ILP v. ILO Debate 2

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ILP v. ILO Debate 2

Postby PavlovianModel146 » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:56 am

Topic: Is terrorism a tool of statecraft?

ILO argues Yes

ILP argues No

ILO, has forty-eight hours to post. 10:00p.m.EST 2/9/09
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Re: ILP v. ILO Debate 2

Postby Phaedrus » Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:07 am

An interesting topic! I can't wait til it' begins. 8)

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Re: ILP v. ILO Debate 2

Postby PavlovianModel146 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:05 am

The following is Gobbo's opening post, verbatim:

“Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

--Hermann Georing, Hitler's Reich Marshall

Terrorism is an idea, or an (emotional) event which has garnished a particular short sighted social conception in the modern context that will be expanded here into something more comprehensive. The definition of terrorism is: a intentional act towards a specific group of people in which the projected aim is to incite fear. Is terrorism a tool of statecraft?The simple answer is yes. Not only is it a tool of statecraft, it is integral to the framework of both ancient and modern government. When many people in the West hear the word ‘terrorism’ it congers up images of people from the Middle East, or perhaps social dissidents, but what we want to stress is how much this is the socially-biased ‘face’ that we have thrown on a concept that pertains to wide variety of things, both foreign and domestic, physical and non-physical, and that our limited, politically convenient conception of terrorism is one forced on us by the terrorisms of our own governments. Terrorism can be, and indeed is quite encompassing, but it is almost always given distinction by the intentionality aspect. That is, one group injecting fear into another for a reason. Terrorism comes in a variety of forms we will look at, but that is what ties it down.

What is statecraft? These are the intentional plans put forth by people in positions of power in government, whatever flavor that may be. (Democracy, Oligarchy, Fascism, etc.)

Our analysis starts early in man’s history. One of the most primitive of human evolutionary traits is one we share with most sentient animals, and that is the idea of flight or fight -- the mechanism which deals with threats to life. In other words, fear is the emotion that is most liked with baser subconscious drives. Religion comes out of the (admittedly non-intentional in this case) ‘terrorism’ of nature and man’s struggle to explain it. In the wake of the effects of religion on the human psych, fear takes on a new eternally conceived (in some cases) dimension in which many people are still operating. It was figured out early on in post-nomadic man that fear, be it secular or religious, is the most effective way to get other people to do your bidding, and the majority of governments throughout history have been dictatorships to some degree which have adopted this methodology. We can see this in retrospect; unfortunately the citizens of the time fell victim to giving into their baser emotional outplays. Egypt, one of (if not) history’s longest civilizations, operated by way of a religious dictatorship in which priests intentionally incited fear (of the gods in this case) into the public to provoke them into submission, work, or whatever else was desired. A lot can be accomplished this way if you have a ruling few over the many -- look at the Pyramids.

In more modern times we may simply substitute the religious element of fear and priests to a secular element of fear from foreign, or even domestic sources, spoken by politicians. It depends where in history you look, but the fact of the matter is fear is probably the most integral aspect of government, ever, and any counter-example the opposition can find will be transitory and small, no matter how applaudable. Fear is used intentionally, and it is used all the time. There are rather obvious examples, like Hitler’s state-sponsored burning of the Rorschstag building as an excuse for war, or likewise the US government’s imploding the World Trade Center buildings as an excuse for war. This is not to say this is at all tied down to the US, it is just a topical example. The same countries that we denounce for propaganda, like Communist China, North Korea, Cuba, do it just the same as any other country, it is merely a matter of degree. I don’t think there are too many who would argue or struggle to understand this point, so I wish to focus not on repetition of (those) examples, but on just how inherent and immeshed the deliberate use of fear on a specific group of people really is by looking at a possible counterpoint to all this.

Counterpoint: “Gobbo, what you’re doing is conflating an actual terrorist’s effects of terror with incidental terror. The media still must report the news, and so cause terror in their target populace by choosing to say, replay images of 9/11 thousands of times (which is fine with the government), but this is not the same as the origin: the terrorists themselves. The news organs may want to have the public fear because fear sells ratings, but surely the difference of degree must be taken into account?

Putting aside that in this instance the ‘terrorists’ (see: Bin Laden, etc) were essentially American agents carrying out a PNAC plan decades in the making, this counterpoint does strike somewhat true in the sense that while the news shouldn’t try to incite terror (say at the provocation of a government agenda), it has a responsibility to report it. But this point fails for the government because they are the ones who are in the first place not only creating interventionist foreign policy (and so in the offensive way inflicting terrorism in the good old fashioned ‘I’m gonna take your stuff or bomb you’ -- a point different route this whole discussion could go, but won’t with me at least*), but also, or perhaps a part of that, are the very things that they put into press releases. In other words what they come out and say. The government has tons of secrets and doesn’t have to admit it’s vulnerable, and publicly display their threat level, or rile people up about Iran; it makes no sense in a military strategy to give it away, but it makes sense in the way we have developed so far. In fact, the US government, if we are to keep with them as an example, actually relies[/]i on fear and violence (now) just in order to flourish, which is a must with how closely (war) corporate interests are a part of politics. Rumsfeld said shortly after 9/11 this would be a ‘hundred years war’ and this makes perfect sense because in a dept-based monetary system wars promote the economy, and without fear of some ethereal enemy jobs at Homeland Security and many other places would not exist. Without WWII the US might still be in the depression it finds itself in now, on the verge of WWIII.

This expose could go on forever, but this will suffice for now. Just to summarize: Terrorism has been shown to be, and most commonly is, not only contained in the physical act of violence, but rather in the peripheral: how the potential for actual violence which was exhibited in some instance is used to incite fear in the masses, and usually by their own governments.

*Advanced by my peers could be the external avenues I mentioned earlier in parenthesis, and explored by people like Chomsky. So, for example, the US, compared to all other countries combined, has committed more acts of what falls under ‘terrorism’ in the country-to-country sense, unlike the internalist conception espoused above. Here we see the sense in which fear is again calculatingly used to spin ostensible offensive regimes where other countries should be, and indeed are, scared, to propaganda which posits the ostensible inferior, outmatched opponent as the ‘dangerous’ enemy, to be feared. There is ample evidence for our point throughout history, and nearly none for the opposition. These are facts.

ILP, you have 48 hours to respond. 8:00p.m. EST February 11, 2009
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Re: ILP v. ILO Debate 2

Postby Xunzian » Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:01 am

Confucianism stresses that rectification of names, assigning clear and distinct definitions to concepts, must be accomplished before meaningful conversation can take place. He stressed this practice because local lords had begun using the title of ‘king’ to describe themselves. Indeed, to the casual observer, these lords were kings, they ruled more-or-less autonomously over a defined geographic space. But to Confucius (and other Chinese at the time), the title of ‘king’ contained more elements than mere control over a region, so he argued that these men could not rightly assume the title of king. I think the question, “Is terrorism a tool of statecraft” encounters a similar problem, where people assume they know what ‘terrorism’ and ‘statecraft’ mean but the definitions they are using are, indeed, incomplete. It is the belief of ILP that terrorism is not and cannot be a tool of statecraft due to the very definition of the two words!

I’ll start with the easier of the two terms: statecraft. Statecraft is the art of conducting state affairs (1). This deceptively simple definition requires further analysis in order to make our position clear because of certain assumed elements in the definition which must be made explicit. The first of which is the unspoken agent. In order to conduct state affairs, one must be in a position whereby one can conduct state affairs. This means that the term ‘statecraft’ cannot apply to those outside of positions of power within the state being discussed. The second aspect of the definition being considered is the notion of ‘art’. Statecraft is spontaneous; it expresses itself in the ability to control a state. This is distinct from something like ‘policy’, which would entail the particular plans and designs of the state (2). The distinction is that of generality (statecraft) and particularity (policy). Taking these two elements together, we see a third element which arises: statecraft is internal to the state being considered. After all, when someone tries to manipulate the opinions of those outside of their state it is called diplomacy, not statecraft. So in order for something to be considered a ‘tool of statecraft’, it must be something that is a) used by those in power within the state in question and b) involves running the state.

Terrorism is a more difficult term to define due to the emotional load associated with the term. Indeed, attempts to legally define ‘terrorism’ by agencies such as the UN have resulted in such a variety of different definitions that Andrew Byrnes, a professor of international law, had to perform a meta-analysis to see what sense could be made of them! He found three common characteristics amongst the different definitions used:
(a) they all adopted an "operational definition" of a specific type of terrorist act that was defined without reference to the underlying political or ideological purpose or motivation of the perpetrator of the act - this reflected a consensus that there were some acts that were such a serious threat to the interests of all that they could not be justified by reference to such motives;
(b) they all focused on actions by non-State actors (individuals and organisations) and the State was seen as an active ally in the struggle against terrorism - the question of the State itself as terrorist actor was left largely to one side; and
(c) they all adopted a criminal law enforcement model to address the problem, under which States would cooperate in the apprehension and prosecution of those alleged to have committed these crimes. (3)

The findings of this meta-anaylsis would serve as the foundation for the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373, which established a realm under which the UN and its member states could establish counter-terrorism measures. For the purpose of this debate, clearly Brynes’ second point (b) is the most damning to ILO’s position. For if terrorism is the purview of non-state actors, it clearly cannot be a tool of statecraft! But why should we accept such a conceptualization of ‘terrorism’? The UN is not ignorant of the concept of ‘state terrorism’, but during the debate as to whether such a concept ought to be codified, then Secretary General Kofi Annan said, “It is time to set aside debates on so-called “State terrorism”. The use of force by States [against other states and against their own civilian population] is already thoroughly regulated under international law.”(4) A definition of terrorism that includes state-actors is redundant with other well-codified concepts. The only reason to embrace a more expansive definition of ‘terrorism’ is because of the pejorative nature of the term. While a compelling moral argument can be made for such an instance, it would result in an unwieldy legal apparatus. While made famous by bad soap-operas, Double Jeopardy is a legal concept embraced by UN member countries whereby someone cannot be punished for the same offense multiple times (5). So if the legal definition of ‘terrorism’ were to overlap with other crimes, such as those outlined by the International Criminal Court dealing with crimes against humanity (6), the type and degree of punishment would become murky and confused. Ought the state actor be tried for terrorism or for crimes against humanity in the case of so-called ‘state terrorism’? Double Jeopardy prevents it from being both (as the offense would be the same), so redundancy and confusion is created.

And it is precisely that redundancy and confusion that Confucius sought to avoid in stressing the rectification of names. When terms are properly defined and considered, such a tangled, self-contradictory mess cannot occur. Terrorism cannot be a tool of statecraft, because terrorism is, by definition, not something that someone in a recognized position of power within a state can practice! That does not mean that actors within a state do not commit acts of violence, but these acts of violence fall under the purview of ‘crimes against humanity’ and not ‘terrorism’ lest we fall into redundancy.

3) ... 0May02.pdf
6) ... inal_Court
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Re: ILP v. ILO Debate 2

Postby PavlovianModel146 » Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:50 am

Kawaki's Argument/Conclusion is as follows:

A belated Happy Valentine's day to all. Thanks to all for their attention, their patience, participation and work.

I’ll begin with an analysis of Xunzian’s post.

Xunzian begins with stressing the importance of clear and distinct definitions; to this, we can agree. Xunzian continues by providing us the reason why Confucius supposedly stressed this practice (no link is provided nor a document sited in support of this but for the sake of argument, let’s assume this is true).

It would seem that Confucius argued that these men who ruled autonomous states/regions (thereby meeting the first, and third definition of king: needed to meet more than just the definition of king to in effect be king as they also needed to meet additional (undefined) criteria to “assume the title of king”. I bring attention to this because it is at the core of Xunzian’s strategy.

Xunzian gives us the definition of statecraft as “the art of conducting state affairs”. I will not object to this definition. Xunzian then argues that the definition requires further analysis and proposes two qualifiers for statecraft; which, for easy reference I will call Q1, Q2, Q3, Qn namely that: (Q1) “one must be in a position whereby one can conduct state affairs” and that statecraft is (Q2) “internal to the state being considered” and that it is “used by those in power within the state in question”, and “involves running the state”.

We will explore the above two qualifiers as if they are accepted by ILO and argue that these two qualifiers are NOT a hindrance to the position that terrorism is a tool of statecraft.

But first, let us review the definition of terrorism advanced by ILP.

Xunzian chooses to use the UN’s adoption of Resolution 1373 and Andrew Byrnes’ three common characteristics of terrorism as the foundation of ILP’s argument that the very definition of terrorism is a proclivity to the argument that terrorism is a tool of statecraft.
Specifically, Xunzian argues that “Byrnes’ second point (b) is the most damning to ILO’s position.” We will refer to this as qualifier 3 (Q3).


I. Accepting, for the sake of argument, Q1, we must define who can be in a position to conduct state affairs. In a democracy, it is often elected officials that often represent a government. In a fascist government, it is the dictator who is in this position. In a monarchy, it is the king or Tsar or Pharaoh. The question then becomes, do said officials or dictators, or kings engage in the practice of terrorism? For the sake of this portion of the argument, we will use the simple definition of terrorism as: the systematic use of terror as a means of coercion (

Under this definition, the unequivocal answer is yes, elected officials have engaged in terrorism and one need only point to several external conflicts between nations in which this has occurred.

Jean Paul Sartre famously argued that terror has ever been an instrument of states (like Britain, France, and the U.S.). Specifically: “The name given by the French to their "Conquests" -- possessions d'outre mer (overseas possessions) -- indicates clearly that they had managed to obtain them only by wars of aggression. The aggressor seeks out the adversary on his own ground, in Africa, in Asia, in the under-developed countries; and, far from waging a "total war", which would presuppose a certain reciprocity at the outset, he takes advantage of his absolute superiority in arms to commit only an expeditionary corps to the conflict. This gains an easy victory over the regular armies -- if there are any -- but as this uncalled-for aggression arouses the hatred of the civilian population, and since the latter is always a mine of rebels or soldiers, the colonial troops hold sway by terror, that is to say, by constantly renewed massacres. These massacres are genocidal in character: they involve destroying "a part of the group" (ethnic, national, religious) to terrorize the rest and to destructure the native society.”

Of course, our opponents at ILP provided other qualifiers; let’s take a look.

II. Accepting, for the sake of argument, Q2, (that it must be internal to the state being considered, etc) we need only ask whether terrorism is ever used by those in power within the state as a part of running that state. Is this the case? Again, the unequivocal answer is yes. One can point to Vlad the Impaler who killed his own people to elicit terror both internally and externally. Or one can point to Stalin, who used terrorism as a first resort against anyone deemed to be a threat to his (or the communist party’s) authority and who executed possibly some 20 million of his own countrymen. More recently, we can point to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe whose regime brutally represses their own people; or we can point to George W. Bush who authorized the capture of U.S. citizens to be tortured (and I would argue, this torture is an act of psychological terrorism against both internal and external parties). However, ILP had a third qualifier which would make such acts “crimes against humanity” rather than terrorism. We will take a closer look at this last qualifier in section 3; however, I want to explore why this particular qualifier (Q2) is not valid.

Conducting foreign affairs (and diplomacy) is part and parcel to state affairs. States rarely fail in addressing international relations and in fact dedicate enormous amounts of resources to address such. After all, diplomacy is a tool used by those running the state as part of conducting their affairs. To argue that diplomacy is an act outside of the state’s affairs is contradictory. Running the state presumably includes seeking advantageous opportunities outside of the state for the benefit of its residents and citizens inside the state (an international pipeline, a tourist agreement, etc). This is similar to a corporation based in the U.S. that manufactures in China. That is, the corporation is conducting some of its affairs abroad but it is for the benefit of its shareholders nonetheless. I hope the judges will agree that Q2 should be rejected.

III. We reject Q3 (the third qualifier that terrorism is defined as actions by non-State actors) and we ask that the judges reject it too. Below is our case:

(a) The U.N. resolution in Q3 applies only to member states. This is not a universal definition by any means.

(b) The U.N.’s law would does not go unchallenged. Said law is challenged by anarchists (anarchy denies that governments have the authority OR even the necessary function to regulate society).

(c) The U.N. continually changes and updates its own definitions. The matter is of much debate and it remains unresolved. However, U.N. Resolution 1566 describes terrorism as: “criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act” (Pg 2). This definition leaves it open for the possibility that a person in the position to manage state affairs can be guilty of terrorism.

(d) Acts of terrorism have been used by states like Palestine, Israel, the U.S., Mexico, etc, in order to free themselves from an oppressive force.

The Declaration of Independence: “WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”

(e) Some, like Sir Thomas More argue that : “I can have no other notion of all the other governments that I see or know, than that they are a conspiracy of the rich, who on pretence of managing the public only pursue their private ends, and devise all the ways and arts they can find out; first, that they may, without danger, preserve all that they have so ill acquired, and then that they may engage the poor to toil and labor for them at as low rates as possible, and oppress them as much as they please. And if they can but prevail to get these contrivances established by the show of public authority, which is considered as the representative of the whole people, then they are accounted laws.” –Sir Thomas More, Utopia, Book II, Of the Religions of the Utopians.

While some would argue that this is not the case or that it is simply ‘conspiracy talk’ I will add that John Locke argued “Whensoever therefore the legislative shall transgress this fundamental rule of society; and either by ambition, fear, folly or corruption, endeavour to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other, an absolute power over the lives, liberties, and estates of the people; by this breach of trust they forfeit the power the people had put into their hands for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the people, who have a right to resume their original liberty, and, by the establishment of a new legislative, (such as they shall think fit) provide for their own safety and security, which is the end for which they are in society.” John Locke, Second Treatise Sec. 222

Xunzian begins to conclude ILP’s argument by adding that there is the potential for overlapping prosecutorial consequences in defining certain acts by the state as terrorism. It is not an argument that need be advanced in the question of whether terrorism is a toll of statecraft. The question is whether it is or is not. It is. Whether it can be adequately prosecuted is not the question. Whether it is redundant is not the question. That actors within a state do commit acts of violence is a fact. That these acts of violence sometimes constitute terrorism is also a fact. It stands to reason that sometimes the state can and does, in the art of conducting its affairs resort to terrorism and that the persons are in recognized (accepted) positions—remember Bush was elected twice. Sometimes, a king is a king despite our desire to call them by other names. Sometimes a definition, though simple, is sufficient.

Our position is that if Q3 is invalid hence Q2 cannot be valid; that Q2 is invalid hence ILP's argument fails; that both Q2 and Q3 are invalid and ILP's argument fails; and that terrorism is a tool of statecraft both historically and presently.

ILP has until 10:00p.m.EST February 18th, 2009 to respond.
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