Instigator / Pro

The US Ought to Support NATO Expansion to Sweden and Finland


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

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After not so many votes...

It's a tie!
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Contender / Con

Resolution: "The US ought to support Sweden and Finland's entry into NATO."

Burden of proof is shared.

Round 1
Recently, Sweden and Finland indicated their intent to join NATO. The question before us: should the United States support their entry? I answer in the affirmative, and to convince voters of my position, I will proceed as follows:

First, I will outline the objectives at stake, which include the strategic orientation of Europe and the preservation of global security arrangements. Then, I will demonstrate how Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession - or lack thereof - would help or harm pursuit of the previously listed objectives.


Here I list the objectives at stake with the accession question. These are the strategic orientation of Europe and the durability of security arrangements across the globe.

The Future of Europe

The United States ought to prefer a Europe that is united, prosperous, and secure over a Europe that is beset by illiberalism and autocracy, hampered by economic division, and threatened by political and military division. Whether Europe tends toward the former or the latter will determine its value as a partner to the US.

At present, the nations of Europe united under the EU constitute nearly $20 trillion in nominal GDP, ranking 3rd globally, close behind China and the United States. Consequently, a united Europe has immense standard-setting powers that stretch far beyond their borders. This power to “unilaterally regulate global markets” is often called the “Brussels Effect,” after the European Union’s capital.

Considering the United States faces an era of Great Power Competition, one which pits democracies against authoritarian powers like Russia and China, the US ought to prefer that Europe remain capable of this “Brussels Effect” and that it be used in partnership with US objectives. To date, the EU has done this, leveraging its behemoth economy to defend human rights, punish territorial aggression, and repudiate Chinese authoritarianism.

If the US and EU stood together as prosperous and dedicated defenders of democracy, their combined economic might would greatly surpass that of China and Russia. This would constitute a critical advantage in the Great Power Competition between democracy and autocracy, and thus it should come as no surprise that China fears a united West. This advantage can only be secured, however, if Europe remains united, prosperous, and secure. As I will show in this opening argument, NATO accession will play an important role in defending this objective.

Global Security Order

The post-war security order has been defined by collective defense treaties and US leadership. Prominent security arrangements include US commitment to NATO, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and most of South America. Taken altogether, these agreements essentially commit the US to security and stability in most of the world’s critical regions. These defense commitments have given the world 70 years without the great power wars of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

In close tandem with mutual defense agreements, a key fixture of US global security posture has been nuclear non-proliferation. By guaranteeing the survival of its treaty allies, the US reduces incentives to develop nuclear weapons programs. Thanks to these security commitments, today only 9 countries possess a total of 3,700 active nuclear weapons, a figure much reduced from the 1986 zenith of over 70,000.

For both regional security architectures and the nuclear non-proliferation regime, the credibility of US commitment to defense of its allies is critical. If the United States’ allies and enemies begin to doubt its security guarantees, destabilizing wars and nuclear proliferation are likely to fill the power vacuum. In the coming argument, I will demonstrate how NATO accession will influence perceptions of US security credibility.


In the previous section, I outlined two broad objectives at stake: Europe’s strategic orientation and the stability of global security arrangements. In this section, I will connect those objectives to the question of Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO.

Europe’s Strategic Orientation

(a) NATO and the Health of the European Project

NATO, a military alliance of unprecedented force integration, has defended its members for over 70 years. Guarded by a several-dozen country military alliance, the nations of Europe have been free to develop a similarly unprecedented degree of political integration, creating binding supranational organizations that govern Europe and tie its member nations together, preventing the wars of the 19th and 20th centuries. Put simply, NATO is the shield behind which Europe can flourish. Since the US ought to prefer a prosperous and united Europe, it also ought to prefer a stronger NATO.

This brings us to Sweden and Finland. Their accession to NATO would indisputably improve NATO’s already substantial military capabilities:

“Finland maintains an army with very substantial reserves, and Sweden has strong air and naval forces, particularly submarine forces. With Sweden’s advanced Gripen fighters added to the F35s now ordered or under delivery to Norway, Denmark, and Finland, more than 250 highly modern fighters will be available in the region as a whole. Operated together, they will be a substantial force.” (Foreign Affairs)
Not only will the balance of military forces “strengthen deterrence and make conflict [in the region] less likely,” but Sweden and Finland’s long histories of treading carefully on the Russian border implies the improved correlation of forces would not threaten Russian nuclear second-strike forces, a crucial consideration for preventing unwanted war.

Given the value of Sweden and Finland to NATO, and by extension, the peace and unity of Europe, and given the importance of Europe’s future to US competition with Russia and China, the US ought to welcome NATO’s two newest applicants.

(b) The Russian Threat

If a successful NATO protects a peaceful and united Europe, a successful Russia achieves the opposite. Among Russian goals in Europe include weakening “the European Union and NATO, which it believes act as checks on Russian power.” As we have seen on multiple occasions, from the 2008 invasion of Georgia, to the annexation of Crimea in 2014, to the present-day war in Ukraine, Russia is willing to use force to strengthen its sphere of influence at the expense of NATO and the EU. In addition to brute force, Russian misinformation campaigns in Europe have been identified as a critical threat to European unity. Whereas the United States wants to see a united, prosperous Europe, Russia would rather see its Western neighbors weak and divided.

If the US wants to deter Russia from future aggressive acts that threaten Europe’s future, it must impose significant costs for the invasion of Ukraine. Given that preventing NATO enlargement was one of several reasons behind the invasion of Ukraine, and given Nordic accession is a “nightmare scenario” for Putin, granting Sweden and Finland entry into NATO would impose a steep cost on Russia, serving the goal of deterrence. The less likely Russia is to disrupt the European order, the brighter Europe’s future, and, by extension, the odds of US success in an era of Great Power Competition between democracies and autocracies.

Global Security Arrangements

The strength of the global security order - both its regional security regimes and nuclear non-proliferation regimes - depends on the United States to act as a guarantor. With dozens of countries counting on US defense to ensure their survival, and the entire world expecting the US to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, it matters a great deal whether US promises are deemed credible.

With respect to the question of NATO accession for Sweden and Finland, US willingness to support their entry would demonstrate American resolve to resist Russian aggression in Europe. By demonstrating this resolve, and by taking on new defense treaty allies, the US would signal to its allies and enemies across the globe that it will stand by its security commitments.

On the other hand, if the United States was to oppose Nordic accession, the opposite signal would be sent. If, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US refused to defend Sweden and Finland, observers could rightfully conclude that the US was afraid of further Russian aggression and was unwilling to commit itself to the defense of additional European countries.

Given the immense value of the US-backed global security order, any actions that enhance US credibility to that order should be preferred over actions that diminish US credibility. Therefore, if Sweden and Finland seek admission to NATO, the US ought to support their entry.


In this opening round, I outlined two objectives at stake and demonstrated how US support for Nordic accession would further said objectives.

The first objective was the strategic orientation of Europe. The brightness of Europe’s future will determine Europe’s viability as a US partner in the era of Great Power Competition between democracies and autocracies. By supporting Nordic accession, the US will strengthen NATO and deter further Russian aggression, both of which contribute to a prosperous, united, democratic Europe.

The second objective was defense of the global security order. In several critical regions, US commitment to defense of its treaty allies is instrumental in maintaining regional stability. For similar reasons, US commitment to the nuclear non-proliferation regime has seen a vast reduction in global stockpiles and a minimization of nuclear-armed states. The continuing success of these arrangements depends on the belief of American allies and enemies that the US will follow through on its commitments. By demonstrating resolve in Europe via supporting Nordic accession, the US can reinforce perceptions of its credibility.

For these reasons, it is affirmed: the US ought to support Sweden and Finland’s entry to NATO.

     I would like to thank Jeff_Goldblum for furnishing the resolution “The U.S. ought to support Sweden and Finland’s entry into NATO.”

It is my contention that the U.S. view on Sweden’s and Finland’s accession to NATO has multiple robust foundations for a morally grounded rejection of the

premise, which includes the immoral political and military actions by the U.S. and NATO itself.

                                                                                                                  Are the Member Nations of NATO peace-loving?

     My opponent stated that NATO “commitments have given the world 70 years without the great power wars of the 19th and early 20th centuries.”

     This is incorrect. The last 70 years have been saturated with war and strife and the nations that endured this hell were strategically paced toward war and

instability by those Great Powers that my opponent claims are peace-loving. [1] Perhaps Russia and America are not in a direct kinetic war with each other, but

their vassal states are (and the former is becoming an increasing reality due to the invasion of Ukraine). In fact, I am surprised that my opponent would furnish the

resolution against  the backdrop of an escalating Russia/China/NATO sponsored, nuclear, global war.

     The implementation of proxy wars to settle political disputes between nuclear powers has produced immense human suffering and the roles that NATO nations

played in igniting hostilities and creating that human suffering are indisputable. (This includes military actions by the United States, Germany, Greece, the UK,

Turkey, Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Portugal, Poland, Norway, North Macedonia, Netherlands, Montenegro, Luxemburg, Lithuania, Latvia, Italy, Iceland,

Hungary, France, Estonia, Denmark, Czech Republic, Croatia, Canada, Bulgaria, Belgium and Albania) [2]

     If NATO was sincere in it's desire to prevent war, it's focus would be on the prevention of regional conflict, since every global war started as a regional conflict

that spun out of control. Consider:

  •  The great power wars all began as regional conflicts and arguably were caused by the political influence of “Great Powers” using vassal states as chess

    pieces, which is a game NATO still plays today. [3]

  • World War 1 began with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, which led to the July Crisis, and eventually caused the entire European

    theatre to get involved. A regional conflict that ignited global war. [4]

  • World War 2 began when Hitler invaded Poland, sparking France and the UK to declare war two days later. As with the Great War, the 2nd World War

    began as a regional conflict and expanded to consume the world. [5]

  • The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is a regional conflict, sparked by a power struggle between the United States and Russia. The U.S. wants Ukraine to be

    a vassal state of the West, while Russia wants the Balkan states to remain unaffiliated with NATO in order to maintain a cultural, political and military

    buffer zone between Europe and Russia. This began as a regional conflict and now involves the whole of NATO, the UN, and thousands of internationally

    conscripted soldiers. [6]

  • Simultaneously, China is escalating its desire to invade Taiwan, which is (again) a regional conflict started by NATO. Taiwan was the de facto seat of

    power in China, until the Carter administration recognized the opposition government and legitimized, what we know today as, the CCP(Chinese

    Communist Party). Another political blunder by a NATO member which has the potential of igniting global war, likely a nuclear war. [7]

     Instead of preventing regional instability, NATO members actively participate in proxy wars to establish dominance over other non-NATO members. This kind of

ruthless political maneuvering has resulted in U.S. and NATO sponsored atrocities, and a body count that few in the West have ever considered, because the

political establishment and the media apparatus shield the public from the brutal truth. The U.S. military industrial complex, and it's NATO allies are true

                                                                                                                                                                   The Burden

  1. If NATO is designed to prevent war, its primary role should include the prevention of regional conflicts, considering that World War 1, World War 2

    and the current escalation of global war started as regional conflicts. By any level of analysis, the current Ukraine invasion by Russia was sparked by

    NATO’s advancement toward the Russian border, when it sought to eliminate the neutrality of the Balkan states. The impending Chinese invasion of

    Taiwan is also the result of short-sighted political maneuvering by NATO members, who failed to predict (or did not care about) the inevitable destruction

    of Taiwan’s government and subjugation of its people.

  2. NATO is morally obligated to prevent its member nations from starting regional conflicts, even if the offending member state is the primary donor of

    funding and military equipment to the NATO alliance. The U.S. has still not been held accountable for starting the middle-eastern wars and toppling the

    government of Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan on false pretenses. In fact, NATO participated. 

  3. NATO should not be advancing its borders and encroaching on the territory of non-member nations. NATO cried ‘foul’ when China expanded into

    the South China Sea, built militarized islands and began harassing shipping lanes. Simultaneously, NATO is expanding its influence into the Balkan states

    and inching its military and political influence right up to Russia’s doorstep. Clearly, NATO is playing the same games as China and Russia, and the

    prevention of war is clearly not its goal. A sober observation of the political reality would indicate that NATO is simply a vehicle to achieve the expansion

    of power and influence by, what President Joe Biden recently called, the Liberal International Order.

  4. NATO should not exist, and going a step further, the United Nations should be dissolved also. The evidence for this is their repeated violations of

    their stated goals, a history replete with political and military failures, a body count which rivals any of the historic massacres in the world, and the clear

    evidence that NATO is actively and openly working to advance the political ambitions of the American political establishment (both Democrat and

    Republican alike).

  5. The solution is American Isolationism, Nationalism and a robust national defense. Isolationism does not mean non-participation in global trade or

    international politics. It means that we do not obligate ourselves to fight the wars of other nations. It means that our political elite to not get to obligate

    the children of this nation to fight and pay for their globalist ambitions. The rock band System of a Down put it thusly:" Why do they always send the

    poor?" (Have a listen: ) Nationalism has been hijacked by the culture to infer some kind of racial

    supremacy. Nationalism simply means to place the need of the nation first. Americans need jobs, access to healthcare (including social programs),

    energy independence (green or otherwise), a robust national stockpile of emergency resources (Example: The U.S. only has one insulin manufacturer.

    That's a disaster if the global supply chain breaks down due to global war.)
[1] Man, C. (2021, April11). List of US wars and interventions since WW2. List of US Wars and Interventions Since WW2. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from
[2] NATO. (n.d.). Member countries. NATO. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from
[3] Nardelli, A. (2022). U.S. Dangles Offer to Russia on Missile Checks at Key NATO Bases. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from
[4]  Library of Congress. (n.d.). Timeline(1914 - 1921)  :  A world at war  :  articles and essays :  stars and stripes: The american soldiers' newspaper of World WarI, 1918-1919  :  digital collections  :  library of Congress. The Library of Congress. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from
[5] World War 2 Foundation.(2022, January 2). Timeline of WWII. WWII Foundation. Retrieved June 20,2022, from
[6] Briggs, W. (2022,January 26). The US role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Green Left. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from
[7] Glass, A. (2018). U.S.recognizes Communist China, Dec. 15, 1978. POLITICO. Retrieved June 20,2022, from

Round 2
My opponent has identified moral objections with NATO, contending the US should therefore not support Nordic accession. In this round, I will address these objections, both on their own merits and as they relate to my first round argument. I will also highlight several areas where my opponent deploys half-truths and misleading sources. Taken together, these points will affirm a vote for Pro.

(1) NATO Bad (?)

My opponent begins their argument as follows:

“The U.S. view on Sweden’s and Finland’s accession to NATO has multiple robust foundations for a morally grounded rejection of the premise, which includes the immoral political and military actions by the U.S. and NATO itself.”
To defend this contention, my opponent claims that NATO, an organization ostensibly dedicated to peace and security, has in fact instigated many regional conflicts. 3 examples are offered: Ukraine, Taiwan, and Middle East conflicts (including Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan).

(a) Ukraine

In service to his claim that NATO is a vehicle for aggression and war, my opponent argues that it was the West, and not Russia, that really caused the war in Ukraine. By “encroaching” on Russian territory, NATO’s expansion eastward mirrored Chinese aggression in the South China Sea and motivated Russia to act forcefully.

This argument is faulty on both counts. NATO’s expansion eastward is not analogous to China’s illegal acts in the South China Sea, with the key difference being consent. NATO admits new members only if (a) the prospective member has asked to join, and (b) all current NATO members vote in favor. Describing NATO’s eastward drive as “a vehicle to achieve the expansion of power and influence” implies a sort of conquest-minded modus operandi that NATO simply does not have. Far from forcing itself on Eastern Europe, NATO’s expansion was sought after. Not only did this expansion occur with broad consent, significant diplomatic efforts were undertaken to ensure peaceful cooperation between NATO and Russia. Indeed, as Dr. Robert Kagan assesses: “Russians have objectively enjoyed greater security than at any time in recent memory.”

Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea, meanwhile, has done little to help its long-standing lack of meaningful allies.

More important than false analogies, however, is the question: if NATO had not expanded membership eastward, would Russian foreign policy be as aggressive as it is today?

In short, yes. Russian aims in Eastern Europe would be the same because Eastern Europe’s desire to flee Russia’s sphere of influence would exist regardless of NATO’s appetite for expansion.

Even if the United States had rejected their pleas to join NATO…  the former Soviet satellites would have continued to resist Moscow’s attempts to corral them back into its sphere of interest...” (Foreign Affairs) (emphasis added)”
Putin’s vision for a reconstituted Russian Empire required, from the beginning, a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, a non-democratic and non-Western-leaning series of buffer states loyal to Moscow. He has always held this goal, regardless of whether the West ‘acted aggressively’ or not (contrary to my opponent’s representation, NATO has made many attempts at cooperation with Russia - only to have those initiatives sour in the face of Russian aggression). So, even if NATO had not expanded eastward, Eastern European countries, like Poland and Ukraine, would still resist Russia’s influence, and Russia would still take forceful measures to impose it.

This war did not start because the West was power hungry and intruded where it shouldn’t have. The war occurred because Russia insists on having a sphere of influence over countries that are adamantly opposed to Moscow’s rule. Rather than peacefully integrate with the West, as Germany and Japan have, Putin’s Russia chose conflict. The only question was on what terms Europe would meet the threat: united under NATO, or passive and divided out of fear of ‘provoking’ Putin.

(b) Taiwan

To say US recognition of Beijing is what caused today’s standoff over Taiwan is ahistorical. It would be far more accurate to say that Beijing’s insistence that the island be brought under CCP control, coupled with US assurances to the contrary (as indicated in my opponent’s source on the subject), and Taiwanese opposition to reunification has led to the standoff.

Moreover, the case of Taiwan is not particularly relevant to NATO. Even though US policy of deliberate ambiguity has maintained the peaceful status quo in the strait for decades, let’s assume it were true that the US was harming the cause of peace in Taiwan. NATO’s objective is the collective defense of its members, embodied primarily in its Article 5 commitment “an attack on one is an attack on all.” Taiwan is not a member of NATO, therefore, any attacks on Taiwan are not immediately relevant to NATO or this debate.

(2) Questionable Relevance

One of the central pillars of my opening argument was that a strong, united, and prosperous Europe will be essential in the 21st century’s Great Power Competition between democracies and autocracies. I identified NATO as a key instrument in ensuring this outcome. I said:
“NATO is the shield behind which Europe can flourish. Since the US ought to prefer a prosperous and united Europe, it also ought to prefer a stronger NATO.” (emphasis added)
I then went on to argue that Nordic accession would strengthen NATO, thus enhancing its ability to act as “the shield.”

My opponent’s points do not negate this argument. Continuing with Taiwan: my opponent asserts (incorrectly) that the US instigated a regional conflict there. Even if this were true, would it change the fact that a stronger NATO makes for a stronger Europe, which the US ought to prefer in light of Great Power Competition between democracies and autocracies? Does it change the fact that since NATO’s founding, there has been a sudden decline in European wars, and no serious attacks on NATO members, save for 9/11, which was perpetrated by non-state actors?

Both things can be true. It can be true (although it’s not) that the US started a regional conflict over Taiwan and that a stronger NATO is good for Europe.

Similarly, when my opponent raises complaints about NATO conduct in the Middle East, I ask: how does that negate my argument? My claims concern NATO’s beneficial effects on Europe, not the Middle East.

While my opponent may be waiting for his 2nd round to directly counter my opening argument, it is worth noting that as things stand now, Con has advanced an argument that does not negate my case.

(3) A Collection of Half-Truths

Ordinarily I wouldn’t do this, but my opponent’s R1 contains so many misleading sources and half-truths that I feel it necessary to highlight the most egregious cases. The point of this is to caution readers against an uncritical reading of Con’s arguments.

In several instances, Con makes a claim and ends with a source, but the source really only establishes a portion of the preceding claim. For example:

“The implementation of proxy wars to settle political disputes between nuclear powers has produced immense human suffering and the roles that NATO nations played in igniting hostilities and creating that human suffering are indisputable. (This includes military actions by the United States, Germany, Greece … and Albania) [2]” (emphasis added)
If one were to take this at face value, they’d likely assume the source provides a list of conflicts, their corresponding death tolls, and NATO involvement. In fact, the source just provides a list of NATO members.

My opponent mixes claims that I would rate as true with claims I would rate as half-true or not true. By delivering them together, he attempts to confer the legitimacy of one claim to its companions.

“The U.S. has still not been held accountable for starting the middle-eastern wars and toppling the government of Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan on false pretenses. In fact, NATO participated.” (emphasis added)
Here my opponent asserts that the conflicts in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan were waged under false pretenses and with NATO participation. This is only partially true in some cases.

In Iraq, it is true the war was fought under false pretenses - it was claimed that Iraq had WMDs when it did not. However, NATO did not participate. In fact, many NATO members, such as France and Germany, opposed the war.

And while NATO did participate in Libya and Afghanistan, neither of those conflicts were fought under false pretenses. NATO intervened in Libya under UN Security Council authorization for the purpose of preventing massacre of civilians, which it did. The US invaded Afghanistan after the Taliban government refused to hand over known Al-Qaeda leaders in its territory. While one may dispute the wisdom of this decision, or the decision to intervene in Libya, these wars were not based on lies.

Again, the point of this section was to encourage readers to be cautious with Con’s claims, not to fact-check for the sake of it.


In his first round, Con argued that the US ought to reject Nordic accession on moral grounds, claiming that regional conflicts such as Ukraine, Taiwan, and several in the Middle East demonstrate NATO’s betrayal of its commitment to peace.

My rebuttal to this argument came from two directions. First, I explained that the war in Ukraine and the standoff over Taiwan cannot be blamed on NATO. Second, I questioned the relevance of some of Con’s cases, pointing out that Taiwan isn’t a member of NATO and that gAsia and the Middle East are not the regions my argument is concerned with.

Finally, I pointed out several concerning instances of my opponent mis-using sources and engaging in half-truths, therefore asking that voters use caution when assessing his claims.

Accordingly, I believe the resolution is upheld. My opening case is entirely unaddressed, I have countered Con’s opening, and serious deficiencies in my opponent’s claims have been exposed. Vote Pro.
Pro argued: In service to his claim that NATO is a vehicle for aggression and war, my opponent argues that it was the West, and not Russia, that really caused the war in Ukraine.
Rebuttal: False. I never stated that the West, and not Russia, caused the war. Strawman argument.

On February 27, 2022, CGTN interviewed Alfred de Zayas, the “U.N.’s first independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order”. He argued that Russia’s military actions were unjustified but predictable due to the instigation and provocation by NATO and the U.N..
He was asked the following question, which has a 4 point answer: When you look at the Ukraine/Russia conflict from a legal perspective, what international laws or treaties did either side break?
·         Rejection of negotiations and violations of the U.N. Charter:Well first of all, the United Nation’s Charter. This charter prevents the use of force….and requires peaceful negotiations. Russia has been engaged in peaceful negotiations, asking for a Europe-wide security architecture. Unfortunately, notwithstanding the two treaties drafted by Moscow…they were rejected out of hand by Jens Stoltenberg (NATO Secretary-General) and also by my President, Joe Biden.”
·         Militarization of the border of Ukraine and Russia:Article 2, section 4 of the U.N. Charter prohibits not only the use of Force, and certainly the use of force by Russia on Ukraine is not excusable, but this same article prohibits the threat of the use of force and prior to the Russian invasion, “NATO had been threatening with a use of force, non-stop. It’s been provoking, it’s been bringing in tons and tons of military equipment and ammunition into Ukraine.”
·         A repeat of old immoral tactics:I reject the idea of pre-emptive attack. Under the U.N. charter a defensive attack is only allowed after a military attack. When the United States and the Coalition of the willing, back in 2003, assaulted Iraq, invaded Iraq, and then claimed pre-emptive self-defense because of supposed weapons of mass destruction, obviously that was illegitimate and illegal.
·         NATO/U.N. Tradition of non-enforcement on its own members: That sets the stage for the “precedent of permissibility, when countries like Israel, or Saudi Arabia engage in military action against another country in total impunity. There are no sanctions against them, they don’t come before an international criminal court….in crimes of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Conclusion: Due to violations of the U.N. Charter, such as rejection of diplomacy, unjustified militarization of a non-NATO state, and because of the precedent set by NATO and UN member nations being able to wage war with impunity, an adversarial Russia knows that it has no legal recourse to protect itself. An attack, although illegal also, becomes an instigated likelihood. NATO objectively, by virtue of material evidence and testimony by a U.N. independent expert, violated its own charter and moral imperative. [1]
Pro argued that Putin desires a resurrection of the Soviet Union.
Rebuttal: I don’t dispute this. My position on NATO does not imply support for Putin. The resolution was that I objected to Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession because NATO is corrupted, incapable and the accession of the Nordic states is an exacerbation of policies that are playing out in Ukraine right now.
Consider, the same assurances that the U.S. is giving Finland and Sweden [2],were once given to Kyiv [3].

Pro argued that NATOs expansion eastward is not analogous to China’s expansion into the South China Sea, because the Balkan states are willing vassals of the West (citing consent).
Rebuttal: In this argument my opponent concedes that NATO is expanding east, but gives a propagandized motive of ‘peace and security’.
Prior to the Russian invasion, Ukraine was the site of a political influence battle between Moscow and Washington. The U.S. wanted influence over Ukraine for a variety of reasons, such as agriculture, geography, land-mass, and natural gas. [4] In the end, the objectively corrupt Ukrainian kleptocracy was successfully purchased with Western monetary influence. [5] The west captured Ukraine’s support through political and monetary influence peddling, which helped shape and expand a pro-U.S. Balkan archipelago with NATO missiles pointed at Moscow. [6] Its perfectly analogous to Chinese expansion. Pro is splitting hairs in an attempt to defeat my argument on preferences and technicalities, rather than facts.

Pro argued that Russia “chose conflict” because it wants regional influence and did not want to peacefully integrate with the West, like Germany and Japan.
Rebuttal: Germany and Japan did not peacefully integrate. Japan surrendered after a devastating nuclear attack by the United States. Germany was conquered by air, land and sea forces. Both nations were subsequently occupied by the United States military, the vestiges of which still persist today [7]. I’ve been on U.S. military installations in both countries that have been there since the post-war reconstruction [8].
Russia is absolutely “choosing” war over capitulation and NATO is “choosing” it likewise, which was already demonstrated in a previous rebuttal.

Pro argued Taiwan is not particularly relevant to NATO and downplays the U.S.’s role in the rise of the CCP (which was objectively a U.S. sponsored ascension).
Rebuttal: In the1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the United States cut its diplomatic ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and recognized the Chinese Communist Party as the legitimate Chinese Government. Section 2 and 3 of the Taiwan Relations act stipulates “any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, [is] a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area” and the “President and the Congress shall determine, in accordance with constitutional processes, appropriate action by the United States in response to any such danger.” [9]
If that response is based in military support, NATO will play a role. The NATO mantra is “an attack on one is an attack on all”. The moment that China targets a U.S. military asset, NATO is obligated to respond on behalf of the United States and it will act to defend the Atlantic region(east coast) as outlined in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. [10] For this reason, the Chinese invasion of Taiwan is considered a trigger for World War 3. Pretending that NATO plays no role in this seems like an effort to sidestep the burden.

Pro argues that my examples of NATO (and NATO members) engaging in regional conflicts does not negate his argument that “NATO is the shield behind which Europe can flourish”.
Rebuttal: Pro seems to purposely ignore that my argument is:
·         Regional wars expand, especially under international treaty obligations [11]
·         NATO, through policy and action, inflames tensions and incentivizes bad actors to engage militarily. [12]
·         An expansion of NATO into the Nordic/Russian borders is an exacerbation of NATO expansion into the Balkan/Russian borders which has already seen a devastating war erupt. [13]
·         An expansion of war into the Nordic states has the potential to ignite a massive European/Russian war if used as a military staging point against Russia. [14]
Pro believes that these points do “not negate” his argument that “NATO is the shield behind which Europe can flourish”. By my estimation, these points directly address his arguments and they explain the mechanism by which Europe finds itself in a massive war for the 3rd time in modern history.

Pro argues that I failed to enumerate the conflicts in which NATO or NATO members are indisputably responsible for creating human suffering and he further argues that NATO did not participate in the Iraq war.
Rebuttal: I think Pro misunderstands my argument. My source lists the members of NATO because NATO itself is militarily useless. The military power resides with the member nations themselves. NATO's power is coercive.
If an attack on one is an attack on all, then any military action against a member of NATO has the potential to create an international response on behalf of that NATO member, even if that member is the aggressor.
NATO has supported wars of aggression and I challenge my opponent to provide proof of NATO sanctions against the U.S. for illegally starting a war in Iraq, lying about the war in Afghanistan and Libya. NATO has never sanctioned its own members for war-mongering or engaging in wars of aggression.
In fact, in 2021, Jens Stoltenberg (NATO Secretary General)stated that NATO will not create a mechanism for member expulsion. The de facto position of NATO is to never expel a member. [15] 

Pro argued NATO did not participate in the Iraq conflict. That is incorrect.
Rebuttal: NATO absolutely supported the war. 18 of the 26 member alliance participated in the “Coalition of the willing”, and NATO did not sanction or discipline any of them. Instead, it provided intelligence, technical support and defensive weapon systems to them. [16] [17] [18] [19]
Additionally, the war in Afghanistan was propped up by lies to win public support. In 2019, the Washington Post released transcripts which reveal the U.S. Government falsified casualty and financial cost burdens to make the “unwinnable” 20 year war more palatable for the public. [20]
The UK Parliament House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee released a report that the “Libyan war was based on lies, that it destroyed the country, and that it spread terrorism far and wide”. [21]

Round 3
I thank my opponent for a spirited reply and any potential voters who are still bearing with us.

In my final round, I will focus on what I see as the central issue of the debate, rather than related but secondary questions, such as “do falsified casualty reports mean a war was based on lies?” or “if some members of NATO participated in the invasion of Iraq, does that mean NATO participated?” Each of these tangents could eat up an enormous volume of characters while doing little to resolve the debate.

Instead, I will focus on the central question of this debate: “Is NATO bad for the cause of peace?”

I contend this is the central issue on the basis of our main arguments. In my opening round, I argued that a united, free, prosperous Europe was essential for great power competition between democracies and autocracies, that a stronger NATO would serve this purpose, and that Nordic accession would strengthen NATO.

In turn, my opponent argued that NATO is bad for the cause of peace, making it an immoral institution worthy of dissolution, not expansion. When I challenged my opponent on how this claim (which I endeavored to refute by addressing his examples like Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybia) interacted with my opening round, he responded that since “regional wars expand, especially under international treaty obligations” and NATO “policy and action” incentivize conflict, NATO fails to act as a shield behind which Europe can flourish, thus negating my opening case.

If the answer to “Is NATO bad for the cause of peace?” is “Yes,” as my opponent answers, my case fails and his is strengthened. If the answer is “No,” as I contend, my case is strengthened and his fails.

So, for the remainder of this round, I will demonstrate that NATO is in fact good for the cause of peace. To do so, I will rely heavily on historical data documenting the frequency of interstate war involving European countries, along with an analysis of basic deterrence concepts and a reiteration of NATO’s excellent Article 5 track record. Taken together, these facts will close the case on this question, earning a vote for Pro.


Correlates of War (1816-2007)

Thus far, we have disputed the facts and relevance of anecdotes to defend or attack NATO’s status as a force for peace. To cut through the ambiguity, I am bringing in hard data.

The Correlates of War (COW) Project quantitatively tracks a number of war and war-related metrics, including inter-state war, militarized disputes, and national power rankings. When it comes to interstate war, the project defines a war as conflict that features “sustained combat, involving organized armed forces, resulting in a minimum of 1,000 battle-related fatalities” within a 12-month period.

COW’s premier dataset is its v.4.0 “War Data” list, which tallies all wars from 1816-2007. To defend against the claim that NATO harms the cause of peace, I examined every interstate war in the database, sorting wars that involved European countries into 1 of 4 categories: wars that involved European countries fought in Europe from 1816-1945, wars that involved European countries fought outside of Europe from 1816-1945, wars that involved European countries fought in Europe from 1945-2007, and wars that involved European countries fought outside of Europe from 1945-2007.

I found that from 1816-1949, European countries were belligerents in a total of 43 wars, for a total of 1 new war every 4.5 years. 63% of these wars were fought in Europe at least in part, including WW1 and WW2.

From 1949-2007, however, only 11 wars were fought involving European countries, for a total of 1 new war every 5.2 years. More importantly, only 36% of those wars were fought in Europe. Most importantly, since NATO’s founding, not a single member of NATO has been attacked in a war of aggression, standing in stark contrast to the centuries of existential war goals that preceded NATO’s establishment (consider also the overall decline in deaths from war).

From this data alone, one could confidently conclude that NATO’s “an attack on one is an attack on all” deterrence commitment has largely pacified the continent, rendering an attack on any NATO member a dangerous and counterproductive proposition. If one concludes thusly, the rest of my opening case would follow: a strong NATO has allowed a free and prosperous Europe to flourish behind the shield of collective defense, and since a free and prosperous Europe is essential in the great power competition between democracies and autocracies, any actions that would strengthen NATO, such as Nordic accession, ought to be welcomed. Furthermore, if one concludes thusly, my opponent’s contention - that NATO is an immoral, warmongering organization that ought to be dissolved - fails.

However, I do not expect my opponent to concede this, so in the following section, I will outline the causal explanation behind the data.

The Role of Deterrence

Is it sheer coincidence that the postwar era of European peace simply coincides with the establishment of the most integrated collective defense structure in military history? I argue no. NATO’s central premise - “an attack on one is an attack on all” - promises a devastating opposition to any who would dare attack a NATO member. It is often said that wars occur because neither side can agree who will win, and by pooling military strength, NATO members have largely eliminated ambiguity concerning the outcome of any wars waged against them. 

During the Cold War, this pooling of strength deterred Soviet aggression in Europe. Had there been no NATO (or analogous arrangements), the Soviets would have possessed a far greater advantage in any number of potential conflicts against Western European countries. Compare the Soviet Union’s national power index ranking (1960) of .172 to, for example, West Germany’s paltry .008 - or Denmark’s .001 or Turkey’s .007. Absent NATO, Cold War Europe would have been ripe for repeated wars, with an overwhelmingly powerful Soviet Union eating up a divided Western Europe piece by piece. Instead, the members of NATO pooled their collective military strength, presenting a united front against the Soviet Union, deterring war.

Considering NATO’s role in pooling strength for deterrent purposes, it should be no surprise that wars in Europe and wars involving European powers have declined since NATO’s founding. Contrary to my opponent’s assertion that NATO is an enemy of peace, both data and historical analysis suggest NATO has reduced the frequency of war for its members. Most importantly, it has protected its members against military attempts at territorial conquest, such as the kind Ukraine currently suffers.

Therefore, my contention that NATO serves as a shield behind which Europe can flourish is strengthened. The comprehensive historical track record, always more powerful than anecdotal disputes, substantiates this. By the same token, my opponent’s contention that NATO ought to be dissolved for failing to meet its purpose of preventing war is negated. The record shows NATO has been a positive development for the cause of peace, as its members have participated in fewer wars since its establishment, and have suffered no territorial conquests.


In my opening round, I demonstrated a free and prosperous Europe’s beneficial role in an age of great power competition between democracies and autocracies, explained NATO’s role in promoting - both in the past and into the future - a strong Europe, and showed the military and deterrent value-added of Nordic accession to NATO.

My opponent responded with numerous complaints about NATO conduct over the years, which at their most essential, all worked to assert NATO’s immorality and hostility to the cause of peace. Con therefore argued that not only should NATO cease expansion, but should actually be dissolved altogether.

In my final round, I have invoked data from the Correlates of War Project to demonstrate NATO’s positive contribution to the cause of peace, tracking a decline in continental European wars, wars involving European states, and a total absence of wars of territorial aggression directed against NATO members. I then followed the presentation of war frequency data with a causal explanation of the role of NATO’s collective defense model, providing a rational link between “an attack on one is an attack on all” and a notable decline of war.

Consequently, my R1 case has been upheld and my opponent’s central objection defeated. While it is true I have declined to continue the debates over secondary questions like “Is it accurate to say NATO participated in Iraq?” or “To what extent was the war in Afghanistan based on lies?”, I believe by orienting my closing round on the question of NATO’s broad effect on war and peace, I have earned a vote for Pro. Thank you for reading.

I would like to again thank my opponent for furnishing this topic and providing an interesting debate. What makes this debate difficult to judge is that one side (Pro) is arguing for the intention of NATO, while the other side (Con) is arguing against the actions of NATO. Both can be simultaneously true. NATO was perhaps intended to be a shield behind which Europe can flourish, but it is also true that NATO (and its members) have failed to free the world of catastrophic war. Every major post-world war 2 conflict somehow involved a great power and I believe that point was adequately proven.

To reiterate, the burden is: “The U.S. ought to support NATO expansion to Sweden and Finland”.

To support his position, Pro argued the following:
1. Pro: Europe has a substantial GDP, so it is economically feasible for the U.S. to support Nordic accession to NATO. 
Problem: The mechanism by which this would happen was left out, so I do not believe Pro has a point here. NATO is not an economic mechanism. It is a military alliance. Perhaps Pro was arguing for a U.S. and E.U. economic partnership, but that is not NATO.

2. Pro: Global security arrangements have given the world 70 years without the great power wars of the 20th century and reduced nuclear weapon stockpiles.
Problem: I adequately addressed this falsehood. The ‘great powers’ have engaged in an immensely destructive series of proxy wars that span those 70 years. It does not require a trained analyst to see that every major post-WW2 conflict was a war of alignment. Either a region became a vassal of the U.S., or it became a vassal of Russia or China. If these regional wars were intended to solve regional disputes, then why do the U.S., Europe at large, China and Russia supply arms and funding to opposing factions, exacerbating the conflicts and destroying the regions? To foster security? I think not. The great power wars of the 20th century have never ceased, they simply moved the battle from their own neighborhood to someone else’s.

3. Pro: NATO facilitates global security against the Russian threat.
Problem: NATO has never prevented a war. There was not a single conflict cited by my opponent that was delayed or prevented through NATO’s efforts. Not one. However, I supplied multiple examples of NATO supporting and participating in wars of aggression, which violate the U.N. charter. To support my position, I provided expert testimony from the U.N.’s very own expert, who emphatically stated that NATO violated U.N. regulations, engaged in wars of aggression, failed to sanction its own member’s aggression and likely instigated Russia to attack Ukraine, by illegally arming a non-NATO member and pointing those missiles at Moscow.
Note: My opponent declined to address this point, which is a de facto concession.

4. Pro argued that my comparison of NATO expansion to Chinese expansion is not analogous.
Problem: It was perfectly analogous, and after my rebuttal to his objection, my opponent dropped this point as well. 

5. Pro argued that Putin is trying to resurrect the Soviet Union.
Problem: This was a moot point. I do not disagree. However, the evil intentions of Vladimir Putin do no automatically justify Nordic accession to NATO. In fact, I described in detail how the policies that led to conflict in Ukraine are now being pushed on to the Nordic states, which is an exacerbation of an already failed policy. I pointed out that Sweden and Finland voiced their concerns over U.S. promises of support, since the U.S. promised Ukraine the same deal and Ukraine was still demolished by Russia. Pro dropped this point, which again constitutes a concession.

6. Pro introduced new arguments in his final round. Perhaps I’m unfamiliar with the format of this debate platform, but typically closing rounds do not contain new evidence. That being said, Pro researched Europe’s history of conflicts and noted a sharp decrease after World War 2 and noted that Europe had not been attacked by a war of aggression.
Pro relies on the absence of war in Europe to justify his position, while conveniently ignoring that the peace was purchased through proxy wars in other regions. Again, my opponent recycled his previous arguments of “peace and security” without ever addressing the moral cost.
For the entire debate, I have maintained that NATO does not establish peace, it creates war and incentivizes bad actors to behave aggressively. Instead of adapting his argument, Pro continues to assert that European security is paramount despite the hell NATO has created on a global scale.
Furthermore, Pro makes this argument on the backdrop of a brewing global war that NATO is partially responsible for. I ask the voter, how can you claim NATO is a force for peace in the European theatre, when it actively invites war on it’s borders? NATO is not a force for peace. NATO has never fostered peace. NATO’s members have engaged in wars of aggression, killed countless masses, changed the trajectory of sovereign nations forever and NATO members have done so with impunity.
As I have already established, NATO does not have, nor will it seek, a mechanism by which it expels or sanctions a member nation.
Note: This is also a point Pro has conceded.

Conclusion: The intention of NATO has not been achieved. There is no peace. As we speak, the U.S. Navy’s 7th fleet is deployed to the South Pacific because China is threating military action if Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan. On the other side of the world, Ukraine is in ruins and Russia is winning its military campaign in the Balkans. The world is on the brink of global war. A global recession looms and supply chains are collapsing. Disease is spreading like wildfire in every country on earth. Every single prerequisite for massive, catastrophic, global war has been met. The four horsemen are not just coming, they’ve already arrived and NATO’s primary goal is to instigate a confrontation with Russia? It is madness to think that the policies and leadership that led up to this moment are simultaneously the cure.

I urge a vote for Con.