Instigator / Pro
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1585
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21
debates
64.29%
won
Topic

Massive nuclear retaliation

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Voting

Participant that receives the most points from the voters is declared a winner.

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1741
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89.29%
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Description
~ 544 / 5,000

Death23 is PRO - Death23 is arguing in favor of massive nuclear retaliation.

Hypothetical: The United States has just been nuked to ashes by the Chinese. 300+ million are dead. To retaliate, or not to retaliate.

Massive retaliation would result in the deaths of over a billion Chinese civilians who, arguably, didn't have anything to do with the decision to launch a first strike. Further, it may very well lead to the extinction of the human race through nuclear winter and the spread of fallout. On the other hand, we must have our revenge.

Round 1
Pro

This was intended to be from an American perspective. I did not state it explicitly, but that's implied from the debate description. The debate description finishes with "we must have our revenge." That it would be retaliation... you retaliate for something that is done to you or your group. I probably should have made that explicit to avert potential confusion. I made the debate quickly and wasn't thinking. In any case, if you're not an American, perhaps just flipping the countries around in your mind may be helpful. For example, if you're Chinese living in China, then imagine that it was America that nuked China to ashes and what's being debated is a massive retaliatory nuclear strike against America.

Arguments:

1. Winning the war, or, at least, preventing our demise

If this happened, then it would be a safe bet that what would be coming next is a Chinese invasion. It is known from declassified World War III scenarios that a nuclear strike is a prelude to an invasion. (e.g. "with the liberal use of nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union and its Warsaw allies planned to launch a massive blitzkrieg aimed at taking over most of Western Europe." https://bit.ly/39gCB8l ) An invasion is what a first strike would signal.Given the genocidal nature of the initial attack, such an invasion may very well result in the death of nearly every surviving American man, woman and child. We would have to stop the invasion, no matter the cost. We would enter a state of total war for our very survival. Factories, dams, power plants, cities, population centers, other civilian infrastructure, and the like would all be resources at the disposal of the enemy that would be used against us - Tools that would be used to kill us. They would become legitimate, military targets. The complete and total destruction of the enemy's ability to mount an invasion would be the only way we could guarantee that such an invasion would not happen. Our capacity to do so with conventional weapons would be crippled by the first strike. Our nuclear arsenal would be the only thing left that would work. We would be backed in to a corner. This would be kill or be killed. Massive nuclear retaliation would be justified by the need to prevent the extermination of our people.

2. Mutually assured destruction

The desire for retribution is an evolved psychological mechanism. Its purpose is to send a message within a community that there will be consequences if you are disrespected or attacked. In other words, "you don't want to mess with that guy." It is not always what's best for you, particularly in modern times where retribution in interpersonal relations may lead to further escalation or legal consequences. Yet, depending on the situation, it may what's in your interests. I will argue that this situation fits the bill.

In this scenario the attack would have already happened. The deterrent value of massive retaliation wouldn't appear to carry much weight because the destruction is a sunk cost. Yet, there would still a future to be had, as bleak as it may seem. The American population would survive in a post-apocalyptic setting, and after the fallout has dissipated may recover in a few centuries. A failure to retaliate massively would send the message that we are weak - That these attacks can be made against us without concern that we will strike back in kind. History would remember how such an attack is responded to. As undesirable as it may seem, nuclear weapons would continue to exist and we would have to continue to rely on nuclear deterrence to prevent future attacks. Should we fail to massively retaliate, we would be inviting future attacks. The fact that an attack had already happened would make the necessity of deterring future attacks all the more imperative. Never again would be a must. Massive nuclear retaliation would help to ensure that.

3. Love of country

Consider the following trolley problem: On one track place 15 random people, and on the other track place the 3 people in this world who you love the most. (explanation of trolley problems - https://bit.ly/3cfubQm ) Perhaps it's your parents and your SO, your children, your siblings, best friends - Whoever. You are not sending that trolley down the track with the people you love on it. Studies and data suggest that most people would not. For example, in a study where the question was 5 random people versus an involved romantic partner, ~75% of people said they would not cause the trolley to kill their SO to save the 5 randoms. ( https://bit.ly/2M5r0Ah ) Actions speak louder than words, and I suspect that the ~25% of people who stated that they would sacrifice their SO for the sake of 5 random people were afraid to admit the truth to themselves because it conflicted with notions of equity.

We may acknowledge intellectually that the humanistic, fair and/or equitable thing to do is to sacrifice who or what we care about for the greater good. But we have not accepted those principles viscerally, and I doubt we even have the capacity to do so. We make our decisions based on what we value, and on who we value. Who we value is shaped by things like loyalty, family, and love. It doesn't matter to me how inequitable it is, I am not going to cause a trolley to go down the track that results in the death of my wife and parents. If you're like me, then you are a patriotic American. You love your country and you're loyal to it. This house makes its decisions based on how that love and loyalty impacts the values of the lives at stake. This is human nature, and we don't have to apologize for being human beings.

4. Even if it's wrong, this house would do it anyway

One issue that this touches on, which I think is rather important, has to do with honesty about what one would do as opposed to what one should do. My (admittedly cynical) impression with a lot of moralizing is that it comes across as motivated more by a desire to elevate social status by advertising oneself as woke or enlightened as opposed to a genuinely altruistic concern for the stakeholders. Many, perhaps most, people will not act in accordance with their stated beliefs when they are the ones who are asked to sacrifice. The study results from the trolley problem should help to illustrate that point. The scenario contemplated in this debate presents a "this is it" moment. If this scenario really happened, you would not be some enlightened monk who is above it all. You would be like Anakin Skywalker who, after his mother dies in his arms, slaughters the sand people who kidnapped and murdered her. ( https://bit.ly/3sQXleI ; See also dialogue from Star Trek: TNG episode "Survivors" - https://bit.ly/3c4K785 ) You would turn to the dark side. Despite any moral, humanistic, or philosophical viewpoints you would have in opposition to this course of action, those would be rationalized away and/or subsumed by an uncontrollable, burning desire for vengeance because you're a human being.

Let's be honest with ourselves. If nearly everything and everyone we cared about was turned in to ashes by Chinese nuclear missiles, we wouldn't be reasonable people. We would be out for blood. Right or wrong, this house would do it and would be not guilty by reason of insanity as to any charges which may be brought against it. This wouldn't be an act of conscience. It would be an act of vengeance, but also of love for what has been lost.
Con
Thx, Death23.

OBSERVATIONS:

  • PRO fails to provide a coherent resolution. CON will provide a de facto resolution to work with: 
RESOLVED: In response to the Chinese nuking of over 300 million American civilians, the United States should nuke over a billion Chinese civilians.

  • CON further observes that this resolution does not concern what the United States CAN do or WILL do, but what it SHOULD do. It is assumed, therefore, that the US has capability to respond. It is also assumed that, should you negate, the US will not nuke over a billion Chinese civilians.
CONSTRUCTIVE:

CONTENTION 1: AN UNJUST ATROCITY

PRO would commit the biggest war crime in history. PRO openly admits:
Massive retaliation would result in the deaths of over a billion Chinese civilians who, arguably, didn't have anything to do with the decision to launch a first strike. Further, it may very well lead to the extinction of the human race through nuclear winter and the spread of fallout.”

In Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the definitions of war crimes (as agreed by every single nation in the UN) are outlined. Here are just a few which are in direct conflict with PRO’s murderous proposal:

“Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities; Intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, that is, objects which are not military objectives; ... Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated; Attacking or bombarding, by whatever means, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings which are undefended and which are not military objectives; … Destroying or seizing the enemy's property unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war; …  Employing weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare which are of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering or which are inherently indiscriminate in violation of the international law of armed conflict, … Intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including wilfully impeding relief supplies as provided for under the Geneva Conventions.”

Every nation has ratified these definitions of War Crimes. PRO is in direct conflict with the entire world’s views on morality during wartime. Before he brings it up, this is not justified with PRO’s call for “revenge.” Justice is defined as “giving each person what he or she deserves or, in more traditional terms, giving each person his or her due.” PRO is violating this principle of justice. Under his own admission, the everyday Chinese citizen has nothing to do with the American fate. (In fact, CON would argue they are as much a victim of the authoritarian state as anyone else. Re: https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/global#

It follows then, that since the liquidation of the Chinese civilian population is both unjustified according to international law and according to basic ethics, that PRO would be committing mass murder at an unprecedented scale. What’s worse, innocent lives (under PRO’s own admission) make up at LEAST 99.8% of those killed in a PRO world (China’s total population is 1.398 billion, with 2.8 million in the military). Making the unrealistic assumption that all 2.8 million of those soldiers had a direct part in the nuking of the US, PRO will unjustly murder 1,395,200,000 people. 

This isn’t even including the billions of people PRO will inadvertently kill in nations completely unrelated to this fictional conflict. PRO admits that we could very well cause the extinction of the human race, which (factoring in all of the US and Chinese population loss) adds at least 5,974,000,000 to his body count. 

CONTENTION 2: A SIGNED DEATH WARRANT

In the scenario PRO proposes, mutually assured destruction has failed, and Chinese technology has clearly prevailed over our own, allowing them to preemptively strike before we can do anything to stop it or retaliate. So while it would be acceptable for the US to retaliate by specifically targeting strategic military targets in China (contrary to the PRO position of indiscriminate bombing)  ultimately it may be in the best interest of whatever is left of the US government and the rest of humanity to sue for peace.  Responding by bombing civilians would simply anger the Chinese, resulting in an endless cycle of repeated bombings until both parties no longer exist. In other words, a PRO world response would be a signed death warrant for the US. 

And before PRO tries to argue a Chinese hegemony somehow outweighing that (it doesn’t), it’s safe to say that the world will be thrust into a new Dark Age unlike anything we’ve seen before. The world economy would tank, and many states (likely including China themselves) would ultimately shatter into small, decentralized states or in some cases devolve to the point that there is no real government left.

REFUTATIONS:

1. Winning the war, or, at least, preventing our demise

  • Cross-apply CON's Contention 2. 
RECALL & EXTEND: Responding by bombing civilians would simply anger the Chinese, resulting in an endless cycle of repeated bombings until both parties no longer exist. In other words, a PRO world response would be a signed death warrant for the US. 

  • China would have no incentive to invade the US after leveling the entire continent with nukes and destroying 300+ million people, effectively making the land too deadly to inhabit and de facto winning the war. The Soviets aimed to nuke tactical locations, not level the entire continent.
  • "We must prevent extermination of our people." What people? In the scenario you create, all of those that are left that will survive for any length of time are likely those in remote, government owned locations.
2. Mutually assured destruction

Should we fail to massively retaliate, we would be inviting future attacks. The fact that an attack had already happened would make the necessity of deterring future attacks all the more imperative. Never again would be a must. Massive nuclear retaliation would help to ensure that.
  • PRO argues that we need to preserve the future, yet in the same breath admits that the world could easily go extinct in a PRO world. 
  • PRO's proposed scenario is a glaring failure of MAD that the world would not soon forget. RECALL: "it’s safe to say that the world will be thrust into a new Dark Age unlike anything we’ve seen before. The world economy would tank, and many states (likely including China themselves) would ultimately shatter into small, decentralized states or in some cases devolve to the point that there is no real government left." Nuclear weapons would be demonized and there will be a global movement to revert back to primitive technologies.
3. Love of country
Ultimately a way to (ineffectively) justify revenge, an argument CON has already refuted. 

4. Even if it's wrong, this house would do it anyway
RECALL CON's observation: "this resolution does not concern what the United States CAN do or WILL do, but what it SHOULD do."

Back to you, PRO. 
Round 2
Pro
Re: Resolution
 
I reject Con's proposed resolution on the grounds that it implicates a foreign rather than American perspective, and also that it assumes that Con's burden is merely to convince you of moral superiority.
 
The debate description, as its worded, implicates an American perspective. ("To retaliate, or not to retaliate. [...] we must have our revenge.") Con must stick to the perspective implicated by the debate description.
 
Con's use of the word "should" in the proposed resolution represents an attempt to shift the goal post to doing what is moral. This is a debate. I am supposed to convince you to vote in favor of acourse of action. Con is supposed to convince you to vote against it. That's it. Saying "should" within the resolution assumes that you must vote for the morally superior course of action. You don't have to do that. This is an especially important distinction in this debate.
 
Re: "AN UNJUST ATROCITY"
 
That there would be injustice is admitted. My position is "let's do it anyway." Con's reliance on an ICC treaty is irrelevant. It's merely an argument from authority, and it's not a relevant authority because the United States is not party to that treaty. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Criminal_Court
 
Re: "A SIGNED DEATH WARRANTY"
 
The current Chinese stockpile of nuclear weaponsis estimated to be approximately 350 warheads. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction If China turned the United States to ashes, they would probably have to use most or all of them up. Con's contention that there would be "an endless cycle of repeated bombings" is not supported by the facts. China would run out of nukes.
 
Much of the damage to the world economy Con isreferring to would already have been done by the first strike. The damage done from a retaliatory strike would be incremental in comparison.
 
Re: "Winning the war, or, at least,preventing our demise"
 
Con contends, with no evidence, that the Chinesewould have "no incentive to invade the US". OK - Well, this scenario presupposes that the Chinese already had nuked the United States to ashes. Whatever motive they had to do that exists as an assumption of this debate. I provided evidence that a nuclear first strike is associated with invasion plans. Con has presented no evidence to the contrary. It would be foolish to assume, baselessly as Con apparently does, that the Chinese would not follow up a first strike with an invasion.
 
Con's contention that the lives of the surviving American population aren't worth saving is pretty pathetic. This house prioritizes the lives of Americans. That is national policy, and any government that fails prioritize the lives of its citizens is a pretty bad government.
 
Re: Mutually assured destruction
 

PRO argues that we need to preserve the future,yet in the same breath admits that the world could easily go extinct in a PRO world.



 
Con has presented no mitigation to my argument and failed to address it. Con has effectively dropped it. All Con has done is change the subject to possible extinction. I admit that extinction may result, but I don't consider it very likely. The human population exceeds 7 billion and is global.

The world economy would tank, and many states(likely including China themselves) would ultimately shatter into small,decentralized states or in some cases devolve to the point that there is noreal government left." Nuclear weapons would be demonized and there willbe a global movement to revert back to primitive technologies.

 
Baseless speculation.
 
Re: Love of country
 
My argument in R1 went to the very heart of whatthis debate is about. This debate is a giant trolley problem with the American population on one side, and the Chinese population on the other. That is war. We choose to do what is in the best interests of our people, our families, ourfriends, etc. Con presents no argument in opposition to this.
 
Re: "Even if it's wrong, this house would doit anyway"
 

RECALL CON's observation: "this resolutiondoes not concern what the United States CAN do or WILL do, but what it SHOULDdo."

 
Con is shifting goal posts. Our respective burdens relate to persuasion for or against a course of action. The burden is not to persuadeyou of the moral superiority of that course of action.
 

Con
Thx, Death23.

REFUTATIONS:

THE RESOLUTION & TOPICALITY

“I reject Con's proposed resolution on the grounds that it implicates a foreign rather than American perspective, and also that it assumes that Con's burden is merely to convince you of moral superiority.”

  • PRO’s objections don’t amount to much even if we adopt his frame because CON never argued from the perspective of any other nation. Choices can & should be made through moral frameworks, and if the US is considering launching an attack on billions and spiraling the world into oblivion, it is reasonable for the US to factor in both the morality & practicality of their actions regardless of whose perspective we are talking about. Even if we didn’t factor in morality, RECALL & EXTEND CON’s Contention 2. There is no practical utility in this course of action either.
  • Regardless, there is no good reason to assume a US exclusive perspective. RECALL CON’s proposed resolution: “RESOLVED: In response to the Chinese nuking of over 300 million American civilians, the United States should nuke over a billion Chinese civilians.”  This follows the description of the debate perfectly. CON challenges PRO to find one part of this resolution which contradicts it. 
  • “Should” does not shift the goalpost to examining morality exclusively: It is simply used to denote the correct course of action, exactly what we are debating here. CON agrees that impacts should be weighed on both the moral and practical fronts. 

    AN UNJUST ATROCITY
  • PRO admits to the unjust murder of 1,395,200,000 people, not counting the 5,974,000,000 others we may kill due to inadvertently causing the extinction of the human race. 
  • PRO drops half of CON’s contention. RECALL & EXTEND:
“Before he brings it up, this is not justified with PRO’s call for “revenge.” Justice is defined as “giving each person what he or she deserves or, in more traditional terms, giving each person his or her due.” PRO is violating this principle of justice. Under his own admission, the everyday Chinese citizen has nothing to do with the American fate. (In fact, CON would argue they are as much a victim of the authoritarian state as anyone else. Re: https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/global#)”

  • PRO’s objection to the ICC treaty ignores that these War Crimes definitions are directly pulled from the Geneva Convention, to which the US is a signatory. Regardless of whether the US recognizes them, though, these actions are internationally recognized as egregious and appalling.

    A SIGNED DEATH WARRANT
“Con's contention that there would be "an endless cycle of repeated bombings" is not supported by the facts. China would run out of nukes.”

  • CON concedes that China would repeatedly bomb the US in response until they ran out of nuclear weapons, of which they would have about 150 left (200 of which would be used up) undoubtedly resulting in the absolute destruction of the United States as a nation. 
  • China would certainly produce nukes at a higher rate leading to the breakout of conflict. It is reasonable to assume they would be planning this pre-emptive strike for some time, as such a strike requires technology superior to the US.
  • PRO agrees with CON that the world would be thrust into a Dark Age regardless of a response from the US. PRO never claimed otherwise.
A/2 PRO Contention 1

  • CON’s evidence that China won’t invade the US requires only common sense: the continent would be leveled and uninhabitable. The land would be worthless, and likely result in the deaths of the millions of soldiers sent to inhabit the land.
  • If CON can not presuppose that China wouldn’t want to invade, PRO can not presuppose that they would. For PRO to claim otherwise is abusive and Special Pleading
  • CON didn’t say the remaining Americans aren’t worth saving. CON said there were likely no remaining Americans left to save. Even if there were Americans left, and even if the Chinese DID invade, why would we nuke the Chinese in that scenario? Survivors have a better chance of surviving Chinese occupation than of surviving another Chinese nuclear retaliation. If whatever is left of the US wants to preserve itself, it should completely surrender. 
A/2 PRO Contention 2

“I admit that extinction may result, but I don't consider it very likely.”

  • CON’s response is largely a non-response. RECALL & EXTEND that the extinction of humanity is a bad way to preserve it. CON himself describes this as likely in his description: “Further, it may very well lead to the extinction of the human race through nuclear winter and the spread of fallout.”
“Baseless speculation.”
 
  • CON’s argument is based on logically, historically, and psychologically valid evidence. For ex: after WWII, wars of aggression became taboo and led to the longest world peace in history, despite the victors gaining concessions. The war was so costly to the world, the world changed culturally. It is reasonable to assume the same thing would happen here, except on a much more extreme scale.
A/2 PRO Contention 3:

“This debate is a giant trolley problem with the American population on one side, and the Chinese population on the other. That is war. We choose to do what is in the best interests of our people, our families, ourfriends, etc. Con presents no argument in opposition to this.”

  • “our families and friends” are dead already making this largely non-unique, and if they aren’t dead, nuking would result in a retaliation that would kill them. 
  • Even if this WERE in their best interest, this assumes that the solution of the trolley problem is to mow over billions of people for the sake of a handful. It would be the biggest war crime in history while violating all commonly understood norms of ethics. No biggie.
A/2 PRO Contention 4:

PRO completely misunderstands CON’s objection: if we are debating whether the US should do something, it is irrelevant whether they CAN or WILL do it. It is only relevant whether the action is the one to take. 

Back to you, PRO.




Round 3
Pro
Re: The resolution
 
Voters - Determine the resolution as it may bereasonably ascertained from the debate title and the debate description. Voteaccordingly. Nothing said after the debate is accepted affects it.
 
Re: Extinction
 
Strictly speaking, I admitted merely that there isa greater than zero probability of human extinction resulting from massivenuclear retaliation. Con has presented no argument for any probability range.In contrast, I argued that extinction was unlikely because "The humanpopulation exceeds 7 billion and is global."
 
So, what are the odds? Well, this credible expert - https://acd-ext.gsfc.nasa.gov/People/Oman/ - says that it's "in the rangeof 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000." ( https://www.overcomingbias.com/2012/11/nuclear-winter-and-human-extinction-qa-with-luke-oman.html ) He's an expert because he wrote this paper on nuclear exchanges http://web.kaust.edu.sa/faculty/GeorgiyStenchikov/nwinter/RobockJgr2006JD008235.pdf .OK. Not very likely to have extinction. This is not a big impact.
 
Re: "An unjust atrocity"
 
And reading more on these scenarios, it looks likeit would take thousands upon thousands of nukes to get "300+ million"dead Americans from a first strike. (This is known because if you add up theAmerican population by county, starting with the most populous counties, youwouldn't reach 300 million until you got to county 1,215, and it would be morethan one bomb per county, probably) https://pdfhost.io/v/EZkyjG0n9_Book2pdf.pdf
 
This would result in nuclear winter anddestruction of the ozone layer. The bottom of the food chain would get knockedout and it would result in a global nuclear famine, but a few would surviveunderground and in bunkers, etc. Basically, agriculture wouldn't work anymore,and fishing would get bad, too. The overwhelming majority of the human population(e.g. 90%-99%) would be doomed from the first strike, perhaps to die within 2years. They're basically the walking dead and on borrowed time.  
 
Well, what's it all mean? It means that the overwhelmingmajority of the Chinese population is going to perish as a naturalresult of the Chinese first strike, even if we do not retaliate.
 
What's the impact of this? The impact is thatCon's gripe about the loss of Chinese lives being oh so bad is substantially mitigatedbecause the Chinese are mostly going to die in under 2 years anyway. Thenuclear famine is happening whether there is massive nuclear retaliation ornot. Yet, the necessity of the course of action remains unaffected because noneof the underpinnings of my case are mitigated. There is still the need to winthe war. Still the need for nuclear deterrence. There is still love of country,and still the desire to get even.
 
Re: Treaties
 
This is an argument of authority which would carrylittle weight. China would have broken the treaty. There is not much sense inholding yourself to agreements that your adversaries are violating in the mostextreme ways imaginable. This would not be very significant in the scenariocontemplated in this debate. We're not going to be worrying about the GenevaConvention when the bombs have just fallen.
 
Re: "A/2 PRO Contention 3"
 
"“our families and friends” are dead already makingthis largely non-unique, and if they aren’t dead, nuking would result in a retaliationthat would kill them."
 
Con's assumption that the Chinese would retaliatein tit-for-tat isn't realistic. They've gone all out in this scenario. To get300+ million dead they would have had to use so many bombs - Thousands.Probably nuking villages in Montana at that point. It would show an extremeprejudice and signify a desire to exterminate. Massive nuclear retaliationwouldn't kill friends and family. It would much more likely save them, as itwould prevent the Chinese from finishing what they started.
 
Con wants to frame it as "billions of people for the sake of ahandful". No, that isn't accurate at all. One billion Chinese - who weredoomed for the most part anyway - for the sake of a tens of millions ofAmericans.

"biggest war crime in history while violating all commonlyunderstood norms of ethics" - I don't really think so. The biggest warcrime would have been the first strike. Massive nuclear retaliation is stated nationalpolicy and has been for a long time, and not just here, either. That's the policypretty much everywhere that's got nukes and everyone knows it.

Con
Thx, Death23.

FINAL REFUTATIONS:

So, what are the odds? Well, this credible expert - https://acd-ext.gsfc.nasa.gov/People/Oman/ - says that it's "in the rangeof 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000." ( https://www.overcomingbias.com/2012/11/nuclear-winter-and-human-extinction-qa-with-luke-oman.html ) He's an expert because he wrote this paper on nuclear exchanges http://web.kaust.edu.sa/faculty/GeorgiyStenchikov/nwinter/RobockJgr2006JD008235.pdf .OK. Not very likely to have extinction. This is not a big impact.
The expert says that although it likely wouldn't cause full extinction, it would still cause "severe falls in temperature and insolation that would devastate agriculture and humanity’s food supply, with the potential for billions of deaths from famine in addition to the direct damage."

All of CON's impacts stand strong. Additionally, if the first barrage brought the world so close to extinction, I don't think it's a reach to say the American barrage might tip the world over the edge. 

And reading more on these scenarios, it looks likeit would take thousands upon thousands of nukes to get "300+ million"dead Americans from a first strike. (This is known because if you add up theAmerican population by county, starting with the most populous counties, youwouldn't reach 300 million until you got to county 1,215, and it would be morethan one bomb per county, probably) https://pdfhost.io/v/EZkyjG0n9_Book2pdf.pdf

This would result in nuclear winter anddestruction of the ozone layer. The bottom of the food chain would get knockedout and it would result in a global nuclear famine, but a few would surviveunderground and in bunkers, etc. Basically, agriculture wouldn't work anymore,and fishing would get bad, too. The overwhelming majority of the human population(e.g. 90%-99%) would be doomed from the first strike, perhaps to die within 2years. They're basically the walking dead and on borrowed time.  
 
Well, what's it all mean? It means that the overwhelmingmajority of the Chinese population is going to perish as a naturalresult of the Chinese first strike, even if we do not retaliate.
 
What's the impact of this? The impact is thatCon's gripe about the loss of Chinese lives being oh so bad is substantially mitigatedbecause the Chinese are mostly going to die in under 2 years anyway.
Voters can drop PRO's argument of Chinese invasion since he is now arguing the complete opposite of his initial position: that China would die anyways. Voters can also completely drop PRO argument that China would run out of nukes, because it is clear that in this alternate history scenario China's nuke stockpile is far larger. This allows free extension of CON's 2nd Contention: a response would trigger what's left of the Chinese government to retaliate, meaning there is absolutely no utility in responding. Even if they couldn't retaliate, why retaliate when there is no further threat? We should focus on rebuilding instead a now non-consequential war. 

Anyway, PRO's argument here is to essentially downplay brutal murder by making the numbers seem smaller. Let's be clear: CON's argument is not predicated on this being a large number of people at all. CON's argument is predicated on the US being the unjust murderer of civilians in a PRO world, something that PRO simply cannot avoid. Voters should be appalled at PRO's choice of argument here. 

Voters should also recognize that PRO has completely dropped all of CON's warrants as to why this would be murder at all.

RECALL & EXTEND:
"Justice is defined as “giving each person what he or she deserves or, in more traditional terms, giving each person his or her due.” PRO is violating this principle of justice. Under his own admission, the everyday Chinese citizen has nothing to do with the American fate. (In fact, CON would argue they are as much a victim of the authoritarian state as anyone else. Re: https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/global#)"

This is an argument of authority which would carrylittle weight. China would have broken the treaty. There is not much sense inholding yourself to agreements that your adversaries are violating in the mostextreme ways imaginable. This would not be very significant in the scenariocontemplated in this debate. We're not going to be worrying about the GenevaConvention when the bombs have just fallen.

China committing war crimes does not permit other countries to do so in response, this is not how morality works at all. The civilians are innocent and have nothing to do with China's decision to violate the Geneva Convention. 

Con's assumption that the Chinese would retaliatein tit-for-tat isn't realistic. They've gone all out in this scenario. To get300+ million dead they would have had to use so many bombs - Thousands.Probably nuking villages in Montana at that point. It would show an extremeprejudice and signify a desire to exterminate. Massive nuclear retaliationwouldn't kill friends and family. It would much more likely save them, as itwould prevent the Chinese from finishing what they started.

...What? You just argued that China would be decimated. How would friends and family be saved from the Chinese when there is no longer a threat? You can't have your cake and eat it too.

RECALL & EXTEND:
"Voters can drop PRO's argument of Chinese invasion since he is now arguing the complete opposite of his initial position: that China would die anyways. Voters can also completely drop PRO argument that China would run out of nukes, because it is clear that in this alternate history scenario China's nuke stockpile is far larger. This allows free extension of CON's 2nd Contention: a response would trigger what's left of the Chinese government to retaliate, meaning there is absolutely no utility in responding. Even if they couldn't retaliate, why retaliate when there is no further threat? We should focus on rebuilding instead a now non-consequential war."

RECALL & EXTEND: "Additionally, if the first barrage brought the world so close to extinction, I don't think it's a reach to say the American barrage might tip the world over the edge. "

You've been arguing for us to target civilians as well. How does targeting civilian targets do anything to stop the Chinese military? It's blatant murder and nothing more. 

And tell us: why does an innocent American life matter more than an innocent Chinese one? 

This moral frame you've present is twisted and wicked, and I hope the voters recognize this.

Vote CON.