Resolved: States ought not possess nuclear weapons.Simple, clean, and full of lovely clash. Should be good. More thoughts to come soon, but first, a few things to consider.
1. Where do oughts for states come from? Universal objective morality? A particular social contract? The answer to this question very well may determine the entire course of the debate.
2. Has it been long enough to declare the success of "Mutually Assured Destruction" as a deterrent? Or is this post hoc reasoning, and a fallacy?
3. Be sure to define "states" as "national governments," (see def. 5 here) and head off stupid cases about how New Hampshire should be nuke-free.
4. What are the (physical) effects of nuclear weapons? What might make them better or worse than alternatives (biological, chemical, etc.)? Can arguments against nuclear weapons be used against any weapon?
5. Half-serious questions: If states can't possess nuclear weapons, how will we fight off potential alien attacks, seal off catastrophic land-based oil fires, or knock killer asteroids off-course?
Back in '07, we had a similar resolution about whether the US was justified in using military force to prevent other nations from acquiring nuclear weapons. While I'm still working on new posts for this new resolution, I'd like to highlight two relevant posts from the past.
In the first, I showed how nuclear weapons cannot be reconciled with Just War theory--that they "destroy the moral fabric of war." This could be quite useful to any affirmative that shies away from arguing pure pacifism.
In the second, I described the idea of an "international social contract," which could make an interesting advocacy beyond the standard Hobbes / Locke / Rousseau / Rawls options.
Added 8/22: I try collecting and distilling some arguments for and against the resolution.
Added 8/25: Nuking an asteroid, FYI, may not be the best option.
Added 8/30: A list of value/criterion pairs. Your comments and questions are requested.