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Challenge Match: Druid42 vs RationalDespair: The USA is the world's police force.

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posted on Nov, 8 2012 @ 07:08 PM
Welcome everyone, to another ATS sponsored debate. My opponent and I will be discussing the topic of whether or not the USA is the world's police force, and in the process, perhaps uncover some startling statistics.

l will open the debate by stating I was surprised when researching this topic, at the information I uncovered. I had assumed that Russia, China and the USA had the world's largest militaries, being world superpowers, but we'll soon discover that is not really the truth.

There are 195 countries on this planet of ours, with a world population of 6.7 billion people. Nearly every country has a military, and the main purpose of having a military is to protect your sovereignty. As a country, you need soldiers to keep your land safe. Of course, there are countries less able to protect themselves, and so we'll find that throughout history, other countries, the US included, send troops to help with humanitarian efforts, and for peacekeeping activities. The purpose of this debate is to show that the rest of the world defaults to the United States to send troops for such activities, and that there is a good reason for that: there is an enemy that we cannot see, but feel, and a war going on behind the scenes. This is the "War on Terror".

Not only does the US valiantly defend her own soil, but after 9/11, the US stands forth to fight on any soil, in an epic battle against those whose wish to do others evil. As long as there are extremists with radical ideologies, we are not safe, and every citizen of this planet is in danger, therefore we need to be diligent in protecting the very freedoms that we hold dear, for in the instant we let our attention waiver, we lose the freedoms that the soldiers of the world have died to protect.

The War on Terror is being won, slowly, inevitably, but it is not over. Not yet. As long there is terrorism, the US will be there to aid in the fight.

The United States has 252 Embassies world wide, more than any other country in the world. We have ambassadors to ensure a direct line of diplomacy with our government, and direct contact with our commander-in-chief through the Department of State in case a military intervention is required, whether by force or humanitarian aid. The US watches the activities of the whole world.

There are also other countries with bigger militaries than the USA, and I've compiled a list of the top five largest militaries in the world:

5: China, 4,585,000
4: India, 4,768,407
3: Vietnam, 5,495,000
2: South Korea, 8,691,500
1: North Korea, 9,495,000

Number six on the list would be Iran, with 3,833,000 total military troops. Where is Russia and the United States? The Russian Federation has 2,230,000 total troops, and the USA, 2,927,754. I find it amazing that we police the rest of the world with just under three million total enlisted personnel. How can we do that? Simple. We spend the most. We have the most powerful army in the world, from specially trained strike forces to the most modern avionics and weaponry. We are well suited for the role we play in keeping the world safe from terrorists.

If you carefully note the list above, there are some troubling numbers in there. Very possible caustic situations could arise. It's why we are so very heavily invested in diplomacy as the primary means to prevent wars. We negotiate, force trade embargoes, and levy economics sanctions. We try to work out peaceful solutions at all costs. Iran and North Korea still threaten world peace, but the USA is diligent with the task that is set before us, because if we fail to act, tyrannies will rule.

For now, I rest, and hand the debate over to RationalDespair......

posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 04:59 AM
First of all, I´d like to thank Druid42 for kindly accepting my challenge and the ATS members that make this debate forum possible.

"The USA is the World´s Police Force."

This claim is often uttered by both opponents and proponents of the military role the USA plays in the world. Opponents complain that the US military sticks its nose in business it should keep out of, while proponents claim that the US possesses the only military force capable of playing this necessary role.

Looking at past major military operations around the world, it will quickly become clear that the USA is not the World´s Police Force, but merely a police officer part of a global force. Decisions to invade a country or intervene in an existing conflict are made by the members of the United Nations (UN), or more specifically, their Security Council. This council consists of 15 member countries, of which 5 are permanent and have a right to veto a decision: USA, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom. The other 10 members are non-permanent, elected countries without the right to veto. Together, these members will decide over any military action to be taken.

It´s important to understand that veto power is a negative vote only. When the UN proposes a security resolution, there has to be a majority of 9 (out of 15) Security Council votes in favor of the proposal. A permanent member may execute its right to veto the resolution, only to dismiss it and not enforce it. Therefore, the decisions made in the past to intervene in a conflict or invade a country were made by a majority of the members and never by the USA, or any other permanent member, alone.

When a decision to intervene is made, the UN usually first sends peacekeeper forces to an area. Since the UN does not have a military force itself, the forces of its members are selected and sent under the UN flag (Blue Helmets). When these peacekeeping operations fail, the decision to send more specialized forces may be agreed upon.

On other occasions, direct military intervention is preferred and there are no peacekeepers sent. One example is Operation Desert Storm in 1991, where 34 countries, under the supervision of the USA, freed Kuwait from the invasion by Iraq. Even though the majority of the forces were US troops, they still needed approval and assistance from other UN members.

Operations such as these are coordinated by other alliances, such as the NATO. The NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is a pact of allied countries, established to serve the defense of each of its members. Basically, when one member is attacked, the other will aid to their defense. The NATO is based on the Treaty of Brussels from 1948, signed by Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and the United Kingdom. A year later, the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland joined this treaty and it was renamed the North Atlantic Treaty. Currently, the NATO has 28 member states. Participation in military action is decided by each member on its own; there are no voting rounds, but political pressure is of course present.

It may be clear by now that there is a lot of meeting and counseling going on behind the scenes, before any decision to military intervention is made. These decisions are made by all the members of the councils and cannot be enforced by a single member. The proposed resolutions must have substantial argumentation and need to adhere to international law.

The USA is not the World´s Police Force. Although they play a major role, they coordinate their actions with many other nations, need approval and votes from other countries and execute military operations in dialogue with other military forces. All in all, they are a police officer to be reckoned with, but not the almighty police force ensuring the safety of the global population that they are often claimed to be.

For now I rest my case and hand it back to you, Druid42.

posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 06:55 PM

When you stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything.

Did the United States require UN approval before President Obama sent in the team of Navy Seals to take out Osama bin Laden? Nope. We completed a military action without needing approval from anyone, and we set a squad of troops on foreign soil, with a simple mandate, acting alone, under the direct command of the US commander-in-chief. It was a raid on foreign soil that completely by-passed a Security Council resolution. If we do that with the highest profile felon in the world, think of all the covert actions that take place, without breaking the news, save here on ATS.

The world doesn't really function with global wars anymore. WWW III would be prevented with diplomacy through the UN, and I think you would agree, but there are minor issues that need resolved as well.

I'll digress for a paragraph: NATO is a conglomeration of nations in case one of it's members is attacked. 911 was a direct attack on one of it's members. That event, on the sovereignty of American soil, forever changed the way the UN functions, and gives the US full and first-most authority on any military actions. That event, that one day when over 3000 civilians lost their lives on American soil, created a United States of America that IS the world's police force, and it enacted the "War on Terror". Now, the United States will fight that war, to the end, by every means at her disposal. If it means by-passing diplomatic process, it will occur. That is the resolve. The UN knows that, and will default to the decisions of the Commander-in-Chief of the United States, newly re-elected President Barack Obama. Policies have changed. Terrorism will not be tolerated in this modern age. The UN knows that, NATO knows that, and everything is co-ordinated through the US Department of State, directly to the president of the United States.

Yes, the USA can strike ANYWHERE in the world. We don't require thousands of troops. Troops are meant to defend an invasion, and the USA has no desire to invade any other country for any plausible reason. We have stealth bombers that were built with the US military budget, not the UN military budget. Truth of the matter, the UN has no troops at it's disposal at all. Troop contributions are from member nations. This "War against Terror" is NOT about troops.

It's about stealth, and picking individual targets, and eliminating them. The US has drones, remotely piloted, an advanced piece of machinery that provides intelligence to the Department of State, and it is cross-linked with satellite imagery. We can deploy drones anywhere in the world. (No UN resolution required!) A target is confirmed, and stealth bombers are deployed. No troops are involved in this new age of warfare. The USA is the only country in the world with such a sophisticated network of intelligence. 11 years after we were attacked on our own soil, we are now prepared to strike terror in the hearts of terrorists. It took 11 years of development and policy change, but in those 11 years, we have become the police force of the world.

Overall, this discussion isn't about military might, but rather, protecting the global economy. Every nation in the world belongs to the UN, save Taiwan. Diplomacy is resolved accordingly, and the whole purpose of the United Nations is to secure for all humanity a peaceful world. Their job is admirable in the undertaking, but they are reft with old policies and burdened by diplomacy, a fault. Disruption of the global economy will lead to the collapse of the system as a whole, so I personally see the job the US does covertly as beneficial to our overall survival.

Without police in our neighborhoods, crime would become rampant. Without police in the world, we'd descend into chaos. The UN itself has no police force, no military, save those provided by it's members, to re-iterate. The United States of America therefore becomes the police force of the United Nations, with all our technological advancements to justify our employment in such a role, and we are well suited to the task.

When you stand against terrorism, you define yourself. There is a clear goal for the future, and that is freedom from fear. When that goal is achieved, the United States will step down as it's role of the world's police.

It ain't happening anytime soon.

I rest my position, and send it back to RationalDespair.

posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 02:22 AM
A police force is defined as an entity burdened with the enforcement of law, civil order and is responsible for the prevention and detection of crime in order to protect the citizens within it's jurisdiction. As opposed to military organizations, a police force is a civil organization. A police force has some very tight restrictions when it comes to their domain of operations. It's a well-known fact that country or even state police cannot operate outside their own borders, except in special cases and then only in cooperation with a local police force, that does have the proper jurisdiction.

The covert, or sometimes even overt, operations that US armed forces undertake are controversial at least. Direct attacks on foreign soil without proper consent of the UN Security Council is questionable, and are a direct infringement of international law and agreements as set out by the Geneva Convention. Drones, special forces and other military means of targeting an object or person covertly directly violate international etiquette and provoke counter attacks. You have to wonder if assassinations, even if morally justified, are what you want a police force to take part of.

A study by researchers from Stanford and New York University (Living Under Drones) showed that far more civilians than terrorists have been killed in drone attacks by the US on areas in Pakistan. This is not a country the US is at war with and the deaths are seen as murder by the local population. Moreover, the study concludes that the strikes are counter-productive and undermine respect for international law.

This is not the modus operandi of a police force. Instead of breaking the law, they should act as an example and abide by it at all times. The operations carried out by the US without consulting other members of the UN are therefore not actions that may be seen as policing. This does not rule out their necessity, however "by any means possible" should never be the motto of a police force. Even though a "War on Terror" is justified and there is a real threat, that does not give any force the right to act outside its own domain and kill innocent civilians.

One could easily propose that we may actually need a World's Police Force to keep operations as performed by the US under close scrutiny. Instead of being a world's police force, they justify the need for one.

Did the United States require UN approval before President Obama sent in the team of Navy Seals to take out Osama bin Laden? Nope.

This is untrue. The US did require approval for such a mission, but acted nevertheless. Their big influence on the UN is one the reasons they can get away with this. Another reason is that most other members were happy to get rid of Osama Bin Laden and didn´t complain after the fact. However, this does not make it legal or justified. There are rules and laws that a police force must enforce and therefore abide by themselves. When you give a police force too much power and specifically the power to break the law, then where do we draw the line?

Cristof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings has strongly criticized the drone attacks by the US in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. He claims that they constitute war crimes and another UN rapporteur, Ben Emmerson, stated that the killings require close investigation by the UN.

Apart from drone strikes, the US has performed other questionable military actions, such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had this to say about it: "From our point of view and the UN Charter point of view, it was illegal." Looking at the overall picture that the US has drawn, I think it´s safe to conclude that they are by no means a world´s police force. They may be seen as the world´s mercenaries:

Art 47. Mercenaries

1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.
2. A mercenary is any person who:
(a) is especially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;
(b) does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;
(c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;
(d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;
(e) is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and
(f) has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.

I´ll leave it to the reader to ponder whether or not the US Armed Forces, who, interestingly, do not endorse this definition in the Geneva Convention, comply with the sections a-f.

posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 07:07 PM
I'm having problems with my opponent's position that every situation can be resolved by diplomatic means. It seems he wants to vilify the United States for violating treaties and acting on their own accord.

Instead of breaking the law, they should act as an example and abide by it at all times.

Sometimes, it's simply not feasible to following politically correct avenues, which often lead to stalemate and indecision, with no action being taken at all.

Let me briefly present a comparable analogy:

A robber enters a bank, demands cash, and takes everyone hostage. The police arrive on the scene, but are helpless to negotiate. A SWAT team is called in. (SWAT stands for Special Weapons And Tactics) Snipers are positioned on adjacent rooftops, awaiting the command to take out the criminal.

A hostage negotiator is brought in, but the criminal is uncooperative, and shoots the mother of a little girl.

The command is finally given, and one head shot later the situation is resolved.

In this scenario, did the SWAT team sniper violate the law? Was the criminal's right to due process violated? Or, as you may or may not agree, are there times when a quick solution to a volatile situation is preferred and justified? If not for the sniper, all the hostages may have been killed. In this case, violence was met with violence, and further loss of life was prevented.

We can easily relate to an analogy of the US military being a police force, and Navy Seals or Army Rangers being the SWAT team. They do not act on their own accord, but await orders following a chain of command. The sniper in the above analogy didn't take it upon himself to shoot the criminal when he had the first opportunity, but awaited until the negotiations were no longer deemed feasible and he was given the command.

The US doesn't go around randomly attacking targets without provocation. The US acts when there is a stalemate in the diplomatic process, in other words, when the negotiations break down. There is a chain of command followed, and the US military or Special Forces act within those orders, often defined within very strict parameters. The top US military minds look at every aspect of a situation, and only when there is no other recourse do they act. They do not attack peaceful nations, nor unnecessarily kill civilians, and only target aggressive criminals and violent regimes.

If not for the actions of the US military, nearly every worldwide travesty of injustice would be tied up within the UN, awaiting a resolution, for every one to agree. It cannot always be that way, yet most of the times it is handled through such endeavors. The US doesn't always act on it's own accord, but in situations deemed necessary, it does.

As stated earlier, the United Nations doesn't have their own military force. They have no troops by which to act with. Those forces are supplied by member nations, and as such, the United States has one of the most mobile, most technologically advanced, and competent forces in the world.

Our troops have trained soldiers in Afghanistan, with the hopes of them being able to police themselves, with the end result being that our troops are able to return home.

Our military is entrusted to be the world's police force, acting when others can't, or acting when indecision arises. We seek no recompense for our efforts, save knowing that the world is a safer place for the rest of humanity.

In closing, I'd like to thank everyone for reading this debate, and RationalDespair for engaging in an interesting and controversial topic. Thank you for your time.

posted on Nov, 13 2012 @ 03:05 AM
Before I start my closing argument, present my final argument and summarize my main points, I would like to address my opponent´s closing plea and sweep some misunderstanding aside for the sake of clarity.

Sometimes, it's simply not feasible to following politically correct avenues, which often lead to stalemate and indecision, with no action being taken at all.

I absolutely agree with this statement and it´s a big problem indeed. I´m well aware that terrorism is a problem that must be dealt with accordingly, however, the goal does not always justify the means; this is however the pillar on which the opposing argument balances. My opponent´s own analogy with criminals robbing a bank is an excellent example to illustrate this very point.

So, the robbers have entered the bank, demanded cash and hold people hostage until their demands are met. The police negotiator fails to convince the robbers to turn themselves in and one of the hostages is shot. A SWAT team is called in to force this tragedy to an end. Snipers are positioned on the roof. The command is given to take out the criminals when the opportunity is there. Three snipers fire RPGs and kill all the criminals and with them most of the hostages. The problem, however, is finally resolved and everyone is happy, or are they?

The US armed forces are not subtle in their methods. The unmanned drone strikes and raids by teams of special forces cause collateral damage and cost innocent civilians their lives. The attacks provoke counter attacks and thus cost US soldiers their lives. You may argue that this is their job and they know the risks involved, but that cannot be said about the innocent children that have lost their lives in this way. It simply cannot be justified by the goal of the mission, however necessary the actions may be. A life is a life, no matter the nationality, and the task of a police force is to protect the innocent at all cost.

Apart from that, the SWAT team responding to the robbery acts on command of their superiors and within the boundaries of their own laws and regulations. They are not acting illegally by taking out an armed criminal that is an obvious, immediate threat. The US armed forces and their weapons, in contrast, are not acting on their own soil.

My final argument, which I would like the reader to take into consideration, is based on the inconsistency or selectiveness of the US missions to help humanity. A true police force respond to all emergencies and try to serve and protect all of their citizens. Yet a lot of tragic violations of human rights are still ongoing all over the world and the “World´s Police” is nowhere to be seen.

One prime example is the genocide of 1994 in Rwanda, where almost 20%, an estimated 800,000 people, of the total population was killed in a civil war between the Tutsis and Hutus. The US did not intervene; on the contrary, in April 1994 they lobbied with the UN to withdraw all already present UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda) forces supplied by France and Zaire.

The US picks their targets carefully and only acts where they are personally threatened or, arguably, have something to gain. Even when I dismiss the latter point of this argument and assume they are truly acting on the premise of helping humanity and eliminating threats, the former point cannot be dismissed.

The strongest argument of why the US is not the world´s police force lies in their own selective actions. They are acting on their own accord, to protect their own resources and population. The world in the eyes of the US, or at least according to their own actions, is limited to their own country´s boundaries. I´m not trying to vilify the US with these points; they have every right to protect their own needs and citizens, but that does not make them the world´s police and it does not give them the right to act wherever and however they want.

I hope to have shown the reader that the US does not comply with the term “World´s Police Force”, because:

- They do not act on a solid legal basis.
- Their means of eliminating threats cause collateral damage and cost innocent people their lives.
- Their targets are picked selectively, based on threats that mostly apply to themselves.

A true World´s Police Force would act on a solid legal basis, agreed upon by the parties involved, and first and foremost act to avoid excessive force and collateral damage. They would respond to all violations of the international laws, regardless of geographical location, political standpoints, religious convinctions or economic influences.

With that I rest my case and would like to thank Druid42, a worthy opponent, for his excellent pleas and his time. I´d also like to thank all readers for their time to consider both our views.

posted on Nov, 15 2012 @ 11:28 AM
The results are in. The two first judges came up with a tie, therefore I solicited a third for the win.

I think that druid won the debate though.
He is absolutely right in the fact that it is usually US troops and technology, which in turn puts the burden on the backs of the US taxpayer. RationalDespair also has an excellent point that the US is rather selective, but tell me that rich neighborhoods don't get more police coverage than poor ones, in any country.

Both debaters argued their points well, however my vote must go to Druid as RationalDespair fell into the one trap that makes their argument futile, they agreed with their opponent's major argument in the end.

The debate of whether the United States is the world's police force is an interesting one, and I think that the result comes down to the legal definition and which fighter makes a better case that his definition is the correct one.

Druid42 makes an odd opening statement, citing the war on terror, a legitimate point, but then veering off into a discussion of military sizes in the world, a direction which doesn't seem germane to the topic, and which is unceremoniously dropped. His second argument gets things back on track, noting the flexibility and capability of the US military is sufficient to enforce laws, but also makes a solid case for those laws being the United States', rather than the world's. Bin Laden may have been a world criminal, but he'd been on the FBI 10 Most Wanted list for over a decade when killed.

RationalDespair counters with a strong argument that the United States frequently acts of its own accord, ignores the popular world opinion when its own interests are in conflict, and apparently violates a number of international treaties and laws -- actions which are hardly exemplary of a global police force. The validity of those claims may be called into question, but they are effective arguments in this debate.

In his closing argument, rather than bolstering his earlier points regarding the US' role in supporting United Nations ordered actions of actually policing (Bosnia comes to mind, among others,) Druid42 argues a point of ethics and the role of American action that is another instance of American instigation, Afghanistan. RationalDespair, however, sums up his earlier made points cleanly and, as a result, in my opinion, is the winner of this debate.

Congratulations Druid42!

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