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'Fingerprint' (afirmatori) vs 'The Nile' (negatori)

A1 (Hareth Nwihi)

I would like to begin with an overview of what democracy is -taken from a Lecture at Hilla University for Humanistic Studies.  We can think of democracy as a system of government with four key elements:

  1. A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.

2.  The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life.

3.  Protection of the human rights of all citizens.

4.  A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.

I am on the proposition's side of spreading democracy across the world, and using force against people who disobey the previous definition. It is very important to mention that force does not precisely mean killing people, using force in spreading democracy includes threatening, arresting, financial penalties or referring to the judiciary.

First of all, Democracy leads to development. Sustainable development is a multidimensional concept. It is no longer restrictively understood to be narrowly economic or financial. In order to be completed, it also needs to be cultural and social, and more broadly to account all the factors that help individuals to fulfil themselves. The environment, social justice, democracy, education and the sharing of knowledge are closely associated with development. That is why the right to development has an innate place among human rights. This broadening of the concept of development has made Democracy and developments complementary, and they reinforce each other. It is NOT a coincidence that most of the countries that lack democracy in their systems are considered as “Third-world countries”. We are seeking the perfect image of an equally developed world. For example, women empowerment in entrepreneurship cannot be achieved unless democracy is implemented in that country and we cannot question the effect of empowering women on development. Therefore, I strongly support spreading democracy across the world even if this involves using force because democracy encourages development and consequently, independence.

In addition, democracy applies equality to all citizens and diminishes racism. I believe that applying democracy all over the world will protect the rights of all citizens including: social rights, political rights -as in active participation of people without discrimination- and civil rights. Hence there is no distinction between black and white in USA unlike other countries which were built on autocracies as in Lebanon where  clashes between Muslims and Christians evolved and even clashes between Muslims themselves. Furthermore, as an example for the lack of civil rights and the issue of owning ID numbers; we know that all citizens from Gaza who live in Jordan do not have the right to own ID Numbers by law, why! Because there is no full democracy all over the world! That’s why we should extend a helping hand and spread democracy across the world even when this involves using force.

Above all, democracy saves the innocent lives from being killed because of autocracies. In well developed democratic countries, citizens have the right to form or join a political party, and all the parties have the same opportunity to participate in the elections. A very neat civilized way of living a healthy political life, BUT that is NOT the case in countries under dictatorship where civil wars, chaos, and no safety nor security. This is the image of the countries that we want to free. Moreover, a country in chaos and civil wars cannot go intentionally to democracy and save the innocent lives that are being slaughtered because of the poor political structure. This is exactly what is happening in Syria, a revolution which started with the Arab Spring but turned into a chronic civil war. Syria since April 2011untill today have lost more than 100,000 innocent civilians and 585,656 registered refugees only to Jordan -according to an article in Jordan Times that was published earlier this year- and it is still ongoing. Conversely, if an outer force has interfered in the situation, it would definitely set the country to peace and ended the killing successfully. On the other hand, in the Korean Civil War in 1948, after the US intervention and the introduction of democracy and applying elections over both Korean sides, the war has stopped until this moment and many civilians were saved. Simply, order cannot happen peacefully in wars! That is why western democracies have a moral duty to spread democracy across the world even when this involves using force.

Thank you very much!


"What Is Democracy?" What Is Democracy?  Web. 26 Mar. 2014. .

"The Interaction between Democracy and Development | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization." The Interaction between Democracy and Development | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Unesco, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2014. .

Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, Web. 27 Mar. 2014. .

Goulden, Joseph C. Korea, the Untold Story of the War. New York, NY: Times, 1982. Print.

N1 (Luca Avadani)

Firstly, the very idea of bringing democracy by force is intriguing. This political system is generally regarded as being “the best”, but that in itself is a relative notion. Once you attach an adjective to the word democracy, it is no longer democracy.

A restrictive definition of force that purposefully leaves out killing or aggression towards people is deceiving. More often than not, “inflicting” democracy by force leads to an escalation of violence, as seen in Iraq in the previous years.

It is true that there is a right to development, as proclaimed by the United Nations in its 1986 Declaration on the Right to Development, but it is rather a group right of peoples as opposed to an individual right. The right to development is indeed important, yet it is not correlated in any way with the democratic mechanism. The well-being and fulfilment of people is not an indicator of how democratic a state is or is not. For example, let’s take a look at Bhutan. It is a country that is ranked happiest in Asia and 8th-happiest in the world[1], yet its Human Development Index is ranked as medium, and it switched from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy only recently, in 2008. This is just a quick demonstration that happiness and self-fulfilment of people do not necessarily account for the development of the country and even less for the democratic setting. The reverse is equally true: democracy does not automatically lead to development. What happened in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989 is a tale-telling example. While all the ex-communist countries implemented democratic changes, the development was uneven and based more on the political and management capabilities of their respective governments.[2] Furthermore, it is still to be proven that “women empowerment in entrepreneurship cannot be achieved unless democracy is implemented in that country”[3].

Democracy is a political system in which human rights are indeed respected, but to believe that democracy will erase racism and xenophobia is over-optimistic. Racism is present even in the most democratic countries, including the USA, which incidentally is not always among them.[4] Invoking the case of Lebanon is a good idea, but not for the right reasons. The way Lebanon looks today is the outcome of almost 40 years of various factions trying to impose their own concept of democracy. This prompts us to ponder if an imperfect but peaceful state of things is to be preferred to a military-borne democracy.

We should discern between a dictatorship and a state of war. Dictatorships are “efficient”: orders are obeyed, opposition is stifled, and discipline is strictly imposed. This very efficiency sprouted the prototype of “enlightened despotism”, where absolute monarchs pursued legal, educational and social reforms, for reaching development goals without undermining their sovereignty or disrupting social order. On the other hand, the state of war implies the dissolution of the status quo, is very taxing on the whole of society and puts the previous socially shared beliefs and values to the test. It is hard to believe that such a state stimulates the development of a democratic society. Recent history is there to show us that attempts at bringing democracy by force are destined to fail. Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan is more democratic now than a couple of years ago, when western democracy troops were forcibly deployed. Paradoxically, these interventions weaken democracies in the West by introducing a thick layer of secrecy as opposed to transparency, channelling valuable resources to the war effort instead of the development goals (education, healthcare, fighting inequality) and claiming human lives under the pretext of safeguarding democracy.

Last but not least, force contradicts the very essence of democracy. If free and fair elections are the first prerequisite of a democracy, how can force instate freedom? What quality of force may stimulate active participation of the people in politics and civic life? Protection of the human rights and rule of law can hardly be imposed by force, especially when trying to implement a system based on freely formed and openly expressed opinions. The only place for force in establishing a democracy is in enforcement, and by enforcement I mean a consistent respecting of the democratic rules. The basic principle of democracy is freedom of choice. The people cannot be free in their practice of democracy if the nation itself is not free in choosing, adopting and fostering such a political system.

Thank you.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhutan

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index

[3] Affirmative case

[4] http://maplecroft.com/portfolio/new-analysis/2013/12/04/70-increase-countries-identified-extreme-risk-human-rights-2008-bhuman-rights-risk-atlas-2014b/

A2 (Rawan Hourani)

The essence of democracy is that it empowers ordinary citizens. I wonder how democracy, which is a fair system that protects people’s rights, can lead to an escalation of violence. It is unrealistic to assume that democratic institutions can be set up easily, almost anywhere, at any time. Although the outlook is never hopeless, democracy is most likely to emerge and survive when certain social and cultural conditions are in place. The Bush administration ignored this reality when it attempted to implant democracy in Iraq without first establishing internal security and overlooked cultural conditions that endangered the effort. [1] That is why we feel that the invasion should be in a certain way to achieve the destined goals.

It seems to me that the correlation between a democratic government and economic growth is certainly evident. Bringing Bhutan in your speech was a smart example but it is a naive assumption that development and democracy are not correlated in anyway. Bhutan is ranked as the happiest in Asia but when the countries of the world are examined as a whole, democracies do perform better in terms of economic development than do autocracies or mixed polities. It is interesting to note that “Seven of the fastest growing Asian economies adopted more democratic governments during the past two decades, including South Korea and Taiwan." [2] More than simply growing at a faster rate, democracies have outperformed autocracies in the consistency of their growth. An analysis of the 80 worst economic performers of the last 40 years reveals that all but three have been autocracies. In addition, democracies have performed substantially better than autocracies in the social welfare dimension of development (life expectancy, child mortality, literacy, etc.) – in some cases up to 50% better. [3] Although democracy may not always be the cause of initial economic progress, it seems to be one consequence of that progress.

As for the women empowerment in entrepreneurship, women all over the world, remain excluded from political and economic participation around the world. Oftentimes, it is the combination of cultural and legal and regulatory barriers that prevents women from equal participation on both economic and political arenas. Implementing democracy in a country will expand and most likely become from the culture and involve women more in economic businesses as in the political life. 

Racism may be present even in the most democratic countries, including the USA. However, having racism under a democratic system will not be turned into violence as racism often does under a dictatorship. Democracy, peace and equality between citizens are correlated to each other; Rwanda has bad history of racism under an authoritarian regime which resulted in dividing the public to Tutsi and Hutu causing the assault of more than 1 million lives of Tutsi, until the interference of USA and vigorously ending the autocracy of the Hutu. [4] This shows the importance of intervention in order to achieve peace and equality.

Dictatorship is not always “efficient” if it is in the first place. In dictatorship you are giving one person the right to control people’s lives. For example Hu Jintao, China (in power since 2002) although not all-powerful, is the leader of an unusually repressive regime. The communist party still controls all media. China performs more than 4,000 executions every year, more than all of the other nations of the world combined, and many of them are for non-violent crimes.[3]
So in the case of dictatorship, it is unmoral to let one person control the live of a nation and take their right to express. In conclusion, we must replace it with democracy, and in the case of war, forcing democracy will not only save civilians lives, but also will introduce a stable system.

So in our first speech we defined democracy and demonstrated the types of force that can be used to spread it to the world. We’ve mentioned and explained how democracy leads to development, and more importantly saves civilians political and civil rights. We’ve also discussed that a country in chaos cannot go intentionally to peace and democracy – Syria for example is in civil war in since 2011 and the whole world is still watching women and children dying and migrating because of this hideous corruption – and still no one has tried to save them from their suffering.  In this speech we reinforced our points with more reason and examples. All in all, arising emphasis on self-expression values tends to erode the legitimacy of authoritarian systems, but as long as determined authoritarian elites control the army and the secret police, they can repress pro-democratic forces. Still, even repressive regimes find it costly to check these tendencies, for doing so tends to block the emergence of effective knowledge sectors. This is where an external force should intervene and free a nation from its own repressive regimes that blocks even its basic right, knowledge.

[1] http://www.cfr.org/democratization/relationship-between-democracy-development-implications-policy/p5778

[2] http://shirah-goes-again.blogspot.com/2010/10/does-democracy-lead-to-economic-growth.html

[3] http://www.cfr.org/democratization/relationship-between-democracy-development-implications-policy/p5778


[4] Edward L. Nyankanzi, Genocide: Rwanda and Burundi (Schenkman Books, 1998)

N2 (Olga Cojocariu)

               Into our mind, the essence of democracy is not  onlyempowering ordinary citizens, but giving to the whole community the right to use their sovereignty directly or not directly in order to develop a society[1]. In our conception, the democracy implies the existence of several opinions and propositions, which can be freely expressed without being afraid of any kind of repression.  Using the force is totally in contradiction with that conception, because the limit to determine if a different point of view is legitimate, and consequently tolerated is very weak. It is true that democracy tends to be a fair system but the essences of democracy are the humans. And as Hobbes said “man is a wolf to [his fellow] man”[2], consequently, the escalation of violence is very frequent, because people used to pursue personal interest, even if it will be in opposition with the interest of the others. The example of Bush Administration in Iraq is relevant in our case, but not as an illustration of the need of a certain social and cultural condition. It is in fact, a perfect example of the escalation of violence, the lake of understanding and acceptance between two points of views and the pursuit of personal interest.
Concerning, the counterexample of Bhutan, we do not understand why our assumption is naïve because in the document that you quote, Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's said exactly the same purpose as us : ” I do not believe that democracy necessarily leads to development. I believe that a country needs to develop discipline more than democracy. [3]“We recognize the benefits of the democracy, they are obvious, but the force will not help the society. Even if we use your definition of the force – that we consider very restrictive and not representative of the reality - using the force in order to implement democracy never hadgood economic consequences on life expectancy. It creates a climate of paranoia and suspicion. A very good film “The War on Democracy” from John Pilger illustrate this purpose[4].

As far as concern the women empowerment in entrepreneurship, we are agreed about the difficulties that women have to face in order to be on an equal situation. Nevertheless, we do not understand why women empowerment cannot be achieved unless democracy is implemented in the country. It has to be tried even if all the necessary conditions are not combined. Being into a democracy, for sure, will be helpful in order to develop a favorable climate in order to help the initiatives. Nevertheless, we have to note that it is very difficult even into a democracy, because the male chauvinismmentalities are predominant[5].  So, being into an instable country in which western democracies try to spread democracy will not be helpful best in order to running a small business.

The example of  the racism is a bit naïve because even nowadays numerous people who are in Mothers of the Democracy  countries (such as America or even in Europe) are ostracize, rejected and banished from the societybecause of their color or religion. The Roma issue is one of the most relevant all around Europe and a lot of questions about human rights have to be improved[6]. Yes, it is true that democracy, peace and equality are correlated to each other, but it is still a long journey until these notions will be efficient and respected naturally. In addition, using the force is totally contrary to the concept of peace. 

Finally, in our speech we discern between a dictatorship and a state of war. You point it out the example of China, trying to demonstrate how unmoral is that kind of system. Nevertheless, we have to underline that since 2013 it is Xi Jinping who isthe President of the People's Republic of China[7]. It is not Hu Jintao anymore. Some improvements have to be noticed since the beginning of his mandate. Actually, the actual president has reduced the number of crimes susceptible to be condemned from the death penalty[8]. So, we can say that China is in the good way in order to be more respectful about human rights.

               Consequently, force contradicts the very essence of democracy. Using the force will contribute to an escalade of the violence. Using Force will not help people to understand the legitimacy of this power. People will consider the intervention of western countries as an intrusive way to interfere into the life of their country.Of course, the road to achieve democracy can be tortuous and very difficult but choosing any kind of force, will deny and destroy Humanity. Nevertheless, by choosing non-force practices  you favor the road of the negotiation, and dialog, which is the most powerful fertile ground of democracy.  As Gandhi said “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent. “










Liviu Gajora

THB western democracies have a moral duty to spread democracy across the world even when this involves using force.

I would like to congratulate both teams on an excellent and very balanced debate, one that touched on most, if not all of the core issues relevant to this topic.

My verdict in this debate goes to the Affirmative team.

I felt that overall the Affirmative team had a better approach on this debate and managed to tie in their examples with better analysis. The Negative team did an excellent job at responding to each and every argument put forward by the Affirmatives, but I felt that they focused too much on particular examples and on refuting evidence and often lost sight of the larger point. Here is a more detailed analysis of how I evaluated arguments from both teams against one another:

  • The talk over the definitions was, to me, the best point of the Negative team, but not because of the definition itself (which was trying too hard to minimize the impact of actual violence, though it did not exclude it altogether). The really interesting discussion was about how “inflicting democracy by force” leads to an “escalation of violence”. The reason why this point is not enough to make the Negative team win is because they do not develop it further than bringing in the example of Iraq. There is little analysis of the effects of the invasion, of how things look like more than a decade after “inflicting democracy” and of why, in general, nascent democracies tend to be more chaotic and damaging than the previous dictatorships.
  • The Negatives try to pick this up later in their own argument, about how force contradicts the very essence of democracy. While that is true at some level, that argument does little for me since it is also true that there are situations when using legitimate force in a democracy is necessary. And those situations are exactly the kind that the Affirmatives are bringing forward (the breach of human rights, the endangering of human lives).
  • On the subject on economic development, I sided more with the Affirmative team because their analysis focused more on sums of examples and overall analysis. Both the evidence from the Negative team and the analysis was centered on particulars: the examples of Bhutan and the opinion of the Singapore expert. When put in context though, as the Affirmative team does, those examples turn out to be the exception rather than the rule.  
  • The discussion about women empowerment never really gets into specific analysis, though the Affirmative team gets the closest to bringing in concrete explanations.. What is lacking this time is a comparison of the two situations and why one is better than the other. Neither team provides sufficient analysis to make that call.
  • On the issue of racism, again, the Negative team does put a dent in the Affirmative case, but not sufficient to make the goal of democracy not worth pursuing. While by the end of the debate I am convinced that racist tendencies can manifest in all regimes, I am also convinced that these tendencies become much more dangerous and much more likely to become actions in non-democracies. While there is racism (often in violent forms) directed at the Roma people, for instance, in some of the oldest democracies, it has never reached the level of state-sponsored killings, as in the cases pointed out by the Affirmative team.
  • The last point, about democracies saving lives, is probably the more contentious one and it does take away a little from the Affirmatives. The example used here seems chosen for no particular reason and is singular (although many more examples probably exist). The Negative refutation is also more on the point, even though it, too, makes some assumptions (the fact that enlightened despotism exist does not mean it is the predominant instance; it also does not mean we should not intervene when the despotism is less enlightened).

As a general comment for both teams, I would suggest you pay more attention to citing sources. While the evidence may be relevant and accurate, using Wikipedia or personal blogs as a source does detract a bit from your credibility, mainly because these are not primary sources, but also because they themselves lack credibility.

In terms of individual scores and feedback, here is what I thought was most important:

A1 (736 words) = 24 (12, 8, 4)

Pay more attention to the way you word definitions, so that it does not appear that you are trying to avoid the real discussion in the topic. I largely agree with the definition of force, but I also agree with the Negatives: the wording of the definition makes it sound like you are trying to get rid altogether of the idea of military intervention.

You always need to explain your statements. There is no such thing as a universally accepted assumption in debate. So when you say “we cannot question the effect of empowering women on development”, that is not really an argument or a strong reasoning.

Try to make nuanced distinctions in your analysis: you will seem more reasonable. While it is true that democracies have less serious problems when it comes to racism, it is an exaggeration to claim that “there is no distinction between black and white in USA”.

N1 (734 words) = 24 (12, 7, 5)

Try to make your examples part of a larger picture, rather than rely extensively on them to make an argument. Bhutan, for instance, is an excellent counterexample to a previous point, but will the argument stand if it is shown to be the only one?

Saying something is not true is not convincing if you do not explain why, such as when you simply state that “it is still to be proven that “women empowerment in entrepreneurship cannot be achieved unless democracy is implemented in that country””. Maybe it was not proven, but you can anticipate that and provide analysis that shows the contrary.

Try to always analyze general principles and values in the context of the particular topic of the debate Taking about freedom of choice (of a political system) only makes sense if it exists, which is hardly the case in dictatorships. The distinction between using force to impose rights and enforcing already existing rights seems to rely largely on the idea of rule of law. Is this principle more important than saving human lives? It could be, but why?

A2 (810 words) = 25 (12, 8, 5)

Try to be specific and illustrate each point to make it easier to understand. When talking about women empowerment you bring up the “combination of cultural and legal and regulatory barriers” but you never mention what they are and why they are only found in non-democratic countries.

Make sure that you answer the Negative case as well. Your speech seems to be lacking a strong refutation of the Negative substantive point, about how force contradicts the essence of democracy.

N2 (806 words) = 24 (12, 8, 4)

Try to analyze values in their specific context. When you say that “democracy implies the existence of several opinions and propositions, which can be freely expressed without being afraid of any kind of repression” and that “using the force is totally in contradiction with that conception, because the limit to determine if a different point of view is legitimate, and consequently tolerated is very weak”, you are mixing two very different instances. The point about democracy only makes sense in a democratic system, not when talking about imposing it in a non-democratic context. Limiting dictatorship is an entirely different thing than limiting a democratically expressed point of view in a democracy.

Quotes from famous people, even philosophers and political leaders, are a great rhetorical tool, but they are never a substitute for reasoning and evidence. So the Hobbes quote is really not proof enough to show that “escalation of violence” works in the way that you are proposing.

Talking about what a piece of evidence is about, simply referring to it (“A very good film “The War on Democracy” from John Pilger illustrate this purpose”), is not enough in a debate. You need to actually tell us what that piece of evidence is about, what it actually says and why it is true.

Use metaphors and hyperboles with caution, as often times they may simply be not true (“choosing any kind of force, will deny and destroy Humanity”). The use of force is a complex issue and is often necessary for that very purpose: to protect Humanity.

A1 -> 24 puncte
N1 -> 24 puncte
A2 -> 25 puncte
N2 -> 24 puncte
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Fingerprint (afirmatori)

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