia.org...
18. https://www.greenleft.org.au...
CJKAllstar

Pro

Rebuttal

Firstly, MAD does not require all actors to be "perfectly rational". The principle of MAD simply requires the realisation of the threat of retribution which would be so if a nuclear missile was fired. Therefore religious extremism could be a case for the firing of a nuclear missile, but if there is said realisation then it would not be so. The same applies for hatred economic woes, a disintegrating power base and a long standing enemy. The point of MAD is that any cause for war is negated due to this. Your point about rationality infers that a country with perfect rationality would not be inspired by any of this. Economic woes, disintegrating power base, long-standing enemy cults of personality and mental deficiency were all issues involved in the Cold War. After all, respectively, the USSR were economically and politically weakening, they had been enemies with the U.S for a while by the time of the Carter Administration or even the Cuban Missile Crisis, Stalin did have a propensity for war and he was paranoid due to a brain condition[1]. Clearly the level of rationality needed isn't perfect, simply enough to think logically.


Serious irrationality, cults of personality or mental deficiency could result in this. But any country which would be that militant about inflicting pain most likely would not obsess over how they did so. Nuclear weapons can be very expensive, and any country with that much irrationality poses a threat with or without nuclear weapons. Any country being this irrational, there would likely not be trade, and the risk of sanctioning would be very high. They would be on high alert and long story short, the threat would increase but also the awareness and prevention, therefore there wouldn't be a proportional increase. Their irrationality would have unparalleled drawbacks. For a country to be willing to drop a nuclear bomb on another country amidst all of the obvious retribution, the level of irrationality needed means that nuclear weapons would not be a cause of this problem. If this bill was passed, and then a dictator decided to invest in nuclear weapons, it meant he had adhered to the law beforehand and could not possible be that irrational.

To somebody of supreme irrationality, nuclear weapons only gives him the opportunity to do more damage cheaper than he would have already wanted to do, therefore with or without nuclear weapons his irrationality would have caused the same amount of damage. Irrationality isn't an issue unless it is on a level in which nuclear weapons do not make much of a difference to what he would do. After all, there would be obvious retribution and succinct ramifications, and if they adhered to the law before, they cannot possible be that irrational. Land capacity and density does not make much of a difference to MAD in principle. After all, if a country did know one of its threats would be large, like Israel does, they would stockpile nuclear missiles and not to mention that the possibility of mutually assured destruction is still possible with enough nukes, therefore the deterrent idea is still valid.

The main reason MAD survives is because, when one nation attacks another, the nation being attacked will be capable of retaliating powerfully. The advancement of technology has dramatically altered this dynamic, since the capacity to retaliate can be ameliorated, and as such, has removed the benefit of psychology.

But the capacity to retaliate is still present. The key word is chance/capacity. If there is any possibility of retaliation, MAD survives, but unless nuclear defense of all sorts fail, and another countries' nuclear firing abilities are all destroyed, and no other country could help, then the capacity remains. That previous example there is too specific to base a whole policy on.


Third, as I pointed out in R2, MAD ensures that the capacity to intervene in humanitarian crises is essentially nil. Many leaders would be concerned with the precariousness of their seat of power if they allowed other nations to intervene in their countries, and thus they would always at least respond with the threat, if not the actual usage, of nuclear strikes

Intervening in humanitarian crises is still possible, because MAD logically only works with weapons of mass destruction. If the U.S for example send troops into Iran, what would happen is that Iran may want to retaliate with nuclear weapons, but then MAD will start from here, therefore the most they can do is attack via means which wouldn't attract nuclear intervention. Yes, there would be a slight decrease in intervention, but this will not be proportional as the amount of humanitarian crises would decrease, because the same instigator's would be more afraid to engage. But it would still be possible because MAD works by bluffing with your most powerful weapon.


But the problem isn't just external - it's a method for holding power over the country's own people. Many nations have shown a willingness to utilize their superior firepower to level any rebel forces or perceived opposition, often with wide collateral effect. We can look to Syria, where Bashir al'Assad and his father were responsible for countless deaths in their efforts to quell opposition forces. There's no reason to believe that, given access to a nuclear weapon, people like Assad would not at least make a very real threat to use that weapon, preempting any efforts at unseating him.

This is a very valid point, but allowing countries to have nuclear weapons does not mean no legislation on the use. It is obvious that it would be frowned upon, and that there is a risk of intervention. However, in this case, possibly nuclear in order to stop it. Dictators would fear the worst, as attempts to quell their leadership can now be done easily via nuclear missile, especially illegally from any opposition. Also, there is greater risk of their persecution as they now have availability to nuclear weapons. The level of protection and prevention would scale with the risk, and in cases of extreme danger, increase. There will be anomalies, which would be greatly dealt with.


Fourth, even if we buy that MAD prevents nuclear wars, it doesn't prevent warfare as a whole. Despite the threat of nuclear launch, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, the Middle East, the Balkans, as well as many African and Latin American nations have experienced tremendous conflict.[16] And each war creates another opportunity for their use.

But then the principle of MAD prevents their use, as well as greater risk of persecution, and not to mention that the irrationality needed is not displayed by these countries just yet. Even North Korea, for if they were that irrational, South Korea would have already been attacked at the same scale. Nuclear missiles will just mean North Korea is on higher watch, and has a higher chance of being in trouble.


Now, with the issue with the Cold War. Uncertainty is the key here, and I agree. But the uncertainty only arises because both parties have nuclear weapons. If we did not have this system, and we were caught in a scenario where one country has a nuclear weapon, then it is better to fear than to not have it, than for almost certain nuclear warfare.


The capacity of any nation to engage in this sort of behavior is nil.


In regard to your next point, if a country is as irrational as needed to pose a threat within the proposed system, then the country is irrational enough to pose a threat. Retaliatory benefit does already exist, but it doesn't excuse the fact that the holder of the nuke is more likely to fire if retaliatory benefit is lower when his opposition does not have a nuke.

I urge the floor to realise that on the whole of things, even if you accept whiteflame's arguments, that overall war will decrease, as there are not that many irrational leaders who could get their hands on a nuclear missile easily, and that all dangers are highly situational and specific, not enough to build an argument upon.

I do thank whiteflame for this challenging debate however.

Sources:

As before.
Debate Round No. 3
whiteflame

Con

One last time, thanks to CJKAllstar, this has been a great debate to start off this tournament, and I really appreciate the high level of insight he brought here. I'll finish with some rebuttal and summary on the three major issues and conclude.

1. MAD

a. Rationality

Pro states and restates that "realization of the threat of retribution" is sufficient deterrence. However, he misses the one key factor: fear of that reprisal. The leadership needs to be afraid of the return shot. A religious extremist who is willing to blow themselves up in a restaurant in Israel is also willing to sacrifice their lives to a nuclear strike.

The USSR comparison doesn't work. Their desperation doesn't rank against countries like Syria, where the dictator is fighting a tremendous number of rebel soldiers and will almost certainly be killed if he loses the war. If he started to lose and had a nuclear weapon handy, he would have little issue with launching a nuclear strike, since he's dead in any case. That's real desperation.

But none of this matters because Pro admits that there are some instances where this could happen. And all I need is one. Remember, Pro has yet to show any reason why a nuclear strike is likely in status quo. If I can prove that even one country is likely to do so post-plan, it dramatically outweighs his arguments. We could look to desperation in Iraq as it tries to get its government up and running against an insurgency, Libya which continues to be dramatically unstable, or Afghanistan as it tries to keep the Taliban at bay. I stated all of these examples in R2, they go dropped.

The only response he has to this massive harm is that they present a threat regardless of whether they have nukes. This is confounding considering that, in R2, Pro made a point of providing a large number of reasons why people are specifically afraid of nuclear weapons being used over other weapons. And the weapon they were in awe of was "1400 times" weaker than those available today. It seems difficult to believe another weapon could cause that kind of harm and be easily accessible. Pro even admits this, saying that "nuclear weapons only gives him the opportunity to do more damage cheaper". Irrationality may be the source of the problem, but their capacity to use it to dole out mass death dramatically increases with access to nukes.

Pro tries to say that irrational nations won't have access to these weapons. First off, this contradicts his entire C2 is predicated on the price of nuclear weapons dropping, increasing access. Any increase is sufficient to increase the probability of their acquisition. Second, this also contradicts his stance, since the resolution states that all nations have a right to nuclear weapons, yet he's admitting it's beneficial and perhaps even necessary for nations deny access to those weapons. Third, nations desperate for cash may indeed sell their weapons to these groups. Pro's case removes the inherent barrier and depends on another one that may or may not exist. Fourth, there is incentive for nations to give these weapons to other nations, since this is one way to avoid MAD " give the weapons to someone else and let them be the ones who incur the response.

Pro talks about how dictators would have to sign a bill, and would therefore showcase rationality. However, there is no bill. We're not arguing a specific policy here, just a concept. Keep that in mind, because there is no requirement for any leader to sign onto anything.

Lastly, Pro misses the point on how rational actors can weigh the harms and still launch a nuke. The fear of retribution requires that the ramifications of a given act are similar to the benefits of committing said act. Not everyone's going to be able to stockpile weapons like Israel has, and so a disseminated population with the same number of nukes as a concentrated population is at a significant disadvantage.

So irrational actors won't be deterred by MAD. Some rational actors won't see MAD as an issue. Hence, allowing more countries access leads to a significant increase in the probability of a nuclear strike.

b. Psychology

The capacity to rapidly hit another country's weapons silos and missile launchers can end their ability to retaliate. With satellite imaging and high precision, this can be accomplished. For those countries who have these, the psychology of MAD is lost, and therefore they can engage in nuclear strikes. The probability that they will do so only goes up in a world where more countries are allowed access.

c. Use on citizens

Pro's rebuttal here is that countries might stop it. However, Pro provides no analysis as to why external nations would risk nuclear war to save the citizens of another nation. We allowed the usage of chemical weapons in Syria, and the deaths of 150,000 people, without any military response whatsoever. It seems unlikely that their use of nukes changes the equation.

d. Nuclear proliferation =/= less war

Pro concedes that more nukes won't slow general warfare. Each war creates a new opportunity for desperation, and therefore each is an increased opportunity for nuclear war.

e. The Cold War

Pro concedes that uncertainty is the key factor when it comes to getting closer to nuclear war. His sole response here is repetitious, since it asserts that a country with a nuclear weapon is more likely to launch a nuclear strike against one without, despite the presence of nuclear umbrellas to prevent this very thing (more on that later).

Since Pro makes no attempt to minimize the harms of uncertainty, all of my analysis flows across here. Extend my point that we still had 19 close calls with the USSR. Each one was a possible nuclear holocaust. We do not want more. Extend my point that the uncertainty is exponentially increased when you have more than 1 nation with nukes to worry about. Extend my point that monitoring multiple countries at a time with little to no uncertainty is a near impossible task - "awareness and prevention" don't increase. Extend my point that many nations cannot monitor other nations effectively at all, and therefore are in a permanent state of uncertainty. Each of these is a unique and devastating harm to Pro's case.

2. Intervention policy

Remember that Pro completely dropped the necessity for intervention, which I stated in R2. If any capacity for intervention is lost, this is a huge blow to his case. He says we can still intervene in humanitarian crises because no one would dare use a nuclear weapon. However, this seems to make a lot of assumptions, specifically with regards to the mindset of the countries involved.

The intervening country doesn't want a nuclear war. If they invade the country, there is a possibility that the country will launch a nuke in retaliation, since they are infringing on their sovereignty and are likely to try to remove them from power. So with a choice between helping foreign peoples and avoiding nuclear war, most nations will decide on the latter.

The oppressive country is committing massive human rights abuses. They obviously don't care much for the lives of their people, and are willing to put them at risk. They may care for themselves, but they probably have a number of safe houses and bunkers available. The worst response a nation like the U.S. could give to that is to launch nuclear weapons, which affect large areas. The leadership is going to know that, and they won't believe threats of reprisal.

So MAD is functioning in favor of the abuser, and therefore the chance of intervention goes down. More people are harmed by oppressive leaders without that intervention.

3. What it means to have a nuclear weapon

Realize that any possible benefit from retaliation that Pro is getting is non-unique. He states that retaliation won't happen if the nation being attacked doesn't have nukes, but this ignores my point that nuclear umbrellas ensure that practically every nation is covered. They don't have to have nukes in order for someone to retaliate. He hasn't given any specific reason why each nation should be able to retaliate on its own, just stating that there needs to be a response. That response exists now.

So really, what occurs when everyone gets a weapon? Let's assume, for the moment, that no nation ever uses them. There are two main harms, both of which go dropped by Con:

a. They have increased coercive powers, since they can always simply threaten to launch a nuke. I brought up evidence that North Korea has done exactly this. This action harms international relations, reducing any actual chance of sustained peace to a minimum.

b. They can give those weapons to terrorist groups. Assuming those groups (which, by the way, have no reason to be deterred by MAD, since they call no single nation home) decide to use their weapons, they wreak mass havoc and death. Assuming they don't use them, they're a constant threat on a massive scale. Terrorists would present a security risk unlike any other " non-state actors with the capacity to destroy whole cities in an instant " and they could demand practically anything to stay quiescent.

Conclusion:

At best, Pro is garnering some small impact of MAD, meaning a small reduced likelihood of any individual nation attacking another. I think I've shown that MAD is unlikely to deter anyone, but perhaps he is winning something here.

But the harms outweigh. More rational and irrational leaders would have to believe in that faulty psychology for any benefit. Even if they all believe MAD to some extent, as the US and USSR did, each uncertain interaction could result in nuclear annihilation. Terrorists will acquire weapons and, quite literally, hold the world hostage *puts his pinky to his lips*. Dictators will continue to abuse their people, tying the hands of other nations with the very MAD he supports. And meanwhile, relations between nations will get more and more tense as each threatens the other for concessions.

Avoid this nightmare. Vote Con.
CJKAllstar

Pro

Pro states and restates that "realization of the threat of retribution" is sufficient deterrence. However, he misses the one key factor: fear of that reprisal. The leadership needs to be afraid of the return shot. A religious extremist who is willing to blow themselves up in a restaurant in Israel is also willing to sacrifice their lives to a nuclear strike.

This is true, but I urge the floor to see that this, albeit correct, points towards a larger problem within Con's arguments. This is highly situational and hypothetical. For this to be an issue, a variety of things in a country must be true.


I) The leader is a religious extremist.
2) The leader is rich enough to have access to nuclear missiles.
3) The leader has an incentive/want to instill a religious order in another country/an incentive to attack another country and risk death.
4) The leader is irrational.
5) The leader does not mind the breaking of international law.

Although some countries may fulfill one criterion or multiple, no country actually fulfills all of these. The issue with hypothetical situations in a debate are that they can be fabricated and forged to say whatever.

For example, in a scenario between China and Russia , the risk of nuclear missile use could be high. The leaders may not be the most rational, but MAD means that the risk is reduced, and millions are saved.

But this is fallacious in that although a chance of conflict between these two countries technically exist, it is negligible. The same way although a chance of a leader blowing their whole country up for religious leader is possible, the likliehood is miniscule.

The BOP lies on whiteflame to prove that all countries should not have a right to nuclear weapons. Therefore he simply had to find a single example and explain why it should not be allowed to have the right to nuclear weapons.

whiteflame starts with how rogue states should not be allowed. This is all fine and well, but what he does is say that as these countries pose a threat, they therefore should not be allowed. Using North Korea as an example as they have threatened nuclear attack. Of course, this was the first round, but this does not refute MAD. In fact, it assists it. The point about MAD is that countries which do pose a threat can no longer as their victims pose the same threat. It levels out the playing field.

The same applies for the second argument made about protection. MAD works via protecting, but the claim made is also a recurring flaw in whiteflame's arguments. Giving countries the right to nuclear weapons does not arm them. The fact is, there will be no trade it is likely with threats, and sanctions in place means that nothing will change other than the right. What whiteflame has the BOP to do is prove that doing this will arm and increase the chance of nuclear use.

I tackled rationality and whiteflame conceded my point about economics. What whiteflame also failed to do was show that there is a correlation between having a right to nuclear missiles, and nuclear missile usage. For all we know, there isn't a correlation.

Nuclear weapons map[1]

As we can see, as of 2012 there are more countries with nuclear missiles now than beforehand. But since 1945, no nuclear missiles have been fired since 1945.
[2]
The amount of testing has also decreased. There simply is not a correlation so all your arguments in relation to threats have gone.

Now that we are back to where I started.

The USSR comparison doesn't work. Their desperation doesn't rank against countries like Syria, where the dictator is fighting a tremendous number of rebel soldiers and will almost certainly be killed if he loses the war. If he started to lose and had a nuclear weapon handy, he would have little issue with launching a nuclear strike, since he's dead in any case. That's real desperation.

Their desperation did rank up against countries like Syria. Communism was the right ideology for the future and for the best of the world, and if it was worth the lives of millions in Ukraine, Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, Cuba and many Russians, then without any sources it is nto inherently obvious that the USSR were any less desperate than Syria


But none of this matters because Pro admits that there are some instances where this could happen. And all I need is one. Remember, Pro has yet to show any reason why a nuclear strike is likely in status quo. If I can prove that even one country is likely to do so post-plan, it dramatically outweighs his arguments. We could look to desperation in Iraq as it tries to get its government up and running against an insurgency, Libya which continues to be dramatically unstable, or Afghanistan as it tries to keep the Taliban at bay. I stated all of these examples in R2, they go dropped.

Not true. There will always be exceptions, but my BOP lies simply to prove that countries should have the right to nuclear missiles. I have done this with MAD, simply because whiteflame's only response was to say it failed in rare cases or with irrational leaders. Even if that was true, on the whole, I have logically proved it decreases war. whiteflame conceded this by saying, it doesn't apply to non-rational actors, implying it does to all rational actors. As I have proved that a level of irrationality can still be there and MAD apply, whether this is true, on the whole it is.


The only response he has to this massive harm is that they present a threat regardless of whether they have nukes. This is confounding considering that, in R2, Pro made a point of providing a large number of reasons why people are specifically afraid of nuclear weapons being used over other weapons. And the weapon they were in awe of was "1400 times" weaker than those available today. It seems difficult to believe another weapon could cause that kind of harm and be easily accessible. Pro even admits this, saying that "nuclear weapons only gives him the opportunity to do more damage cheaper". Irrationality may be the source of the problem, but their capacity to use it to dole out mass death dramatically increases with access to nukes.

True, but then this completely forgets the proportional cost of a nuke. Even without specific figures, it goes without saying that constructing a nuclear missile would be costly and trade unlikely if they do pose a large threat. This claim seems obvious, but BOP is created here to prove that nuclear missiles are more effective. They are by damage, but by cost the answer seems to be no and it is your role, which you have failed, to actually prove this. Therefore, the logic is correct but the unfulfilled premise means we can assume that they'd deal damage anyway if irrationality was the issue.


Pro tries to say that irrational nations won't have access to these weapons. First off, this contradicts his entire C2 is predicated on the price of nuclear weapons dropping, increasing access. Any increase is sufficient to increase the probability of their acquisition. Second, this also contradicts his stance, since the resolution states that all nations have a right to nuclear weapons, yet he's admitting it's beneficial and perhaps even necessary for nations deny access to those weapons. Third, nations desperate for cash may indeed sell their weapons to these groups. Pro's case removes the inherent barrier and depends on another one that may or may not exist. Fourth, there is incentive for nations to give these weapons to other nations, since this is one way to avoid MAD " give the weapons to someone else and let them be the ones who incur the response.

There is no contradiction here. It is necessary for nations to deny access for the construction, but not the right. One is immaterial. The right to nuclear missile has economic uses, levels the balance of power as well as has deterrent capabilities. All nations should have a right to the benefits for the sake of giving nations the right for success of all sorts, but the moment one starts showing aggression, his right isn't taken away, simply the chance of acting upon it. It is an even better system for no rights are infringed, as the nation can immediately change its ways and get these benefits. So they should have the ability to be part of the free market which is created, and a right to join in. What this does is give them that.

Pro talks about how dictators would have to sign a bill, and would therefore showcase rationality. However, there is no bill. We're not arguing a specific policy here, just a concept. Keep that in mind, because there is no requirement for any leader to sign onto anything.

We can take away the bill and it does not change the fact that if a country poses a threat, other countries will act in the aforementioned way and seek to take some sort of justice. As an impalpable entity, a concept, this right if infringed upon will seek retribution as always happens, law or not. Most likely in a lack of trade or request to stop in face of military threat, but most likely not nuclear for MAD will prevent this.


And the issue with rational actors still seeing MAD as not an issue is one that would be a good argument, but it is a very large conditional. It simply is too situational and if the floor takes this to account, then I can equally say that what if irrational actors fear impending rebellion which might happen? Both are valid points and can happen, but highly situational and on a general scale. A rational actor, might do this.

The intervention policy still acts upon the notion that MAD will not take place at intervention point, seeing as it was a rebuttal to MAD this is shifting the goalposts.

I urge the floor, to read this debate carefully. On the whole, I have proved that the right to nuclear missiles is a desired and correct one.

whiteflame has argued on hypothetical situations and unsourced/not intrinsically true material. He hasn't shown correlation between quantity and use of nukes. I urge close reading from the honourable judges.

Sources:
[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk...
[2] http://news.bbc.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 4
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
RFD:

Nuclear weapons are always a fun read!

This debate rested, basically, on the universal validity of MAD. Con argued that it did not apply to extremists. Pro argued that no country fit the criteria that he laid out--but this was a bare assertion. In his list, 2 is assumed when "all nations have a right to nuclear weapons"--he can't dodge it by arguing that poor countries wouldn't have a right to them. 1,3,4, and 5 all seem part of the same basic idea: that the leader has to be crazy.

Pro wants us to find this unlikely based on the bare assertion that it is. Unfortunately, I didn't find myself able to make that leap with him. Pro's case rested on the notion that if all states had nuclear weapons, no states would use them. But as Con notes, "each war creates another opportunity for [nuclear weapons's] use". Not only do I have a hard time accepting Pro's case as presented, but Con also noted that uncertainty can cause errors and that for nations "all of them are not going to have the extensive fail-safe systems that prevented the Cold War from turning hot." When Pro said "there are not that many irrational leaders who could get their hands on a nuclear missile easily", it became clear that he was unlikely to make his case "stick".

As always, happy to clarify this RFD.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
Hey now, CJK belongs up in this tier. No matter the outcome, this was a good debate, and he deserves praise for how he did.
Posted by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
whup! CJK gets beaten down once more, proving himself not to be an expert top-dog debater, but still an excellent debater.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
Heh, I noticed it was my 50th. A good choice, I think, and a solid debate.
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
Wow, CJK, you should be honored. You got whiteflame's 50th debate :D
Posted by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
Mistake in RFD - I said: "... latter tied into Pro's rebuttal of the economic benefits..." I meant to say Con's, not Pro's. I apologize for that mistake, hopefully the RFD will make better sense with that clarification.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
Mikal, orangemayhem, bladerunner060, Blade-of-Truth
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Who are the other judges for this?
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
Cool, thanks YYW, and to all the judges who are going to be handling this debate. Also, thanks to CJK, I really enjoyed the debate!
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Will vote on this in a bit.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
whiteflameCJKAllstar
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
whiteflameCJKAllstar
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: I want to start by commending both participants for the fine examples of proper conduct, and proper S & G. In terms of arguments, I must award the win to Con. Pro had several strong contentions. The first being MAD, and the second being the Economic benefits. I believe Pro had control of this debate up until Con's R3 arguments/rebuttals. From that point on, Con took control of the debate by showing how MAD is nullified by religious extremists facing true desperation. While Pro attempt to rebut that by saying such irrationality would have been flagged beforehand or by intensified international regulation, the points simply didn't expel the reality that such leaders would still have such materials at their disposal or couldn't acquire them easier. The latter tied into Pro's rebuttal of the economic benefits not balancing out the wider accessibility that would also come. Both used great examples and cited sources accordingly. Con takes this due to his superior arguments/rebuttals.
Vote Placed by Mikal 2 years ago
Mikal
whiteflameCJKAllstar
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Pro did a great job in some of his refutations, but con was able to effectively win this when he was able to show the harm that could come from nukes. Pro tired to negate this by building a case that established a *lack of harm* in ways meaning that if nations had them it could possibly work. Con was able to shoot this down properly and show that was not reasonable and there would be harm that came from it. I will go in depth more if needed, but I feel some of this is explanatory. Good job to both debaters.
Vote Placed by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
whiteflameCJKAllstar
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: PRO is unable to overcome that, and likewise never actually grounds the claim that all states have a "right" to nukes, but only that their having nukes wouldn't be so bad a thing. CON wins because he shows how the world in which all states have a right to nuclear weapons exposes all the rest of the world to mortal danger. Very clear CON victory.