zaterdag 9 april 2011

A pre-emptive foreign policy is a recipe for disaster (13 Sep 2004) Intelligence Squared

13 Sep 2004
Minutes: 01:43:46
MP4 - 393 MB

Intelligence Squared, the global forum for live debate, is dedicated to creating knowledge through contest.

The panel debate the motion: A pre-emptive foreign policy is a recipe for disaster. Chaired by Francine Stock.

Arguing for the motion are Senator Gary Hart and Sir Simon Jenkins.

Gary Hart states that, despite the theoretical nature of the motion, the point at issue is America's invasion of Iraq. He says that with an immediate and unavoidable threat, a nation does not require international acceptance to defend itself, but in the case of Iraq that threat was not present.

Simon Jenkins says that he is not against the concept of intervention or pre-emption, but has two basic concerns. Firstly, that we cannot have a state of affairs where any country can go to war; and secondly, that we should not extend this concept to groups that constitute a threat within other states.

Arguing against the motion are Christopher Hitchens and David Aaronovitch.

Christopher Hitchens says that it is often assumed the concept of pre-emption runs counter to the nexus of international law. However, he points to many treaties which suggest otherwise, such as the Genocide Convention – which mandates signatory powers (upon receiving information) to begin pre-emptive action. In his view a foreign policy that doesn't have a pre-emptive character is doomed to disaster.

David Aaronovitch says that a largely reactive foreign policy is certainly a recipe for disaster, and believes that the test of a pre-emptive foreign policy is the conflict in Afghanistan. He argues that if you vote in favour of this motion you are actually in support of a pre-emptive foreign policy, but you just want it to be more intelligent. Aaronovitch concludes by asserting the importance of intelligent and principled pre-emptive policy.

First Vote: 314 For, 195 Against, 183 Don't know

Final Vote: 265 For, 400 Against, 45 Don't know

The motion is defeated by 135 votes.

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