Practice Debate -- Mark McD v. pdano


Gov: Mark McD
Opp: pdano

Resolution: Pick up the sword.
Judge: patio11, others are welcome.



I’m travelling tomorrow (Sunday) but might get my post up before bedtime!


well, if you do, you do. No biggie.



Hello everyone, welcome to the debate.

I?ve done three debates on Net Benefits now, and I?ve lost each of them. I keep getting told that they?re entertaining though. I therefore have a duty to uphold my tag as the most entertaining loser around these parts. I hope that this will entertain you and I am sure it will entertain Dan and myself!

OK, definitions. To pick up the sword, it needs to have been dropped. I contend that a state which has dropped its sword, or rather was forced to relinquish it, should once again pick it up and use it to defend its interests, and bring stability to its region. That state is Japan.

The Japanese constitution roughly states, under Article 9, that:

?The Japanese people forever renounce war?and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes?in order to accomplish this aim?land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained?

It is my case that the Japanese government will decree that this article be removed, and that Japan will immediately begin a program of remilitarisation, and will begin its own nuclear weapons programme.

I make my case to you on the following grounds

[B]The US-Japan Alliance is weakening[/B]

Japan has been able to rely on the presence of US forces to guarantee her security for a number of decades now. Recent developments, however, have seen the alliance strained. The Okinawa Rape in 1995, where a Japanese schoolgirl was raped by US servicemen, has led to hostility towards their presence, and there have been redefinitions of the alliance, with Japan being expected to take more of a role in regional security.

The most significant aspect, however, has been Rumsfeld?s move away from the previous ?Two Major Wars? strategy, to the system of Rapid Deployment. This has led to a reduction in the levels of US forces being maintained in South East Asia, and thus represents a reduction of the commitment to Japan. The US has bigger commitments now, and cannot be eternally the protector of Japan. The Japanese have to take on the responsibility for regional security, and this requires remilitarisation.

[B]The North Korean Threat[/B]

The firing of the Taepodong Missile in 1998, beyond Japanese airspace, altered the perception of the threat which was faced from North Korea. Previously the Japanese had been complacent regarding the rumoured developments in Pyongyang.

The most recent North Korean nuclear crisis elicited a more resilient and much tougher response from Japan. Japan has unashamedly stated that if it feels threatened by Pyongyang, it will consider a pre-emptive strike against North Korea in order to act in the interests of its own security.

As well as this, the first Japanese spy satellites were launched on March 27th 2003, developed in response to the initial Taepodong missile test. The satellites have, however, caused further friction between the states, with North Korea claiming the satellites are a threatening gesture.

Relations between Japan and North Korea have become increasingly more intense as time has gone on. Japan has only recently taken a much sterner stance against the North Korean belligerence, mainly as a result of the demonstrable threat to Japanese security which the Taepodong test provided.

Clearly a tougher stance against North Korea is necessary and the Japanese government has fuelled speculation that it may abandon its non-nuclear policy, and start developments of its own nuclear capabilities. Were this to be the case then the scene could be set for an East Asian arms race.

[B]Arms Races Are Better Than Arms Control[/B]

Japan developing its own nuclear arsenal would be inherently safer than allowing North Korea to continue developing unchecked.

Historically if we look at arms races, the two most prominent examples being the Cold War escalation, and the India-Pakistan arms race, we can see that the development of accurate, effective missile technology reduces the threat posed to oneself. Neither side wishes to force the hand of the other state, and the result is a stalemate.

Arms Control, however, has proven ineffective. North Korea is a prominent example of this.

North Korean actions need to be countered, and they need to be countered by a regional player. Japan should take on this role, as it is best placed to do so.

[B]Japan’s International Role[/B]

The Japanese have compensated for their lack of military muscle by being enthusiastic suppliers of financial assistance. Figures for 1999 showed Japan to be the largest contributor of Overseas Development Aid, donating $15 billion, almost double that of the United States. In terms of the donation as a percentage of GDP, Japan donated three and a half times the amount which the United States contributed.

Recently, however, the Japanese economic slowdown has hit this policy hard. Public debt in Japan recently ballooned to 138% of GDP, by far and away the worst borrowing rate in the developed world. As a result the aid budget has been slashed and Japan?s contribution has plummeted from being nearly double that of the United States, in real terms, to now being a long way behind. This reduction in the amount of overseas aid provided by Japan has thrown up questions over whether or not the Japanese government is considering the potential for Japan moving more towards greater defence expenditure with the potential for military expansion.

If one does the sums Japan?s potential is certainly formidable. Currently the Japanese spend 1% of their GDP on defence, yet in real terms spend more than the UK government. If the percentage were to be increased to be in line with that of the UK, between 2.5 and 3%, then Japan would have a massive defence budget, and would be able to construct a formidable military.

So, Japan needs to shake off what I would call ?Germany Syndrome?. The Allies pacified Japan too well after the Second World War, but things are slowly changing. We have seen Japan make moves to commit forces overseas in the Iraq conflict, and they also were involved in a minor capacity in the previous Gulf War. It is time they took the plunge and committed fully to an international military presence.

I propose.

  1. To be clear: you’re proposing that Japan increase its military expenditures to 2.5% or 3% of GDP?

  2. Why is the United States nuclear deterrent not the same as the Japanese nuclear deterrent? Do regional bombs blow up better?

  3. You say that a tougher stance against North Korea is necessary, but you also say, repeatedly, that Japanese belligerence is pissing off the DPRK. What’s the incentive in annoying Kim Jong Il?

  4. How close is Japan to the bomb?

  5. How big is the Japanese navy right now? Feel free to answer in terms of its international rank in size.

  6. The U.S. was the protector of Japan throughout the Cold War. Is it your contention that the U.S. has “bigger commitments” now than during the Cold War?



Oh I am so judging this.

Patrick McKenzie

  1. No, I?m suggesting that if it wanted to increase its military budget, it would be able to do so given that it currently spends less in GDP % terms than other developed nations. There?s no incumbency on Japan to do this, but given that its 1% of GDP is more in real terms than the UK, there is great potential there.

  2. It?s all about proximity. As I stated, the US is shifting the nature of its foreign and defence policies. North Korea would, in my opinion, be less likely to consider a strike against Japan if it knew that Japan had counter strike capabilities of its own, and would not be reliant on the decisions of a third party for its defence.

  3. The incentive isn?t in annoying Kim Jong Il. I think it?s fairly obvious that he?s not going to be happy with any actions that don?t fit his ideas for the East Asian region. That doesn?t make these actions inherently wrong in themselves I?m sure you will agree.

  4. I?m not sure, it depends which reports you read. Some suggest its all paper talk, others imply that Japan has been developing elements of a nuclear strategy for some time.

  5. I don?t have a subscription to Military Balance, and I?m loathe to take any figures quoted elsewhere as gospel, but as far as I can tell, if we?re including its small patrol boats, it could well have the largest Navy internationally. Feel free to correct me. The US have, of course, been trying to convince the Japanese to go ?blue water? and not merely concentrate on coastal defence.

  6. No, merely that its priorities have shifted, and that defence of Japan is not necessarily a significant enough priority for the Japanese to feel entirely comfortable. Hence, remilitarise and watch their own back.


I wrote my thesis arguing for Japanese remilitarization (of a kind). I think it?s remarkable that none of Mark?s arguments appeared in it. Let?s boogie.

The most important thing to realize is that Japan is by no means defenseless right now. Japan?s navy is generally considered second in the world, and their air force is considered among the top few. Since Japan really requires no land forces to defend itself, there?s no reason that Japan needs to ?remilitarize;? it?s strong enough to take care of itself defensively right now.

Other nations know this. So what?s their reaction going to be when Japan decides that one of the best defenses in the world isn?t good enough? They?ll figure, with good cause, that it?s intended to be an aggressive maneuver. I?ll talk about why that?s bad with North Korea later, but the big consideration has got to be China, which goes amazingly unmentioned in the first speech. Japan and China are still very sensitive about the topic of Japanese military strength, as evidenced by the loud protests whenever Junichiro Koizumi visits the shrine to the kamikaze fighters. China?s reaction is likely to be one or both of the following: a tremendous military demonstration, which will threaten Taiwan as well and negatively affect Sino-American relations; or a trade war with Japan, which would be terrible for both parties, but especially Japan, for whom China is their biggest trading partner. If Japan retaliates, this could escalate into actual military confrontation, a huge risk to security in the region. There will certainly be a tremendous cooling of relations. This has direct impacts on North Korean negotiations, since China is necessary to any talks with the DPRK, and it?s very unlikely that China would be looking out for Japanese interests then.

The bond between the United States and Japan has never been stronger. Koizumi has bent over backwards to send assistance to Iraq. The United States, in turn, has gone to great lengths to include Japan in the six-way talks with the DPRK, staring down Kim Jong Il?s demand for bilateral negotiations. Japan has sought and received additional aid for a missile defense system. The only instance of friction he names is the Okinawa rape: a ten-year-old crime that preceded by two years the latest edition of the Guidelines, the official expression of the U.S.-Japan alliance which expresses possibly the closest bilateral alliance in the world. The U.S. is not running out of resources to protect Japan, especially since troops currently committed are predominantly Army, and Japanese defense relies on naval and air forces. The move from 2 MRCs to one major and one minor regional conflict doesn?t change the availability of naval and aviation resources. It?s also folly to assume that we?re more extended than we were during the entirety of the Cold War, especially Vietnam. Simply put, there?s no deterioration.

Until plan. Remilitarization will severely impact Japanese relations with the United States. Repudiation of the alliance and the constitution we wrote together will break the close relationship. This has major consequences. First, the United States will not press for Japanese inclusion in the six-way talks. This excludes Japanese participation in peace talks it has a huge interest in. Second, the United States will cease all missile defense aid. Theater missile defense systems are the only protection against a missile attack, and U.S. non-participation puts off development of TMD for years, probably decades. Third, Japan loses the assurance of American military aid in a war with North Korea or China. While Japan might win either of those wars anyway, the American alliance ensures that neither of those countries would even risk rolling the dice, deterring armed conflict in the theater.

Mark claims that a tougher stance against North Korea is necessary, but NEVER PROVES IT. There?s nothing else I need to say about his second point, except to point out that he argues Japan has threatened pre-emptive war, with full knowledge that North Korea probably has nuclear weapons. If Japan remilitarizes, then the chances of pre-emptive war increase, threatening strikes on Japan and Seoul (since war removes North Korea?s incentive not to level Seoul). Preemption also completely undercuts the logic of MAD, where we?ll go now.

Mark alleges that MAD works. The only example that?s lasted for more than four years is the Cold War, which erupted in proxy wars all over the globe, ironically creating the big threat that Japan faces now. So I?m not really sure what great advantage he?s getting out of this. Mark faces three additional problems with the MAD theory. First, North Korea certainly believes right now that America would retaliate in kind for any attack in Asia. There?s no additional deterrence. Second, it ignores the possibility of accidental launch. Since North Korea has no plans for a missile shield, and any Japanese shield is years away, a nuclear buildup risks an accidental launch that would prompt commensurate retaliation. Finally, assuming away everything else about American deterrence and the like, MAD does not apply when one party is building up to nuclear capacity. In fact, North Korea would be MORE likely to attack South Korea or Japan under plan, because it would know that its nuclear advantage would soon go away.

I don?t get Mark?s last argument. Japan has been spending less
money on foreign aid, so it will? spend more now that it?s spending billions more on its military? The opposite is true: in the financial state Japan is in, a drastic increase in military spending in the range Mark gives us will significantly DECREASE foreign aid. Foreign aid saves far more lives, far more efficiently, than building ships does, and so the plan directly links to a worse world.

Finally, Japan will lose any chance of getting on the Security Council. Japan is often mentioned as a potential addition to the permanent members. The strength of its application lies mostly in its pacifistic nature; if you can get a country that?s forsworn war to authorize military action, then you?ve got a pretty strong case. But if Japan remilitarizes, then it loses any chance of getting on the Security Council, which is severely detrimental to Japanese interests.

Mark and I put together this round because we?d both spent a large amount of academic time on Japanese remilitarization. Unfortunately, only one of us appears to have spent that time sober. Vote opp.


  1. Does non-appearance in your thesis make an argument less valid?

  2. Aren’t the US actively pulling troops out of East Asia, or was I lacking sobriety when I read that in the newspaper?

  3. Since I’m being accused of assertions, what evidence do you have to suggest that the US -Japan alliance will be damaged given that the US has actively encouraged a more extensive Japanese foreign and defence policy within the East Asia region under Democrat and Republican administrations?

  4. Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, how many states have developed/come into possession of nuclear arsenals, and how many have used them against other states?

  5. Given Japanese foreign aid payments have dwindled, would you agree with me that Japan is not pulling her wieght in terms of contributing to either regional or international security in a meaningful way?

  6. Why should Japan really care about being on the United Nations Security Council?

  1. If you’d read this thesis… you’d know. :slight_smile:

  2. The forces in South Korea are there so that if North Korea attacks South Korea, they need to also attack the United States, prompting war. No one has ever had any illusions about a force of 37,000 repelling the entire North Korean Army. So yes, there’s a decrease in force along the DMZ, but no, there’s no strategic difference so long as there’s a token force.

  3. The U.S. has encouraged Japan taking over the primary defense of Japanese territory, plus critical sealanes within 500 nautical miles of Japan, all of which Japan is perfectly capable of doing with its existing forces. My link to U.S. displeasure is that this is a major violation of a major treaty with America. I can’t think of any comparable treaty violation since… jeez. 1812?

  4. If states never use nukes, then MAD doesn’t matter, and there’s no reason for Japan to waste the intellectual and financial capital developing a nuclear program. And Kim is hardly the most reliable of leaders.

But, sure, I’ll walk into it: USSR, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea (very likely), and none.

  1. No, actually, I think Japan’s doing a lot for the world. And I think its example of a successful pacifistic nation does a ton for the world. But I think the solution is to have Japan go back to its giving ways, not to war-ify itself.

  2. Security Council membership is a terrific way to have other nations seek your input and gain influence. And since Japan has been angling for this seat for years, they must care about it.