Dec 15, 2007

questioning the UN's legitimacy in adjudicating conflict

One of the arguments I've seen used for the nuclear weapons resolution: it's not the United States' job to take out rogue nations' weapons projects, even if such an action would ensure a safer world. Rather, only the United Nations possesses the authority and the responsibility. For example, in West's Encyclopedia of American Law, the editors note:
The aims of the Kellogg-Briand Pact were adopted in the Charter of the United Nations in 1945. Under the charter, the use or threat of force as an instrument of national policy was condemned, but nations were permitted to use force in individual or collective self-defense against an aggressor. The General Assembly of the United Nations has further defined aggression as armed force by a state against the sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence of another state, regardless of the reasons for the use of force. The Security Council is empowered to review the use of force, and therefore, to determine whether the relevant circumstances justify branding one nation as the aggressor and in violation of charter obligations. Under the modern view, a just war is one waged consistent with the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the Charter of the United Nations. [From "Just War," Eds. Jeffrey Lehman and Shirelle Phelps, 2005.]
There's no need for a negative going up against a "just war theory" to try and defeat all of the theory (though it's possible). Instead, the negative can argue that a preemptive strike by the United States would violate the Kellogg-Briand pact and the UN Charter.

What about an aff response? There are reasons to question the UN's legitimacy.
No permanent and impartial international body has been created to administer the rules of war. Although the United Nations has acted with multinational support in the Korean and Gulf Wars, and the International Court of Justice has adjudicated claims against democratic and totalitarian regimes alike, neither body exercises sovereignty over individual member states in any meaningful sense, and powerful countries generally wield more influence over these bodies than do weaker countries. [From "Rules of War," Eds. Jeffrey Lehman and Shirelle Phelps, 2005.]
Thus, to any negative running a UN case, the aff has a potential block. Not only is the UN practically ineffective, it's principally unprepared to adjudicate conflicts. When it comes to a nuclear threat, the United States can't wait for the UN to act.

15 comments:

TheTachyix said...

Have you consider the roles of non-state actors yet? If not, I think someone should take a swing at it.

Jim Anderson said...

They certainly add to the seriousness of a potential threat, and are cited in all the counterproliferation literature as the primary reason for the strategy.

TheTachyix said...

I meant case wise. I only saw a few cases at Auburn Riverside and they were all about state v. state action.
I think it's pretty much beyond dispute that NGOs, IGOs, and INGOs changes the nature of "threat" as well as "force" within the resolution.

Jim Anderson said...

My point is that since the resolution says "acquisition... by nations," the non-state actors are only indirectly implicated. They add heft to the risk, but they can't be considered on their own merits.

LD N00b said...

I don't know exactly how to use this for either side, but a political science proffesor at Indiana U pointed out to me that a nation is NOT a state or a country; a nation is a group of people with a common nationality, or arguably, religion. (Of course, I can't imagine any military action of this sort not involving a state.)

As to the UN thing, to stick with my debating strategy: What makes the UN "just"? Why must somthing fit into the UN's "role" to be just, especially since the UN only condemned it but did not imposse penalties.

In short, remember, we are not debating whether or not the US should use this action,. We are debating whether or not the sentance that is the resolution is true in the purest logical sence. The debate really should be about Justice. (It kills me, as I LOVE debating politics, but it's a sacrifice that must be made...)

-LD n00b

PS Would it be kosher to argue that since the resolution argues in the hypothetical sence, and something hypohtetical can be both true or not true if different situations make it true or not true, that the AFF only has to prove one hypothetical situation in which the case would be true?

In short, heres an example of my logic:

Resolved: Eating increases lifespans.

Eating will increase your lifespan if you are starving, but if you are well fed eating the wrong foods could kill you from obesity, therefore eating both decreases and increases lifespans. Therefore the resolution is both true and false; therefore it is true and aff should win. (Am I correct in assuming that the Neg must prove the resolution "not true," as upposed to false?)

I wasn't planning to use this argument but if you think it might work maybe i'll write a second speech as a donation to one of my team's chronic procrastinators. (Do I have a proublem if I consider writing speeches fun?)

It's not really abusive because the neg still has two avenues of attack; they can prove there is never a situation in which the statement is true, or they can attack the logic of that argument itself. (LD debate does leave everything open to be proven by debators.)

okiedebater said...

It's always been my understanding that the Aff would have to prove the resolution true in the majority of cases. I also have trouble considering this resolution purely hypothetical due to the recent situations with Iraq and Iran (the first things that popped into my head when I read the resolution).

I've recommended to several beginning debaters to check out this site. This will be the first time they will be writing their own case (we used a team case for Nov-Dec.) My question then is:
What process would you recommend going through when researching and developing a case?

Jim Anderson said...

okiedebater,
I think your judges will be thinking the same things. Anyone who approaches the topic from any angle should at least be ready to talk about Iran and Iraq and North Korea. If not in case, it'll be brought up in CX by the other side, at least from what I've seen.

As far as your question about writing a case, I'm going to put up a detailed post about that later today. Thanks for the prodding.

Jim Anderson said...

okiedebater, the first (and very rough) draft of my guide to writing an LD case has been posted. I'll be updating it throughout the week.

Anonymous said...

okie debator:
are you from timothy christian?
all those kids run the same (no offense, dumb) cases and it bothers my team soooo much

LD n00b said...

I had an idea for a kritik; can you tell me if this makes any sence?

Because justice is objective the resolution is an opinion, and to affirm in opinion one proves that it is valid, meaning "based on logic." (all that can be backed up by a dictionary.)

Then you just have to show Iraq war opinion polls and congress voting records to show millions of logical people agree with the resolution. (remember, it is irelevant whether Iraq was actually aquiring the nukes 'cause these people thought they did)And if you make the assumption that at least one out of millions of mericans makes there opinions based on logic, you've proven this is a valid opinion.

Anonymous said...

wouldn't that be subjective rather than objective?

okiedebater said...

Anonymous,
No, I am not from Timothy Christian. (Is that even a school in Oklahoma?)
I am a 3rd year debater at a small public school in Oklahoma.

Anonymous said...

Jim,
My negative case is based on somewhat the UN and its authority. So at the last tournment I was attacked in these ways: 1) the UN is toothless and offers benefits to members and 2) the UN can't uphold its principles by not pressing any real punishment on the US for its invasion in Iraq.

I was wondering if you could help me in rebuilding and re-asserting the authority and legitimacy of the UN..?

Jim Anderson said...

Was the UN's legitimacy undermined by the US invasion of Iraq? Potentially. Then why did the US go to such great lengths to get UN approval? Remember Colin Powell's PowerPoint presentation to the world? Remember Bush's "coalition of the willing?" All the UN resolutions Saddam broke that were used--some say legitimately--as a pretext for war? The US knows it can't truly "go it alone" in the war on terror. By abandoning multilateralism, especially since so much of the world sees the UN as legitimate, the US is alienating its allies, racking up huge debts, and facing more "blowback." The UN has no need to punish or sanction the US, since the US's weakened state is punishment enough.

Here's a possible line of defense: if the Affirmative gets to posit a world wherein the U.S. acts justly by preempting, then the Neg gets to posit a world where member nations abide by U.N. mandates. Value debate = the way things ought to be, not the way they are; argue that the latter vision trumps the former.

If the Aff doesn't bite, and is running a more realistic framework, then cite the arguments above. Bucking or delegitimizing the UN harms the US in tangible ways.

See some of the materials here.

Sakura said...

to Anon:

I don't mean to bog down your very awesome blog...but simply to clarify, only in one instance did Timothy Christian run the same case, and that was last year for one local tournament only (it made quite an impression, so I understand completely your question). In that instance, we all wrote our individual cases but our coach mandated we run the same set and toss our cases out for two purposes;
a. the team doubled (novices) so this would cut down on questions he'd have to answer in between rounds
b. there was a mentoring system, and it would make it easier for the mentor and novice to work on cases if they were the same.

it worked. plus they took half the novice trophies + 1st/2nd for JV home that day. You can ask their coach or assistant coach about it if you'd like. No where else for any other resolution did they run the same cases.