Resolved: It is just for the United States to use military force to prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons by nations that pose a military threat.This site will provide analysis, links, and sources over the coming months, so watch this space. To start, the NFL has provided initial topic analysis and lessons here [MS Word]. A sample:
A good place to start is with an investigation of just war theory. Is war ever just? If so, what are the conditions for justness? In particular, what are the sufficient justifications for a preventive strike? What is the distinction between a preventive and preemptive strike? What is the relevance of that distinction? Does a strike against any military threat quality as self-defense? There is great depth and tradition in the philosophies that attempt to answer these questions and they are all receiving updates in light of recent global events.Indeed. Even though this is another contextual "United States" resolution, just like the last one, it's at least broad enough to encompass many perspectives on justice, war, pacifism, and international relations. Furthermore, some of those definitions are critical. What counts as a nuclear weapon? What is a nation? To what degree must a nation pose a "military threat?" How urgent must the threat be? Does the resolution imply that the threat must be toward the United States, or would it include a unilateral action taken in the name of global security?
Some key search terms or definitions needed (and feel free to suggest your own in the comments):
Just war theory
Update 12/2: Taking after Daniel Zupan, I argue that nuclear weapons' unique moral nature justifies preemptive military action.
Update 12/3: I answer reader questions about some of the facets of the resolution.
Update 12/12: How do we define "military threat?"
Update 12/15: What about the United Nations?
Update 12/20: For beginners, I explain how to write an LD case. (A work in progress.)
Update 12/24: Those interested on the relationship between US counterproliferation efforts and international law should read this article.
Update 12/28: The definition of "acquisition" and its implications are discussed.
Update 1/3: The Bush Doctrine presents a real-world application of the resolution, since it encapsulates the principle that preemptive action is necessary to thwart terrorists or rogue states. But is such a doctrine justified under international law?
Update 1/5: If you're in a progressive region, you should definitely examine the "Threat Construction" critique.
Update 1/6: I discuss the use of abolition on the affirmative.
Update 1/7: Is international law a form of a social contract? If so, what does that mean for this resolution?
Update 1/17: I answer reader questions about the resolution. Click through and keep scrolling.
Update 1/20: What about those tricky phrases, "pose a military threat" and "prevent the acquisition of?"
Update 1/26: Two recent scholarly essays tackle the problem of America's declining influence and the moral core of its foreign policy.
Update 1/31: Is Just War Theory consequentialist? Thomas Hurka says "not really."