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RFD - UN Peacekeeping

bsh1
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11/28/2015 10:03:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
RFD

For 15 minutes of research, this was an excellent debate! Great job to both of you.

Just as a bit of information about my vote, this RFD is going to count as a tiebreaker for the tournament; it is not intended to effect the outcome of the debate itself, which stands as a tie. Debaters have 72 hours to raise any objections to this RFD, and if they change my mind, I will ask another vote to vote. After those 72 hours, and if my mind is unchanged, I will finalize the tournament result. So, with all that said, I'll now review the debate.

Part 1, FT's Case

Frankly, this seemed the most crucial area of clash in the debate. FT, quite early into the debate, describes self-defense as: "traditionally includ[ing] a defense of the mandate." This becomes important later on, as Thett seems to misunderstand what precisely FT is arguing for. This means, as far as I am concerned, that most of Thett's concerns expressed in his case are moot, namely, that peacekeepers' ability to engage in physical force is overly limited. Peacekeepers can defend the mandate, meaning that they can respond with violence to violence that threatens those under UN auspices. As FT writes: "So if the mandate requires the protection of civilians within the mission"s area of operation, the peacekeepers have authority to protect these civilians as a matter of self-defense."

I also buy that FT's plan provides better legal protection for peacekeepers. Sure, in Rwanda, a handful of Belgian soldiers were killed, but because those peacekeepers were not legitimate combatants, the law could theoretically hold their killers accountable for their deaths. Moreover, I buy that some deterrent effect may exist where the legal protections are stronger; the Belgian troop example isn't sufficient IMO to disprove the theoretical arguments I am getting from FT. Here, I would've liked to have seen Thett argue that FT's plan actually turns peacekeepers into combatants. If peacekeepers are "defending the mandate" then they may not themselves be under imminent threat of harm, which could make their status legally ambiguous, at the very least.

As for impartiality, I am buying into this as well. Thett tells me over and over again that it isn't a bad thing for the UN to favor the good guys over "genocidal insurgents." This rebuttal loses sight of the practical benefits of neutrality that FT expounds on: (1) it gives peacekeepers the credibility to ask both sides of the conflict to comply with certain measures, (2) it legitimizes UN intervention, since it is nonpartisan, and (3) impartiality creates confusion on the ground. Given these tangible benefits to impartiality, however much I may want to "kill the bastards," it seems prudent to keep impartiality as a tool in the arsenal if possible, because these practical benefits could be useful to helping peacekeepers actually secure peace.

The other two advantages FT describes were undercovered by both debaters, which makes them hard to really assess.

So, I buy that FT's plan avoids the harms Thett describes in his case, re: "physical force," and that it also incurs the added advantages of greater legal protection and impartiality.

Part 2, Thett's Case

I already discussed Thett's opening case, and how I think FT cleverly avoids a lot of those criticisms. Hence, I want to talk about some other things I'll lump under Thett's case: coalitions and Rwanda.

FT argues that coalitions, in the form of enforcement missions, are useful, and can take the place of a lot of the offensive operations that Thett would assign to peacekeepers. Thett then critiques coalitions as ineffective, citing Syria as a counterexample, and noting that multinational coalitions take time to build and can be internally divisive as various national interests clash.

I don't find the coalition argument to be compelling. Firstly, Syria is not an example of a UN authorized coalition, and, secondly, peacekeeping forces are also multinational coalitions, so the harms of multinational coalitions apply in either world. Thett counters this latter objection by arguing that, because no member state gets the glory in a peacekeeping mission, the missions are less apt to be ripped asunder by internal divisions. This almost feels like a distinction without a difference. Syria, as FT pointed out, was not a UN authorized coalition; UN authorized coalitions, which would require Russian and Chinese assent or non-objection, would also, as much as I can tell, not be the adventure of a single glory-seeking nation, because all Security Council nations would have had to approve.

More importantly, however, since FT allows peacekeepers to "defend the mandate," you wouldn't need to assemble an enforcement coalition to protect civilians. In both FT and Thett's world, you can use peacekeeping forces to protect civilians, and, I am assuming that since they're the same kind of forces, they would take comparable times to assemble and deploy. As FT wrote: "Thett assumes peacekeepers can"t use force defensively to protect civilians." So, either way, peacekeepers can get the job done, given the power both debaters would vest in the peacekeepers. This leads me to Rwanda.

FT stated, early in the debate: "The peacekeepers in [Rwanda] easily could have justified force in self-defense." Thett asserts that the peacekeepers' mandate wouldn't have supported that, but then the issue, as FT asserts, is not an issue with peacekeepers, per se, but rather the writing of UN mandates. All UN forces are going to have UN-written mandates, and so I am disinclined in believing this is a unique problem for FT. Plus, one example of the UN erring is not convincing; the UN can make bad calls in either world. Moreover, if you force the UN's hand by allowing peacekeepers to engage in offensive operations, the UN will be even less likely to deploy and utilize peacekeepers at all. So, while imperfect mandates are frustrating, it seems like an insurmountable problem. Better to have poorly drafted mandates, then to have far fewer peacekeepers deployed. At least FT's plan wouldn't diminish their deployment, and would give them greater flexibility in their actions.

I am also not sure that, were the peacekeepers authorized to use force, that the UN wouldn't have just pulled them out. Obviously, the UN didn't want to get into a conflict with Rwanda at the time, and they may have evacuated the peacekeepers as soon as conflict started to erupt in order to avoid further entanglements. This casts doubt onto whether even offensive peacekeeping forces would've solved the problem, or whether the UN would've wimped out with them, too. In other words, the problem was not one of a failure to authorize force (since in either world it would've been justified), the issue was with the UN recalling forces. I am not sure then why Thett can claim that his world would've produced a drastically different result.

I should also mention the Congo example. FT should've done more to cover this, but I also don't find it to be a big deal. I don't see that much difference from FT and Thett's views of the peacekeepers--Thett's might be a bit more aggressive, but I am not convinced that had FT's proposed modus operandi been in place in the Congo that the results would've been drastically different. If defending the mandate meant defeating the genocidaires, then I am not sure why this example should defeat FT's case. I would've liked analysis from Thett about why the Congo would not have turned out so well had FT's plan been in place instead of Thett. Given these reservations, but also given that FT didn't explicitly address the example, I have to say that Thett does have 1 example of when offensive peacekeeping worked.

So, I am not really buying that coalitions fail, or that their harms are even unique, nor am I really buying that the Rwandan example is somehow damning to FT's case.
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bsh1
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11/28/2015 10:04:37 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Part 3, Conclusion

I am therefore buying that FT has clear advantages, in the form of legal protection and impartiality. I am not buying that FT has any major disadvantages, in that he circumvents a lot of Thett's initial attacks and the coalition argument, and in that I am not buying into Thett's major counterexample, Rwanda. Regarding Thett's case, I am convinced that he has at least 1 example of offensive peacekeeping, which counts as his advantage, but I am also seeing multiple disadvantages to voting for him, namely the loss of legal protections and impartiality. The question I now face is whether the Congo example outweighs the disadvantages.

As I said before in my RFD, I don't see too much in the way of difference between the practical effects of FT and Thett's peackeeping forces. Both protect civilians, sometimes with preemptive force. Thett's forces may be more aggressive, but, either way, the peacekeeping forces in either world are not what Thett attempted to paint them as: impotent guards who drop their guns and run at the first sign of trouble. I buy then that the Congo worked in Thett's world, but I am still not sure why it wouldn't have worked in FT's world.

I think one of the key issues here is a lack of comparative analysis. What were the major differences between FT and Thett, and how would those differences have changed the outcomes of these various cases (Rwanda, Congo, Syria, etc.)? Neither of the debaters really gets into this, and oftentimes a debater's attempts at it didn't accurately represent the position of their opponent.

Ultimately, I am persuaded that the advantages to FT's plan, which are theoretical, and could apply in a wide variety of cases, outweigh the singular instance of the Congo, particularly when there is a lack of clarity for me regarding whether the outcomes of the Congo would've only occurred in Thett's world. Plus, Thett's major attacks against FT's case just fall flat, and his case is left hinging on a rather under-discussed, briefly extended, and under-impacted example. Thus, I vote Con.

Part 4, Feedback

There was room for improvement in this debate. Debaters often made claims about effectiveness and so forth that could've benefited from greater empirical or statistical evidence. There are successful, defensive peacekeeping missions, such as the one in Cyprus, that FT could've brought up, and there are others that were abject failures, which Thett should've hammered home. It also may have made the impacts clearly to weigh, because I would've had some concrete numbers and data to look at.

Comparison of worlds was another area that needed improvement. Seriously: why are your advantages unique to you? why will your good examples only have happened under your UN peacekeeping paradigm? why will your world lead to X, Y, Z and not your opponents? I get slightly more of this from FT, which behooved him in this debate. He took more time to explain what is going to occur and why it is going to occur, and why it will occur in his world and not Thett's. This is a big deal for me in understanding and evaluating the round.

Still, this was an excellent debate, and you both deserves plaudits for your efforts. I understand that you weren't fans of the topic, but I thank you for putting forth quality arguments and for fighting it out.

Hopefully this RFD adequately and fairly explains how I arrived at my decision, and communicates to you why I voted. With any luck, the feedback will also be helpful. Good luck in your future debates, and congratulations on making it to the final round of the tournament!

/endrfd

LINK TO THE DEBATE

http://www.debate.org...
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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thett3
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11/28/2015 11:12:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
thanks for voting, bsh
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: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
bsh1
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11/28/2015 11:13:49 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/28/2015 11:12:58 PM, thett3 wrote:
thanks for voting, bsh

Sure thing. Hopefully, it was a clear/fair RFD.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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bsh1
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12/3/2015 12:24:51 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/30/2015 6:20:15 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
Thanks for voting bsh1

Sure thing!
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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bsh1
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12/3/2015 12:25:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Since no one has objected, this RFD will stand.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...