Foreign Policy Debate: What is the Middle East Solution?

On Dec. 4 in Cole Cinema, the College Democrats and the John Quincy Adam Society debated over foreign policy, specifically the U.S. involvement in the Middle East.The debate started with an introduction from a former diplomat of the U.S. State Department where he summarized the history and current foreign affairs of the U.S.

The John Quincy Adam Society argued that military involvement is necessary for the promotion of peace and protecting the Middle Eastern. They reasoned using an ethical standpoint, stating that it is the United States’ “civic and moral duties” to get involved as “the public good is no longer confined to our nation, to our state, but to all nations, to all states.” Military intervention is necessary, especially since the U.S. is such a powerful state and therefore has the ability to influence change in the developing countries.

The College Democrats claimed that foreign interference is no longer about security and peace. They said that, because of U.S. involvement, “the Iraq War upended the Middle East, empowered Iran, and fueled the new generation of Jihad’s terrorists.” Using such force has only led to more harm than good and the US should  instead use more diplomatic strategies through international organizations.

Another argument College Democrats made was that the current U.S. strategy does not work and has “nothing to show for itself,” other than a death toll. They claimed that the U.S is highly uncooperative when it comes to negotiating, saying “it’s our way or the highway”. According to the College Democrats, the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars fighting wars in the Middle East and  recent years have seen an increase in airstrikes and use of U.S. forces. They closed with, “hundreds of people are still dying there so I ask why do we keep doing the same thing we’ve always done. If we keep doing the same thing we‘ll always get the same results. Why have we not not tried something new?”

The John Quincy Adam Society rebutted by stating that U.S military intervention ensures that Middle Eastern countries remain stable. When the U.S. pulled troops from Iraq, it “gave way to the rise of the Islamic State,” thus the U.S. cannot just withdraw when the problems we made are still there and, in fact, leaving will just exacerbate the issues. Military presence helps keeps these nations in check.

In the final statements, the John Quincy Adam Society affirmed that military involvement is imperative, as it brings Middle Eastern nations towards equality. As a country that has strong beliefs in democracy, the U.S. needs to be involved in order to develop and protect change and unity. 

The College Democrats closed their argument by contending that the U.S. needs to admit their failures and need to go forward with a more soft power route. Innocent civilians and soldiers will keep dying if the U.S. gets more involved.

The John Quincy Adam Society stated that their stance with military involvement does not reflect the club’s views and they were merely playing devil’s advocate for the sake of the debate.

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