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That the United Nations should have a standing military force

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whiteflamewhiteflame (PRO)

Thanks to Csareo for joining me in this debate!

Let's start with definitions.

United Nations: "an intergovernmental organization established on 24 October 1945 to promote nternational co-operation... The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict."[1]

Should: implies an action, hence I'll present a case to support this resolution. Note that this is a discussion of “should” and not “could.” As such, we're discussing what happens if my system comes into place, not whether or not that system is likely to become a reality.

Standing military force: this is the equivalent of a standing army, which is defined as “a permanent, often professional, army. It is composed of full-time soldiers (who may be either career soldiers or conscripts) and is not disbanded during times of peace. It differs from army reserves, who are enrolled for the long term, but activated only during wars or natural disasters, and temporary armies, which are raised from the civilian population only during a war or threat of war and disbanded once the war or threat is over.”[2]

With that, I'll present my model:

I will emulate the proposal summarized here.[3] This includes the formation of a standing army composed of approximately 12,000-15,000 members, ranging widely but trained by the UN directly. They would function under a single command structure, being directly loyal to the UN. The deployment can be authorized by the Security Council, requiring two vetoes in order to vote down a given action. I won't provide all the details here, but the reasons for deployment and training methods are spelled out in that link. The costs are $2 billion to start, $900 million annually, contributed by member nations, with larger shares of the cost covered by the Security Council.

Contention 1: Efficiency

The UN's functionality, in large part, is peacekeeping. They play an important role in the national and international stability, stopping egregious rights violations. Unfortunately, they're very effective in status quo.

The army I'm proposing would make them more efficacious. At least two of the five pillars on which the UN stands – peace and security and development[4] – are facilitated directly by having a force they can directly deploy to assist in either facet. The UN depends on nations to commit soldiers to a given conflict. The vast majority of such conflicts occur in third world nations (examples to come shortly). Most first world nations will commit none or few soldiers to these at best, especially given their general aversion to conflict. These soldiers tend to come (slowly) from developing nations, especially those in the region who may be directly or indirectly threatened by the conflict, or those who simply need the pay. In each of these cases, they're usually under-equipped, badly trained, and are often pressured into serving by their nations.

The problem has gotten worse in recent years due to larger deployments, which have “over­whelmed the capabilities of the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and other parts of the Secretariat like the Department of Manage­ment that have a role in supporting peace opera­tions, leading to mismanagement, misconduct, poor planning, corruption, sexual abuse, unclear mandates, and other weaknesses.”[5]

My case ensures that these soldiers would be trained and equipped sufficiently. They will have volunteered to enlist, improving dedication to each cause. They will be commanded and controlled better by a centralized leadership, and will be more likely to work with one another instead of for their own interests, as they will have trained and fought together for a mutual cause. 

Realize as well that this is an army that functions solely as a neutral peacemaker and peacekeeper, something that no individual country can reasonably claim. This means that, unlike the concerns with other nations, their entry wouldn't be construed as a declaration of war, or as meddling on the part of the countries behind the participating troops. This also means that disputes between countries won't lead to large troop pullouts like that between India and Sierra Leone, which resulted in a shift in leadership and a substantial loss of resources.[6]

Contention 2: Rapid Response

To say that the UN is slow in its responses to various humanitarian crises is an understatement.

"Despite the need to be able to move quickly to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity, the United Nations has no capacity to avert such catas­trophes, even when prompt action could save hundreds of thousands of lives. The international community’s failure to stop genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and to avert “ethnic cleansing” occurring in the Darfur region of Su­dan a decade later illustrate this incapacity, as do the other massive killings of civilians in Cambodia, the former Yugoslavia, East Timor, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, and elsewhere. In recent years, huge atrocities have killed millions of innocent people, wounded millions more, forced tens of millions from their homes, destroyed entire economies, and wasted hundreds of billions of dollars.”[7]

"[the UN is] the only fire brigade in the world that has to wait for the fire to break out before it can acquire a fire engine.”[8]

...for peacekeeping itself, the UN needs to be quicker and stronger.”[9]

The need here is obvious. People are dying rapidly in genocides and wars, and the UN has to be responsive to that concern on a much more pragmatic level. The U.S. and NATO forces, in particular, both utilize such forces to respond to concerns both at home and abroad, and these forces play key roles in numerous conflicts.[10] It's important for nations to protect their interests, but all the more important for an international body like the UN to be able to act in a manner that can protect human rights from the most severe transgressions. Letting these incidents continue for the sake of bureaucracy is a mockery of the UN's purpose. My policy could save untold lives by allowing for rapid intervention in conflicts across the globe. It usually takes months of deaths for countries to commit troops to any given engagement - those are months of uninterrupted killings could be prevented.[11]

I hand this debate over to Con to establish his arguments.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_army

3. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/proposal-for-un-standing-army-would-see-un-head-trumping-security-council

4. http://www.un.org/en/

5. http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2007/02/time-for-a-new-united-nations-peacekeeping-organization

6. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/09/22/world/infighting-leads-to-indian-pullout-of-its-sierra-leone-forces.html

7. www.globalactionpw.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/uneps_publication.pdf  

8. http://refugeesinternational.org/policy/testimony/testimony-house-foreign-affairs-committee

9. unitingforpeace.com/.../How%20effective%20is%20the%20UN.pdf

10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_deployment_force

11. http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/issues/military.shtml

Return To Top | Posted:
2014-10-18 15:56:53
| Speak Round
whiteflamewhiteflame (PRO)
Well, this was disappointing. Unfortunately, as there are only two rounds in this debate, my opponent's forfeit essentially means he's lost. I encourage him to post in the final round and respond to my case, but unfortunately, this means I won't have an opportunity to rebut his arguments. I leave it to the judges to decide what comes of that if he does end up posting.

In the meantime, I think I've laid out my case about as clearly as I am able. The United Nations is often looked upon as a joke these days - they pass resolutions, shaming countries that do wrong, but they can do nothing to stop the truly egregious acts of aggression. They are entirely reliant upon the contributions of troops from member nations, and in the process, they are required to wait months before responding to some of the worst genocides in recent history. We've seen this bear out in Rwanda and Sudan, and we will see it again as long as humanity is still capable of committing genocide. Perhaps Legion will present some arguments about a change in perception of the United Nations being a bad one, or that this is too expensive, but it is worth the risk. Member nations won't intervene on their own, especially not those with the most power, who have so often become too tired of war. We need an international body, carefully regulated by the Security Council, who can intervene in these genocides and save countless lives before they are lost needlessly. We need a United Nations with a standing military force.

Return To Top | Posted:
2014-10-25 16:15:20
| Speak Round
BlackflagBlackflag (CON)
Forgive me, but it seems the notification for these debates never shows up. I think I need to take shorter rounds so the deadline doesn't creep up on me.
Whiteflame, you do indeed have the opportunity to refute my arguments. This debate has reply speeches. 

The UN does already have a peacekeeping force, but by the oppositions definition, it must be a permanent "military" structure. I affirm this definition, on the basis that the status quo of expected troop donations is superior. I have a triumvirate of arguments I would like to make. 
1. The UN should have an extremely minimized, non permanent, "militarized" force
2. The status quo aligns itself with UN principles and consequent charter 
3. A military force would decrease the quality of armed peacekeepers, and increase the budget of the UN, and its constituent countries, substantially.

The UN Constitution On Standing Force
The UN was formulated during the Atlantic Charter, and put into effect the 24th of October, 1945. Harry Truman and Winston Churchhill agreed on a standard code of conduct for procedure's taking place in the UN assembly. 
  • All Member States have sovereign equality.
  • All Member States must obey the Charter.
  • Countries must try to settle their differences by peaceful means.
  • Countries must avoid using force or threatening to use force.
  • The UN may not interfere in the domestic affairs of any country.
  • Countries should try to assist the United Nations.
I will prove this round, that a standing military force is expensive, unnecessary, and goes against nearly principal the UN is supposed to stand for.

Establishment One: The UN is Not Permitted by the Atlantic Charter and Resolution on Assembly Procedure, to Declare War on Sovereign Nations
The UN is not allowed to declare war on sovereign nations, without trying to resolve relations with appropriate basis of procedure. Only once in the history of the UN has a full fledged peacekeeping force resolution ever been passed,  and most modern scholars believe that the resolution to defend South Korea was illegal to the responsibilities of the charter. None the less, the general assembly did vote to send troops to the UN controlled territory of Pusan,  as a "peacekeeping force" in 1950, which was in the bounds of the UN. 

The resolution only passed since Josef Stalin, leader of the CCP and Soviet Union, was acting as a diplomatic envoy in East Europe. When Chinese troops reached the UN controlled territory of Pusan, the member states were legally in their bounds to launch military retaliation. What point am I trying to make? 
The UN is not allowed to participate in any declaration or act of war, unless the UN is first attacked

Why is this information important? Because it allows us to deduct a couple of things. The only time a UN military intervention against another nation would ever be legally sanctioned, would be in the scenario where UN armed peacekeepers or personnel are attacked. We can conclude that the only time the UN is ever allowed to use armed force in general, besides being attacked, is if the intervention were to be taken against a non-sovereign movement, genocidal non-recognized regime, or warlord.

Conclusion One: A Permanent Military Force is Unneeded for the Limited Powers the UN Assembly is Legally Delegated To Act On
Since my government has established that the UN is severely limited to several millitary procedures, we will conclude our establishment clause, with a connection of how the limited military "allowances" relate to the wastefulness of a "Permanent Standing Military Force".

The power index of the security council has been measured signifigantly, and tested with the United Kingdom, United States, and France. The security council, the only group capable of declaring war with UN backing, has been through dozens of interventions in the recent years. The average time for anintervention has been a period of 1 year, accomplished with 50-2000 troops. 

Joseph Kony was pushed out of Uganda with only 100 US special forces agents. The Azawad Liberation Army was ousted from Northern Mali in a period of 4 months with a French troop surge of 1000 men. The picture is being slowly painted. The vast military power of the security council can't be matched by any non-sovereign group on the planet. Unless the UN is to go to war with a sovereign nation, which the charter states only security council members can lead, the point of establishing a permanent military force  is stupendously unnecessary. 

Establishment Two: The UN Charter Delegates The Passing of Resolutions be Done to Maintain Peace, Ensure Human Rights, and Promote Welfare
The UN has a clear purpose. To promote the general welfare, maintain peace, and promote human rights. War, does not align itself with the goal of the UN. War can be recognized as doing several things
1. Cause Further Instability
2. Result in Human Right Violations and War Crimes 
3. Death, Economic Distress, and a General Downturn of Economic Welfare.

All of these things are counter intuitive to the goals of the UN. I support using economic power to achieve these things, but it is not the UN's responsibility to involve itself in moral struggles, but be an arbitrator to their end. 

Establishment Three: Large Scale Conflict is Almost Always Disastrous, and If It Isn't, Then It is Extremely Rare 
Almost every large scale conflict in history has resulted in catastrophe. I can think of very little that haven't. I firmly believe that nearly every war, including the Vietnam War, WW1, and Iraq War, would of resulted in more stability contrary to intervening. With that said, the time's a good war happens is 0 to 1. 
War is bad, and it seems like it will take decades for humanity to realize that. 

With these two establishments made, we can conclude that there is no successful resolution to a large scale UN military intervention. Something we determined will take place only if we maintain a large UN military, and only if we maintain it permanently. Murphy's law isn't fallible. Almost everything that can happen will happen. Having a permanent UN military is another large scale war waiting to happen. 

Conclusion Two: Why The Initiative is In-superior to The Status Quo 
Under the current status quo, determined by the Atlantic Charter, nations are expected to send trained troops to the UN. There are several reasons why this is a better alternative to the UN doing self recruiting.
  • Under the status quo, UN officers and soldiers are trained in professional armies and sent to 2-5 year stays in the peacekeeping force 
  • ^ This allows for the UN to only receive its soldiers from already structured and maintained armies. 
  • The UN would have to take on a large budget starting up a permanent military force 
  • ^ There are already 5 armies with the responsibility of following through on UN resolutions, making a sixth one irrelevant
  • The current non-permanent peacekeeping force is non-threatening, and fits the role of what is actually needed today. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2014-10-25 18:50:47
| Speak Round
BlackflagBlackflag (CON)
Following the central theme of leader reply rounds, I shall only use this for confutation and summary. 

The Opposition's Proposal Already Exists: Not Arguing the Forward Definition
The opposition's proposal is already in effect, but he's not actually arguing his own definition. The UN currently meets all the requirements that he is proposing... 
  • Centralized Command
  • Full Time Army, volunteer after military training
  • 12,000-15,000 blue berets (average 100,000 active duty)

The opposition spent the large majority of his first round sourcing a blogs (where he got most of his numbers), and arguing things already in existence.
There is one reason why the UN isn't considered an individual military force, and this is what the opposition must argue to fullfill the BOP. 

Why the UN isn't Actually Considered a Military Force
This debate really comes down to the concept the UN doesn't have. All  militants in the UN are assigned into a company of their nationality, ie, each soldier in the UN has first allegiance to their own nation. To further that idea, all soldiers technically apply to their nation's army, although they adhere to UN command. A procedure outlined in the UN charter. This protocol has its reasoning. In the UN, all nations are entitled sovereign, and are granted the respect of maintaining their sovereignty in all decisions. 

As I laid out earlier,  the UN can hardly ever engage in large scale military operations. The purpose of the UN is to protect its members interests, ensure human rights, and most importantly, protect nations from their own evil. If the UN implements an army where every soldier adheres to UN nationality, there are many problems that present themselves
  • The Security Council can send armed forces trained in other countries to do their bidding 
  • The UN is no longer an organization of peace.
  • By holding a full time non-sovereign military, war can be undertaken with a simple majority vote

As I stated in the last round, war is wrong and unjust 99% of the time. That 1%, only happens every 500 or so years. The introduction of a full time military force, is not only imperative to the security of the nation, but it allows the majority of nations to abuse their power. All it takes is one vote, like the Korean War, to start WW3.

We live in a time where one war can result in massive destruction. If anything, the UN should be demilitarizing, and removing its own massive powers. There is nothing exceptional that can come out of forming a world military force. Absolutely nothing.

The Opposition's Main Argument: The UN Isn't Efficient 
The premise is false, because it coincides with a fallacy. The opposition states the UN doesn't have a full time peacekeeping force. Again, false. The UN has a mandatory rule that nations must send soldiers, and beyond that, they already have about 10 times as many as the opposition proposed. The central theme of this debate is that the UN should have full control over the soldiers belonging to the blue berets. 

TheUN does indeed have a centralized command system, with leaders appointed by either the general assembly or security council, but that's only half of the research the opposition failed to do. The UN blue beret's are trained, appointed, and granted permission to join the UN by their national army. Which takes us back to the three bullets on why a UN "controlled" military is a terrible idea.

  • The opposition failed to research, and 75% of what was argued is already in existence (100% of  arguments relied on things that did already exist)
  • The debate centers around whether UN blue berets should be apart of their nations military, or a proposed UN military. The opposition, by failing to research why the UN isn't considered a full military, failed to bring up the most vital part of the resolution.
  • The UN doesn't need a large military for the operations it is expected to perform
  • War is against the principles of the UN. A standing force contradicts the UN's purpose
  • A standing force allows for one nation in the security council to abuse their powers
  • War always results in death and human right violations
  • A standing force allows a large voting bloc, to declare war on a smaller voting bloc, e.g, "Pakistan vs India".  
  • The opposition's sources are faulty, which leave lots of holes in the BOP (Cost expenditure came from a blog)

Return To Top | Posted:
2014-10-31 02:06:15
| Speak Round
whiteflamewhiteflame (PRO)

Thanks to Con.


Con's case is full of contradictions and misinformation.

Con states that the UN essentially does have a standing military force, but also points out that they only get any troops if member nations sign off. Any “responsibility” they have to commit troops is entirely unenforceable, and countries have demonstrated a common unwillingness to commit troops to stop flagrant human rights abuses. Getting troops 6 months late is virtually worthless in the modern world of rapid warfare, where mass killings require immediate response. He states that they have a centralized command and military training, ignoring the fact that any training they receive is often incompatible, and that the majority of troops they do get are untrained. Con admits that my case introduces a new feature in the form of allegiance to the UN, and as these troops are a standing, readily accessible army, I meet the resolution.

Con argues that they don't need this many troops, pointing to 2 examples (on both he understates the troop commitments [1, 2]), and ignoring the 7 examples I provided in R1, all of which involved far larger bodies of troops. Also, multiple conflicts can and do occur simultaneously. My case also demonstrably improves their efficiency, reducing infighting, costs, and, most importantly, saving lives.

Con states that my case leads to the UN declaring war, and then points to the legal structures that prevent it. The UN still has all the same procedures under my case, they would still be a peacekeeping organization. The only difference is that those forces are readily accessible to them. He states several impacts that he claims come from this, but all are impossible under current UN law, and remain impossible in my case. He ignores the fact that the Security Council still needs a majority vote, and the permanent members still have veto power, preventing individual countries and majorities both from abuses and misuses of troops.

Con points out that there's some economic loss, but never argues my numbers, simply stating that they come from a blog. They're actually from a book released at United Nations headquarters, which is quoted repeatedly on that page. They're also the only numbers in this debate, and they're cheap. Even if they garner that money solely from the permanent members, that's about 0.025% of their combined budget to start, and about 0.012% annually. Con never provides an alternative usage for that money, and I'd say the cost of human life far outweighs.


I've already made the conclusions for my case in R1 and R2, and as Con never contests any of contentions, instead focusing on inaccurate solvency issues and off-case points, my arguments still stand just as strongly as they did then. So, let's compare them to Con's world. He talks about economic power, but points out that the UN can't use it. It's also not that effective (look to Iran and North Korea), so scratch that. The only military options in status quo involve waiting for member nations to commit troops, which requires a vested interest, long wait times, and often results in poor armies, as I pointed out in R1. Grant Con's point that the peacekeeping force, as it stands, is entirely non-threatening – it is. Con provides no other means to stop mass killings or genocides. Also, grant all of his points on why war is bad – they're all harms inherent to the status quo that are only reduced by my case. Don't sacrifice those lives for the sake of finances that member nations can easily afford, or some vague, misbegotten “respect” that Con neither explains well enough nor weighs.  

Vote Pro.

1. http://bit.ly/1apulhI  

2. http://bit.ly/1cYgSKr  

Return To Top | Posted:
2014-10-31 17:42:06
| Speak Round

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It's a good one, never seen it before but I appreciate it greatly.
Posted 2014-10-31 17:47:12
Great! Another day, another bug fixed.

Got to remember to vote on this later, this kind of topic is my fav.
Posted 2014-10-31 17:45:06
Much better, thanks!
Posted 2014-10-31 17:42:35
Round deleted. Post it as soon as you can :)
Posted 2014-10-31 17:41:15
I'm going to be busy for a little while, but go ahead and delete the round, and I'll repost as soon as I can.
Posted 2014-10-31 17:38:53
Alright, I have a copy saved to my computer.
Posted 2014-10-31 17:37:09
(I mean, I could do all that myself, but doing it this way is way, way less complicated)
Posted 2014-10-31 16:58:43
Hey whiteflame, could you help me out? In just a moment I'll delete your round and then if you could re-submit it that would be awesome. I've removed what I think was the offending code if it was a code problem. You will need to have a copy on your computer or something because your draft won't be there any more once I delete it.
Posted 2014-10-31 16:57:47
I'd appreciate that, thanks Lars.
Posted 2014-10-31 16:45:35
Actually there's a chance this might be a bug, I did modify the code on the truncation script today and that can have an impact on things like this. I'm looking into it now for you. If it turns out to be not your fault (likely) I'll probably edit your round to fix it for you.
Posted 2014-10-31 16:43:38
Well... great... I checked the spacing multiple times and it still decided to dramatically increase the spaces between paragraphs for some reason. Thankfully, all the arguments are there, but the citations are missing. If judges don't wish to include them, they don't have to, but I am going to post them here.

1. http://bit.ly/1apulhI
2. http://bit.ly/1cYgSKr
Posted 2014-10-31 16:41:11
Ah, I didn't realize. Thanks.
Posted 2014-10-25 23:15:57
whiteflame, reason why it's "3 rounds" is because there's also a "reply round". Think like world schools format.

The 16 hours update thing - can you check your settings, then post that on the bug report thread on the forums please?
Posted 2014-10-25 23:10:04
Alright, glad to hear it.
Posted 2014-10-25 22:42:36
100% certain. I go twice this round and you go once the next since you were pro. It has been like that for as long as I can remember.
Posted 2014-10-25 22:38:55
I think that means 2 rounds total, as in including this first round. Hope you're right, though.
Posted 2014-10-25 21:24:59
Right, I go two times in a row, and you go after me.
Posted 2014-10-25 20:25:14
...It says 2 rounds under the rules.
Posted 2014-10-25 18:53:44
I do, but there should be an update 16 hours before the debate ends. Anyways, the debate is three rounds, good luck.
Posted 2014-10-25 18:51:22
This had been going for a week. I don't receive updates on rounds that need to be posted soon, but I do receive updates saying when it's my turn to post. Did you not receive that?
Posted 2014-10-25 18:16:42
WTH am I not getting notified of the upcoming rounds?
Posted 2014-10-25 17:54:20
You stay classy, 9spaceking...

Anyway, I'll have R1 posted sometime either later tonight or early tomorrow, just a head's up.
Posted 2014-10-17 19:51:51
9space, you jinxed it in my favor again.......
Posted 2014-10-16 23:08:25
legion is going to lose.
Posted 2014-10-16 20:57:52
That's the spirit!
Posted 2014-10-16 02:06:11
Eh, why the hell not? Let's give this thing a shot.
Posted 2014-10-14 23:52:58
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2014-11-07 19:41:15
9spacekingJudge: 9spaceking
Win awarded to: whiteflame
Leaning pro here because of the ff, and the fact that Whiteflame is right, Plutarch does go off on a fallacious tangent of arguments--just because the UN has a standing military force doesn't mean it will declare war. Most of Plutarch's arguments concern the immorality of the UN declaring war, but he has to prove the UN will declare war or have the ability to war with other countries with that military force. Plutarch almost made a come-back with his argument about how the UN is very effective with its peace-keeping force that outnumbers and far excels Whiteflame's expectations, but I feel like Whiteflame's examples are more trustworthy since he gave good examples countering Plutarch's claims about UN's non-military-force's efficiency.

Don't ff, Plutarch. Also, try to show the correlation between the standing military and declaring war. You need to show that, if the UN has a S.M.F., it will break its policies and start randomly declaring war, even though Whiteflame clearly showed it is used for defensive capabilities, not offensive attacks. Also, try rebutting your opponent's examples or give more examples to rebut and rid Whiteflame's examples. You have more than enough characters--and time-- to do that.
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2014-11-13 18:33:24
adminJudge: admin    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: whiteflame
This debate was actually really, really close.

Pro opened up with a fairly standard debate case, complete with a problem, solution, decent analysis and such. BOP met - check. I felt "rapid response" and "efficiency" pretty much meant the same thing in the context pro used them, but in general I liked the argument that the UN can't always rely on canvassing the support of nations immediately. I felt pro also made an implicit argument - that I would have liked to have seen expanded upon - that the UN has a mandate for a standing army to fulfill its purposes. It wasn't really made all that clear but I gave some credit for it.

Con did the same thing with having two arguments - not required and not being as good as the status quo - which essentially were different ways of saying the same thing (this being that the maintenance of peace does not require a military - not being as good as the status quo also had a few poorly labelled pragmatic concerns in there, such as security council abuse). He also had exactly the same implicit argument - that the UN does not have a mandate for a standing army - that I would have liked to have read more about. As rebuttal, con argued that the model more or less already exists. I didn't see that as a problem to pro's case at all, just a shift from a judgement to a model debate that frankly I was happy to accept. Even if there is a standing army already does not negate that there should be one. There were other points - very much a scattergun case - but pretty much all the substantive stuff is covered by this.

Pro's final round was a bit confused structurally, but had some nice analysis refuting primarily the pragmatic issues con raised. It would have been acceptable for me just to do a standard reply speech, but at least it would have been good not to invent new labels so I could tell what exactly pro was refuting at what times.

In parsing this debate, I think two arguments remained at the end - pro's argument that the UN was too slow, and con's argument that the arms don't keep peace. Both sides established these points solidly, neither side rebutted the other terribly well. And to make matters worse, I actually couldn't decide on which was more important. I felt like pro's case was slightly contingent on con's but I also agreed con's case was more inconsistent (and didn't even need pro to point that out to me - it was pretty obvious).

Pro wins because they met BOP and the debate was tied on balance.

Both of you have similar issues, as it happens.

Rebuttal. This debate needed more of it from con. Obviously pro was limited somewhat in the final round by character counts to do this but still was expecting something clearer and sharper that went after the heart of con's case. This debate could have been seized so easily with a single bit of rebuttal: for example, the relative importance of mandates. For con I needed to know why it was ok for France or the USA to deploy troops to end wars but not the UN, for example - not as a substantive point but linked to this issue specifically. It was definitely a problem for con that he agreed the UN was effective already, and a straighter line might have led naturally to this rebuttal. Similarly for pro I needed to know why the UN is better placed than individual nations to end wars. I was sort of expecting that to come out at the start (would have been a strong point in and of itself) but the closest we got was some implicit case for why the UN exists at all.

As alluded to, I think poor argument structure was a big issue for me. There were a lot of individual lines of argumentation across the non-reply rounds, but really only 2 substantive arguments. While not terrible, both sides could have done with a much greater amount of coherency overall. I recognize this is difficult in a debate situation, and particularly for pro I was wondering if this was part of their strategy somehow - I think you shouldn't be afraid of a one-argument wonder though. I've seen some incredible one-argument wins and they're pretty easy to run too.

On the other hand, internal structure (writing quality, flow between points, clear layout etc) was generally spot on! It was definitely a fun debate to read. Also, good use of examples, though like I keep saying (and nobody ever listens to) IR debates need narrative more than usual.

Final thing, just for con. Don't forfeit. Probably the most overused phrase around here. Even if you pick it up later it's poor conduct, because it gives you twice as long to prepare your response and pro significantly less chance of rebuttal. If judges don't like it, I consider that 100% legitimate. Didn't factor into my decision too much because I gave the benefit of the doubt but it's still totally not cool.
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