Should the UN accept responsibility to protect members of failed states?
This past weekend the National Forensics League qualifier was held at Indianhead International School. The debate topic used is the topic addressed today. The following is the case line that I would have run if I was debating this topic. First off, there is a dicey area of definitions here. Who are "members of failed states?" Failed states are countries with a central government so weak it can't serve many of the basic functions of government. As for members, there is definitely a problem of whether the members include only civilians or all citizens. What about elected officials? I heard some teams tried to focus only on the UN, but that is faulty.
The theme of the pro case should be that this resolution is the right thing to do. Try to make this a value debate.
1. Threat of Failed States: Failed states are a threat to the stability and security of the world. An internal conflict can produce refugees and even regional conflicts.
2. Capability of UN: The United Nations represents all countries of the world and was established to promote peace and human rights.
3. UN Facilitates Progress: The UN can work with other agencies to aid countries and their citizens, promoting peace, stability and a just future.
The theme of the con case should be a focus on practicality. Try to make this a policy debate.
1. UN Inefficient: The UN is too large and too slow. With every country able to voice their concerns, it takes too long to react to the world's problems.
2. Makes World Worse: This policy would make the world a more troublesome place by weakening the legitimacy of sovereignty and make international relations reactionary rather than collaborative.
3. Better Alternatives: If a sovereign power cannot resolve its own problems, regional organizations such as the African Union can aid in resolving problems.
Here is the point by point response to PRO or YES. The no/con side is focused on policy, but it should respond to the value concerns raised by the Pro case.
1. This is firstly the problem of a sovereign state, and secondarily a regional issue. The UN is not an interventionist body that declares war.
2. Intent and reality are not synonymous. How can the UN help dozens of failed states? Where will all the money and soldiers come from?
3. The UN just shifts the problem elsewhere. Even if working with another group, the UN will only agitate local governments around the world.
Here is the point by point response to CON or NO. While the yes/pro side is focused on values, it should try to address policy problems in the Con case.
1. The UN is by no means perfect, but it is the best option available for facilitating the protection of member states.
2. How does helping the impoverished make the world worse? The UN should be focusing on human rights.
3. This plan need not be mutually exclusive. The UN can facilitate the work of several groups and alliances.
In Public Forum debate, the format used this past weekend, there is a component called the final focus. In it, students have only one minute to state why they feel their side won the debate. The pro should focus on how this case is about what is right while the con side should focus on what can work. Congratulations to all the NFL qualifiers and do Korea proud in Vegas.
Roger Hatridge coached the majority of Korea's 2006 and 2007 NFL qualifiers. For questions about this column or debate contact Mr. Hatridge at firstname.lastname@example.org.