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

USFG should lead a bilateral effort with Russia to support Asaad in Syria to defeat ISIS.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Judge Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/17/2015 Category: News
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 984 times Debate No: 82631
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (30)
Votes (1)




Thank you whiteflame for agreeing to debate this topic with me.

Much has been said about Russia"s intensified military involvement in Syria and its call for building an international coalition to confront ISIS. As usual, opinions have varied. Some have viewed this as an opportunity to seek a solution to Syria"s intractable conflict; others have voiced alarms about Russia"s actions and motivations and cautioned against cooperation. And, as usual, the reasons and context for both positions and those in between are complicated, nuanced, and ever changing.

Hello, my name is Forever 23 and I am here to bring forth the premise which is that the USFG should lead a bilateral effort with Russia to support Asaad in Syria to defeat ISIS.

My ensuing roadmap will include first defining this debate and then divulging 3 of my assertions into the debate.

So these are the definitions-
USFG-The United States Federal Government is established by the US Constitution. The Federal Government shares sovereignty over the United Sates with the individual governments of the States of US. The Federal government has three branches: i) the legislature, which is the US Congress, ii) Executive, comprised of the President and Vice president of the US and iii) Judiciary.
Should- used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions.
Bilateral- involving two parties, usually countries.
Russia- Russia, the world"s largest nation, borders European and Asian countries as well as the Pacific and Arctic oceans. Its landscape ranges from tundra and forests to subtropical beaches.
ISIS-The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham, or simply Islamic State.

Now onto introducing my own assertions:
Contention 1: The United States and Russia share important interests in defeating the Islamic State, protecting civilians from violence and hunger inside Syria, and preventing chaos there from spreading to other countries. Both of these countries want this conflict to end. Yes, I am aware that these countries have different solutions but in order to beat ISIS, the countries have no choice but to unite. In spring 2014, the American and Russian students settled on a lowest-common denominator recommendation to cooperate on humanitarian aid. By spring 2015, The Islamic State"s position had strengthened substantially and the civilian death toll had topped 200,000 with no end in sight, so the American students decided to follow Secretary of State Kerry"s lead by signaling some flexibility on Assad long enough for an international coalition to defeat ISIS and negotiate a political settlement to the Syrian civil conflict. ISIS has been responsible for many deaths and terracts. Without a strong alliance such as this once, stopping ISIS is an impossible goal.

Contention 2:
Without a unison, stopping ISIS will be an unachievable goal. ISIS is unfortunately a very strong organization. Quite blatantly, we need to stop this terrible organization. And as I mentioned before, the unison of Russia and USA is inevitable in order to stop this conflict. According to CNN, "ISIS on Thursday purportedly released a video and audio statement threatening to attack Russia "very soon." The video is entitled "Soon Very Soon the Blood Will Spill like an Ocean" and was posted two weeks after a Russian commercial jet crashed in Egypt, killing 224 people. An ISIS affiliate has claimed it brought down the plane. Russian air power has backed the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's military in its fight against ISIS since October 1. Both USA and Russia have been affected by ISIS because they were fighting alone and not together. Russia has no wish to see Syria become a radical Islamist state or a long-term safe haven for terror groups, with possible consequences for its own Muslim regions in the Caucasus. America does not was Syria to be a terrorist haven either. Such a strong alliance would bring the end of ISIS.

Thank you and please vote Prop if you believe that it is time for the deaths to end and for ISIS to be defeated.


Alright, thanks to Forever23 for kicking this off. I'll respond to her contentions next round.

To begin, Pro has failed to define a few key terms that are essential to determining a) what Pro's case is, b) what her case necessarily supports, and c) the limits of what I can argue. So let's define.

Lead: to take the directing or principal part.[1] More specifically, it means that the USFG must act before Russia and take a head role in any potential bilateral efforts.

Support: to agree with or approve of (someone or something), to give help or assistance to (someone or something).[2] Again, more specifically, this means the USFG show approval for Assad to some degree, and provide a great measure of assistance to him and his forces.

Assad: since we're presumably talking about status quo Syria, this is about supporting Bashar al-Assad.

Given these definitions, we should be clearer on what Pro's pursuing, though we haven't gotten a plan text yet, so I can only clarify so much. However, I will try to be reasonable in determining what plan Pro is supporting based on her definitions, the context of the resolution, and her contentions.

The plan seems to be that the US will work with Russia and Assad directly, leading a joint effort between all 3 that apparently must include some form of military action against ISIS. That action would certainly have to be more than what the US is doing right now (you can't really lead a coalition without committing to more than strategic bombings). Given that, I think we have to assume some sort of ground-based intervention with serious troop committal. Pro should take the opportunity next round to clarify her case so that we can get specific.

Given that presumed plan, I'll present some disadvantages, followed by my counter plan.

DA1) Civilian Deaths and Displacements

Syria is clearly at war, and the death toll is staggering. It's been estimated that as many as 340,000 people have died. Of those, it's estimated that the number of civilian deaths, estimated by the SOHR, numbers close to 90,000.[3] Back in July of this year, it was estimated that the number of Syrian refugees exceeded four million.[4] These people are fleeing to other countries that do not have the capacity to take them, resulting in a major humanitarian crisis where many are being given the choice of starving to death in a foreign land or returning home to their war ravaged country.

Pro is doing nothing to solve for this. Her plan may result in an earlier end of the war, but given our experience with major wars in the Middle East, this conflict is likely to be protracted, especially as ISIL is not relegated to any single country, occupying vast swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, and small areas in Libya, Nigeria and Afghanistan, not to mention operating in North Africa and South Asia.[5] Even if they are defeated within the borders of Syria, conflict will persist, as will these deaths and displacements.

At best for her, this means Pro is allowing one of the biggest humanitarian crises of all time to persist for an unknown period of time. The war in Syria likely won't end for over a decade, during which time these problems will persist. Even when that war ends, Pro is relegating the US to a prolonged occupation, where we will have to deal with all manner of insurgent threats.

The worst case scenarios, however, are far more likely. Pro is requiring that the US turn their back on moderate rebels in the region and lend support to Assad. That will give the rebels little choice but to find common cause with ISIS and strike back as yet another force to be reckoned with, increasing death tolls across the board. Given past precedent, our intervention will be more likely to spark further violence in the region and lead to long term instability.[6] In effect, Pro is fighting fire with fire, and as a result all she's doing is fanning the flames of war.

DA2) Assad and Instability

There's a reason I defined Assad from the outset, mainly because it's important we understand who it is Pro is supporting. Bashar al-Assad learned a lot of lessons from his father, particularly in brutalizing his population. I could spend all 10,000 characters simply listing the multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity he's accused of committing, but here are the highlights:

The Ghouta chemical attack in August of 2013, which killed at least 734 civilians. 7]
Mass torture and killings in Damascus, done in places disguised as hospitals.[8]
The dropping of chemical and "vacuum" bombs on hospitals and schools.[9]

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a civil war that has ended hundreds of thousands of lives, many of which Assad's government has been implicated in causing.

But not every problem is directly his doing. Some things are outside of his direct control. Assad is a Muslim himself, a member of the sect known as Alawites, and his chief supporters include the Shiite theocracy of Iran. That wouldn't be a problem with the majority of the Syrian population weren't Sunni (making up two-thirds of the population [10]), and so there's an ideological split between Assad and his supporters and the majority of the Syrian people. It's not hard to see how that could lead many to view his rule as illegitimate, and seek to oust him based on ideology alone, which just so happens to be what ISIS thrives on.

By putting Assad back in power (assuming that the combined efforts of the US and Russia can accomplish that), all Pro's doing is perpetuating these harms. In fact, she's making them worse. Now, Assad will have western support as well, turning this from an ideological war against oppression to an east vs. west mentality that has permeated so many of the conflicts in the Middle East.

Worse yet, Assad's history makes clear that backing him won't end the conflict " it may even make it worse. There's a reason Assad has gone so far as to aid ISIS on the battlefield and release known militants of theirs " he's empowering the extremists. Whatever his reasons for doing so, he clearly has little interest in letting the conflict lapse, probably because it offers him yet more opportunities to brutalize his people into submission. And Pro is making the US complicit in these actions.

DA3) Russian Hegemony

Pro will probably claim that there's some sort of benefit for working with Russia, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Russia will find this to be yet another assertion of US hegemony, the very thing they're trying to counter by supporting Assad.[11] Now, Pro's not requiring Russia to take part in anything, instead stating what the US will do and just sort of hoping that Russia will fall in line. They won't. Russia has no incentive to march lock-step with the US when we're the ones who are leading it. Instead, they're going to view this as yet another attempt on the part of the US to assert its hegemony in the region.

That leads to a few problems. First and most likely, they're just going to ignore any attempt at a bilateral effort, continuing to go it alone and confusing any military strategy we make. Even if Russia signs on, they're much more likely to subvert our efforts to disempower the US forces in the area and gain notoriety for theirs. They're not going to stand by and let the US lead any effort that could be clearly successful in the region. This is likelier to deepen divides between Russia and the US and to further complicate efforts made by them as well.

With that in mind, here's my counter plan:

1) The USFG will step up its support to moderate rebel forces in Syria by establishing a no-fly zone for Syria. The no-fly zone will allow American and Russian aircraft to fly so long as their attacks are targeted at eliminating ISIS. This will require a substantial ground troop commitment, and these troops will function solely in the establishment of this safe zone. Russian forces will be encouraged to participate.
2) Funds will be garnered from surrounding nations (particularly from Turkey and the EU) to establish a civilian refuge within Syrian borders.
3) The USFG will broker a temporary ceasefire between the moderate rebels and Assad's forces. This ceasefire will end immediate combat operations between the two until ISIS is removed as a threat.

Note that this does not lend any US support to the Assad regime. It also does not require the US to lead a war effort, requiring only that US protect civilians by preventing aerial and artillery bombardments on the part of ISIS in particular, but also on the part of Assad. No-fly zones have been successful in the past, require limited resource investments, and ensure dramatically reduced levels of death.[] While Syria may be a different situation, the commitment of ground troops will ensure that such a safe zone can be effectively enforced.[13] Russians are allowed to continue doing exactly what they're doing now, though they also have clear peer pressure to engage in humanitarian means for addressing the conflict.

The funds will be easy to come by since the migration crisis is costing these nations far more than they would need to contribute.[14] Countries would gladly contribute.

The ceasefire would be in everyone's favor at this point. Assad and the moderate rebels might chafe at the prospect of signing it, but the prospect of dealing with such a dangerous foe that clearly threatens both parties is likely to shift mentalities. Even if they don't sign it, both groups are likely to treat ISIS as the bigger and more unstable threat.

Alright, back to Pro to explicate her case and engage with mine.

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you white flame for debating this with me.

Hello ladies, gentlemen. Hello this is Forever 23 once again.

In my second round, I am going to do a very brief refutation of my opponents points (I will continue my repudiation on my third and final speech.)

Their first assertion was that Civilian Deaths and Displacements. But no war has ever come without fatalities. Plus, I would like to add the utilitarianism argument. By ending ISIS faster, while quite a few middle east people die, we will save the lives of millions of Europeans and etc. We will be able to prevent many bombings and deaths.

Their second assertion was that we can not support Assad. However, if we support Assad, that is currently the only way to stop ISIS. His cruelty is another problem. Its something we can talk about more after we stop ISIS.

Their third assertion is that Russia will never ally with the USA. However, Russia is not nearly as foolish as you say. Just like every other nation, its Russia's goal to stop ISIS. Its the better for them in order to stop deaths in other nations and prevent death in their own.

Their counterplan was mostly about the USA creating a ceasefire between Assad and USA until ISIS magically disappears. However, ISIS will never magically disappear. The only way to stop the death, the torture, the pain is by getting involved. This is effecting all of us.

You are not safe from ISIS in any country. ISIS is trying to "conquer" and build head quarters in many countries and without a multilateral alliance which Russia will join, destroying them is impossible.


Then I will repeat my assertions and state a new one into the debate.
Now onto quickly restating my own assertions:
1. The United States and Russia share important interests in defeating the Islamic State, protecting civilians from violence and hunger inside Syria, and preventing chaos there from spreading to other countries.
2. Without a unison, stopping ISIS will be an unachievable goal.

Contention 3:
The countries are ready and willing to go to war. This alliance will happen sooner or later. Why not beat this terrible organization now? All of the developed countries are willing to go to war. However, one piece of the puzzle is missing. The alliance between USA and Russia. According to CNN, In his speech about ISIS last week, President Barack Obama said, "American military power is unmatched, but this can't be America's fight alone."Allies and partners of the United States, Obama vowed, would provide support to degrade and eventually destroy the militant group that has slaughtered many people in Iraq and Syria and beheaded two American journalists and a British aid worker. The United States has conducted more than 150 airstrikes in Iraq against ISIS, and Secretary of State John Kerry has said nearly 40 nations have agreed to contribute to the fight against the militants. But it remains unclear which countries are on that list and the precise role they'll play. On Sunday, Kerry said countries in the Middle East are willing to help with strikes against ISIS, but he said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that "it's not appropriate to start announcing" which nations will participate and what each will do.Those statements come as ISIS beheaded a third Western captive, Briton David Haines, and as Kerry ended a weeklong trip to the Middle East to drum up support for the battle against the militants. An international conference convened Monday in Paris, where there was more discussion of a coalition. After the meeting, the French government released general points the parties adopted to push against ISIS. On September 17, in a speech to service members at Central Command in Tampa, Florida, Obama said that Saudi Arabia has "agreed to host our efforts to train and equip Syria opposition forces" to fight ISIS. He mentioned several other nations, and the roles they are playing, detailed below.
So far, this is what's known about the nations involved and their contributions:
Australia: On Sunday, the Australian government responded to a request by the United States and said it is preparing to deploy to the United Arab Emirates up to eight Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 combat aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft and a KC-30A multirole tanker and transport aircraft. Australia will also help to stem the humanitarian crisis. Obama said on September 17 that Australia will send military advisers to Iraq.
Australian combat troops will not participate in ground fighting, according to Prime Minister Tony Abbott's office.
Great Britain: Prime Minister David Cameron called ISIS "a menace" Sunday and said the United Kingdom would help arm Kurdish forces, support the Iraqi government, keep supplying humanitarian help and coordinate with the United Nations to battle ISIS.
"This is not about British combat troops on the ground," he said Sunday, "it is about working with others to extinguish this terrorist threat."
France: France has begun reconnaissance flights over Iraq, the French Defense Ministry said. Two Rafale air force planes took off from an air base in the United Arab Emirates, the ministry said.
France has contributed 18,000 rounds of .50-caliber ammunition in the fight against ISIS, a senior U.S. State Department official told reporters Sunday during a background briefing. It's protocol for officials giving the information not to be quoted by name. France's air force was also part of a recent operation in the Iraqi town of Amerli that pushed back ISIS fighters and, along with Australia and Great Britain, has performed humanitarian aid drops in Iraq.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told reporters in Baghdad on Friday that French President Fran"ois Hollande promised that France "will participate in efforts to hit terrorist locations in Iraq."
Germany: Geared toward curbing ISIS propaganda and recruitment, Germany has banned activities that support ISIS, including making it illegal to fly the trademark black flag of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Germany has also said it was sending military assistance to the Kurdish region to fight ISIS.
Obama said on September 17 that German paratroopers are offering training in the overall effort to fight ISIS.
Netherlands: In Sunday's briefing, a State Department official praised the Netherlands for "leading an effort" to help curb the flow of foreign fighters coming into the country who may be empathetic to ISIS or assisting it in some way. Dutch leaders have proposed amending national law that would revoke citizenship to those who work with terrorists, The New York Times reported.
Canada: A State Department official said Sunday that Canada has provided "tangible equipment and ammunition" to the broader effort to fight ISIS. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced just days ago that more than 50 Canadian special operations troops are being deployed to Iraq as part of an adviser mission but that there would be no direct military intervention by the country, according to CTV.
On Sunday, State Department officials also called out Italy, Poland, Denmark, Albania and Croatia for providing equipment and ammunition in the fight against ISIS. New Zealand, Romania and South Korea were also named for providing humanitarian assistance, with specifics on South Korea giving some $1.2 million.
Turkey: U.S. officials say Turkey has taken steps to cut the flow of money to ISIS and denied entry to or deported several thousand foreign fighters heading to Syria to join the extremists, CNN's Elise Labott and Tom Cohen reported Friday. The United States is hoping Turkey will stop oil exports from ISIS-held areas that bring more funding to the group, they write in a piece that examined who is signing on to aid the West fight ISIS.

Former Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher said on CNN on Sunday that he doubts Jordan will commit ground troops in the fight against ISIS. "The U.S. will have to take the lead in providing military strikes," he said.
Jordan's key role would be providing intelligence to the West, Muasher said. Speaking from Amman, he stressed that Jordan's intelligence on ISIS is "second to none."

Saudi Arabia: On Thursday, Kerry met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal in Jeddah.
U.S. officials say that Saudi Arabia has offered to train rebels on its soil. In a short session with reporters Thursday, al-Faisal and Kerry took questions. Al-Faisal appeared to avoid giving specifics but said that Saudi Arabia has "always taken initiatives with regard to a firm position towards terrorists and against them. So there is no limit to what the Kingdom can provide in this regard."
The United States also wants Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt to use Arab television networks to spread anti-ISIS messages and encourage more clerics to speak out against the group.
Saudi Arabia has also put $500 million into the coffers of the U.N. humanitarian aid agencies in Iraq, a senior State Department official said Sunday.
CNN's Labott asked Kerry whether Saudi Arabia supports the extremist expressions of the Wahhabism version of Islam espoused by some terror groups. Kerry responded that the kingdom is "deeply committed to the effort to terminate" ISIS. A significant part of the counterterrorism effort against the militants includes cutting off money to terror groups, Kerry said.

I would have given many more examples but I do not have enough characters left. Many nations are already in the union but in order to have a definite win, we need the world power- RUSSIA.

If you vote prop, you vote against terrorism. Thank you.


Thanks again to Forever23.


The basic burden in any policy debate resides with Pro: they must present a case that has a clear agent and a clear course of action. Without that, debaters like me are relegated to responding to an incredibly vague case. This isn't how policy is created, and policy debate is held to similar standards.

Pro has stated that there's going to be some bilateral effort between the US and Russia, but hasn't clarified their roles beyond supporting Assad and the US leading the effort. It could require any number of potential interventions with widely varying amounts and types of forces and resources. It could include anything from just the US signing a treaty with Russia to each country alternately nuking random cities until ISIS is dead. We have no idea what kind of support either country would lend to Assad, and thus no way to determine if they're actually helping or hampering him. The same holds true for ISIS " we can't know whether Pro's efforts will be effective without knowing what those efforts will be.

So, on this basis alone, voters should be presuming Con. I'm the only one who's presented a case (I didn't have to), while Pro is trying to pass off an incredibly vague plan as reasonable policy.


Pro is misapplying the term "assertion." When she analyzes my arguments, she calls them assertions, responding to the claims I'm making without ever addressing the warrants, evidence or impact analysis that supports it. Her case, on the other hand, is a litany of assertions interspersed with evidence that does little to nothing to bolster her point.

Pro's Case:

Assuming that voters view Pro's vagueness as insufficient reason to vote her down, I'm forced to clarify her case for her. In the previous round, I gave a general layout of her plan. Since she dropped that and hasn't expanded on her case, I'll fill in the details.

Pro's plan would require a large influx of American troops into the region. American troops will have to be committed and utilized first in order to lead the effort, and then Russian troops will hopefully follow suit. These troops will work together with Assad's forces, employing large scale bombing efforts in ISIS-controlled regions and using ground forces to secure the area.

As this is the only specification of her case that appears in this debate (doing so in the final round would be abusive), this is now de facto her case. With that in mind, let's assess her contentions.

C1) Pro argues that the US and Russia have mutual interests in ending ISIS. Multiple responses.

1) This doesn't support Pro's case. A united desire to deal with ISIS doesn't imply a desire or even a willingness to engage in a large-scale ground-based invasion. Mutual interests only show a desire for action, not for Pro's specific action.

2) The evidence in this contention functions against Pro's case. When she says that they've only "settled on the lowest-common denominator recommendation to cooperate on humanitarian aid", she reveals that, in spite of the very large and active threat of ISIS, the US and Russia haven't cooperated on an invasion. She doesn't explain how their calculus changes post-plan.

3) Pro assumes her plan will solve. I've already explained how US intervention has led to increased, not decreased, stability. Pro drops that point. I've explained how Assad's winning the war effort will lead to further mass murder on his part, and simply repeat the cycle of instability that created ISIS in the first place. Pro drops that as well. Further, Pro drops that ISIS is not a single-state entity, and thus cannot be defeated by efforts in a single country. Pro also drops that Assad has actively empowered the extremists by aiding them on the battlefield and releasing their militants. By backing him, the US is backing these actions as well, which means that the US is effectively empowering ISIS by engaging in the plan.

4) Remember: the best case scenario for her plan is a prolonged war effort with an eventual end to ISIS where crimes against humanity continue unabated for an unknown length of time. Only my case reduces the loss of life in the short term (which is the harm she keeps citing), whereas her case only has the potential of eventual solvency.

5) Pro's case is likely to increase the number of deaths. If everything goes according to plan, she's committing untold numbers of troops to the region that are all at risk. The mass bombing campaigns will end more lives as a result of collateral damage, and occupations will result in deadly insurgencies and malign more people against both American and Russian troops.

C2) Pro argues that unifying the actions of the US, Russia and Assad is the only way to stop ISIS. Multiple responses.

1) None of the evidence she provides actually supports this assertion.

2) Much of this contention reads like the first. Again, just because both countries have the same goal doesn't mean that they are both united in how to achieve it, nor does it mean that they'd make good allies. Pro doesn't explain how either of those are true, despite them being crucial to her solvency.

3) I'll address this on my case, but Pro gives no reason why my plan wouldn't solve. Every harm she's presented involves Syria acting within the region to kill many people. I'm solving for that, more rapidly and effectively than Pro is.

C3) Pro argues that many countries are ready and willing to go to war. Multiple responses.

1) This is deadly to Pro's case. There are two possible outcomes. Either this broad international support will be plenty and the US should immediately proceed to eradicate ISIS (which means working with Russia provides no benefit), or it's insufficient and therefore the international effort is always going to fall short. Pro doesn't explain why including Russia passes some unknown brink that allows the world to finally defeat ISIS, and so there's no reason to believe that their involvement would change the outcome. Even if Russia is necessary, so many nations getting involved at the same time will likely force them join the coalition through international peer pressure, which means Pro's plan is unnecessary.

2) Turn " Pro's case leads to the US and Russia working together and basically spurning all others, ignoring calls by many of these countries not to support Assad, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, France, and Britain [15, 16]. Many of these countries will subsequently back out and not lend their support, removing sources of support the US has right now in favor of some potential support from Russia.

3) None of these countries are willing commit troops, including the US. Pro is forcing the US to go against massive public and political opinion in the vain hope that Russia will follow suit. If no one wants to commit troops now, no one will post-plan either.

Alright, onto case defense.

DA1) Pro's response ignores all of my reasoning for why a no-fly zone effectively responds to the problem of civilian deaths and displacements in a short time frame. She clearly doesn't garner this level or certainty of solvency with her plan. Yes, war kills, but fighting fire with fire as Pro is doing will only increase the rate of death with some faint hope of reducing it in the future. ISIS won't end, and the loss of life won't either.

DA2) This is just another assertion by Pro that supporting Assad is the only means to ending ISIS. I've already explained how that support wouldn't end ISIS, and more importantly, how support for Assad perpetuates the problems and may prolong the war effort. Pro insinuates that something can be done about Assad after this alliance stops ISIS, but

a) no where in Pro's plan is there any means to deal with him afterward and thus Pro is simply hoping for that to be part of the outcome.
b) Pro is giving him legitimacy by offering him unconditional support,
c) Pro has the US turning its backs on what it's said before about him being a horrifyingly bad leader,[16] and thus tainting the US position in the process,
d) the Syrians won't trust the US after propping up their terrible dictator and killing many of them, and thus they won't trust anyone we prop up in his place,
e) that would require yet another infringement on Syria's sovereignty and yet another power grab, which I've already shown has had nothing but disastrous results in the past, and

DA3) Pro doesn't understand this argument. This DA wasn't contingent on Russia acting foolishly, it's contingent on their basic calculus for why they care about Syria at all. Pro's not responsive to my source which shows that their chief reason for propping up Assad is to counter US hegemony. As long as that's true, Russia will never engage in an effort that the US is leading, particularly not one that involves a large influx of troops and mass bombings. They're far more likely to subvert US efforts and try to work independently on solving for ISIS. Pro's not responsive to that logic.

Lastly, Pro misreads my counter plan. The ceasefire would be between the moderate rebels and Assad's forces, not between Assad and the US. The key to stopping the conflict is the no-fly zone enforced by ground troops, which Pro drops. She also dropped that the ceasefire will focus attention on ISIS (in Pro's case, moderate rebels will either join ISIS or continue to fight on their own against the US, Russia and Assad), and the ease of maintaining a refuge within Syria. That means she's conceded my solvency on all of these fronts. There's no magic involved here " if you stop all bombings and artillery strikes from ISIS, you're fundamentally disrupting their only means of attack and expansion, and making it that much easier to defeat them in combat. This may not defeat ISIS; no plan will. However, it will do more than Pro's plan, and will stop a terrible humanitarian crisis from playing out even further in Syria and its neighboring countries.

Debate Round No. 2


Before I state my arguments and roadmap, I will point out the fact that this debate is not policy format. However, if the opposition does feel the need to state a counterplan, they should feel free to do so.

So without further ado, please allow me to deeply refute my opponents arguments.

1) Their first assertion was that there will be Civilian Deaths and Displacements. However, no war will ever come without fatalities. That's why we are so afraid of war. That's why we all try to avoid it. This war is not any different than the others. Civilians will die, there will be fatalities. According to The National World War 2 Museum, there were 30200 deaths in Albania during WW2.
Australia- 40,500
Austria- 384,700
Belgium- 86,100
Brazil- 2,000
Bulgaria- 25,000
Canada- 45,400
China- 20,000,000
Czechoslovakia- 345,000
Soviet Union- 24,000,000
United Kingdom- 450,700
United States- 418,500

World-Wide Casualties*
Battle Deaths- 15,000,000
Battle Wounded- 25,000,000
Civilian Deaths- 45,000,000

2) Their second assertion was that Assad is a cruel leader and we can not make an alliance with him. Isn't ISIS cruel to? Have you heard of the attacks in Paris? That was the work of ISIS! According to CNN, The first explosion occurs outside Stade de France near entrance D about 9:20 p.m. as France plays Germany in a soccer match. Moments later, a second explosion echoes inside the stadium. Each blast is executed by a suicide bomber. Both wear similar explosive belts with batteries, bolts and buttons. Both blasts happen on the same street, Rue Rimet. French President Francois Hollande is in the stadium watching the game. He is safely evacuated. As the game is being broadcast, viewers can hear distant explosions as players pass the ball on the pitch. Four people are killed outside the venue, in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. One of those four killed is a man who walked by one of the suicide bombers. Armed with Kalashnikov-style assault rifles, gunmen arrive in a black auto to the scene at the corner of Rue Alibert and Rue Bichat in Paris' 10th district. The masked attackers kill 15 people at the restaurants Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge. Ten more people are seriously wounded. About 100 shell casings are discovered at the scene. Another black vehicle arrives carrying attackers to the restaurant La Belle Equipe at 92 Rue de Charonne. The gunmen fire their assault weapons on people sitting outside the eatery. Nineteen people are killed, and nine more are seriously wounded. Like the previous attacks, about 100 shell casings are discovered at the scene.
Three attackers armed with assault weapons arrive in a black VW Polo to the concert venue Bataclan.
The gunmen enter the small concert hall and open fire as a performance is underway by the U.S. band Eagles of Death Metal, a blues rock group from Palm Desert, California.
Eighty-nine people are killed. Gunmen fire upon people as they lay on the floor, killing execution-style, recounts one concertgoer.
The attackers enter firing pump rifles and shouting "Allah akbar," a witness later tells Radio France. ISIS is a threat and even if Assad is very cruel, so is ISIS. And we must defeat ISIS.

3) Their third assertion was that Russia will never work together with the USA. However, Russia and USA have collaborated before. According to, Although relations between the Soviet Union and the United States had been strained in the years before World War II, the U.S.-Soviet alliance of 1941"1945 was marked by a great degree of cooperation and was essential to securing the defeat of Nazi Germany. Without the remarkable efforts of the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front, the United States and Great Britain would have been hard pressed to score a decisive military victory over Nazi Germany. As late as 1939, it seemed highly improbable that the United States and the Soviet Union would forge an alliance. U.S.-Soviet relations had soured significantly following Stalin"s decision to sign a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany in August of 1939. The Soviet occupation of eastern Poland in September and the "Winter War" against Finland in December led President Franklin Roosevelt to condemn the Soviet Union publicly as a "dictatorship as absolute as any other dictatorship in the world," and to impose a "moral embargo" on the export of certain products to the Soviets. Nevertheless, in spite of intense pressure to sever relations with the Soviet Union, Roosevelt never lost sight of the fact that Nazi Germany, not the Soviet Union, posed the greatest threat to world peace. In order to defeat that threat, Roosevelt confided that he "would hold hands with the devil" if necessary.

Now to just show that their counterplan is inefficient:
Their plan was to just wait it out. However, that will never help solve the issue. That's why Roosevelt took action during WW2. He knew that it will not end unless America gets involved. This is what America does- forms alliances with different country in order to stop terror and terrorism.

Now to repeat my own assertions:
1. The United States and Russia share important interests in defeating the Islamic State, protecting civilians from violence and hunger inside Syria, and preventing chaos there from spreading to other countries.
Do you know what Russia has done to stop ISIS? What about America? Both of these countries are striving for the same goal and an alliance such as this one will be inevitable to stop ISIS. According to, Russia began its bombing campaign in Syria two weeks ago and claims it is targeting ISIS jihadis.
Putin says his bombers have blasted more than 100 Islamist positions including a key command centre and a suicide belt factory.
According to thehill, President Obama defended his campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in an interview airing Monday, saying the U.S. was "doing exactly what we should be doing" to fight the terror network.

2. Without a unison, stopping ISIS will be an unachievable goal. Lets all admit that ISIS is unfortunately very strong. The only way to stop them is the alliance between USA and Russia.
According to global firepower, Russia is ranked #2 in war power strength.
The United States is ranked #1.
There can not possibly be a stronger, more valid alliance in order to defeat ISIS.

3. The countries are ready and willing to go to war. USAs and Russias problems are worth not ending ISIS. This alliance as we all understand will happen sooner or later.
Let me just remind you of what some countries have done toward this prosperous goal:
According to, Russia has carried out a series of deadly airstrikes against the terrorist group and Vladimir Putin has now sent the country's most elite special forces team into the war zone.
And speculation is heightening that offensive will be bolstered by the China's People's Liberation Army, following a number of reports of military movements in the region backed up by strong words from a senior government member at a United Nations meeting. Reports emanating from the Middle East last week said China was planning on joining the fight against ISIS "in the coming weeks," according to Syrian army official.

Dear judges! Will you really agree with the opposition? My blood boils when I hear that they just want to wait this conflict out! The USA has been known as a country that provides helps all over the world! Here is how America helped uphold its reputation during World War 2. According to, during World War II, the United States began to provide significant military supplies and other assistance to the Allies in September 1940, even though the United States did not enter the war until December 1941. Much of this aid flowed to the United Kingdom and other nations already at war with Germany and Japan through an innovative program known as Lend-Lease. While at the beginning the USA did not get involved, they later saw that they should help on the warzone and that proved to be quite beneficial. In 1941, USA went to the warzone and that was critical to the outcome of World War 2.

Do you want death to continue? Do you want the countries and people in them to live in fear every moment of their lives? Do you want ISIS to end the strength of Europe and USA.

I am SURE that you do NOT.

If you are looking for a more prosperous, healthy society, please vote prop. A vote for prop is a vote against terrorism. A vote for prop is a vote for the alliance and coalition between USA and Russia in order to stop ISIS.

Thank you lannan 13 and ColeTrain for judging this debate.


One last thanks to Forever23.

There's really not much for me to add at this point. Pro has re-tread the same ground over and over again in this debate, failing to rebuild her own arguments and failing to understand mine. Still, I'll engage with what she said one last time.


Pro drops my analysis here. He simply says that this is not a policy format, but she's conflating my burdens analysis with a push towards formal policy structure. I'm not arguing for that. I'm simply arguing that, if we are going to discuss policy, we must do so with full knowledge of how a given policy will function. Pro's continued failure to explain her case in any detail, without even directly stating what the US and Russia will do when they're allied, leaves her case so vague that no one should even consider voting for her. That's not how policy is constructed, and that's not how debates on policy like this one should be held.

Pro's Case:

Let's start by noting that all of her contentions are actual assertions and little else. They contain no warrants, and so they are wholly unbelievable. I've introduced a number of arguments with warrants for why her claims simply don't hold up, so let's go into those.


Pro starts by arguing, once again, that the US and Russia have shared interests. There are so many reasons not to believe this, and Pro hasn't addressed any of them. Pro hasn't explained why the harms of ISIS demand that Russia and the US form a coalition, nor how it requires that coalition to engage in a large-scale ground-based invasion. I've shown that they clearly won't cooperate based on Pro's own evidence,

Further, I've explained the numerous ways this strategy could go wrong. I've pointed to the history of the US destabilizing the region and the perpetuation of what created ISIS in the first place. I've explained the harms of supporting a mass murderer. I've explained how and why ISIS cannot be wholly defeated, and why supporting Assad makes that goal less attainable.

Lastly, I've explained why my case is better. I've shown that my solvency is certain due to the conceded points I've made on that end, and therefore how my case is stopping a major humanitarian crisis from proceeding any further, while Pro's case lets it continue and perpetuates it.


Pro keeps making this basic assertion that US + Russia = solution to ISIS, but never actually backs it up with evidence. Merely stating that the two together have the most powerful military is entirely insufficient " there's no reason to believe that the US alone is insufficient, and that adding Russia to it suddenly provides a means for ending ISIS. If #1 is not enough, why is #1 + #2 suddenly plenty?

I've examined how Russia would subvert US efforts in the region in my DA3. This is really important because it means that putting them together actually causes more harm than good, defeating US strategy in the region. I've also explained in my DA2 why supporting Assad in particular ends up damning US efforts in the region. Pro drops all of this argumentation and keeps simply re-asserting her point.


I still can't make sense of this contention. All Pro provided here was evidence that countries are ready and willing to contribute to the war effort. She doesn't say why these contributions are insufficient to bring an end to ISIS, and doesn't explain why Russia's involvement beyond current levels would dramatically change the outcome.

In fact, this contention ends up doing far more harm than good to her case. I showed that support for Assad is likely to make many of these countries retreat from providing aid to us, thus reducing our effectiveness in the vain hope that Russia will join in. I've explained that no country is willing to pledge troops, and that the US leading the way will lead to the US standing alone. I've even explained how Russia may join by sheer peer pressure, something which Pro cold concedes. That means any solvency she garners is non-unique; we get it in status quo, and Pro is potentially destroying that benefit by risking our continued assistance from other nations.

So, let's move back to my case.


Pro keeps repeating this point like a verbal tic: "no war will ever come without fatalities." In the process, she's entirely mishandling my argument. I explained how and why a no-fly zone REDUCES the number of fatalities. I fully recognize that war includes death, but that doesn't mean we have to accept the number of deaths and displacements that Syria is currently dealing with. Pro is entirely unresponsive to my point that she is banking on finishing off ISIS, something that I've shown to be impossible. She hasn't addressed those arguments. My case doesn't require solvency on ISIS, but hers does, and she has none of the warrants or evidence to show that that's possible.


I feel like we're running around in circles on this one. Pro argues that ISIS is cruel, and ending them should be paramount.

There are so many problems with this, many of which I outlined last round, but I'll add to them here.

I don't see why we have to ally with cruelty in order to address cruelty. There's no special benefit garnered by supporting Assad; note that Pro hasn't presented a single bit of support for doing so beyond garnering Russian support. We can continue to support the moderate rebels and end ISIS at the same time.

Importantly, Pro straight drops all of my analysis from the previous round. So extend my points that:

a) Pro has no means to deal with Assad after ISIS is gone,
b) Pro is giving him legitimacy through unconditional support,
c) Pro is forcing the US to come out in support of him despite clear messages to the contrary, and
d) Pro is putting the Syrians in a more unstable place after ISIS is gone

This is crucial: even if Pro's case is successful, it will simply lead to the creation of yet another and more brutal variant of ISIS. That's where supporting Assad will lead. Pro doesn't address this analysis in the slightest, and therefore drops not only a complete lack of solvency on her part, but a future reduction in US soft power in the region, destroying any ability for the US to intervene in the future without huge military engagements.


Pro's responses to this still fail to engage with my point. Pro drops that the Russian focus on hegemony is contingent on the US taking a lead role and appearing to spread its influence. Pro's case clearly furthers that view. Russia is far more likely to try to subvert our efforts and work independently than it is to follow us and risk losing the power it's gained by propping up Assad. This will deepen divides between the US and Russia, making any potential future efforts implausible.

As to the arguments Pro actually made, I provided plenty of evidence to show that NONE of these countries are ready to go to war. Not one single country has committed ground troops to Syria, and yet Pro keeps asserting that they are going to start doing it the moment the US does so (against the wishes of its people). No country is going to want to be involved in a mass invasion and bombing of Syria, no matter what they believe the outcome to be.

My Counter Plan

Pro is continuing to straw man my CP. No, my CP is not focused on waiting them out. Pro doesn't address the solvency of any of the three planks of the CP, which is particularly important when it comes to the no-fly zone. I gave two sources that support this with actual case examples and specifics for Syria.[12, 13] Dropping my solvency for the current humanitarian crisis is deadly to her case because it means I'm quickly solving for the vast majority of her harms scenario while she only gets a small possibility of eventual solvency. I've shown that neither plan has solvency for ISIS, and therefore that any harms associated with that group are non-unique. Even if the US and Russia are capable of defeating ISIS, my plan has at least as much, if not more, likelihood of success than Pro's by uterly dismantling the major means by which ISIS wreaks havoc in the region. Moreover, I don't bite any of my DAs, and thus those function as advantages for my case that Pro cannot garner.

Pro's Conclusion:

A lot of nice appeals in here, but no real substance. Pro talks about the importance of US aid in WW2, and our eventual importance as a participant. This actually supports MY case. If the US was such a game-changer, then an influx of our troops is all we need to change the course of the Syrian civil war. And that's exactly what I'm doing " not waiting out the conflict, but hastening its end.

My Conclusion:

Pro's blood may boil when she reads my case, but I'm just baffled by hers. Pro's case is entirely nebulous, and the only specifics that exist are the ones I've provided. If as she says she really and truly wants to end this conflict and defeat ISIS, then we need a concrete, clear and effective plan to do so. We don't want to and should not commit troops with a short and long term goal in mind, and we certainly should not commit those troops without a means to end the mass killings and displacements that plague the area.

My case is the only one that accomplishes these basic goals. I'm explaining exactly what US troops would be doing. I'm not relying on any other nation to involve their militaries, and Pro and I both agree that most nations are more than willing to commit resources to ending the civil war and ISIS, which plays perfectly into my plan. I'm providing clear, proven effective means for directing efforts against ISIS and drastically reducing their destructive power.

Meanwhile, all Pro is doing is re-engaging in the cycle of violence that brought us to where we are now. It won't produce the solutions she claims. It will damage any capacity to intervene in the future and put many more people at greater risk. Working with Russia and Assad is not the panacea she claims it will be; it's a recipe for disaster.

Don't follow that recipe. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ColeTrain 10 months ago
Ay! ;)
Posted by whiteflame 10 months ago
It's alright, so long as someone got up a vote.
Posted by lannan13 10 months ago
Damn, I completely forgot about this. Sorry guys.
Posted by ColeTrain 11 months ago
@Whiteflame: No problem! You're welcome! :)
Posted by whiteflame 11 months ago
Thanks for the vote and extensive analysis, ColeTrain!
Posted by ColeTrain 11 months ago
Sorry -- it's taking longer than expected. Should be up in a few hours.
Posted by whiteflame 11 months ago
I believe it's lannan and ColeTrain.
Posted by fire_wings 11 months ago
Who are the judges?
Posted by ColeTrain 11 months ago
Insufficient time tonight, I'll finish up tomorrow. ALMOST done with R1 analysis.
Posted by ColeTrain 11 months ago
Voting now.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ColeTrain 11 months ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Good job to you both! Thanks for nominating me, I learned a lot! RFD & Analysis: