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Con (against)
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The Contender
Pro (for)
8 Points

states ought not possess nuclear weapons

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/7/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,415 times Debate No: 13583
Debate Rounds (3)
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Today, I take a firm stance on the negation of the resolved: "states ought not to possess nuclear weapons."
For the subsequent round, the value ought to be safety. To attain this value, the value criterion ought to be the maximization of deterrence of harm for citizens, because protection of people by reducing risks of potential detriments – whether it be physical, mental, or financial – best preserves the paramount value of safety. Hence, the burden of the negation is to show that nuclear weapons effectively prevent risks of harm for citizens. If I can do so, then I claim victory for this round.

• My first contention is that nuclear weapons are the ultimate tools for deterrence of warfare. Simply put, the level of security for a state immediately escalates with the availability of nuclear weapons, hence, engendering a state of sharply decreased vulnerability to militant or hostile attack from other countries. Enemy states ruminating upon the idea of assaulting a nation with nuclear capabilities will be greatly dissuaded by factors, such as the possibility of a nuclear weapon deployment as retribution and the multifarious consequences of such devastating counterattack. Without such power, countries would be at the mercy of hostile states, including those that pose risk to the United States – i.e. North Korea and Iran. Nuclear weapons obviate warfare before its onset, tremendously curtailing the chances of civilian deaths, injuries, as well as not compensating for the hefty price tag of reconstructing destructed buildings, houses, etc.

• My second contention is that nuclear weapons are efficacious in halting warfare and thus an unnecessary financial burden and further deaths of both soldiers and citizens. A paragon exemplifies this explicitly: the Hiroshima Bomb of 1945. The damage caused by the atomic bomb is miniscule when compared to the magnitude of destruction that would have cost both the US and Japan had the war not ended by the intervention of a nuclear bomb. In fact, according to the History Learning Site, the Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated that the first part of the Operation Downfall (which was the name of the series of planned invasions on Japanese grounds if the bomb was not deployed) would have caused total 1.2 million American casualties, well over one-sixth being deaths; in total, the Navy Department estimated up to 4 million deaths for American soldiers, as well as 10 million Japanese casualties (the majority of them innocent civilians). The execution of nuclear bombs during wartime would promptly terminate it, protecting a myriad of lives from harm, as well as trillions of dollars of money.


Thanks to con for initiating this topic.

I affirm

For clarification I offer the following definitions.

States - a politically unified people occupying a definite territory (Random House dict.)
Ought- indicating desirability (American Heritage)

Nuclear weapon - an explosive device whose destructive potential derives from the release of energy that accompanies the splitting or combining of atomic nuclei. (Random House dict.)

Life without a doubt is a desirable thing to have, but without a means to maintain it it is pointless. For this reason the affirmative values Security, defined by Merriam-Webster as "Freedom from danger, or safety". Security should be the basis for this round because with no security there is no life.

Because of the risks nuclear weapons pose, the best solution is to simply not have them. Therefore I offer the following criterion of total nuclear disarmament. States that have nuclear weapons should dispose of their them and their design plans. This is the best possible way to protect us from the dangers of nukes, because without nuclear weapons there is no possible way we can be harmed by them.

Contention 1: The risk of nuclear incident on the affirmative side is zero.

Sub point a. Nuclear use cannot happen if we affirm. This is a simple concept. As long as nuclear weapons exist, it doesnt matter what the chance of it happening is, there will always be a chance of nuclear use and consequently nuclear war as long as these things are in the world. Ramesh Thakur explains

"Time for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World," New Zealand International Review,
Vol. 22, 1997

The only guarantee against the threat of nuclear war is the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. They are the common enemy of mankind. Having them cannot be justified due to the inexcusable risk of use."

When we're talking about the massive impacts of nuclear use, the percentage or chance of war happening is irrelevant if its anything other than zero, which it currently is not. Therefore in order to truly secure the world, we must disarm now and not possess.

Sub point B. There are a multitude of ways disaster can strike in a nuclear world. Whether it be by accidents, use by a radical, or even use by a non-radical, there are far too many ways nukes could be used to justify their posession. Ronald McCoy confirms,

"The threat of nuclear war will prevail as long as states possess nuclear weapons. This will inevitably result in their use, by design, miscalculation, or by terrorsts."

Its not even just those three ways he listed. Combining his writings with that of the aforementioned Ramesh Thakur, the number of ways nukes could be used is startling. Here are just a few they went over. Use by an irrational leader, use by a rational leader, use by accident, use by terrorists, misjudged use, unauthorized use, and use in response to another's. As we see there are far too many ways disaster can happen. This high amount of possibilities makes posession completely inexcusable and obviously undesirable. Given the obvious devastating impacts and chain reactions use can cause, how can we possibly say that posession is desirable?

Contention 2: Theories for future non use are based entirely on theory.

Sub point A: Previous non use is due to sheer luck. Back in the Cold War when the United States and Soviet Union supposedly "deterred" each other, we need to realize that in reality war could have happened at any second, which was the reason that time period was full of tension and fear. Considering all the tension and conflict of the time, its almost unbelievable that we came out in one piece. Ronald McCoy explains " During the Cold War, it was sheer good fortune and not good management that the world survived the suicidal Cold War doctrine of "mutually assured destruction". And technically, war can still happen at any second. We can also apply this logic to any other potential use of nukes that didnt happen, because ultimately as long as there are nukes we are allowing for the opportunity of use, and if that has not happened, its only due to mere chance. Therefore, I will now explain why the past is no indicator of the future.

Sub point B: Future safety cannot be guaranteed in a nuclear world. Saying that posession will deter use may be a popular argument but its far from a sufficient theory to guarantee use wont happen. Because thats what it really is, a theory. We cannot afford to trust the world's safety on mere speculation, especially when we have a much more reliable and sure-fire way to avoid the dangers right in front of us. Ronald McCoy continues " The proposition that nuclear weapons can be retained in perpetuity and never used...defies credibility. The only complete defence is the elimination of nuclear weapons." And this is fact. The past can only predict the future, it cannot see it. The future is full of incertainties and any argument saying that we can ensure no nuke will ever be used should automatically be deemed uncredible due to the lack of proof and inability to truly know what will happen.

Therefore, the only feasible option to ensure future security is through the complete disarmament of nuclear weapons, as this is the only guaranteed way we can do so. We must not rely on theories, speculation, and arguments about what "probably" will or wont happen to guide us. Its for these reasons I urge an affirmative ballot.

Although con is against the res, he went first so I will now attack his case.

Onto the value of safety. He attempts to persuade us that nukes prevent war. For his sake I'll assume he's referring to both nuke war and general war. However, I already showed you in C1 how the affirmative gives you 100% safety from nuclear weapons. The negative cannot do the same, because he allows nukes to exist in our world. It is not statistically possible for Con to give you better security than I do, because with no nukes there is obviously a lesser chance for nuke war (0%) than a world with them.

I'll attack his criterion and C1 at the same time since they're basically the same. His whole concept of "nukes deter general conflict" is insanely flawed and has already been proven wrong. I will provide you multiple examples of where deterrance has failed.

2003: The United States invades Iraq, despite whole-heartedly believing they were in possession of nuclear weapons. Where was the deterrance here? The fact Iraq turned out to not have nukes is irrelevant; we believed they had them but it did not stop invasion.

1950: The United States is in conflict with North Korea in an attempt to liberate South Korea. China, feeling nervous about the US's fight against Communism, joins forces with North Korea and fights against the United States, *despite the fact that the US had nuclear weapons*.

1999: Pakistani troops invade Kargil, India. They do so believing India will not fight back in fear of nuclear retaliation. They were wrong. India sent thousands of troops and attempted to mow down Pakistan's solders. They retreated.

Look at these examples and you see how nuclear weapons dont deter anything.

My opponent's contention 2 completely contradicts his contention 1. C2 states nuclear weapons end war that has started, but his C1 states war wont happen in the first place. These contentions are not compatible. Thus, please discount C2 as well.

Its for these reason I urge a pro vote.
Debate Round No. 1


My opponents value is securtiy but without nukes you undermine the security of some states. My opponents criterion is total nuclear disarmament, but there is a such thing as the black market in which terroist could get a hold of this. In his 1st contention there is not proof on that along with every other contention so with no other proof i won the case


My opponent drops all my attacks against his case. I must win the negative by default.

He attacks Security saying not having nukes undermines security of some states. However I already showed you how having nukes does not provide safety, by giving several examples of invasion happening against nations that had nukes.

He attacks my criterion saying terrorists can get nukes from the black market. So he basically admits there is a threat of terrorist acquirement and thus nuclear use. Also, negating will only increase the risk of terrorist possession since on his side they can get nukes from both the black market AND states, since he allows states to have them. He is arguing against his own case.

He "attacks" my contentions saying I have no proof. However my arguments dont need proof becaue they're so *obvious*. Just as I dont need proof to tell you the sky is blue, I dont need proof to show you that with no nuclear weapons there can be no nuclear war.

Contention 2 had both examples and evidence, making his argument against it completely empty.

I again urge a pro vote.
Debate Round No. 2


kp forfeited this round.


My opponent forfeits the round. Please count all of my arguments as true.

I urge a pro vote.
Debate Round No. 3
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2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's argument was so good I'm going to have trouble getting it out of my head when I debate this topic. Pro proves that nuclear disarmament lowers risk. Anyways deterence vs security seems to be an interesting clash. Would be nice to have seen this gone to completion. RFD obvious due to forfeit.
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:05