[eDebate] Latin America v. Russia

Calum Matheson u.hrair
Tue Apr 8 01:11:02 CDT 2008


i am a firm supporter of the latin america topic, with a couple of
modifications:
1. change the action to "increase military cooperation with"
2. change "latin america" to "russian federation"
the "usfg should" part is okay i guess, so really, these are minor
revisions.

i believe that latin america and russia will both make it to the selection
process, so i'm not trying to discourage the area altogether.  i am
concerned, however, that it may split the constituency for a foreign policy
topic, and we will end up debating some non-russia topic.

so, here's why i support russia over latin america:

1. timeliness.  it's not that nothing is happening in latin america--it's
that things *are* happening in russia.  as i've argued already, the transfer
of power between Putin and Medvedev makes this a particularly good time to
debate about russia.  the ambiguity of power sharing, the embryonic
development of US-russian relations under the new administrations, and the
highly conflicted character of russia scholarship now all create a window of
opportunity for this topic that will begin to close once the situation has
become more definite.  latin america is a region and not a single country,
which means that political relations are likely to be interesting and
dynamic over time, without this unique opportunity in russia.

2. solvency plus harm.  for policy debates that seek large impacts, russia
offers the very largest.  ever.  i ranted extensively about my love for the
Red Army already, so i will not repeat it all again, but just one reminder:
US-russian relations determine the fate of every person on earth, at least
negatively.  if the russian general staff decides that the time has come, it
can grind the collective achievements and aspirations of the human race into
a coarse radioactive powder.  if we are going to debate about nuclear war
all the time, we might as well debate about *awesome* ones.
there are some big impacts associated with latin america, too, like trade,
the environment, chinese influence/hegemony, and regional war.  you can
debate about all of these things with russia, too.  russia is a major
emerging economy, striving to join the world trade organization.  it has a
large portion of the earth's forest cover, unique environments like lake
baikal, and an environmental record that would put most leaders to shame.
chinese influence and regional war...uh, yeah.  you can debate about those
too.  russia loooves regional wars, and the triangular relationship between
russia, the US, and china is one of the most significant issues in the
world.
more significantly perhaps, the quality of solvency evidence for russia is
high.  it's extensively researched and written about.  there are many
diverging opinions, but the potential for the US to influence the situation
is high.  there's a separate discussion about latin america and solvency
already, and i think russell correctly identified some problems with it.
the aff gets highly probable, large impacts with good solvency evidence.
the neg gets gigantic disads, and because the literature is so rich,
correspondingly high-quality counterplans.  so it makes debate better.
i talked a lot about critical arguments that i think are interesting for
russia, many of which i feel have not been developed to the depth that they
deserve.  latin america has good ground on this front too, so i've focused
on policy here.

3. it's russia.  seriously.  if i was going to invent a fictional country to
have a debate topic about, i would make it large, potentially powerful,
possibly corrupt, and ambiguously threatening.  i would give it a history of
glory and tragic downfall, but set it uneasily on the road to recovery, torn
between a desire to integrate responsibly into the world order and to carry
out revanchinist aggression against its neighbors, trapped in a nationalist
myth of dominance and power.  i would invent a machine called the "dead
hand" that could obliterate the world out of spite alone.  hell, i'd make it
gray and icy, full of industrial decay, because that only makes the picture
more compelling.  i'd make a movie about it, called "red dawn."  it my
fantasy, it wins a dozen oscars.

basically, if you wanted to create the ideal country for a debate topic from
scratch, you'd get russia.  if it's going to be a foreign policy topic, the
question in my mind is not "why russia," but "why any topic other than
russia?"

calum
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