Login  Register


forgot password?



'Fire Starters' (afirmatori) vs 'Borderless' (negatori)

A1 (Anas Oweiwi)

Hi, I am Anas Aloweiwi, this house believes that western democracies have a moral duty to spread democracy across the world even if this involves using force. However, this force must be restricted under some limitations which are:

1)    Using force depends on the intensity of the situation, that not every dictatorial action must be removed using force.

2)    Force must not be used unless all the peaceful ways (like political and economical pressures) in applying democracy had run out.

3)    Force must not be used if it could cause a huge loss of lives or a massive destruction, like using nuclear weapons, or causing a world war.

4)    Force to apply democracy could be used only if the western world countries agreed to work as one unit to apply it.

5)    The main reason for allowing using force is not to use force, but as a method to scare the dictatorship when it sees the huge military union of the western world against it, which would mostly lead to its giving up peacefully.

In fact, there are many reasons for this motion, but I will discuss 4 of them which are:

1)    The western world is responsible of benefiting people who suffer from dictatorship.

2)    The western world is responsible of saving millions of souls around the world.

3)    The western world is responsible of preventing dictatorships from empowering their authorities.

4)    The western world is responsible of applying human rights in the world.

Since we all live at the same world, all human beings should act towards one another in a spirit of brother hood [1]. Hence the western world is responsible to work in what is beneficial for other nations, and because spreading democracy to the whole world is totally important and beneficial for human beings, it becomes a responsibility upon the western world shoulders to spread democracy to the whole world. In order to show its importance, we can see the effects of applying democracy at South Korea and applying Dictatorship at North Korea. Thus, the western world is responsible of applying democracy to benefit their brothers around the world.
Since some dictators have the system of executing, killing, or torturing whoever face their opinions, applying democracy would save thousands or millions of souls around the world, even if that demanded using a military war, maybe some souls could be lost. On the other hand, doubles of them would be saved, noting that mostly there would be no war because of the huge alliance of the western world countries against the dictator. For example, it’s estimated that as many as 15 million civilians were killed by the Nazis’ Holocaust [2]. Hence if this situation was not held by the western world, maybe billions of people could have been killed because of that totalitarian regime. Therefore, millions of souls could be saved if the western world worked to apply democracy in the world.
Unfortunately, the world’s current situation allows dictatorships to empower their dictatorial systems, by preventing any state from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any other state [3], which could cause the spreading of these dictatorial systems to the whole world. Consequently, this situation must be currently changed by applying democracy, by the one who is able to apply it which is actually the western world, in order to create a new world filled with love and peace among all human beings. The proof of the ability of the western world countries of applying democracy to the world is that they are more than 20 countries including three great powers. Therefore the western world is powerful enough to apply democracy across the whole world even if that involved using force. Thus, we would reach to a world which is clean of dictatorships and built upon the basis of peace and love.
For thousands of years, wars have been blowing up around the whole world. The world’s current situation ,which allows dictatorships to increase their authorities upon human beings’ simplest rights of enjoying the right of living peacefully without being subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment[4] , must be currently changed in order to create a world filled with Justice and freedom granted to all human beings. Due to that, democracy must be applied in the whole world, and actually the western world has the power to do that. For example, 22 months ago, the UN estimated that more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria since the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began [5]. Thus, human rights are being violated by some dictatorships.
For these reasons, I strongly believe that the western world democracies have a moral duty to spread democracy across the world even when this involves force.
[1] The Universal declaration of human rights, art. 1, (available at http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/)
[2] BBC news, History category, By Dr Steve Paulsson, Last updated 2011-02-17 (available at www.bbc.com/history/worldwars/genocide/holocaust_overview_01.shtml#top )
[3] UN Charter, chapter7, art. 42, (http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter7.shtml)
[4] The Universal declaration of human rights, art. 5, (available at http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/)

[5] UN official website, news category, UN Human Rights Council condemns violence in Syria, para. 4 (available at http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42409#.UzWRY_vy9rR)

N1 (Maria Antica)

We thank to the Affirmative Team for the laid arguments and explanations. However, this House believes that Western democracies don’t have a moral duty to spread democracy across the world, especially when this involves the use of force and that countries have the right to choose their desired political regime, no matter its form, on their own. Actually, it is not very clear from the first affirmative speech why Western democracies have any moral duty to promote democracy across the world.

Democratization is a slow process to achieve and needs to be chosen directly by the citizens and not violently imposed

As the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stated: “…democracy is a universal right that does not belong to any country or region, and that participatory governance, based on the will of the people, is the best path to freedom, growth and development.”1 This actually means that democracy or any other regime cannot be imposed unless it is a bottom up call made by all citizens of a given country. As Larry Diamond said, countries have slowly changed starting with 1848 French Revolution, many of them incorporating democratic characteristics one by one, or resolving the implementation of this form of government by themselves, within their territory with no violent or intrusive intervention from other countries2. Or, as Michael Doyle put it, ‘democracy is not only government "for" the people, it is also government "of" and "by" the people’3 therefore only they can decide what type of government they want.


No matter the limits, the use of force is not legitimate

If we take into considerations Affirmator’s limits for intervention, we agree that they can get involved in order to protect civilians’ lives when they are at threat, but not necessary to overthrow the regime and not to impose democracy by default. Force CAN be used but only in the act of peacekeeping, but not in trying to change the regime, be that even a dictatorship.

Military intervention implies the sacrifice of a certain number of people, as long as, there are alternatives to military force, we must not waste any human life. In their so called way to ‘promote’ democracy, Western countries should not neglect the costs of war, the massive casualties and the impact left on children, nor the losses beard by their part. For instance, in Iraq, 4,486 of American soldiers died4, and approximately 700.000 of people were killed. There has also been a rise in domestic violence, honour killings, ‘temporary marriages’ and all types of sexual exploitation.5


Alternative ways of promoting democracy, different from violence

Rather than violent interventions, no matter how long the processes are, we believe more that economic sanctions or financial support and transfers of know-how are a more legitimate way of giving them the tools for development, hoping that this would lead to democracy, rather than imposing it. These kind of slow and tedious processes, that can be very well observed in Africa, i.e. Democratic Republic of Congo or Rwanda where ONU intervened to stop the civil wars and continued with development programs, are a good example that improvements and evolution can be achieved without military involvement only after the critical situation was resolved.

Democracy is best promoted by peaceful means – investment, trade, foreign aid. UN Democracy Fund counts as multilateral assistance which overall is particularly useful in promoting and encouraging democracy. The “trade” association coming from the informal “Community of Democracies” provides a good premise on which values intrinsic to democracy can grow.6


Western countries are hypocritical when they justify violent interventions through the process of democratization

Western countries joint and full decision to intervene in a country that is not part of their partnership doesn’t legitimate the intervention as per protecting human rights but as for their own survival and interests, be them economic, military or geostrategic, as it happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. Same with Ukraine where just recently the European Union was willing to sacrifice human rights (LGBTQ community) for showing support for the new, conservative Government.7 Overall, every action performed by authorities such as NATO is discussed in depth, interests (geo-strategic, economic, military) being a main prerequisite for taking action8 and not as a moral duty to promote democracy and protect human rights.

In conclusion, the confusion between "democracy promotion" and "regime change" does no one no good as the values of democracy are thrown in front with no basis; the use of military force is often, in these situations, inconsistent with the characteristics and values upheld by democracy and don’t show, often, support for human rights but rather support for the individualistic interest of the states that intervene. The aftermath of violent interventions, such as the one in Afghanistan, is clearly put in the statement of Malalai Joya, a former member of the Afghan Parliament: "Occupation will never bring liberation, and it is impossible to bring democracy by war."9

2 Larry Diamond, Democratic Development course, accessed from Coursera’s website at https://class.coursera.org/democraticdev-002/lecture/29

3 Michael Doyle, Promoting Democracy is not Imposing Democracy, accessed at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-doyle/promoting-democracy-is-no_b_826574.html

5  Joanne Baker, The Impact of the Iraq War on Iraqi Children, accessed at: http://childvictimsofwar.org.uk/the-impact-of-the-iraq-war-on-iraqi-children/

6  Michael Doyle, idem 3

7  Hanna Kozlowska, Will the EU Sacrifice Gay Rights in Ukraine for Geopolitics?, March 28th, accessed at http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/03/28/will_the_eu_sacrifice_gay_rights_in_ukraine_for_geopolitics

8  Dylan Crimmins, NATO would go into Syria if it could. Here is why it can’t, accessed at http://www.policymic.com/articles/53823/nato-would-go-into-syria-if-it-could-here-s-why-it-can-t

9  Lupick, Travis (12 November 2009). "Suspended Afghan MP Malalai Joya wants NATO's mission to end". Straight.com. Retrieved 9 February 2010.

A2 (Katia Smadi)

We thank the first speaker of the opposition Team for the laid arguments and explanations. However, this House believes that Western democracies have a moral duty to spread democracy across the world, even if this involves the use of force, we did not say it is obligatory to force Eastern and Western countries to apply democracy, instead we said it’s a moral duty for Western Countries, that is why first speaker pointed them out and described them. By saying it is a moral duty To benefit people who suffer from dictatorship because we should treat each other as brothers and sisters and not as enemies, so we should benefit for each other and with each other to spread democracy, To save million souls around the world, To prevent spreading dictatorships from empowering their authorities, and To [1]apply human rights around the world.

First of all, logically you cannot Referendum each citizen to ask for his or her will, but instead we can have fair election, and each one will vote for the candidate who suits the best and this candidate will represent their will, otherwise there will be a chaos in each country. And this is what describes the best??? For Michael Doyle quote as the first speaker of opposite team mentioned, that says (democracy is not only government "for" the people, it is also government "of" and "by" the people).

Secondly, The 2nd source is unavailable because that I am not enrolled in this course. If possible provide us with more convenient resource. It is known that The French Revolution marks a stain in history, notorious for one of the bloodiest periods in modern civilization. (1) And it is a fact and not an opinion also this is what dictatorship means, to spread the empower of dictators.

Thirdly, The opposition speaker kept saying that we must always look for peaceful alternative ways as they have said, “as long as, there are alternatives to military force, we must not waste any human life”, our restrictions for force (in the peaceful ways point) affirmed that. On the other hand, the other team did not mention what to do if these alternatives had run out and had become not effective, while the dictatorship increase its power, oppress, and kill more and more people every coming day, because eventually force would be demanded in some cases.

Fourthly, N1 did mention that there are other alternative ways to military force but did not mention what are they, so please more details if possible.

Let me start with Rebuttals, first Rebut for “we must not Neglect the cost of war”:

The first speaker second argument detailed this, that we would save millions of souls instead considering the example of Nazis’ holocaust, noting that mostly there would be no war for what we explained before.

Second Rebut, higher number of people who died when Saddam Hussein was dictator than when fighting for democracy by saying that around one million people where killed under Sadam Hussein’s regime (2). And an estimated 10,000 lived, but live daily with the disfigurement and sicknesses from the chemical weapons (3) 

Evermore, It’s not valid reference for Iraq because our definition of using force conditioned the existence of the western union, which actually was not in that war.

Third Rebut, for the hypocritical point: As my friend discussed the interfering would be from all the western countries (not from individual countries as what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan) which actually make the use of interests ineffective or actually prohibited because of the specified aims of the union, and for what happened in Ukraine that European Union wants to and reinforce democracy (4) and apply human rights by fulfill the EU’s conditions over a certain period of time which include addressing the issues of selective justice, reforming its electoral legislation, and conducting a number of reforms within the Association Agenda(5) because there was a dictatorship applied by Viktor Yanukovich

In conclusion, quotes represents personal opinions, so they cannot be a reference. Even more first speaker of affirmative team said, we should use all peaceful ways to apply democracy by Western countries and not one country before using force, and force is described in a clarified way that force must not be used if it could cause a huge loss of lives or a massive destruction, like using nuclear weapons, or causing a world war. For example Latvia we can see when it was in the Russian Empire “dictatorship Empire” and after joining European Union, that includes higher standards for living for each citizen, by having a healthy and strong economy. And as Benjamin Franklin said “Although our interests as citizens vary, each one is an artery to the heart that pumps life through the body politic, and each is important to the health of democracy”. (6)[2]







N2 (Nadia Nofal)

What makes Western democracies worthy of spreading a system or another? Is it the economical advancements, political system that puts an emphasis on human rights, diversity and freedoms? As we know, in most Western democracies there are still fights for equal human rights (Roma, LGBT1) death threats2 (even though to a softer level compared to a war zone), unfair elections, corruption and so on so why should such countries try and give an example to those who have dictatorships? Even more, which of the Western countries do we refer to? Based on the “The Economist Intelligence Unit” analyses, out of the 25 full democracies worldwide, some are not Western at all (Japan, South Korea or Costa Rica) while some Western countries aren’t considered full democracies at all (Italy, Greece etc).3


While we can agree these are important assets, there is no clear connection with any moral duty. Rather it is by choice that they’re helping other countries become more democratic through funds for development projects or money for civil societies. In case these options run out, as A2 pointed out, UN and NATO have the tools and mandate to intervene and end civil wars and send peace forces. This choice can be one of a kantian, idealistic type (love of all human beings and souls, as A1 made it clear already), but it can also be a more pragmatic one (securing borders, natural resources, military threats). EU is such an example: despite its official stand as a human rights and peace promoter, its Eastern Enlargement project was to secure her borders and have stabil countries there in order for it to function properly4. Our example with Ukraine was an evidence to highlight exactly this: EU is willing to give up its fight for human rights (LGBT community in Ukraine) in order to satisfy a conservative government in Kiev and have a so called stability there.


USA’s intervention in Iraq is another one: they wanted to make sure they don’t have nuclear weapons (besides reassuring Americans the 9/11 will be revenged), even though they used the democracy promotion speech afterwards. We understood from the other team this would be an illegitimate intervention due to the fact there was no joint Western agreement on this intervention but there is no such agreement in any intervention so far, especially when it is not very clear which Western country do we expect the moral duty to act. Syria’s case, given as an example by the Affirmative team, is another type of situation where Western countries’ hypocrisy is highlighted as they chose not to intervene and save those “more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, killed in Syria since the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began” in order to respect Russia’s vetoing in the Security Council.5


The 1848 French Revolution example we gave was one to underlie the idea that the people can choose what type of political regime they want and that the transition to it is of a long shot (still, based on the same “The Economist” analyses, France is still a “flawed” democracy.6 Although each citizen from a dictatorial state cannot be logically asked through a referendum what system they want (as the Affirmative team noticed), they can still take on the streets and voice their options through revolutions and bring down their dictators, as it happened with the ex-communist countries or the Arab one. It was people’s choice to what kind of political system and values they want to adhere to: countries like Romania, Poland, the Baltic countries and so on made efforts to reach a higher level of democracy through the EU accession7 (that promotes, overall even though imperfect, equal, women, human rights), while Egypt, Libya or Tunisia chose other values through the newly elected political leaders, different from the Western model.8 This is what we meant when we quoted Michael Doyle when he said, ‘democracy is not only government "for" the people” (meaning something that can imposed), but a “government "of" and "by" the people’ (meaning that they can choose the type of democracy or political system and values they want, even though they’re different from the Western world).


The motion is based on two strong statements for which the arguments brought by the Affirmative team are not explicit enough, meaning that from their affirmations we couldn’t figure out why Western democracies in particular have any moral duty to promote anything, especially their own democratic political system. The underlying idea behind our argument that these states are hypocritical was exactly the fact that they don’t have such or any moral duty to promote anything but their own self interest and well-being, despite the fact that “all human beings should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”, as the first team said. To that we add that people themselves need to choose their own path.

6  Ibidem, p. 4


8 Larry Diamond, http://www.wilsonquarterly.com/essays/why-wait-democracy. For the first citation given in N1 speech we suggest enrolling to that course, didn’t find another source unfortunately.



cristina rosu

A1: 21 points

Content: 10

Strategy: 7

Style: 4

I appreciate the structure of the speech and the initial clarification of the context you want take into consideration in this debate. Be carefull at the fair play, though, because you choose some rules almost impossible to happen in reality- wich affects the vision you propose, by making it less probable to apply in the real world. For example, it is difficult to imagine/ to determine when ALL the diplomatic measures have been used and is also difficult to imagine a union of the western countries for the purpose of imposing democracy using force (a bit contradictory with point 3, where you make sure your vision does not cause a world war). I believe it was necessary to explain better what is “moral” and why democracy is important and will work in all countries (the example of Korea should have been better explained). Be carefull of using truistic ideas, like we have to save the lives of humans, human rights are important- I would recommend you to focus more on the explanations of how these goals will be achieved if we apply the vision you propose.


N1: 23 points

Content: 12

Strategy: 7

Style: 4

The idea of creating democracy from inside, not imposing it from ouside the country, has potential. However, it's worth analyzing if this is feasible, especially in regimes where the opression is so strong, for so long, that peole lack the proper tools to make a change - or when they do manage to stand up for their rights, it takes the form of a bloody revolution. You might want to argue that thisis still preferable to an intervention, but you would have to explain why. Additionally, it would help if you explained why democracy is a slow process and should remain so, versus imposing it from outside the country.

 I think you made a good strategic choice when saying that military intervention by international bodies is legitimate when stopping genocide/gross violation of human right, but less obvious when trying to impose a regime. ("If we take into considerations Affirmator’s limits for intervention, we agree that they can get involved in order to protect civilians’ lives when they are at threat, but not necessary to overthrow the regime and not to impose democracy by default.") So, you are right in saying it is the affirmative teams' burden of proof to show that the choice (westermn states' choice) for demoracy is reason enough for intervention, beyond the atrocities that take or don't take place in the country where they want to intervene.

I recommend you to use a more structured refutation and to make a clear explanation of the immoral aspect of using force.


A2: 21 points

Content: 10

Strategy: 7

Style: 4

I appreciate the structured speech.

You repeat the idea that people in undemocratic countries deserve human rights and beter life and they should have the right to cast a vote - which is not something that anyone would argue against, the opposing team wants these things also, so it might be more useful to spend less space (number of words) on this and explain more why force is the right tool to achieve these things. You raise this good point and challenge the Negatiev team to take a stance when saying "Thirdly, The opposition speaker kept saying that we must always look for peaceful alternative ways as they have said, “as long as, there are alternatives to military force, we must not waste any human life”, our restrictions for force (in the peaceful ways point) affirmed that. On the other hand, the other team did not mention what to do if these alternatives had run out and had become not effective, while the dictatorship increase its power, oppress, and kill more and more people every coming day, because eventually force would be demanded in some cases."

The negative team proposed some alternative measures for the western countries to intervene (investment, trade, foreign aid,  or punitive measures such as economic sanctions) - I believe it was necessary to analyze whether these countries might have a higher level of morality in their military interventions, when they have exhausted all other more diplomatic measures.

You mention that hypocrisy and self interested interventions are diminished if action is taken by a union of western states and not one individual state - this vision of the affirmative team should have been clear for the start of the debate, otherwise it becomes confusing. Also, you continue this paragraph by invoking Latvia and its history - it looks like an idea that landed in the middle of another idea. Be more careful ins eparating arguments in paragraphs, don't mix them!


N2: 24 points

Content: 12

Strategy: 7

Style: 5

Firstly, I congratulate you ont aking teh ime to do research and document your speech, it's a good habbit that will help you become a knowledgeable debater. You need to work on improving the structure of your speech - especially given taht you are the last speaker, you need to point out what are the areas of clash (the ideas on which the teams had opposing views) and  explain why your team has been more convincing in proving them.

You make a distinction between a moral duty and a pragmatic choice, but it is unclear why they can't coexist/overlap. Another aspect remained unsufficiently explained by your team: the negative repercussions of imposing democracy from outside the country and why these are greater than intervention from inside.

Overall, I think the area that needs improvement in your speech is  making a clear vision of what happened in the debate, highlighted as areas of clash. Also, work on delivering a more point by point refutation.



The affirmative team had the burden of explaining why the western states have a moral duty to intervene and why they still act in a moral manner if they use force to impose it. The affirmative team presented a series of situations in wich they consider it is justified to intervene using force. However, during the debate, these initial settings generated discussions about the use of diplomatic sanctions, the necessity of an union and not if an individual state. On the matter of alternative measures, I believe it was necessary to make a connection with the morality of the military intervention- how it increases if we exhaust all other forms of diplomatic sanctions. On the matter of the necessity of all the western democracies, I believe it was necessary an explanation of why we should refer only to an union and not a state/ group of states part of those democracy, especially when the negative team asked for it. Overall, Neg team shows there are alternatives and that the last resort - using force - is only acceptable for peace keeping, not for imposign a regime change.

The negative team started with the idea that democratization is a slow process that must happen from the inside and not imposed by an exterior force. This became a relevant clash about „government of and by the people”. I believe the negative team pointed out that democracy is a system that needs time to be applied and that it has to be the choice of the population. Even states from the West that are considered democracies have problems with respecting human rights and are democracies only in a formal way. The affirmative team’s idea about imposing democracy and organising democratic ellections seems only formal, especially when they mention the neccesity of respecting human rights and creating a new, better world.  If morality means to act according to the general good, then I believe the negative team demonstrated that imposing democracy (even using force) has nothing to do with morality, but with individual interests, morality being only a façade. The effect is a fake process of democratisation, because the authentic one must start from inside the population, as the negative team pointed out.

The negative team won the debate.

A1 -> 21 puncte
N1 -> 23 puncte
A2 -> 21 puncte
N2 -> 24 puncte
Castiga echipa:

Borderless (negatori)

Vrem parerea ta! Pentru asta, trebuie sa te loghezi.

Un proiect
Open Society Foundation
Policy Center
British Council
Prime Romania
Centrul pentru jurnalism independent
Foreign Policy
Voluntari pentru idei si proiecte
Asociatia young initiative
Susținători Parteneri instituționali
Parteneri media
Romania Pozitiva
Think Outside The Box
Iasi fun
Ziarul de Iasi
Acest proiect este finantat cu sustinere din partea Comisiei Europene. Aceast publicatie [comunicare] reflecta doar vederile autorului, iar Comisia nu poate fi facuta responsabila pentru utilizarea informatiei pe care o contine.