Personal tools
 
Views

Debate: Bolstering the Peace Corps

From Debatepedia

Revision as of 21:28, 24 March 2010; Brooks Lindsay (Talk | contribs)
(diff) ←Older revision | Current revision | Newer revision→ (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
[Digg]
[reddit]
[Delicious]
[Facebook]

Should the US increase the number of people serving in the Peace Corps?

This article is based on a Debatabase entry written by Carlos Varela. Because this document can be modified by any registered user of this site, its contents should be cited with care.

Background and context

The Peace Corps is a voluntary service organization funded and administered by the United States Federal Government. It was founded in 1960 to foster international development, peace, and cooperation, and in that time over 182,000 Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV’s) have served in more than 138 countries. Those who criticize the Peace Corps generally take one of three stances: that it is corrupt and mismanaged, that it lacks of support and training for its volunteers, and that it promotes the US's imperialist agenda by spreading American values to so-called “third world” nations.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]

Argument #1

[Add New]

Yes

The Peace Corp helps improve relations with other nations by creating critical person to person contacts which strengthen the relationships between nations. This fosters a culture of exchange, understanding and peace, rather than one of conflict, antagonism, and war and spreads the values of freedom, tolerance, respect, and diversity. This is critical to creating the foundations of peace.

[Add New]

No

Many Peace Corps volunteers manage to offend the communities they are embedded in, are perceived as condescending or arrogant, or clash with local values and customs. In addition, some PCV’s commit crimes in their host country. These acts have the effect of angering the local population and hurting relations between the US and that nation.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Argument #2

[Add New]

Yes

The Peace Corp increases US “soft power” so increasing the size of the Corps increases US “soft power”. “Soft power” refers to the ability of a country to influence others through cultural or ideological means. As PCV’s proliferate around the world they share US liberal values of human rights, opportunity, choice, etc. with others, leading those people to desire the same things. This increases the allure and power of the US internationally and allows it to better create coalitions of like minded communities and address important international security issues. Soft power is critical to solving issues like diseases, global warming, the global economy and terrorism because all require cross-border communication, intelligence, coordination, and cooperation.

[Add New]

No

Increasing our “soft power” via the Peace Corps only increases the value based reasons people hate the US. It is our respect for human rights, which in turn spreads modern liberal values, which extremists hate. Additionally, PCV’s are seen as agents of imperialism as they attempt to ‘change’ or ‘reform’ their host communities and spread liberal values. Those opposed to such changes view the PCV’s as enemies.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Argument #3

[Add New]

Yes

The Peace Corps encourages development. Many so called “third world” nations live in extreme poverty. The Peace Corps is a vital link in order to create the infrastructure for development, which alleviates poverty. Without the Peace Corps, these nations would wallow in extreme poverty and destitution.

[Add New]

No

The US is not funding this program out of benevolence, but rather to show off prosperity and encourage the host communities to participate in the global economy. This type of development and economy are not to the benefit of every community, and can actually cause harm, as communities are forced to compete against others to sell their exports.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Argument #4

[Add New]

Yes

Peace Corps contributions in such fields as education and health are essential contributions without which many people in the host countries would be worse off.

[Add New]

No

Other programs with expertise in these fields and none of the baggage of the Peace Corps serve these purposes better and are more effective at accomplishing their goals. In particular, best practice in international development today stresses the need to work through indigenous staff rather than parachuting in young Americans with limited skills and little appreciation of the culture and needs of their host community. Employing local people on US-funded projects is also much cheaper, and allows our development budget to go further, and to do more good.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Argument #5

[Add New]

Yes

The Peace Corps is a valuable growth experience for those serving, exposing them to new cultures and places, providing them adequate training, and providing a support system to help the PCV’s.

[Add New]

No

The Peace Corps fails to adequately train and ultimately abandons those it sends into the field. Consequently, those volunteers often face exclusion, crime, and rape. It is not surprising, then, that many Peace Corps volunteers experience mental health issues, leave before their 2 year commitment is over, and even commit suicide

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section up]

Argument #6

[Add New]

Yes

The Peace Corps attracts many young people who would not choose to go into the military, perhaps for religious or ethical reasons, or because they do not want the longer-term commitment signing-up for the military involves. It is important to give an opportunity to serve our country to as many young Americans as possible, and Peace Corps alumni often make a very valuable contribution to their communities after their return to the USA. By spreading greater awareness of international affairs and development issues, Peace Corps returnees help ensure that the United States continues to be outward looking and that its citizens appreciate the importance of its commitments abroad, including its military operations. Given these benefits to our nation from the Peace Corps, it follows that an expanded programme could do even more good. Every American should know somone who has been a Peace Corps volunteer.

[Add New]

No

Without new funds and support networks, increasing the number of PCV’s alone would further strain existing Peace Corps programs and networks. In addition, recruiting for the Peace Corps will take people who would normally go to the military. This decreases our already overstretched military readiness. We need military readiness to deter further conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, and elsewhere. The US government has a limited amount of resources, and expendable ones are needed to fund the military and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Motions

  • The US Peace Corps should be commended as a force for good
  • Third world countries should model developed countries.
  • The US should increase the scope of the Peace Corps
  • This House would expand the Peace Corps

In legislation, policy, and the world

See also

External links and resources:

Books

Problem with the site? 

Tweet a bug on bugtwits
.