Daniel Stout Mr.

Bogner ENGL 200BE Debate Essay 30 September 2003 National Missile Defense; the Good, the Bad, and the argument that ensued One day for one of my classes I had to go and sit in on a high school debate class. This class was having a discussion, but I soon saw that it was more of an argument between two kids in class. While the debate room seemed to look like any other, there was one thing that really stood out, and that is that the debate coach running the show, really wasn’t. She was just simply letting the two pursue their intellectual desires. So I sat and I watched as Mary defended that a National Missile Defense is a good idea because of it promotes American Leadership, solves Israeli anxiety, and solves for the China threat to Taiwan. Derek on the other hand was strongly opposed and said a National Missile Defense. He thought it would be a bad thing because of Russia’s reactions to NMD, Cancer that would spread from a successful ICBM stop, and because of what would occur in India and Pakistan. It seemed as though promoting as much peace as possible through in this anachronistic world was the common goal from both just with different ways to going about that peace. Mary: National Missile Defense is a critical thing, and needs to be built because it allows the United States to protect itself from the evils and risk that other nations pose with their nuclear weapons and their inter-continental ballistic missiles. Derek: National Missile Defense is nothing but propaganda from the neo-conservatives of the United States Government. It’s Presidents Bush and Rumsfield’s little baby. They will tell the

Stout people anything in order to get the money needed to full fill their mission. Not to mention that


almost all the inceptors that have ever been tired have failed (Broad, A1). We just don’t need the NMD system, it would make a world where war would be rampant. Mary: A NMD system will not hurt us in any way even if it doesn’t work. The world lives by perception, especially the way that countries interact with each other. Even if the technology isn’t the greatest it will definitely help us as a nation, because now there is doubt in the mind of countries as to whether their first strike will actually be able to inflict damage upon the United States or its allies. Just because a nation has NMD does not mean that they will abandon their nuclear posture or their nuclear weapons. The fear of retaliation will always prevent attack, NMD is more for accidental launches and rogue attacks. The perception one country has of another is truly important when discussing a NMD system. NMD will significantly increase the nation’s ability to influence and use its leadership worldwide. Right now in the Status quo nations are able to hold the US and its allies hostage because they are able to point their nuclear weapons at a city. National Missile defense allows us to inflict the perception of doubt in countries minds. The US and its allies will no longer have to hold back from doing what they do best, that’s simply cause the perception of a NMD system means there is doubt as to whether damage can be inflicted upon the United States. That allows us to deploy our leadership all over the world, and keep the peace. (Kaplan, p. 20) Derek: I think there is a fundamental problem with a national missile defense system and that is our allies. Joseph Nye constantly talks about the need for softpower, which is leadership that isn’t based off of a military. Softpower is gained by having a strong economy, and most importantly allies. Countries need their allies’s cooperation and trust for missions. Otherwise the missions that the United States is pursuing won’t occur. Nye would contend that if the argument

Stout is true that the Europeans and Japanese don’t like the idea of National Missile defense then softpower would be lowered significantly because the allies are no longer going to trust the United States. Those countries who are our current allies give us much of our power and


legitimacy to act the way we as a nation do in our foreign policy. Without the other nations of the world agreeing with American foreign policy, we can’t get the legitimacy needed in order to do what we want and need to do to solve for the worlds problems. All and all, if NMD pisses off the neighbors, we can’t go out and play, even when trying to save the day. (Newhouse, p. 97) If the United States were to build a national missile defense it would require Moscow to keep its weapons on high alert status. The Russian economy is extremely weak comparably to the rest of the world, its pretty evident that Russia’s cheapest military expenditures would be maintain their nuclear weapons. This is because when a country has a low economy and nuclear weapons they become more dependent upon their nuclear deterrent because they don’t have the resources to compete in conventional arms races. NMD will take out some of the confidence that Russia will have in their nuclear deterrent. Their only response is to keep their weapons on high alert status. They would do this in order to either flood the NMD system or to make countries of the world know that if they mess with Russia that they will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons. The worst thing about high alert status is that it makes accidental launches much more likely (Collina, p. 9) Mary: I don’t think that is quite accurate, Kenneth Waltz talks about in his articles about nuclear proliferation, that you have to ensure that your system is not only safe but protected. Accidental launch on anyone would spark global retaliation, and when a country like the US is shooting its mass arsenal against you, there isn’t much room for repairs. It will all be destroyed. Since a country would know that they have the chance to be totally destroyed if they screw up then, its



pretty safe to assume that every country is going to ensure that their missiles are not only safe but protected from such things as an accidental launch, cause if nothing else the fear of retaliation would be too extreme. Not only that but Russia isn’t some new nuclear program that doesn’t have the technology to do what is needed. They have years and years of experience, and know how to use the tech to ensure they are protected. Another reason NMD would be a good things is because of Israel. Israel is heavily dependent upon its nuclear deterrent in order to prevent attacks against it. Isreal, an important ally to the United States and its Middle East intentions, is extremely vulnerable to Ballistic missiles, which there is no protection or defense to. Especially for Israel. Israel is a huge target of the Middle East and constantly has to be watching its back. It’s pretty easy to assume just like Israel did against Iraq in the 80s that their policy is that of preemption, if there are countries developing nuclear weapons in the region then it means they have to keep a watchful eye on them. Israel is very likely to use nuclear weapons once they find a sight of a nuclear program. The main reason for that would be that if you use a nuclear weapon it’s pretty much 100 percent guaranteed that the nuclear program would be destroyed. That is why they aren’t likely to resort to conventional weapons again to preempt like they did in the 80s, because if any of the program survives then it means there is now a resolve, and a purpose for the nuclear weapons to be developed quickly and used against Israel. (Peterson, p.5) A National missile defense for the United States would allow Israel to become less reliant upon the preemption doctrine. A National missile defense will provide Israel with the perception that they are safe and don’t need to be blowing up everyone in the region who posses as a threat because the United States National Missile defense will keep them safe inside the fort of United States Protection.

Stout Derek: Israel is a nation that depends on deterrence, and I personally believe that from the statements of the prime misters and former prime ministers that they are not afraid of using the nuclear weapons if there is something that they don’t like going on in the middle east, they are extremely likely to say “hey I don’t like that going on there, lets influence matters, nuclearerly”.


Israel is going to use nuclear weapons no matter what. Just because you now protect them with a NMD system, doesn’t mean they will all of a sudden think they are safe. It’s a mentality that the leaders have, and I would contend if there is a NMD system that it would make Israel feel like that they can do what they want, because there are safely inside the US fort, and can’t be hurt. There are other reasons as to why the NMD system is bad outside of the Realist system. Let’s say that NMD does work, and there is a launch, so the missile is in the air and its coming its towards the US and going to hit somewhere. Our NMD system comes and saves the day right? Wrong, if nothing else it blows up the missile in the air, now there is a massive amount of plutonium in the atmosphere for thousands of years (Babst, Krieger, Aldridge). This would occur because of the missile warheads are made of plutonium in order to get the nuclear reaction. This plutonium is highly dangerous because of its chemical status. The plutonium would stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years as the dust drifted to earth. This plutonium in the atmosphere would be devastating, as it causes lung cancer and could reach EVERY person in the entire world. (Grossman, p. 15A) Mary: Fallout may be bad, but I contend that a nuclear weapons hitting a major city would cause a MUCH bigger impact in the end. A nuclear weapon hitting a major city, like Los Angles, would REQUIRE a retaliatory strike against that given country. You saw how blood thirsty we as Americans were after September 11. Just think about if it was a nuclear weapons with a return address…..full scale nuclear war…..killing everyone in seconds or months because of nuclear



weapons actual detonation, radioactivity and/or the nuclear winter that would ensue. Just like Mr. Schell talks about in his book from 1982, it’s better to try to handle the risk of lung cancer, than to see the nuclear war, because nuclear war could cause extinction, and that’s a risk we can’t take. While you like to step out of the realist system, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And I will contend that relations are always changing, and change quicker than your terminal impacts. That means we must talk further about relations with countries. A Country that I think needs to be talked about, but hasn’t yet is China. Those reds are always a threat. They are constantly trying to totally enslave Taiwan. Taiwan doesn’t want that. Taiwan wants independence, and that really pisses off China. I think there is no reason as to think that a China attack on Taiwan is inevitable because there is no reason to think that China will continue to let Taiwan become more independent. Chinese Aggression is inevitable. But as I have been saying all hour, NMD is here to save the day once again and retain world peace. A US NMD system would crush the Chinese military capabilities and stop a Chinese lash out (US Newswire p. L/N). When Chinas weapons are no longer able to prevent US intervention and it becomes a war of conventional forces, the US has the number one military in the world, and it can’t lose, because the war would be forced to become a conventional one this would prevent any kind of attack on Taiwan and ensure peace in the straight. China just isn’t suicidal, they won’t try to take on the US in a conventional war. Derek: Right, I think the main thing you said that needs to be acknowledged is that you said that China will not attack if there isn’t an independence movement from the Taiwan people. I think that NMD would embolden the Taiwan people to declare independence because they would feel they are inside the US fort and can’t be hurt. That would cause the exact war you said you were trying to prevent.

Stout There is another thing, if we are going to start naming off regions and conflict lets talk about India and Pakistan. Rapid proliferation would occur if there is NMD threatening their deterrent abilities. They would fight the NMD system by trying to obtain as many nuclear


weapons as possible so they could flood the NMD system. Countries like China who empirically proliferate technology and resources to Pakistan would ensure that India would have to proliferate also. This Proliferation would increase the chance there is a fight over Kashmir (The Hindu p. L/N) and ultimately that fight would go nuclear, its just always been a flashpoint for conflict and will continue to be fought over because its an issue of national pride. (Cirincione) Mary: But NMD would…… The teacher interrupted and said while she enjoyed the backfile debate, that there were things about the ocean that needed to be talked about. She said if they really were that adamant about it that they could go and research it to update the backfiles. None the less I thought it was extremely interesting, especially from two high schoolers Derek defending that NMD was bad because of Russia’s reactions to NMD, Cancer that would spread from a successful ICBM stop, and because of what would occur in India and Pakistan, Mary defended that a NMD is a good idea because of it promotes American Leadership, solves Israeli anxiety, and solves for the China threat to Taiwan. Sometimes, some things just are really surprising, In a good way.

Stout Works Cited Babst, Dean. Krieger, David. Aldridge, Bob. The Self Destructiveness of Nuclear Weapons Nov 1997: unavailable Broad, William J. “After Many Misses, Pentagon Still Pursues Missile Defense” New York Times, 24 May 1999: A1/A23 Cirincione, Joseph. N/A Foreign Policy, Spring 2000: N/A Collina, Tom Z. “Build US security on goodwill, not bombs” CSM, 21 June 2001: 9 Grossman, Karl. “US Slinging Plutonium Into Space” Star Tribune, 27 May 1997: 15A Kaplan, Lawrence. “Offensive Line” New Republic, 12 March 2001: 20 Lamotagne, Steve. “NMD will slow India’s rise” The Hindu, Global News Wire, June 14 2001:L/N Newshouse, John. “The Missile Defense Debate” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2001: 97 Peterson, Scot. “Beyond Iraq: ‘Indefensible’ Missiles Pack Mideast” CSM. 24 November 1997: 5 N/A “PRI: Missile-Defense Would Bankrupt China’s Economic Tyranny” US Newswire, 22 May 2001: L/N .