Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

Airs Sunday, July 12, at 6 p.m. This year the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany negotiated an interim nuclear accord with Iran that includes limiting Iran's enrichment capacity and stockpile. Many in the U.S. fear that a deal as it is being negotiated would not go far enough and, instead of being a benefit, would strengthen Iran’s hand in the Middle East. Is this agreement a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to halt nuclear proliferation, or does President Obama have this wrong? The debaters are Philip Gordon, Michael Doran, Thomas Pickering, and Mark Dubowitz.

Airs Sunday, May 24, at 6 p.m. The President has launched a sustained, long-term military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. But did he have constitutional power to do so? The Constitution carefully divides the war powers of the United States between Congress and the President. Article II provides that “The President shall be Commander in Chief.” But Article I provides that “The Congress shall have Power … To Declare War.” In this case, Congress has not declared war; the President ordered the attacks unilaterally. Did he exceed his authority and violate the Constitution? Arguing for the motion are Gene Healy, VP of the Cato Institute & Author of The Cult of the Presidency and Deborah Pearlstein, Assistant Professor at Cardozo Law & Former Director of Law & Security Program at Human Rights First. Arguing against the motion are Akhil Reed Amar, Professor of Law at Yale University and Philip Bobbitt, Professor at Columbia Law School & Lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin.

Airs Sunday, May 17, at 6 p.m. America owes $6 trillion to China, the War on Terror has stripped us of the moral high ground, and our middle class is no longer the world’s most affluent. Yes, times are tough, but America is recovering from the Great Recession faster than almost any other advanced country, an energy boom could add billions to the GDP, and our military strength and geopolitical advantages remain unrivaled. Are our best days behind us, or should the world still bet on America?

Airs Sunday, April 12, at 6 p.m. In 2014, the European Union’s Court of Justice determined that individuals have a right to be forgotten, “the right—under certain conditions—to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them.” Largely seen as a victory in Europe, in the U.S., the reaction has been overwhelmingly negative. Was this ruling a blow to free speech and public information, or a win for privacy and human dignity? The debaters are Paul Nemitz, Andrew McLaughlin, Eric Posner, and Jonathan Zittrain.

Airs Sunday, April 5, at 6 p.m. In late 2014, Amazon and the publishing house Hachette settled a months-long dispute over who should set the price for e-books. In Amazon’s view, lower prices mean more sales and more readers, and that benefits everyone. But for publishers, the price of an e-book must reflect the investment made, from the author’s advance to a book’s production. The conflict has only raised more questions about Amazon’s business practices, and the role of publishers.

Pages