The Instigator
CiRrK
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points
The Contender
DenyEverything
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

U.S. Intervention

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
CiRrK
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/22/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,163 times Debate No: 24392
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (28)
Votes (2)

 

CiRrK

Pro

**Im leaving the option open to my opponent (only 1) - state which country you want in Rd. 1**

The U.S. should intervene in:

Iran

Syria


or North Korea

You will obviously be Con.

Rules

1. No semantics

2. Drops are concessions

3. No new arguments in the last round

4. Forfeit is an auto-loss

*Arguments will begin Rd. 2

Good luck to my opponent!!

DenyEverything

Con

Dear CiRrK,
I accept the debate on your terms and look forward to a good debate.
I will take the con side on Syria.
I wish you the best of luck.
-DenyEverything
Debate Round No. 1
CiRrK

Pro


Thanks to my opponent for accepting this timely and fascinating issue!


I forgot to define should in the first round, so I’ll do it here. If my opponent has any disagreements we can figure out the definitions in PM or comments, but I have a feeling the definition won’t be of any problem.


Should is defined as: indicating a more desirable state.


Ob: “desirable state” is under the side constraint of culpability.


Wasserman writes, “…a single victim is permitted to kill any number of intentional aggressors if it is necessary for his survival….One who kills an intentional aggressor need not worry if his act incites rather than deters further aggression…The person (i.e. an aggressor) deciding whether to burn his neighbor's field is required to take…indirect consequences into account; their irrelevance to an act of self-defense strongly suggests that it is not the consequences of particular acts that are being weighed in the balance.” [1]


Two important points are derived from this evidence:


First, that a victim of aggression is morally permitted to defend themselves even if it brings harm to the aggressor.


Second, that a victim is not morally bound to indirect consequences. For example, if I was being attacked on the street by an individual with a group of his friends I am not morally responsible for the potential harm that might come to his friends if they step in to defend the aggressor.


These two points should be intuitively true, but for the sake of the debate I have laid that out.


Thus, C1: Self-Defense and Humanitarianism [2] [3]


According to UN Monitors and reports by Amnesty International, at this point in the massacre in Syria around 10,000 people have been killed with a mortality rate of 100 victims a day. So assuming that is correct, in the next 5 days the rate will be up to 10,500 and so on.


It must be noted that these are innocent civilians and not aggressor militants – the protests all were peaceful until Assad issued executive/military orders to crack down on the protestors. By extension this gave Assad supporters carte blanche justification to pursue their own massacres even in the last few months targeting women and children.


Moreover, independent reports by Amnesty reveal that the vast majority of killings done by the government are not against armed protestors, but rather random extra-judicial killings done in private homes and villages. It is also reported that killings are done against family members who refuse to tell or do not know the whereabouts of other relatives. This indicates two points: first, that the true Assad military strength is weak otherwise they would be actively seeking armed protestors and second that the Assad government is promoting a type of psychological warfare in order to drain any status quo or future resistance.


C2: Strategic U.S. Interest: Undermining Iranian Regional Influence [4]


It is of no surprise and it is to everyone’s common knowledge (I hope) that Iran is attempting to increase its regional control and to potentially exert regional hegemony. A main difficulty Iran has is its regional isolation, being one of the only Shia dominant nations and being the most powerful of those nations. This is a major problem for Iran because it must compete against the U.S. backed Israel and Saudi Arabia. However, Iran has instituted a very clever tactic in weakening its rivals: Iran has created a strong tie with Syrian, which is now effectively an Iranian satellite state, and using Syria as a way to promote asymmetric warfare and terrorism in the region. This effectiveness, however, is dependent on Syria’s current Assad regime and loyalty to the Iranian state. This is true because Iranian isolation and distance from the Levant and Saudi Peninsula makes it functionally and geographically improbable and disadvantageous to promote its interests without a third party involved (being Syria).


Thus, the U.S. in its regional competition with Iran has an important strategic interest in creating a fully isolated Iran and from detaching Iran from its proxy state. Solidifying Israeli and Saudi dominance in the region will make Iranian adventurism highly unlikely, if not impossible for the Iranian regime.


C3: Strategic U.S. Interest: Regional Instability and Extremism [5]


Al Qaeda and other jihadist affiliated groups seek to establish a Caliphate in the region dominated by wahhabism and other ultra-conservative branches of Islam. The Arab Spring is a perfect opportunity for these groups to gain a foothold in the dissident movement. This has recently been proven true in the election of a Muslim Brotherhood candidate in Egypt. Amidst the dissident groups, the Islamists are the most organized and funded groups which give them a clear edge over democratic sympathizers. At this point these groups have not been able to take a major foothold in the Syrian Free Army (SFA), however as time passes, violence escalates and an eventual civil war breaks out it is the prime chance for Islamists to exert their influence in the SFA. This is a fact the U.S. cannot allow to happen because just as Iranian influence diminishes regionals stability and drastically moves the polarity in different directions, so does increased islamist activity. Regional instability would increase drastically while multiple factions vie for power within a power vacuum.


The solution to this problem is for the U.S. to aid the SFA and ensure that islamist groups do not gain control. This can be done in multiple ways such as instituting arms trades, having CIA backed training and having military assistance.


C4: U.S. Inaction Leads to U.S. Decline [6]


Robert Kagan in his book The World America Made demonstrates that the U.S.’ hegemony has been the reason for the increased human rights movements, a decrease in great power struggles and the promotion of free trade around the globe. All of these have contributed to increased quality of life and global stability. The problem now, however, is that U.S. inaction will be the reason it loses its dominant role in the world. This is true because global events are shaped in part by simple perception – if the U.S. demonstrates its strength, other nations are put at risk for adventurist behavior; if the U.S. demonstrates weakness, other nations need not be worried about adventurist behavior. This is highly problematic because stability is put at great risk when the world sees many nations looking to adventurism and expansionism. We can see this has begun: Iran and North Korea are seeking nuclear weapons, radical groups are finding new sanctuaries in nations such as Yemen and Somalia, China is becoming more belligerent in the East China Sea and the Indian Oceans, and Russia is becoming adventurist in Central Asia.


Obama made a crucial mistake and we are already seeing the consequences. Obama stated to the world that Assad must accept democracy or step down…and what have we done? Nothing of major substance and more rhetoric. Impact? Russia began selling weapons to the Assad regime. What does this tell of? This tells us that Russia is now unafraid of backlash against their own adventurist actions, especially in light of Syria and also aiding and abetting Iranian nuclear ambitions. U.S. hegemony is now being directly addressed by the Russians and in other ways the Chinese. The U.S. must act on Syria now to back up the words of Obama and send a signal to the world that the U.S. is still in control.


Sources


[1] Wasserman. “Justifying Self-Defense,” Philosophy & Public Affairs


[2] http://www.independent.co.uk...


[3] http://tvnz.co.nz...


[4] CSIS. U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition.


[5] http://blogs.reuters.com...


[6] Kagan. The World America Made.



DenyEverything

Con

I would also like to thank my opponent for choosing such an interesting and engaging topic and following through with an interesting and engaging argument.

C1: Self-Defense and Humanitarianism
"...this gave Assad supporters carte blanche justification to pursue their own massacres even in the last few months targeting women and children." I assume you are referring to the Houla Massacre [1], which initially was blamed on the Shabiha [2], government-sponsored thugs and mercenaries, but contrasting reports [3] [6] assert that in fact anti-Assad Sunni militants were the perpetrators and the bulk of the victims were part of the Alawi and Shia minorities. Bashar al-Assad belongs to the Alawi [5] and in turn Shia minority in Syria even though about 74% [4] of the population is Sunni. Houla itself is about 90% Sunni [3], and has a population of about 25-30,000 people [6], while only 108 people were killed, and most of them members of the Shia minorities that support Bashar al-Assad [3]. There was no reason for the Regime to massacre those Syrians and all the reasons for the opposition groups to- a perfect opportunity to frame the victims as Sunnis while in fact most of them were Alawi and Shia. According to sources cited by Dutch Middle East expert Martin Janssen, armed rebels murdered "entire Alawi families" in the village of Taldo in the Houla region, close to the Houla massacre [7]. The Houla massacre is just one example of how it is difficult to tell who exactly is the victim and who is the aggressor in Syria. It is easy to frame the regime as the only aggressor in this Syrian revolution, but is it justified to kill nonviolent women and children because of their political beliefs and then frame the regime? They mirror the regime in their tactics.
C2: Strategic U.S. interest: Undermining Iranian Regional Influence
Iran already has more influence in the Middle East then the US can ever hope to achieve, and a better way to halt Iranian influence in the region is to weaken Iranian government stability (the government in Iran is quite controversial domestically and internationally) through imposing sanctions that work successfully to undermine public opinion of the government [8] [9]. Creating change/unrest in Iran will prove more successful than military intervention- Military intervention will unite Iran while promoting unrest will divide and weaken central power in Iran. Syria's warfare does not undermine the US's strength in Israel and Saudi Arabia, instead, it gives those nations more power while Syria struggles to stay in power. Syria is not useful to Iran because while Syria is 74% [4] Sunni, if Assad is overthrown, the new Sunni government will most likely not be friendly to the Shia Iran government, and if Assad is not overthrown, Syria is still ruled by a Shia ruler who will naturally be friendly to Iran but of no use to Sunni nations. Using Iran to justify Syria is like using China to justify North Korea, it is searching for a justification that is simply nonexistent.
C3: Strategic U.S. Interest: Regional Instability and Extremism
Your point simply reaffirms why it is not yet possible for intervention in Syria. With military intervention in Syria, aided by the Syrian Free Army, who is to say the SFA isn't just as bad as the conservative Islamists? Clearly outnumbered and outmatched by the Syrian military, the SFA has resorted to questionable tactics and continues to call for foreign intervention, but if the intervention comes, is it the people of Syria taking power? Or is it the US simply selecting a group they find easier to support than Bashar al-Assad and the radical Islamists? As shown in similar operations in the past, namely Iraq, aiding the rebels can be just like arming the radicals, and does not necessarily mean that they will magically defeat the regime and institute a free democracy. Why arm them when they are desperate, outmatched and unorganized? It is placing too much trust in a group that is susceptible to radical Islamists, and could be another Iraq. U.S. action would lead to more power to terrorists as U.S. intervention is never popular in nations they invade, and will backfire right on the U.S.
C4: U.S. Inaction Leads to U.S. Decline
The U.S. must choose its battles wisely, because its military, while one of the world's premier, is not actually the world's largest [10]. It has a relatively small active military force, and relies mostly on its superior navy and air force. Your point goes both ways- if you assault every nation that poses some sort of threat to the U.S., you simply anger more and more nations and the problem blows up in your face. Instead, maintaining a large spread of power in key geographic points across the globe is a far more effective strategy. Invading Syria would cause more problems than it would solve. Instead, amping up positions in places like Indonesia/Philippines, South Korea, Turkey and India and strengthening economic ties with Russia and China is a solution that not only solves the problem but involves no warfare. Syria makes little difference to the U.S. either way, and the only nation that poses a threat in the region is Iran, which the U.S. has already taken steps to mitigate.

Invading Syria costs the U.S. more than it benefits the U.S. In any war, most of the casualties will be of innocent civilians- who stays in one place, is not armed, holds valuable land and resources, and has no military protection? Thousands of people are dying everywhere- Sudan, Uganda, Congo, Ethiopia etc. and the U.S. does little or nothing to help. Syria is no different. The overblown and unfounded idea of al-Qaeda actually succeeding in creating a Caliphate is ridiculous- the majority of Muslims in Middle Eastern countries are nonviolent and moderate, and no respected and revered Muslim leader would nominate an al-Qaeda leader as their Caliph. Using Egypt misses the fact that the SCAF still holds more power than Morsi and Morsi will be ejected as soon as the new constitution is drafted. Such fears are unlikely and are certainly not enough reason to justify Syrian Military intervention, especially with the solution of aiding the SFA which is unorganized and outmatched and could be just as bad as the radical Islamists. "[Obama has done] Nothing of major substance…" so this justifies invading any country that has people suffering, a bad regime and a bad neighbor? North Korea, Myanmar, Syria, Sudan, Cambodia, Uganda and South Sudan… there is a reason why only nations that pose a threat to the U.S. are invaded. Syria is not one of those nations.

Sources:
[1]: http://ooze.us...
[2]: http://ooze.us...
[3]: http://ooze.us...
[4]: http://ooze.us...
[5]: http://ooze.us...
[6]: http://ooze.us...
[7]: http://ooze.us...
[8]: http://ooze.us...
[9]: http://ooze.us...
[10]: http://ooze.us...
Debate Round No. 2
CiRrK

Pro

My opponent drops my observation that potentia harms must be viewied in light of culpability.

This is important because it means that even if unforseen consequences occur the U.S. is still justified in helping the SFA protect itself against regime attacks.

C1: Self-Defense and Humanitarianism

My opponent makes the claim that the Houla massacre was primarily against Alawi/Shia families (government supporters).and thus indicting the Sunni militants. There are a few problems with this analysis:

First, the main piece of evidence from the Voltair Network is notorious for promoting conspiracy theories in-line with their own ideology. For example, this network was one of the most active in promoting the Truther Movement (9/11 was an inside job) and also conspiracies pointing to neocon attempts to use military intervention as a means towards oil, which has been demonstrably proven false especially in light of the Iraq War. However, my evidence is from the UN and Amnesty (by far no neocon or rightwing group looking to promote an agenda) which documents interviews, eyewitness reports, and UN monitoring stations in the region. All of my opponent’s evidence relies on 3rd parties such as government claims. [1]

Second, it is factually improbable that it was the SFA or allies who committed the massacre because all reports (even his evidence) cite around 20% of deaths occurred by tank fire, artillery shells and helicopter assistance. Why is this important? Because the SFA has no armament of this magnitude. As the reports indicate the first part of the assault in Houla was of heavy armor weaponry followed by an infiltration of Shia/government backed militias. These accounts are substantiated by satellite imagery. [2]

Third, even assuming some reports that there were casualties of Alawite and Shia families this is to be expected especially since in certain regions of the country, including Houla, the Shias/Alawites that stayed in the areas dominated by the SFA are Alawite defectors to the SFA. [3]

Fourth, even if we assume all of my opponent’s logic is correct his argument drops my argument that the regime is responsible for 100 deaths per day which means in the next 2 days the regime would have killed more than what had occurred in Houla. Refer to rules on drops.

C2: Iranian Influence

My opponent makes a few claims in this argument:

That Iranian influence is best diminished through weakening Iranian stability.

This argument doesn’t gain my opponent any ground because it isn’t mutually exclusive to my advocacy. The U.S. can work to undermine Iranian influence internally through sanctions and CIA operations while at the same time working to overthrow Assad.

My opponent doesn’t justify the claim that military intervention will unite Iran. He can do so in the next round.

My opponent claims that if Assad is overthrown than it wouldn’t be friendly to Iran.

That’s the point. Iran only has one main ally in the region – Syria. My opponent drops the analysis that I presented which demonstrates that Iranian influence cannot be sustained if Iran is geographically and numerically isolated from the Peninsula and the Levant. As mentioned above this is true because Iran needs Syria as the 3rd party to initiate proxy skirmishes and to prevent a solid Sunni bloc in the Middle East.


C3: Radicalism

My opponent claims that since the sects of the SFA are looking to radicals than that is reason why the U.S. shouldn’t intervene or aid the rebels.

This is exactly why the U.S. should intervene. As indicated by my evidence the SFA is looking to radicals because they lack the military power to effectively compete with the Syrian military. The evidence indicates that the radicals do not have a power foothold though. The U.S. must act now in order to fill this vacuum that different groups are vying for. If radicals do take this hold then the U.S. is in a double-bind, both groups will be of strategic disadvantage to the U.S. (either it’s an Iranian satellite state or a radical quasi-state).

The issue however is that the SFA can maintain a strong defensive against the Syrian military due to just numbers alone. Its offensive will require outside assistance, but its defensive might not. Impact? As time goes on more and more bloodshed will occur.

My opponent claims it can devolve into an Iraq situation.

The problem with this analysis is that Syria is not like Iraq. When the U.S. invaded Iraq there was no solidified and organized opposition to the degree of the SFA. Moreover, Iraq wasn’t geographically divided into government and opposition camps. The closest would be the divide of the Kurds to the north with the rest of the country but that doesn’t apply because the Kurds had already been beaten into submission with a previous genocide and various military operations there.


C4: U.S. Inaction Leads to U.S. Decline


My opponent makes the claim that the U.S. has a pretty small military force.

This is true yet misleading. The U.S. when it comes to expenditure on the military far exceeds even China who would have the 2nd highest defense expenditure. The U.S., as my opponent alludes to, spends its capital on weaponry and technological innovations especially in the realm of airpower. If the U.S. intervenes in Syria it would not be through an immense solider force, but rather armament and airpower especially drones. This is true because the Syrian military is pretty weak when it comes to airpower. Im sure anyone who knows about the 7-day war would realize the internal weakness of the Syrian army. The U.S. would simply need to supply airpower to effectively moot Syrian ground forces and specifically their heavy artillery.

My opponent makes the age old argument of backlash.

This would be true if the majority of Arab states oppose U.S./U.N. intervention. But this is not the case. The Arab League has been one of the most vocal groups in asking for international assistance in Syria. [5]

Moreover, the SFA is also actively seeking international and U.S. assistance so backlash wouldn’t come from this group. This group is analogous to the Libyan Free Army and Council and there has not been major backlash to the U.S. in Libya.

My opponent claims that innocents will die.

This argument is non-unique…people are dying now in the status quo. However I would argue less people would die in the long run if the U.S. acts not because as time drags on the civil war is at a standstill resulting in as a I said 100 deaths per day from the regime killing opposition members and innocent civilians. The quicker the violence ends, which would be like Libya when the U.S. and international finally intervened, the less people will die. We know if we don’t act the violence will remain as gruesome as it is. The systematic killing will continue unless the U.S. acts.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] http://www.guardian.co.uk...

[3] http://www.nytimes.com...

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[5] http://www.nytimes.com...

DenyEverything

Con

Potential harms must be viewed in light of culpability, but if the U.S. causes needless/mass suffering, they are responsible for diverting from their mission. For example, if they decided to nuke Damascus, sure, it would move their objective forward, but it would cause needless and mass suffering and could be achieved through less invasive and destructive measures. You must fight wars humanely, even unjust ones.
C1: Self-Defense and Humanitarianism:
First of all, my main piece of evidence came from the National Review, which in turn cited the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. These news publications come from the U.S. and Germany, both NATO countries and both Western nations. They are both highly respected publications that hold to a high standard of conduct. As for the Voltaire Network publication, it was based on original on-site research by a Russian publication, Vesti24. It was not original VoltaireNet journalism, it was commentary. A similar account from an on-site freelance Syrian investigative journalist (Marat Musin from Abkhazian Network News Agency) can be found here [1]. Marat Musin is quoted as (translated) "After a visual inspection of Al Houla it is impossible to find traces of any fresh destruction, bombing and shelling." All my information, in fact, is not based on the Government. I never cited the Syrian Government or included one of their claims in my argument. I think the Syrian Government is not to be trusted. I also question your reliance on the U.N. as a credible news source- Rupert Colville, UNCHR spokesman, was interviewed by a No War Network journalist [2], and was quoted as "The U.N. observers are another body…", "Our local contacts in Syria say they were Shabbiya…". The UNHCR in fact has never set foot on Syrian soil and relies on, according to the NWN journalist, "the opposition groups [UNCHR] spoke to on the phone, the opposition they met in Turkey, and other 'activists' they met in Geneva." Do you find it unsettling that the U.N. relied completely on local "sources" and expat opposition leaders? Do you find it strange that the BBC used a photograph depicting the Houla massacre that was actually taken in Iraq in 2003? [3] How about the fact that the UNCHR itself said that "under 20 of 108 killed in the attack can be attributed to artillery and tank fire," [4] which goes against your argument that their deaths were caused by Government tanks/Artillery. How about the fact that they were executed at point blank range? [4] Killings, Beheadings, Slitting of throats- does this sound like Government artillery? No. Because most likely the deaths were from Sunni rebels who found the perfect opportunity to depose of their pro-government counterparts and blame it on the government. Government backed militias- that exclusively killed Shia/Alawites? Highly unlikely.
And now you fall back on your nice statistic of 100 deaths per day… how many people do you think are killed by police per day in other Middle Eastern nations? how about even in the West? Is that justification for war? How many will Americans will die from Military intervention? How many will become injured?
C2: Iranian Influence:
My argument is not mutually exclusive- but what if all we needed were the sanctions? Not another ridiculously expensive war budget. Not more troops dying and becoming injured in the scores. Iranians [5] would unite against war, and would oppose the Government, as evidenced in this interview. All you need to do is push the people to a tipping point. Don't have the U.S. be the problem, make it the Iranian Government. US intervention is needless and the results it could deliver could also be delivered in an easier way, without introducing U.S. military troops.
C3: Radicalism:
"solidified and organized opposition to the degree of the SFA…" The SFA is neither solidified or organized. The SFA is split and divided over a large part of the country with no central command, training or strategy. It has stated it does not have the power to assault and control territories and relies instead on hit and run attacks designed to make the Syrian Army withdraw. My point actually emphasizes that the U.S. should not intervene. It is not organized enough to hold territories and gain ground, therefore it should not be supported. The SFA has committed numerous acts of needless desecration [6] [7] and according to a three-man AP team, is "divided" and "violent" [8]. I find them a weak cause to support, especially with previous US-Middle Eastern knowledge.
C4: U.S. Inaction Leads to U.S. Decline
I did make the claim that the U.S. has a pretty small military force. This is true, and it is not misleading. The U.S. does have a very large military expenditure, but spends only $79.1 billion on R&D, out of $684 billion [9]. Perhaps a Syrian invasion would come from air. A fair argument, as Israel or Turkey would certainly allow the U.S. to send air forces to their countries. The U.S. however could not rely simply on the SFA as their only ground force. Backlash from Arab States? Unlikely. From the SFA? Unlikely. From Russia & China? Most likely. This backlash is actually to be feared. If it is the U.S.'s job to instill democracy and freedom everywhere, as I said before, it would need to assault many more nations to avoid a costly double standard. Perhaps the U.S. could manage all these assaults and create a large amount of democracies, but probably not. It is not the U.S.'s job to end world suffering. This argument of innocents dying is largely speculative. Perhaps the U.S. will save lives, and perhaps it will worsen the situation.

As I have proven, the Houla Massacre is not black & white as my opponent claims. The SFA is not worthy of U.S. backing. The backlash of Russia and China together is to be avoided if possible. Innocents will die either way. It is not a civil war, it is a failing revolution. Systemic killing occurs elsewhere and the U.S. does nothing.

Sources:
[1]: http://www.syrianews.cc...
[2]: http://www.rt.com...
[3]: http://tehrantimes.com...
[4]: http://www.rt.com...
[5]: http://www.npr.org...
[6]: http://www.rt.com...
[7]: http://www.rt.com...
[8]: http://www.sacbee.com...
[9]: http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
CiRrK

Pro

Since this is the last round my opponent and I cannot submit new evidence or new arguments, which means it will be used for weighing and conclusions.

C1: Humanitarianism

So I concede to the argument that the National Review was his main source and not Voltaire Network, however this will be insignificant when analyzing the contention as a whole.

First, my opponent cannot outweigh on humanitarianism because he, from the beginning, dropped my argument about 10,000 deaths + 100 deaths per day. The rules strictly indicate that drops are concessions. My opponent only focuses on the Houla Massacre in his rebuttal which was about 108 deaths, which even assuming he is correct in his analysis that it was perpetrated by opposition forces this only equates to 1 day of verified government killings against innocent civilians throughout Syria. Unfortunately my opponent has not negated the main piece of evidence that I provided which numerically and based on magnitude outweighs his argument.

Second, my opponent makes the argument that only 20 of the around 108 people killed were killed by artillery or heavy armament tank fire. This would roughly equate to the 20% stat I provided, but he says this negates my stat. However, my opponent is missing the crucial analytic that the stat implies: if the opposition forces do not have heavy armament then there should be 0% of deaths which would have occurred by heavy armament (no one should have died due to these causes because there wouldn’t have been heavy armaments attacking the town). Moreover, he drops my evidence from the State Dpt which shows satellite imagery of heavy armaments and military helicopters at the town.

Third, he drops my argument I made in the last round that explains why it is possible that Alawaite and Shiites could have been killed in the massacre. Remember my argument told you that many of the Alawaites and Shias fled this area of Syria and the ones that didn’t were defectors to the opposition. This would mean that even though they were Alawite or Shia they were still supporters of the opposition.

My opponent makes the argument that most were killed by close-range weaponry and knives but this is consistent with all evidence indicating that loyalists to the Syrian regime perpetrated most of the killings in the heart of Houla where heavy weaponry could not reach. But moreover, this argument doesn’t tell you who or what perpetrated the crime, only that a crime did occur.

C2: Iranian Hegemony

My opponent makes the argument that sanctions aren’t mutually exclusive but what if sanctions work? Even without evidence this point should be clearly defective to anyone who follows international relations. Sanctions haven’t worked for years and there is no indication that sanctions will work in the future. Since I will restrain from breaking the rules and providing evidence I will leave this argument up to the judgment of the judges. But a few things must be asked while evaluating this argument: 1) has sanctions decreased Iranian influence? 2) will sanctions actually work and 3) will China and Russia actually back down from their vetoes on the Security Council dealing with tough sanctions?

I let my opponent attempt to warrant his claim from the first round that Iranians would unite against war. My opponent provided evidence in the previous round, but the evidence has nothing to do with Syria. The evidence my opponent presents argues that a Western attack against Iran itself would create a rally-around-the-flag effect. The evidence does not indicate that the Iranian regime would gain internal support from a war against Syria.

My opponent does not sufficient extend arguments under this contention to do severe damage to the offense I can extend in this contention. Remember my evidence indicates that Iran can only effectively promote its influence in the region through the satellite state of Syria. For example, Iran can only effectively transport arms to its terror cells like Hezbollah through Syria. Since Iran is geostrategically isolated in the region Syria is key to Iranian adventurism. All of this had been dropped by my opponent in the 2nd round. As such the U.S. has a strategic interest in severely diminishing Iranian influence in the region by making it completely geostrategically isolated in the region.

C3: Radicalism

My opponent shifts the emphasis of his argument away from radicalism to decentralization. His last argument drops my argument that the U.S. needs to intervene to stop radicals from hijacking (no pun intended) the principles of the opposition movement and from being the main supplier of opposition resources. This point should be enough to demonstrate that, as I indicated before, the U.S. is caught in a rock and hard place where if they don’t intervene then Iran gains the upperhand in the region and if we act too late radicals will have infiltrated many parts of the opposition movement. This is why the U.S. needs to intervene now in order to prevent these two unfortunate alternatives. My opponent drops this analysis but instead focuses on the argument that the opposition is too decentralized. I would argue this isn’t necessarily a bad thing nor should it preclude U.S. intervention. Decentralization can be solved with U.S. intervention because it will allow for a more structured command and control template for the opposition, analogous to the help provided to the Libyan rebels. My opponent’s evidence indicates that the opposition is decentralized in a major part due to lack of communication sophistication which geographically isolates individual groups. This can also be solved by U.S. intervention because it will allow for technological prowess that these groups lack. When I said that the groups are unified I was more referring to comparison to the groups in Iraq – an argument my opponent dropped and failed to extend into his last round.

Thus, on this contention there are two reasons to vote Pro: first, to prevent major radical footholds in the opposition and second, to solve decentralization provided by my opponent’s evidence.

C4: U.S. Hegemony

The first assumption my opponent makes is that airpower is not enough. Even my opponent’s evidence indicates (the evidence from C3) that each individual opposition cell could have as many as 1,000 fighters. The only issue was decentralization which is solved through U.S. intervention. Since it is the last round my opponent cannot provide new evidence to support this claim like I gave him the ability to in Rd. 2. At that point it is up to the judges to interpret the evidence as provided. But keep in mind the argument I make previous which show that the main deficit the opposition has is not in numbers, since the majority of citizens are Sunni, but a lack of heavy artillery and especially airpower. U.S. intervention could be limited to these two categories which would take away the main advantage the Assad regime had at the moment.

The second assumption is the backlash assumption which seems to radically change throughout the course of the debate. At first it seems like my opponent is indicating backlash by Muslims, but then in the last round he tells us that he is referring to China and Russia. The problem with this argument is that China has no incentive to backlash because of economic ties and using Russia as an argument only links into my argument that the U.S. needs to intervene to promote the image of U.S. superiority. Remember, the argument I present in Rd. 1 shows us that it was only after Obama showed weakness in refusing to act in Syria that led Russia to become more adventurist in the region by providing helicopters to the Assad regime. In order for the world to protect itself against Russian adventurism than the U.S. needs to stand firm in its stated values like as Obama said: Assas must accept democracy or step down. Otherwise the U.S. will be seen as weak and without force to its speeches.

Thanks to my opponent for a great debate! :D

DenyEverything

Con

This is the last round and I cannot submit new evidence/arguments, and I will use it to weigh previously entered evidence/arguments.
C1: Humanitarianism
The 10,000 deaths + 100 deaths per day seems relatively factual, acknowledging the fact that it is difficult to find an exact toll due to lack of Government cooperation/other difficulties. However, it has little bearing on your Humanitarian argument. Innocents die everywhere else every day from sectarian violence and government repression on the same scale as Syria, and you have failed to provide any evidence how Syria's case is different. I used the Houla massacre to illustrate that although the Government kills innocents, the Opposition murders innocents as well and is just as guilty of crimes of war. That was my argument in previous rounds which render your argument of "magnitude" ineffective. There is no innocence left in the SFA and other Opposition groups, if there was any in the first place.
There is no point in providing State Department evidence of heavy armaments at the town- I already established that around 20 of the dead died from Government artillery, but that the majority died by hand at close range. I never claimed the Government did not fire at citizens, but they did not begin the violence or commit the majority of the killings where a logical view of evidence obviously implicates Opposition forces.
I clearly refuted the argument you provided in the last round- that the Alawites and Shias killed were defectors. If they were defectors, why were the majority killed of the group that historically supports the al-Assad regime? Government backed militias that selectively killed Alawites and Shias is simply irrational and illogical. The narrative of the Syrian Investigative Journalist I provided in round 3 clearly implicates the Opposition militias. All evidence provided beforehand supports his narrative- majority of killings Alawis/Shias, majority of killings at close range/by hand. The evidence I provided beforehand pokes gaping holes in my Opponent's evidence that he cannot refute. Simply review the multiple eyewitness accounts I provided (which my opponent failed to provide in kind) and you will see that my argument is far superior in logic and evidence.
C2: Iranian Hegemony
The evidence I provided in the previous round proves that not only are sanctions working, but they are in fact lowering the popularity of the current Government, which my opponent then dropped. I said before the Iranian Government's popularity and stability are at an all-time low, and military action against Iran is completely needless and would accomplish little. I concede military intervention in Syria would geostrategically isolate Iran's hegemony but not weaken Iranian international power or favor among powerful nations like China and Russia. 1) Have sanctions decreased Iranian influence? At home or abroad? At home, certainly sanctions have weakened Iranian influence which I provided in my previous argument. Abroad, sanctions weaken Iranian's economic stability especially with high-tech military/strategic solutions that come primarily from the U.S. 2) Will sanctions actually work? Refer to my previous argument. 3) will China and Russia actually back down from their vetoes on the Security Council dealing with tough sanctions? We are talking about Iran here, a relatively small nation, not China or Russia. For that matter, sanctions will have little effect on self-sustainable and powerful nations like China or Russia, but that is like saying will sanctions influence the U.S.'s vetoes on the Security Council? It is irrelevant and adds nothing to the specific argument.
My argument about Iran uniting against a Western war results from the ambiguity of your statement asking me to prove Iran would unite against
"a war." You never mentioned a specific Iran v.s. Syrian war, causing me to misinterpret this statement because we were discussing Western sanctions. Because I am restricted from entering new arguments I cannot answer this contention but rest assured I would if I could. I have proven that sanctions would have a similar effect to military intervention, which my opponent surreptitiously dropped.
C3: Radicalism
You argue that U.S. Intervention in Syria would solve the following problems:
1) Iranian hegemony in the region- Are you suggesting Syrian rebels would enlist Iranian support? Not going to happen. Are you suggesting that when the rebels are defeated Iranian hegemony will remain intact? This is simply repetition that has little bearing on your Radicalism argument.
2) Radical infiltration
As I have said before, supporting the rebels is as heinous in practice as supporting the radicalists. The SFA is composed of largely defectors joined together and the argument that U.S. intervention could organize the SFA is too speculative to be relied upon. No one can prove that U.S. Intervention would organize the rebels, because the rebels are too dysfunctional in the status quo to be organized. There is no central SFA command in Syria and the SFA has no easy way of communicating and planning as a result. There are many splinter groups with various agendas and the idea that the SFA will defer completely to U.S. strategy is naive.
C4: U.S. Hegemony
Speculation again. The only issue is not decentralization, it is division, conflict of agendas, lack of strategy, lack of communication and lack of consistency. Numbers mean little without strategy or other deficits I outlined above, and U.S. Intervention cannot solve those problems without ground forces. Even if all that was required from the U.S. was air strikes, how would those be coordinated with the rebels? My opponent fails to address many of the logistical questions that have a great deal of influence on the difference between a successful campaign and defeat. China has no incentive to backlash? I question this argument, given increasing U.S.-China proxy shows of power, especially near Chinese waters. The U.S. has no need to show it's power against Russia- Syria was allied with Russia long before Russia began its adventurism. You have provided no evidence showing that any other nations doubt the U.S.'s military superiority and instead rely on slightly loony claims that whenever the U.S. fails to intervene it becomes more insignificant. I would argue choosing when to intervene more carefully increases wariness about challenging U.S. power.

Finally,
Thanks to my opponent for an AWESOME debate! :D
Debate Round No. 4
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by bluesteel 5 years ago
bluesteel
well executed by Con.

Sources: but unfortunately I think Pro does a much better job objecting to Con's sources. Con does salvage his sources as not being from a fringe group, but he doesn't respond to Pro source analysis. I fail to see how a massacre could have been all rebels, if 20% are killed by artillery. I fail to see why gov't forces can't execute people with bullets. And Con doesn't respond to the argument that there are Assad defectors among the rebels, so ethnic group may not be a good indicator. I think Con could have responded to all this, but doesn't. He also focuses too much on one incident. Ultimately Pro does a better job of source analysis.

I think Con is a good debater, but needs to work on organization and off-case strategizing.
Posted by bluesteel 5 years ago
bluesteel
I think it's be easy to prove that Hezbollah will continue with or without Assad. There's lots of evidence that Israel doesn't want intervention because they think Assad is better than the alternative. This is where I think Egypt *could have* gotten pro into hot water. Pro says Egypt bad, allows MB to take power. But he wants us to support an Egyptian style Arab Spring in Syria. Pro basically straight turns himself. Con unfortunately never capitalizes on this.

So Iran heg flows Pro, on Hezbollah/regional proxy against Israel/Saudi Arabia.

Extremists flows pro. I don't really buy it; extremists among SFA seems inevitable; I'd be surprised if it hasn't happened already. But Con doesn't take this tactic. Con only argues "SFA can't win," but Pro can still impact to humanitarian benefits with "defensive" strategies, as he points out. This gives him something (although not much). If Con really pushed SFA can't win and had some off-case for why US intervention was bad, he could have also easily won on this. But again, lack of off-case hurt him.

Also, Pro could have used SFA support inevitable to take out Con arguments. If SFA gets support from radicals anyway, there's no unique impact to SFA bad. SFA gets support, it's just whether it comes from us or radicals. But Pro didn't really need this argument since Con doesn't have off-case that needs taking out.

I also think US supremacy flows Pro simply because Con mishandles it. China and Russian backlash is straight turned by Pro when he says backlash is good: it tells China and Russia "back off, don't fvck with us." I don't think this is a great argument, since the US is far away from Asia, meaning we live in a regional multi-polar world, so unipolar tactics won't work. But it doesn't matter. Con mishandles this so it flows Pro.

I think Con could have easily won this with more offcase and without having mishandled a few responses. He played into Pro's strategy in some regards, without needing to. The SFA bad de
Posted by bluesteel 5 years ago
bluesteel
S & G: Pro had much better organization. It was hard to follow Con's arguments at time because he did not clearly delineate when he was quoting his opponent; he had a lot of long near-run-on sentences, and didn't use clear headers and paragraphs. It wasn't awful, but it was a clear enough contrast with Pro that I voted on the spirit of this point: which is ease of readability.

Convincing argument: Con really suffers from having no off-case. I really buy into the cost arguments he peppers in, but it's hard to weigh those in the round when no serious effort is made to impact them. In addition, Pro is able to advocate drones and CIA support, which is cheap. Con plays mostly defense, which rarely works in debate. He grants to Pro that 100 deaths occur per day. It *may* be the case that one massacre had deaths on both sides, but this doesn't negate the broader massacre, so this flows the pro. Intervening is justified on humanitarian grounds. Con tries to outweigh with evidence the SFA is just as bad. He could have *easily* won on this point, since it's a good point. He just doesn't spend enough time addressing this point. This should have been his own off-case argument; he should have introduced extensive evidence on how bad the SFA was. One *potential* war crime (as a response to Pro's case) is not sufficient to prove the SFA is evil. I'm sure there's plenty more evidence on this, although I don't know for sure - I haven't researched the topic. Point being, Con doesn't spend enough time on "SFA bad." So while I don't think the SFA is good, based on the arguments presented, Pro clearly makes the case Assad is worse. Humanitarian flows Pro.

Iranian influence flows Pro. Con has only defense. Best case, sanctions work, but Pro is more specific than Con: best case, Iran still uses Syria as a proxy for Hezbollah. Best case, sanctions slightly decrease their ability to state-sponsor Hezbollah. But worst case, sanctions fail. Con doesn't get specific with Hezbollah.
Posted by CiRrK 5 years ago
CiRrK
ahhh yes. I havent read that particular article so thx :D And yeah Ill vote on your debate
Posted by LaissezFaire 5 years ago
LaissezFaire
I also found an article you might find interesting--a realist arguing for Iranian nuclear proliferation to stabilize the region. https://www.mtholyoke.edu...

Also, if you have the time, could you vote on my recent education debate? Don't have any votes yet.
Posted by CiRrK 5 years ago
CiRrK
lolol ofc u had to add the caveat that im wrong XD but ty for da vote
Posted by LaissezFaire 5 years ago
LaissezFaire
C1: I'm gonna say a tie on evidence about the Syran massacres here. I think it's probably the case that some reports are exaggerated or false, but the Syrian regime is definitely killing at least some innocent people.

C2: While I don't think the US should intervene to stop Iran's regional influence, Con didn't make this argument--he argued that we should do sanctions instead. Pro's argument that these aren't mutually exclusive gives him the point here. Con argues that sanctions alone would do the job, but this is unsubstantiated and hard to believe.

C3: Con never adequately responds to Pro's argument that we could co-opt radicalism by supporting the SFA, instead of them having to rely on radicals.

C4: Con's claim that the U.S.'s military is numerically small isn't very convincing--that obviously has nothing to do with military strength. I don't think Con adequately supported his point about intervention in Syria weakening the U.S. I didn't find Pro's response to Con's argument about backlash very convincing--the dictatorships of the Arab League are hardly representative of what their people think. But Con didn't make this argument, and concedes that backlash from Arab countries is unlikely, so I can't include it in my vote.

Overall, great debate. I think Pro was the better debater, even though he's wrong, but Con did a good job too.
Posted by DenyEverything 5 years ago
DenyEverything
CiRrK, I admire your intelligence and subtle debate style. I believe you clearly won this debate, (but in all due fairness this was my first debate here on debate.org.) Would you be interested in starting another debate on foreign/international policy? If you would be interested, please suggest 1 or 2 topics you might be interested in debating. If not, I understand and thank you for a great debate. Thanks, DenyEverything.
Posted by CiRrK 5 years ago
CiRrK
ooohhhh i get it now. its a play on his name. just got that now XD
Posted by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
@Con

just deny everything that pro says, even if he agrees with you.

>:D
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by bluesteel 5 years ago
bluesteel
CiRrKDenyEverythingTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 5 years ago
LaissezFaire
CiRrKDenyEverythingTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.