[eDebate] Topic time: Latin America push ideas

Kris Willis kristopherwillis
Wed Apr 16 13:24:25 CDT 2008


It is crunch time for the topic and here is a push for Latin America and a call for help. 

Latin
America and the Caribbean is a fertile topic area rich in history and policy.
Ever since the Monroe Doctrine, the US has viewed this hemisphere as its own
territory but recent events have begun to challenge this control. Relations
with the LAC (Latin America and Caribbean) have been on a downward spiral since
the end of the 90?s. With China, and to a lesser extent Japan, influence
growing in the region the US can no longer afford to ignore the any for
Geo-political reasons. There are also direct challenges to US Hegemony from
within LAC as Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is openly defiant of the US and its
policies in his promotion of his Bolivarian revolution. But the harms area
don?t stop there: Agriculture reform, disease, drug war, civil war, democracy
promotion, free trade, immigration, economic collapse, China, to name a few.
These harms areas are only going to get worse until the US changes its focus
and reprioritizes the LAC.

Considering
these papers are designed as the starting point for discussion, my belief is
that the topic needs to be worded and formed around ?changing foreign policy.?
While I agree that a trade or aid focused approach could work, I do agree with
the general concern for Policy solution advocates as well as a topic that would
allow for some critical reflexivity (i.e. the US examines and eliminates its
bad policies etc.). I do recognize the general concerns for this kind of
resolution (to large, hurts small schools, etc) but I believe affirmative
flexibility to be a greater concern (I believe it would help with Aff wins
percentage and encourage more teams to read topical cases and policies) and the
realization that most small schools that would be negatively impacted by a
large topic (like mine) also tend to choose more critical arguments or
strategies that don?t require a lot of updates and constant research regardless
of the topic mechanism. This practice continued on the last two topics, which
were specifically designed to try and ?help? these schools and produce good
case debates. In this regard, I consider the last two resolutions failures. Below I have also provided more narrow ideas for topic crafted in the form of Foreign Assistance (more on that below). 

LAC
should be chosen as the topic area because we need to discuss this area and our
community continues to ignore it. Much like the Africa topic a few years back,
the LAC has been ignored by our community. It is time (and a good time at
that?read some of the below literature) for us as a community to examine and
debate about the USFG policies toward the LAC. I recognize other areas are of
concern and a case could be made for each of them as well, the LAC is to large
and rich with history of an area to ignore anymore. Also, it almost never is
even afforded any discussion on other topic areas, unlike Russia which has been
debated on the China topic and Middle East topic?as far DA?s. The closest the LAC
came is a politics scenario for free trade. Not good enough.The evidence comes from 
Hakim 06? [Peter, Is Washington Losing
Latin America? Foreign Affairs, January/February 2006]



Relations
decreasing now:

Relations between the United States and Latin America today are at their
lowest point since the end of the Cold War. Many
observers in the 1980s had hoped that Latin America's turn toward democracy and
market economics, coupled with Washington's waning emphasis on security
matters, would lead to closer and more cooperative ties. Indeed, for a time,
the Americas seemed to be heading in the right direction: between
1989 and 1995, Central America's brutal wars were largely settled; the Brady
debt-relief proposal (named for then U.S.
Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady) helped end Latin America's
decade-long, debt-induced recession; the United States, Canada, and Mexico
signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); the United States
hosted the hemisphere's first summit meeting in more than a generation; and in
1995 a bold Washington-led rescue package helped prevent the collapse of
Mexico's economy. But much of this progress has since stalled, with U.S. policy
on Latin America drifting without much steam or direction?..

CHINA Concrerns: (a built in DA)

Washington also worries about China's growing presence in Latin America, a
concern that has already been the subject of congressional hearings. In fact,
some members of Congress view China as the most serious challenge to U.S.
interests in the region since the collapse of the Soviet Union. They cite the
huge financial resources China is promising to bring to Latin America, its
growing military-to-military relations in the region, and its clear political
ambitions there all as potential threats to the long-standing pillar of U.S.
policy in the hemisphere, the Monroe Doctrine.

LA Grows Frustrated with US:

Disappointment with the U.S.-Latin American relationship is a two-way
street. Anti-Americanism has surged in every country in Latin America. People in
the region, rich and poor, resent the Bush administration's aggressive
unilateralism and condemn Washington's disregard for international institutions
and norms. A recent Zogby poll of Latin America's elites found that 86 percent
of them disapprove of Washington's management of conflicts around the world.
Only Cuba and Venezuela are openly hostile toward the United States, and
most Latin American governments continue to seek close ties with the United
States, including free-trade arrangements, immigration accords, and security
assistance -- even though many of them no longer consider the United States to
be a fully reliable partner or want to be Washington's ally. The region's
leaders are well aware of the overwhelming political and economic strength of the
United States and are pragmatic enough to work hard to maintain good relations
with the world's only superpower. But they view the United States as a country
that rarely consults with others, reluctantly compromises, and reacts badly
when others criticize or oppose its actions.

Uniqueness and Harms will grow:

There is little reason to expect that U.S. relations with Latin America will
improve soon. More likely, they will get worse. The region will remain
peripheral to the central concerns of U.S. foreign policy, which are the war
against terrorism, securing and rebuilding Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and
nuclear proliferation. With new presidents
scheduled to come to power in nearly a dozen Latin American countries over the
coming year, some important political shifts will certainly occur. But
many conditions in Latin America are unlikely to change much. At best, the
region will sustain its recent modest economic growth, but it will not offer
the trade and investment opportunities that U.S. businesses find in Asia and
central Europe. Latin America's social and political tensions will persist, and
much of the region will remain alienated from the United States. Ch?vez is
likely to continue his adversarial stance toward the United States for some
time, and it may get even stronger if he further consolidates power at home and
continues to earn and spend Venezuela's enormous oil profits. The elections in Nicaragua and Bolivia may even provide
him with new allies.

Types of policies: (Agricultural
reform, immigration and AID)

Still, there are some U.S. policy initiatives that could improve hemispheric
relations. What Latin American governments consistently press hardest for are
changes in U.S. farm policy that would lower barriers to the region's food and
fiber exports. In particular, they want cuts in U.S. subsidies to
agricultural producers and reductions of tariffs and quotas on key commodities.
These changes would not only increase Latin American exports and create jobs,
but they would also revive negotiations toward the proposed FTAA and open the
way to more secure access to U.S. trade, investment, and technology --
precisely what the region desires from its relationship with the United States.
Such reforms would also end many bitter disputes
with Brazil and Argentina, the region's largest agricultural exporters. The
Bush administration basically supports this agenda and has taken the lead in
the Doha Round of multilateral trade talks to push for an accord that would
require Europe, Japan, and other governments, as well as the United States, to
lower subsidies and other barriers. But powerful U.S. agricultural producers
and their representatives in Congress make it impossible for the United States
to reshape its farm policy on its own. On this front, Washington has
refused to make even the smallest unilateral concession to Latin America.

For many Latin American countries, especially Mexico, U.S. immigration policy
has become the most important issue in their bilateral relations with the
United States. U.S. and Latin American policymakers largely agree on the basic
principles that should guide a new U.S. approach to the issue -- including a
substantial increase in the number of temporary workers granted lawful entry to
the United States, the development of procedures for some undocumented
immigrants to earn legal status, and the effective enforcement of any new
legislation. President Bush has called for
immigration reform essentially in accord with these principles. Yet
disagreements over actual policies have so deeply divided Congress and the U.S.
public that the chances are slim that any changes, besides more intense
enforcement of existing laws, will be enacted. The weakening of the Bush
presidency in recent months has made immigration reform even less likely.

Nearly all Latin American governments would welcome U.S. aid to
accelerate their countries' economic and social progress. The Bush
administration has made available modest amounts of new development financing
for Latin America through the Millennium Challenge Account. But the program is
designed to assist well-governed but very poor countries, and because Latin
America's income levels are relatively high, only a few states in the region
are likely to be eligible. Latin Americans
often unfavorably compare the United States with the EU, which has transferred
resources from wealthier to poorer regions of the continent on the premise that
more equitable growth across the EU would benefit all of its members. But
Washington has long preferred "trade not aid," viewing hemispheric
free-trade arrangements as the best mechanism to boost Latin America's
development because they not only expand trade but also attract foreign direct
investment and foster wide-ranging reforms. In
any event, with U.S. budgets now stretched thin by the Iraq war, the aftermath
of Hurricane Katrina, and tax cuts, it is fanciful to contemplate larger aid
flows to Latin America.

Still good Solvency Debates here
too:

In short, the United States is in no position to pursue any of the
initiatives that would address Latin America's priorities. Even if the
administration were able to revamp U.S. policies, it is uncertain whether the
region's governments would be prepared to strike the kind of bargains needed to
secure the support of the U.S. Congress and the American public for the
proposed changes. Any U.S. trade concessions
on agriculture, for example, would require Brazil and other countries to
drastically reduce their barriers to U.S. exports of food, manufactured goods,
and services and accept stringent standards on copyright and patent protection.
But successive Brazilian governments have never said whether they would accept
these conditions. It is also uncertain whether Washington could count on the
Mexican government's assistance in enforcing border controls in exchange for a
substantial liberalization of U.S. immigration laws. Similarly, many
Latin American governments might not want increased U.S. development and
antipoverty support if, as is the case with EU support for its members, such
assistance came with requirements for higher taxes and an array of new budget
and financial rules?.
LA want to have
better relations:

Despite their disagreements and dissatisfaction with U.S. policy in the region,
most governments in Latin America want to strengthen their relations with
Washington. But the Bush administration has demonstrated neither the
determination nor the capability to pursue policies in the Americas that would
mobilize the support of the other nations of the hemisphere. Latin American countries, divided among themselves, are
by no means clamoring for a renewal of hemispheric cooperation. Ch?vez's antics
at the Summit of the Americas in November 2005 obscured the real tragedies of
the gathering -- that is, how little the leaders accomplished, how badly the
hemispheric agenda has unraveled, and how deeply divided the countries of the
Americas are. Despite enthusiasm in the region for economic
partnership, Latin Americans' fundamental ambivalence toward the United States'
foreign policies has forcefully reemerged.

Must act now:

The costs of this impasse may be high for both the United States and Latin
America. Another financial crisis in Argentina or Brazil could have global
ramifications. So would a political confrontation in oil-rich Venezuela and or
an intensification of the armed conflict in Colombia. Greater regional
integration and political cooperation could benefit all the countries of the
Western Hemisphere, as they have in Europe. But the United States and Latin
America have demonstrated neither the will nor the ability to travel that road
together.Resolution ideas:Below are some ideas I have put together and I
need some help. I need help with policy options and wording help. Two sample resolutions I have thought about are below.
Specifically, I wanted change FP but I realize that would probably
might never get off the ground. Simple plans are outlined in the Hakim evidence as starting points for discussion for changing FP in a broad since.
However, I also realize that may be to broad so I opted for a more directed approach of
Foreign Assistance. The second idea uses the terms from USAID as areas and directs the
topic a bit more. I didn't want to have "development assistance" in the
topic as the sole mechanism (backlash from an old topic fear) but I
believe it can and should be included in the area because it allows for
harm areas like the environment, Democracy, economic reform and
corruption to name a few. All of which should provide great debates and
solvency advocates.
?Resolved:
The USFG should substantially increase its foreign assistance toward
one or more of the Latin American and Caribbean countries.?
?Resolved:
The USFG should substantially increase its foreign assistance toward
one or more of the Latin American and Caribbean countries in one of the
following areas: Andean Counterdrug Initiative, Child Survival and
Health Programs, Development Assistance.?


Thoughts?Kris

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