Segments in this Video

Introduction: Intelligence Squared U.S. (02:52)


Intelligence Squared U.S. chairman Robert Rosenkranz notes arguments on both sides of the proposition "America Should Be the World's Policeman" and highlights its relevance amid the 2008 campaign.

Debate "Housekeeping" (02:47)

Moderator Morley Safer explains the format of the debate and introduces panelists.

For the Motion: Max Boot (07:31)

Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations argues that the world requires policing to preserve order, and international organizations are ineffective, leaving the role to the U.S.

Against the Motion: Ellen Laipson (07:37)

Henry L. Stimson Center President Ellen Laipson defines policeman in terms of a monopoly on legitimate force and says the U.S. is incapable of filling such a vast role.

For the Motion: Michael Mandelbaum (06:20)

Johns Hopkins professor of American Foreign Policy Michael Mandelbaum says the international community is so interdependent that it requires governance.

Against the Motion: Matthew Parris (08:06)

Former British Member of Parliament Matthew Parris rejects Boot's claim about the benign role of the British Empire. Relative U.S. decline makes hegemony impossible.

QA: Diplomacy as Alternative (01:53)

Moderator Morley Safer says Max Boot presents the choice of unilateralism and isolationism and suggests diplomacy. Boot does not advocate unilateralism, citing U.S. leadership in Bosnia.

QA: Limits of Engagement (01:30)

Morley Safer cites Iran and North Korea as countries where engagement will be ineffective; international cooperation is managing these countries.

For the Motion: Douglas Murray (07:14)

Director of the Center for Social Cohesion Douglas Murray argues that America's morality gives it the right to be world policeman.

Against the Motion: Ian Bremmer (07:45)

President of the Eurasia Group, Ian Bremmer says it would be good if the U.S. could police the world amid growing disorder, but it must not overextend itself.

QA: How Can America Police Iraq and Afghanistan? (01:57)

Morley Safer argues that the U.S. cannot police Iraq and Afghanistan. Murray argues that closing terrorist training camps in Afghanistan is an accomplishment.

QA: Will the World Follow U.S. Leadership? (02:06)

Bremmer says the U.S. has exercised leadership in the international trade system and Indonesian tsunami relief.

Pre-Debate Vote Results (00:49)

For: 24% - Against: 44% - Undecided: 32%

QA: Will American Public Support World Policeman Role? (02:24)

Boot says Americans have supported troops stationed in East Asia and Europe. Parris says Americans support interventions in the national interest, but not prolonged occupations.

QA: What Should We Do with UN Peace Missions? (01:46)

Mandelbaum says we should continue peace missions, but this is a small fraction of the world policing role.

QA: British Empire as Force for Good (02:02)

Mandelbaum says British policing of the Atlantic and Mediterranean benefited the whole world. Parris says Britain learned there were limits to its power.

QA: Legitimacy of Policeman (01:43)

Parris argues believes the U.S. has no source of legitimacy as policeman. Mandelbaum counters that nobody opposes the U.S. role.

QA: Opposition to America (02:27)

Murray and Bremmer debate the legitimacy of polls showing U.S. unpopularity.

QA: What Do We Do When Others Oppose U.S. Policeman Role? (02:09)

Bremmer says Russia and China oppose the U.S. policeman role. Boot counters that multilateralism holds us hostage to Russia and China.

QA: What To Do About North Korea (02:32)

Bremer maintains the U.S. does not have the ability to play the policeman role toward North Korea.

QA: Does U.S. Have Enough Power to Be Hegemon? (02:19)

Mandelbaum says the U.S. can act as world policeman as long as major powers do not oppose it. Murray distinguishes between imperialist domination and the enforcing global norms.

QA: What is the Criterion for Intervention? (02:35)

Boot says there is no definitive criterion for intervening and we cannot stop all crimes.

QA: Should We Implement Draft? (02:29)

Mandelbaum says a draft would not solve the problem of entitlement spending crowding out military spending. Boot says U.S. power remains vast.

QA: World Policing and War Distinction (01:28)

Murray says policing the world is not only military action. He defines policing actions.

Closing Statement Against: Ellen Laipson (02:22)

Laipson states that he U.S. will not continue to have the power to police the world, and does not have the legitimacy to do so.

Closing Statement For: Max Boot (01:56)

Boot states that America policing the world makes war less likely. Without the U.S. role we would see arms races.

Closing Statement Against: Matthew Paris (02:24)

Parris says there is no coherent view for when the U.S. should intervene as policeman, and the proposition is unclear about whether they favor multilateralism.

Closing Statement For: Michael Mandelbaum (01:37)

Mandelbaum states that America can't solve all the world's problems, but neither can a domestic police force.

Closing Statement Against: Ian Bremmer (01:58)

Bremmer states that no other country has the capability to be world policeman, but an overambitious role will bring domestic backlash against any U.S. leadership role.

Closing Statement For: Douglas Murray (02:07)

Murray states that only the U.S. can play the role of world policeman; the UN cannot.

Time to Vote (02:51)

Morley Safer discusses upcoming Intelligence Squared debates while the audience votes.

Vote Results (01:24)

Pre-Debate - For: 24% - Against: 44% - Undecided: 32% Post-Debate - For: 47% - Against: 48% - Undecided: 5%

Credits: America Should Be the World's Policeman: A Debate (00:31)

Credits: America Should Be the World's Policeman

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America Should Be the World’s Policeman: A Debate

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Should the United States, with its enormous military might, act as a global sheriff, policing the world's trouble spots? The proposition team argues that a policeman is necessary in an otherwise anarchic international system, and nobody besides the U.S. is capable. The opposition team argues that, necessary or not, the U.S. is in relative decline and has neither the power nor the legitimacy to play a world police role.

Length: 100 minutes

Item#: BVL58290

ISBN: 978-0-81609-869-9

Copyright date: ©2008

Closed Captioned

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