NOTE: This download expired May 31, 2018. See message below.
Summary: "Self defense is a primary law of nature, which no subsequent law of society can abolish." This case is built on this assumption.
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About "Self-defense (AFF)"
“All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
Thus reads Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter, which prohibits states from engaging in the use of force against other states. However, one main exception exists under this charter: cases of self-defense. The right to self-defense is a timeless concept that has ensured the security of both individuals and countries for centuries. Founding father Elbridge Gerry posited, “Self defense is a primary law of nature, which no subsequent law of society can abolish.” Using this notion as its thesis, this case provides a simple and common sense view of the resolution.
Instead of refuting the inherent legitimacy of the self-defense doctrine most, teams will attempt to disconnect it from preemptive warfare by claiming that self-defense is only legitimate when you have already been attacked. In order to respond to this argument, its important to understand a few things. First, if an aggressor pulls out a gun and aims it at me, I have been attacked regardless of whether or not he pulls the trigger. I have no less right to defend myself if he is merely threatening to shoot me than if he were to actually fire. Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary defines an attack as:
“An aggressive action against (a place or enemy forces) with weapons or armed force.”
Note that an attack does not require any damage to be done; it only demands armed aggression. So even though a criminal might not decide to actually pull the trigger, he is still poised to do damage which justifies my self-defense. This same principle applies to countries. A country has a right to self-defense before any bombs have hit their soil, as long as there is clear intent of aggression. This is conveniently aligned with the definition of preemptive war:
“A war initiated on the basis of expectation and/or evidence that an enemy attack is imminent.”
To be preemptive, an attack must be in response to an imminent threat, and an imminent threat demonstrates clear intent of aggression. Thus, preemptive warfare is covered under the right to self-defense. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s quote confirms this comparison, “When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck to crush him.” Similarly, if a country sees an aggressor poised to attack, the victim country does not have to wait to invoke their right of self-defense; instead, they can use preemption. This information is critical to know when running this case, because many affirmatives will try and claim that your right to self-defense begins only after you’ve been hurt.
The value for this case is human life since that is the main reason why we have a right to self-defense. No matter what arguments you assert in rebuttals, always impact them back to human life. After all, voting for the negative means standing idly by while watching an aggressor threaten your country. IF the aggressor decides to attack, your country can retaliate, but lives have already been lost. Because lost lives is a clear disadvantage to voting negative, constantly reminding the judge of your value will help greatly in winning your rounds.
Finally, this case is very logical. While applications can be added to give additional credibility, expect to win off of your rational explanations, not your real-world examples. Don’t let the negative team try and use applications to prove that preemption doesn’t qualify under self-defense. If they have such applications, they probably are irrelevant under your definition. The logic will hold up!
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