January 19, 2019 | ° F

U. int’l relations group defeats debate union by slim margin

U. int’l relations group defeats debate union by slim margin

Photo by Conor Alwell |

Members of the Rutgers University Association of International Relations, left, go head-to-head with members of the Rutgers University Debate Union on transatlantic relations. The groups debated on the roles of the United States with Europe and tied in issues with NATO, the European Union and China.

Members of Rutgers University Debate Union and the Rutgers University Association of International Relations faced off last night as part of the University’s Transatlantic Campus Week.

The teams debated for three rounds. The topics, in order, were whether the U.S. should remain in NATO, if U.S. immigration policy should be like Germany’s and if the U.S. should promote democracy to other nations.

The teams went back and forth debating the United States’ relationship with NATO since the Cold War, the European Union and China.

The judges ruled RUAIR the event’s winner over the RUDU by a narrow margin.

Starting for RUAIR, Tarnjit Singh said NATO was created to protect member nations’ interests in the area as well as countries abroad.

He said the London train bombing and the Sept. 11 attacks prove that.

NATO has been functioning as a peacekeeping police force that aids the United Nations, said Rajan Gadhia, continuing for RUAIR.

NATO intervened in Yugoslavia by creating a “no fly” zone and conducted air strikes in Bosnia after the Cold War ended, he said.

Gadhia said NATO reacted to these crises by airlifting goods to supply humanitarian aid for Pakistani flood victims.

Dan Manzoor, representing RUAIR said piracy and terrorism affect everyone globally, so having a unified front presents an advantage because it makes NATO more effective.

NATO has taken on an important role in fighting terrorism as well as promoting humanitarian aid, Manzoor said.

“It’s more than just military,” he said.

Adam Bomeisl, who led the rebuttal for RUDU, said NATO is outdated, alienates Russia and China, and has not worked as a deterrent against terrorism.

“By its nature NATO is an exclusive organization,” Bomeisl said.

Bomeisl said the United States should try to do things through the United Nations and not have countries within NATO stray from the UN’s commands.

“[NATO] was necessary then, and it’s necessary today,” Manzoor said, adding that the organization now plays a role in areas where the majority of the world would be affected.

Moving into the second round, the teams debated whether the United States should adopt aspects of Germany’s immigration policy, with RUDU for adopting it and RUAIR against.

Sean Leonard, RUDU member, said there is a philosophical difference between the ways Germany and the United States treat immigration.

He argued that the United States could solve many of its immigration problems by adopting aspects of German policies designed to integrate immigrants into society.

“The United States has no nationally organized immigration policy,” Leonard said.

He said social integration helps prevent discrimination against immigrants in the workplace, adding that it is important for the country’s immigration policy to represent its melting pot heritage.

The United States has provided easy access to citizenship since the mid-1900s, as it moved to a more open immigration policy, since 12.9 percent of its population is foreign-born, Leonard said.

While linguistics tests and state-funded language classes are often considered a discriminatory practice that cause people to lose their original culture, Leonard said immigrants still keep their original culture when they come to America.

Non-European Union citizens are allowed to immigrate into Germany only if they are skilled workers, but immigration into America focuses on integration and what immigrants add to the United States’ social fabric, said Sivaram Cheruvu from RUAIR.

Germany provides mandatory culture classes that borders on forced assimilation to the culture rather than an invitation to integrate, Cheruvu said.

“We strongly disagree with that approach,” he said, adding that American culture is less structured than Germany’s, which allows it to accommodate more cultures without removing their identities.

“People all over the world see the United States as the place to be,” Cheruvu said.     

Cheruvu said the different demographics in Germany and the United States make it impractical for U.S. adoption of the German immigration system, as American immigration policies are representative of the culture.

But immigrants who do not speak the language have a harder time with integration, said Alex Jubb from RUDU.

She said there is a huge barrier to success in elementary education for those who do not speak the country’s native tongue.

Even if adopting certain aspects of Germany’s immigration policy caused some problems, its ability to integrate new citizens is worth the trouble, Jubb said.

Moving into the third round, teams debated whether the transatlantic alliance should intervene in other nations to promote and sustain democracy around the world. RUAIR argued for intervention while RUDU argued against.

Democracy is a good concept, but the more proactive the United States — the leading NATO nation — is, the more likely it is for there to be backlash, said Christopher Bergman from RUDU.

Bergman said NATO’s method of proactively promoting democracy with economic sanctions did not work, and the west should focus less on the promotion of democracy with sanctions and diplomacy to focus more on humanitarian aid.

By placing sanctions on countries such as North Korea and Iran, citizens in those countries grow angry or resentful and opposed to the west.

“Although the Iranian people are not fond of western governments, they are fond of western people,” said Bethany Shenise from RUAIR. “How could we not support democracies?”

The RUAIR team from the second debate and RUDU team from the third debate moved ahead into the final round where they debated whether transatlantic relations will be affected by the rise of China.

Aniket Kesari from RUAIR said China’s rapid growth is one of the greatest achievements in the modern world, but despite the fact that United States and China are two of the biggest superpowers in the world, they have different interests.

“The relationship between the two [countries] is not that friendly,” he said.

Kesari said the United States consistently condemns China’s human rights policies and patrols the Pacific Ocean to remind the country that it remains the dominant military power.

If China lost its manufacturing capacity, the relationship between the two countries would strain further, he said.

Focusing on the China-United States rivalry lessens the focus on the European Union, which weakens economic ties with the union and creates strain as the EU competes with the United States to get trade agreements, Bergman said.

“Fifty years ago, almost all of our economic ties were between the EU and the United States,” he said. “They’ve sunken in importance, and China has risen.”

China has been buying billions and trillions of United States’ debt, while the U.S. corporations invest in Chinese business, said Bhargavi Sriram, vice president of RUDU.

Kesari said trade between the EU and the United States promotes free markets, transparency and democratic reforms, which leads to greater trade between the two countries.

“[The EU and the United States say] both our regions will benefit economically. Both our regions will grow,” he said, adding that China does not share the same attitude toward economics.

Though the EU may be most profitable, it is still a valuable partnership because it pushes for free trade globally while China is a thorn in free trade’s progress, Kesari said.

By Hannah Schroer

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