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Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

the US should preemptively attack north korea

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/9/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 534 times Debate No: 103489
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the US should preemptively attack north korea

it's inevitable that they will eventually perfect their rocket technology and get more nukes. we should strike sooner than later because it's better than waiting till they have more power and leverage, as they are not fit to have hundreds of nukes and be able to take the world hostage. it would cause one of the worst humanitarian problems ever, but it's better than losing LA and NY to nukes.


Thanks to Pro for this timely & important topic and it's nice to see a new dairygirl4u2c debate after a long hiatus.

Pro's thesis is that the United States ought to preemptively attack the Democratic People's Republic of Korea rising from the belief that North Korea will inevitably launch a nuclear strike against the US.

We can leave it to Pro in the next round to establish why a nuclear attack is such a certainty but in the meantime I have some questions for Pro.

Does Pro recommend that the US act within the boundaries of US and International law?

It's well established that DPRK exists outside of the boundaries of International law, beginning with the invasion of South Korea in 1950 right up to its threat to drop missiles into US territorial waters 3 days ago. The question is whether or notPro is recommending that the US likewise violate those laws.

After all, preemptive war is a term defined by the UN charter and explicitly prohibited by Article II unless and until the UN Security Council authorizes an enforcement action. [1] The justifications for preemptive war emanate from the Caroline Test, originated by US Secretary of State Daniel Webster- a self-defense claim must be in response to an instant, overwhelming threat, leaving no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation. The response must also be proportional to the threat. [2]

Merely possessing the capacity to strike across international borders must not be sufficient threat, since nearly every nation's military possesses such capacity to some degree. Merely possessing nuclear warheads must not be sufficient threat since 7 other nations (US included) possess such capacity but are not therefore fair game.

So then , is an attack imminent: Is DPRK preparing for war?

Apparently not. Although there has been a flare up of belligerent rhetoric on both sides of the Pacific, neither country's response suggests an increased defensive posture or even an increased state of alarm. "I do not believe there is any imminent threat, said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, "Americans should sleep well at night. I have no concerns about this particular rhetoric over the last few days." [3] There has been no sign of increased mobilization or redeployment within either military this week. In spite of DPRK's direct threats concerning Guam, no special preparations or alerts have been issued for that island. President Trump called the Governor of Guam a few hours ago stating, "You are safe. Don"t worry about a thing." [4] Nor has the Commander in Chief modified his plans to vacation for the next two weeks. The US Armed Forces DEFCON level remains unchanged.

So why would DPRK threaten to attack without preparing for war?

Because China & Russia are currently supporting crippling UN sanctions against the DPRK. North Koreans can't trade arms, can't bank or exchange currency anywhere, can't export minerals including its top commodity, coal. Until DPRK complies with UN resolution, its economy will continue in strangled stagnation unless China or Russia flips. And the most likely way to provoke a reversal is if the US attacks first.

Why else would North Korea announce plans to target the waters 30-40 km of Guam? Clearly, their best hope is that the US will respond by attacking in some limited fashion- an air force base or missile site, forcing China to honor their mutual defense pact while corroding US alliances. Mutual defense guarantees aren't activated by preemptive war and depending on circumstances, Japan and Australia might very well choose to hold back. The Philippines under Duterte seems ready for any excuse to realign in favor of China. Russia, too, might be tempted to assert its old guarantees of DPRK sovereignty and protection. In short, action vs. the DPRK might force the US to choose between a large scale conflict in an unfavorable, unpopular context or backing off- to the considerable advantage of DPRK and China. At present, the best way for the US to preserve its strategic advantage in the region is to call Kim's bluff & refrain from acting.

Napoleon wrote, "never to do what the enemy wishes you to do, for this reason alone, that he desires it." [5] It is clear that Kim wants the US to attack first and so it is likewise clear that he should be denied.

Some other questions for Pro-

Does Pro consider war with China an acceptable risk? Does Pro consider war with China as inevitable as DPRK?

Can Pro show that North Korea is a less rational actor than other nuclear states (Pakistan, for example)?

Is there an unacceptable US & allied casualty level beyond which preventative war would be less advised?

Is there an unacceptable US financial cost beyond which preventative war would be less advised?

Is it possible that Kim's nuclear capacity has been over-exaggerated, as proved true of Saddam Hussein WMD claims prior to the Gulf War?

What type of attack would Pro consider proportional to the threat or would Pro dismiss the principle of proportional response?

Does Pro consider President Trump a capable Commander-in-Chief, able to effectively assess the likelihood of threats & judge when all diplomatic solutions have been exhausted? Is it possible that Trump's capacity has been diminished or compromised by covert transactions with Russia? Is it possible that Trump might embrace war with the DPRK purely for political distraction or improved popular opinion?

I look forward to Pro's responses in the next round.

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