Instigator / Pro

THBT: America, on balance, ought to remain interventionist in foreign affairs.


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

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After 4 votes and with 22 points ahead, the winner is...

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Contender / Con

isolationism and/or non-interventionism definition: Isolationism is a political philosophy advocating a national foreign policy that opposes involvement in the political affairs, and especially the wars, of other countries. Thus, isolationism fundamentally advocates neutrality and opposes entanglement in military alliances and mutual defense pacts. In its purest form, isolationism opposes all commitments to foreign countries including treaties and trade agreements.[1] This distinguishes isolationism from non-interventionism, which also advocates military neutrality but does not necessarily oppose international commitments and treaties in general.

Interventionism definition: the theory or practice of intervening
specifically : governmental interference in economic affairs at home or in political affairs of another country

PRO: America ought to continue to intervene both militarily, economically and socially with other nations
CON: CON can either argue for complete isolationism or simply non-interventionism.

Round 1
Hello, Greenknoblin. Within this debate, I choose to willingly offer myself a rather heavy burden of proof. That burden of criteria will be to show that: (1) interventionism is within America's self-interest; (2) American interventionism has caused more overall good than harm; (3) American interventionism ought to continue. I wish you the best of luck in our discussion.

First they came ...
To take a rather unconventional start to the debate, I would like readers in attendance to draw their attention to my favourite poem, by the name of First They Came.
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

about the author

Martin Niemöller was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian born in Lipsstadt, Germany, in 1892. Niemöller was an anti- communist and supported Adolf  Hitler's rise to power. But when, after he came to power, Hitler insisted on the supremacy of the state over religion, Niemöller became disillusioned. He became the leader of a group of German clergymen opposed to Hitler. In 1937 he was arrested and eventually confined in Sachsenhausen and Dachau. He was released in 1945 by the Allies. He continued his career in Germany as a clergyman and as a leading voice of penance and reconciliation for the German people after World war II.

The poem illustrates a man's regrets for not sticking up for others when he did not necessarily need to. As for not sticking up for them, there comes a time when there is no one left to stick up for him and have his back through him not having theirs.

American interventionalism has caused more harm than good within the middle east

I imagine this will be CONS's primary argument, that America has made mistakes through its international conduct and interventionism. Even if I agree that America's being in the Middle East has been a disaster, that does not mean American internationalism all together ought to stop. As con may be persuaded by the mistakes of America's military internationalism, it ought to get rid of interventionism. I would argue it simply has to change how it does military interventionism and not cease military interventionism altogether.

The korean war and American interventionism
Through American interventionism, America saved 52 million people (and more, including those who have died) from being subservient to a dictatorial state. Not only would South Korea be deeply impoverished if not for American interventionism, but North Korea is ranked as one of the poorest nations on the planet compared to South Korea, which is a top 10 economic power. From this information, from a strictly utilitarian perspective, American internationalism has caused more good than harm from just the Korean war alone. Therefore, I have sufficiently fulfilled one of my three burdens of proof.

American corporate funding of Nazi germany

Some 150 American corporations took part in German re-armament,[31] supplying German companies with everything from raw materials to technology and patent knowledge. This took place through a complex network of business interests, joint ventures, cooperation agreements, and cross-ownership between American and German corporations and their subsidiaries. The American government was not selling weapons to Nazi Germany. Yet through American isolationism, America allowed their citizens and private corporations to do so, which lead to the Nazis causing mass genocide within Europe. If the American government took a harder stance against such actions and intervened, such a thing may never of occurred, at least the blood then wouldn't partly of been on the hands of American citizens.

American Isolationism and WWII

There has long been speculation about what the world would have been like if the United States had not intervened in World War II. Within scenario (1) of America not intervening, the Soviet Union, along with Britain, would still eventually beat the Nazis. Although the difference is that the Soviet Union would now have had much more control and dominion over Europe, not just taking East Germany under its wing but far more than that too. As a result, the Soviet Union would be far more powerful than our current world soviet union. This would have been a direct domestic security threat to the United States (through communism's ultimate goal of getting rid of capitalism). It then follows that, through American isolationism, America would just make things much harder for their descendants in the future.

In alternative (2), if the Nazis somehow win the war and then have complete dominion over all of Europe (with the likely exception of Britain), this would evidently be an even bigger threat to America than what a super-Soviet union would be.

NATO is in Americas best interests

If it were not for NATO (an attempt to contain the Soviet Union), the Soviet Union would most likely have run through Europe as the Nazis had done. This is why NATO was necessary. If this did come to pass through American isolationism and the Soviet Union took over most of Europe, America would no longer be the clear superpower but would have an even bigger rivalry with the USSR. In the end, Americans would have to either go to war with the Soviet Union (now alone) or live in complete isolation, preventing their citizens from using the internet as Europeans do .Evidently, this alternative reality sounds like a hellscape.
If America doesn't do it, someone else will
If America does not involve itself in foreign affairs, some other nation will. Whether this be China or some other nation, Sometimes these foreign minglings will work out, and sometimes not so much. However, in the long run, nations that engage with others will have stronger ties and influence with them, expanding their influence and values beyond their own borders.

If America does not wish to spread its free speech beliefs to other nations or their legal values, don't worry. China will be there to do it instead. Instead of having American free speech rights, they will now possess Chinese speech laws and values. If America does not want to be the first to colonise Mars, someone else will eventually do it for them and take these risks for self preservation.

America and Japan
As we all know, Japan in WWII was as bad as Nazi Germany was. They had an emperor who they worshipped as an embodiment of God. They mass murdered, raped, experimented upon and pillaged Chinese citizens by the millions. If it were not for America going to war and offering aid to China, Japan would more than likely not possess a monopoly over the entire Pacific Ocean. Massively debilitating American trade opportunities. American citizens will likely be noticeably poorer. America, through conquering Japan, has also economically uplifted the Japanese citizens in ways 90% of the world's population could only dream of living. 


  • From a utilitarian perspective, American internationalism has been a net positive both for itself and for others. From a deontological perspective, American interventionialism is not always good or worthwhile, yet someone else will inevitably fill in the gap who may have worse deontological values. Therefore, these attempts are arguably necessary for a lesser evil to occur.
  • American interventionalism has saved more lives than killed. 
  • Although American inteverventionalism does not always work, this is not an argument to stop it, but rather to change the method of intervening in foreign affairs, both militarily and economically. 
  • NATO is within America's best interests. It is therefore within America's best interests to protect its allies from would-be aggressors. 
  • Through its interventionism, America has uplifted the lives of at least over 100 million South Koreans and another 100 million Japanese. 
  • Americans are lax and isolationism is one of the main catalysts for German rearmament by domestic corporations and citizens alike. 
  • If America does not be the world police, someone else will, and they will likely be even worse.

Round 2
Round 3
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