Again, the resolution was this:
A willingness to intervene, and to seek regime change, is key to an American foreign policy that benefits America.
This was an Oxford-style debate. The “winner” is the one who changes the audience’s opinion the most.
Before the debate, I cast my vote as undecided. Following the debate, I gave my vote, much to my dismay, to Krystol.
After listening again, despite Horton’s seemingly-irrelevant interjections, I reluctantly opposed the resolution.
But, on further consideration, there’s not two, but four separate options.
Do you have a willingness to intervene? Yes or no.
Do you have a willingness to seek regime change? Yes or no.
So, the First Gulf War would have been: Intervene, yes. Seek Regime change, no.
Afghanistan in 2001, or Somalia in 1992? Intervene, yes. Seek regime change, not particularly at first.
Panama 1989? Intervene, yes. Seek regime change, yes.
Libya in 2013? Intervene, for the most part, no. Seek regime change? Absolutely.
Egypt in 2013? Intervene, no. Seek regime change? Not particularly, but it happened, and we were okay with it, even though it meant the Muslim Brotherhood.
Iraq 1991 – 2003: Intervene, yes. Seek regime change? No
Rwanda 1994: Intervene, no. Seek regime change? No, just stop the massacre.
Libya 2003ish-2013: Intervene, no, seek regime change? No.
By and large, however, I’m opposed to intervention. I didn’t support the Second Iraq War until I heard Tony Blair argue for it in front of Parliament.
But breaking it down into the separate combinations….
Are there times when America should intervene, and not seek regime change? Sometime, absolutely.
Are there times when America should intervene, and seek regime change? Yes.
Are there times when Americas should seek regime change without intervention? I would say that that’s pretty rare.
Are there times when America should stay as far away as possible? Yes.
That neither of the debaters noticed the problem with this resolution is actually pretty incredible, now, in retrospec.