[eDebate] Topic Voting

Travis Cram tcram84
Thu Jul 12 21:25:31 CDT 2007

My topic sentiments are right on in terms of favoring either #1 or #4 based on it including foreign assistance and an open-ended term of 'should include' as opposed to 'consist only of', but I wonder whether or not Topic #1 really preserves the Israeli relations disad for the negative.  As far as I understand it, the topic only says 'offering them a security guarantee.'  I don't read that phrase as excluding a 'trilateral' guarantee between Israel.  Because the topic doesn't define the type of security arrangement, it would seem that bilateral, trilateral, quatralateral, ad infinitum arrangements are fair game.  What about a security guarantee involving other regional actors?  Not just Israel but Turkey, European countries, NATO, Russia, etc.  Even if topicality debates turned into 'security guarantee ='s bilateral security guarantee', the absence of the term 'bilateral' from the topic in the first place raises the question of whether there was even an original intent to
 exclude a trilateral option (as well as showing the arbitrariness of such a topicality standard).

I just think it's a mistake to elect #1 over #4 on the grounds that it 'saves' the Israel disad.  It's also not as if a trilateral guarantee is a guaranteed link turn on a disad; it's likely they'll enjoy the status quo more (a counterplan to increase US/Israeli relations in whatever way would also do the trick).  I'd prefer #4 in that it seems to include all of the dangers of #1 without risking the mess of security guarantee permutations that are possible.

"Harris, Scott L" <sharris at ku.edu> wrote:  
While there has been a lot of discussion about whether the topic should be binding there has been very little discussion about the various topic options.
I would like to make an argument for topic #1 as the best topic for the season.  In addition to being the topic with the fewest words (as Jackie has pointed out) it is the topic that I think best balances aff breadth and neg ground.  It limits the topic to 5 countries.  Security guarantees and foreign assistance are identifiable mechanisms.  All three other topics include "trilateral security guarantees with Israel."  This phrase has a similar problem to "public health assistance" in the high school topic in that it is not a term of art.  Type "trilateral security guarantee" into google and the only hits you get are posts discussing the debate topic.  Allowing the aff to do things with Israel creates real problems for unique negative ground on the topic.  On topic #1 Israel relations disads are negative ground.  
Topic 3's expansion of the topic to include Saudi Arabia and Egypt is terrible because the U.S. already gives security guarantees and or assistance to those countries in ways that crushes uniqueness for disads.  
The inclusion of "only" in topics two and three makes them not an option to vote for in my book.  The damage done to the literature advocating affs when the resolution says aff engagement can "only" include these 2 or 3 options is considerable.  The number of advocates who limit their engagment to a security guarantee is incredibly small.  The literature for engaging Iran is not just about security guarantees.  This "only" limit guts much of the literature base for the aff on the topic.  I also think the inclusion of "only" has significant theoretical implications that has never been encountered in a topic.  The existence of "only" in the topic seems to make extratopicality automatically a voting issue since including any form of engagement not a security guarantee (topic 3) makes the plan by definition not topical.  It also has implications for counterplan competition.  While ordinarily a counterplan that does more than the plan isn't competitive it is an interesting
 question when a counterplan to do more than the plan proves the resolution to be a false statement because it proves that the USFG should not engage "only" through a trilateral security guarantee.  While perms may not have to be topical it is a little different when the perm proves the resolution to be false.  I don't want to judge such a debate.
I have heard that some people are afraid of topic 1 because it includes foreign assistance which is a broad category.  I think that is a strength of the topic not a weakness.  It allows a little more variety to affs than topic 3 does.  Affs still have to have a reason why the U.S. is key for any foreign aid or they will lose to other country counterplans if they are just claiming advantages from aid.  The 5 countries in topic 1 all receive fairly limited aid or no aid in the present system allowing uniqueness on disads.  The high school community is about to debate a topic involving giving aid to a region of 48 countries for whom we already give a bunch of aid.  I can't believe the college comunity is afraid of a topic that might allow assistance to 5 countries.  
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