Instigator / Con

Resolved: All nations should have a right to nuclear weapons


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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After 2 votes and with 5 points ahead, the winner is...

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Contender / Pro

"nation": a territorial division containing a body of people of one or more nationalities and usually characterized by relatively large size and independent status, with defined borders accepted by the majority of the international community

nuclear bomb: explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission (fission bomb) or from a combination of fission and fusion reactions (thermonuclear bomb)

"a right to": something to which one has a just claim

burden of proof is shared

Round 1
My argument is simple. From North Korea's example, it's very clear that bad governments and leaders can misuse the potential of nuclear weapons (, including threatening other countries that don't have nuclear weapons. The threat of a nuclear war is also very stressful as nukes are incredibly dangerous and could cause far more harm than normal weapons. Some argue that because we have *more nukes* than the opposition, we could use this as a way to prevent N. Korea from actually using their nukes. But by using it as the deterrent, we ironically encourage leaders to use their judgement to see if another country is enough of a threat. This does not solve the root of the problem, and creates distrust and fear. Along with many other foreign issues such as terrorism, cyber attacks, or even climate change, does nuclear weapons really meet the standard today for solving issues? 

In addition, countries seem to have poor control over nuclear weapons. We've had 32 official cases where nukes accidentally detonated (, and had to implement secure policies to prevent this. But since every country has different ideals, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to implement these safety features. Consider the fact that our nukes cost $1000 billion (In terms of specific weapon system costs, the CBO estimates $313 billion for nuclear submarines, $149 billion for ICBMs, $266 billion for bombers and $44 billion for other systems. By department, costs break down to $890 billion for the Defense Department and $352 billion for the Department of Energy. --,for%20the%20Department%20of%20Energy.) due to us believing that we have to have nukes and dominate this sector of military. Is this truly necessary? Can my opponent assert that our leader can change his mind and divert these funds somewhere else, without banning nukes? It's clear: not every country should have the right to nukes. 

Even the United Nations, the world's speaking organization, decided recently to sign an agreement  (along with 100+ states) to prohibit nuclear weapons due to their immense harm, cost, and uselessness overall. ( Unless my opponent can overcome the status quo, he loses this debate.
If a country doesn't have rights to nuclear weapons, doesn't seem like much of a sovereign country to me. A common thread of government has long been the monopoly of violence. The ability to back up one's word.
There's a reason countries that have been forced to disarm after losing wars have always been desperate to re arm themselves, less they suffer the fate of Carthage.
Having a 'right to something, say life, liberty, and happiness, doesn't mean that one is still able to 'acquire it. Those who 'do achieve such, are the strong, the able, the functional, and the lucky.
If a country is unable to garner other countries affirmations to acquire nuclear arms, then they seem more a grouping of people, running their lives and area upon the 'sufferance and 'authorization of 'true countries.

A sword being double edged, just means one needs to lay a bit of care in using it.
Not give it up, whilst others arm themselves. And they will, it's human nature, that wherever humans interested in a conflict go, they'll find a means, to their violent ends.
Be it a convict concealing a shiv, or a warbent government.
Conflict between countries 'will come in the future, and who want's to be a country too weak to defend itself, too weak to intervene and back their words up?

I say any country, with a right to call itself a country, has a right to nuclear weapons.
It was only the limitations of travel and communication, that limited the Empires of old.
War will come, and it's not in the interest of 'true nations, to disarm themselves, lower themselves, even the playing field of war that 'will come.

Round 2
excellent argument, considering my opponent is playing devil's advocate. I can tell what he is trying to say: some countries may not agree with the peace treaty, and secretly keep nuclear weapons. This would indeed put rogue nations at an unfair advantage against the good countries. However, the United Nations is gradually increasing in power and the five people generally trust each other relatively well, even with the cold war separating US and Russia' relations. As previously mentioned, the distrust caused by having nuclear weapons is even worse tension, however, if US dismantles and safely disposes its nuclear warheads, or keep them in a territory neutral area, and Russia follows through, they can still work together to stop a threat like North Korea, should the country remain unreasonable and continue using nuclear warheads to threaten and potentially destroy areas. We have other ways to stop North Korea as well, such as trade embargo, or surveillance to keep track of their weapons. There is no need to also threaten nuclear war if they should actually stoop so low as to use this strategy. Remember that it was a means to an end in WW2 and was so destructive two cities worth of innocent people were killed. Pro's case is also self-defeating as the country secretly keeping weapons is violating our trust and further supporting the idea that it shouldn't have the right to nuclear weapons. It is entirely plausible to give merely the concentrated trusted world powers a handful (as merely two were enough to stop a world war) and trust them to act in accordance.

Also, pro says that people re-arm themselves because they are scared, but Japan which was defeated in WW2 actually is pretty low on the chart of nuclear warpower; it's not even in the top 10. As the world becomes more peaceful I don't see the need to keep such a dangerous and destructive weapon.

I apologize that pro accepted this debate while thinking he was con, but it is what it is. It's a tough debate topic, I'll agree.
I'd say we're both arguing the 'ought in this situation from practicality, and wanting to avoid destruction.
But is it practical to assume good will of other people?
If such were true, armies would be disbanded, police would not be needed.
Evil people, evil intent, they both exist.
Ambition, greed, disregard for others.
Pacifism is a noble goal, but misguided.
It is why nations exist, because of mans twisted nature. The fairer versions that exist now, came into being by better men's realization of this. That if they did not steel their hearts and form nations for defense themselves, they would be overtaken by bands of bandits and crowds of criminals.
Necessary evil, is a right.
Something that people 'should go about, for the sake of practicality.

In America, the right for all citizens to own a gun is accepted.
Simply because there are exceptions to a rule, such as criminals and mental deficients, does not 'break the statement that owning a gun is the right of an American.

And so I return to my argument on the rights of nations to nuclear weapons.
So long as significant differences exist, so too shall exist conflict.
There's no denying conflict, which exists to the farthest reaches of mankind's history.
To expect countries to to lay down the greatest weapon they can achieve, to leave themselves defenseless, is folly.
For nations have always had their secret ways and preparations, it would be an agreement in name only.
Better to go with the statement all nations have a right to nuclear arms, but then clarify the statement.
Nations that are regarded as stable, powerful, well run enough to afford to equip themselves.
Weaker nations, have their policies, aims, even government selected by the more powerful nations. Into who's realm of influence these weaker nations fall.
Can they 'truly be considered nations then, if they fall under the influence of greater nations?
I say no.
Better instead that their position be recognized. They have no rights to nuclear weapons, because they are not sovereign nations. Not if they are controlled by more powerful nations.
It was Britain's folly to let their Empire slip away, and it was the folly of the Allies after WW2, to not capitalize on their military advantage in the world.
Instead they have allowed cultures and peoples of different values of themselves to assert themselves, to push 'their values upon the people of countries which once held the world in their hands.
It is the mistaking this world for one of peace, rather than conflict, which has eroded the first worlds hegemony.
Conflict 'will come, for as I said in round 1,
It was only the limitations of travel and communication, that limited the Empires of old.

Round 3
Of course, nations still deserve the right to defend themselves, but the point is that Nuclear Weapons is the only means of mass destruction that is arguably unnecessary and incredibly violent, even more so than keeping armies. I already said that even testing the weapons can result in accidental explosions, which is unnecessary risk. In order for my opponent to win his devil's advocate argument, he must prove that it is necessary to instantly and severely punish those that use nuclear weapons by using their very methods to stop them. But I previously said that it seems unreasonable to stoop to their low level. As the amount of allies of a rogue nation would be few and far in between, even if they launched a nuke, our armies could easily work together and assimilate a large force to take down their unreasonable ideas. By spreading news on rogue nations would not deserve its people's support, we could create doubt and stop them without also killing their innocent people. As Ghandi said, eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Yes, nuclear weapons are incredibly good at ending wars, but they are also incredibly devastating, should the rogue nation actually decide to use them. In the end, my opponent only succeeded in arguing that perhaps some nations can keep their weapons, especially if they're trustworthy, and shield their weaker allies from rogue nations. But there's no reason that unreasonable nations that are difficult to keep in check should be able to keep the threat of nuclear weapons. Even if they never use it, the mere threat has created fear and distrust (mentioned in round 1) that my opponent has struggled to refute. 

Vote for con.
Though I only touched upon it with the idea of the double edged sword, and being careful with one's weapons, I'll add to that, people didn't mind that powder magazines would blow on occasion, so long as it supplied them gunpowder for their fire arms.

To add to the necessity of nukes, despite their destructive nature, I point out that one need only look to any medieval or WW1 armies, and pity those poor front line soldiers. Look to the fast death of a fire arm in the old west, yet see it still so pivotal a trope in the western.

To the argument that rogue nations will be dissuaded by argument and other nations, I say again look to WW2, look back on human history throughout the years, our proclivity towards violence, control, one world order, it has not changed.
Any nation has a right to self defense I say,
Rather than a right to be a victim.
Conflict will come, and what type of nation would think it right, to be defenseless.