The Instigator
The_Commander
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
SolonKR
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

United States' Foreign Intervention-October Beginners' Tournament Round 1

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
SolonKR
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/8/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 413 times Debate No: 80681
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

The_Commander

Pro

Full resolution: On balance, the United States Federal government is morally justified in intervening in another nation's internal political process, in an attempt, to curtail human rights abuses.

-1st round's acceptance
-Shared burden of proof
-No new arguments int the final round
SolonKR

Con

I accept.
This is actually round two of the September tournament, as my opponent noted in the comments. Congrats to him for making it here, and good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
The_Commander

Pro

Premise 1-United States Should Care About Others:
Nationalistic ideas are outdated. All 7 billion or so humans, regardless of where they"re from, are for the most part quite similar to each other, with no significant difference in DNA. (1) However, today and for centuries before, artificial borders and made up cultures have separated people. It may be noteworthy, however, that the United States has perhaps been the best attempt of creating a truly global nation, seeing as it has a blend of many cultures and ethnicities.

Severe human right abuses that occur around the world would be next to impossible to find in the US or in other rich countries. This is primarily due to stable governments and living in a generally free society. In fact, if something serious was found the government would crack down on it.

If it"s accepted that the US cares about its own citizen"s basic rights, then it would only make sense to care about others" (not necessarily to the same degree, however), seeing as an American person"s life, health, or freedom is not in it of itself worth more than another country's" person, then it would make sense why a government that cares about freedom and liberty would want to care about others.

Premise 2-United States Can Make a Difference, Like No Other Country:
This is hard to deny. No other country has had as much influence in recent times as the United States. Two of the most notable things they have are the world"s largest GDP (nominal) in the world and the world"s most powerful military. (2, 3) This means they can, if needed, fund large international operations and have a strong enough military to use force if necessary. This would be useful in overthrowing regimes featuring human right abuses.

Argument 1-The US Would be Interested in and Has the Means to Make a Difference
Follows from the first 2 premises.

Argument 2-The US is a Member of the UN:
One of the UN"s job is to protect human rights. (4) The US is a member of the UN and therefore should feel the need to follow suit in protecting people against human right abuses.

Argument 3-Net Save
This more goes with moral justification. If the US can intervene effectively to overthrow a government that violates its people"s rights and then in turn saves generations from the same thing, they will have saved more people than could have realistically died in a war operated properly.

1-http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
2-https://en.wikipedia.org...(nominal)
3-http://www.globalfirepower.com...
4-http://www.ohchr.org...
SolonKR

Con

To understand whether an action is moral or immoral, we first must decide what constitutes morality. I will argue my case from a utilitarian perspective; that is, that what produces the greatest utility (happiness, satisfaction) for the most people is moral, and what leads to less happiness is immoral. This framework is the most applicable to the resolution, because the United States, through intervention, is explicitly attempting to curtail human rights abuses, which may largely be considered bad due to the large amount of negative utility produced for the abused. As such, I will argue that foreign intervention on the part of the U.S. government for purpose of curtailing abuses is immoral, as it results in a lower overall happiness. My primary example for demonstrating this will be the war in Iraq, which, while not fought solely for humanitarian reasons, was heavily influenced by them.

P1- Intervention leads to chaos

A fundamental aspect of intervention in countries with human rights abuses is that military action must be involved to some degree. Consider Iraq, invaded in part due to the abuses at the hands of Saddam Hussein (1). It was a totalitarian state with many, many abuses. Power rested in the hands of a very small group of people not answerable to any others. Intervention to curtail abuse necessarily involves removing dictators and others in power through military action, either through U.S. forces or U.S.-backed forces. The overthrowing of any government leads to a power vacuum, as a new one must be established. Maintaining a stable, US-backed democracy, required years of occupation following the death of Hussein; his capture took less than a year, while the war itself continued until 2011 (2). Even with continued US support, though, chaos continued to reign; this is especially evident by the fact that Iraqi forces are still embroiled in conflict within their own borders (3). This fighting is negative utility for US-trained Iraqi forces due to the danger to their lives. More significantly, the civilian body count over the course of the war has amounted to approximately 150,000 (4). Death is avoided by the overwhelming majority of living beings, and must therefore have a negative utility, as living beings tend to seek out what is pleasurable or fulfilling, and avoid that which is not. While it is true that Saddam did commit atrocious genocides, the Human Rights Watch estimated the killings at the hands of Saddam’s party at about 250,000 in about 25 years (5). The average rate of death (12,500/year) has been higher in the 12 years of the Iraq war and its aftermath than during Saddam’s reign until the war (10,000/year). The cost of establishing human rights was great, and it is unclear how long people will be able to benefit from them, due to the relatively recent encroachment of IS. In other words, the benefits of intervention to the citizens are slim at best, and negative at worst; either morally neutral or morally bad.

P2- Intervention has quantifiable negative utility for US citizens

Wars cost money, and a lot of it. The United States spent about $2 trillion in Iraq (6). This outflow of money is explicitly negative utility for US citizens, as it carries with it an opportunity cost of other potential uses of that money—in education, in healthcare, in infrastructure, in government employment, or elsewhere. The $2 trillion spent on the war in Iraq ballooned the national debt by about 15% (7). The deficit created in large part due to the war led to several budget cuts going into effect in efforts to balance the budget, like the 2013 sequester cuts, resulting in reductions in rental assistance, studies about the quality of medical care, and more (8). US citizens are still paying a cost for the intervention of their country in Iraq, and are worse off for it. Furthermore, there is the cost that soldiers and contractors had to pay, like Iraqi soldiers, in terms of putting their lives on the line, and sometimes losing them. More than 4,000 U.S. soldiers died during the war (9). A government is responsible first and foremost for the good of its own people, so the fact that US citizens are perhaps the most negatively impacted by foreign intervention demonstrates clear immorality of the government for waging wars for humanitarian purposes.

Conclusion: The involvement of the government in humanitarian wars produces far more negative than positive utility, and is therefore immoral. Humanitarian wars produce more suffering and hardship for citizens of the invaded country for extended periods of time, and impose severe costs on the citizens of the invading country for a similarly long period.

Sources:
1. http://tinyurl.com...
2. http://tinyurl.com...
3. http://tinyurl.com...
4. https://www.iraqbodycount.org...
5. http://tinyurl.com...
6. http://tinyurl.com...
7. http://www.usdebtclock.org...
8. http://www.gao.gov...
9. http://tinyurl.com...

Debate Round No. 2
The_Commander

Pro

I forfeit. I simply don't have time to do this (evident by my 1st argument).

Vote Con.
SolonKR

Con

I accept Pro's forfeit. It's a bummer that it turned out this way; perhaps he and I can try this again when he has more time.
Debate Round No. 3
The_Commander

Pro

Vote Con.
SolonKR

Con

Vote Con, I suppose :/
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by The_Commander 1 year ago
The_Commander
Sorry for such a bad argument. I thought I had all day today, but it turns out I won't be home at all tonight, so I had about 15 minutes to write that.
Posted by The_Commander 1 year ago
The_Commander
I just realized I messed up the title. I meant September Beginners Tournament Round 2. Oh well.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by TheProphett 1 year ago
TheProphett
The_CommanderSolonKRTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct goes to pro for making a respectful forfeiture. In conclusion, Con wins the debate due to concession.
Vote Placed by famousdebater 1 year ago
famousdebater
The_CommanderSolonKRTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.