[eDebate] Thoughts About Arms Control

Chris Stone cstone387
Sun Apr 20 14:30:22 CDT 2008


Here are some thoughts on arms control in relation to a few other topic
areas.

Arms control v. Russia
A lot of the focus on Russia has been about the timeliness and relevance of
Russia in international relations. I think this glosses over the real
problems with the topic. Yes, Russia is experiencing a political transition,
but is there really going to be a big difference in how Russia acts with
Putin as the Prime Minister instead of the President? I can't imagine so.
Arms control, especially in relation to the NPT, is a timely policy
question. There is a review conference in 2010, which means there is a bunch
of new literature related to the NPT. Also, Bush policy in relation to
missile defense and our nuclear arsenal are quite relevant. They also access
a substantial portion of the Russia debate.

I'll throw something out for the hippies too. The Russia papers arguments
about accessing critical arguments are in relation to nuclearism in large.
Is there really a better way to talk about these arguments than to have a
debate about nuclear weapons? I think the arms control topic is fine for K
affs because people can probably read some of the nuclearism literature on
the aff. You could also probably read some of the prolif K literature on the
aff.

I think my biggest concern with the Russia topic is the solvency literature.
Dylan Keenan did a pretty good job on the topic blog talking about why there
aren't many specific proposals for Russia and that even if there are, there
aren't people who writes negatives to them. Arms control has solvency
advocates for specific actions the US can take and also has people who
actually respond to those proposals. This creates a better solvency debate
and also better counterplan ground for the negative. The most specific
mechanism I have heard for Russia is 'selective cooperation.' Greta and Gabe
did a pretty good job talking about why this is a bidirectional term in one
of the Russia papers. I realize that people will craft the resolution to go
one way, as in be nice or be mean, but what happens if we change our policy
on one of these issues? I realize this is a concern with every topic, but
with arms control it seems less likely. At worst you eliminate a list aff if
we ratify CTBT (maybe an argument against the list topic) or you have some
uniqueness arguments like engagement now. On the Russia topic if we started
to cooperate on an issue and the topic was supposed to have us be nice to
Russia through 'selective cooperation,' the meaning of that area of the
topic would change to be mean to Russia. This means no generic link
arguments apply and it eliminates stable negative ground.

Arms control v. Reparations
All of the policy ground the reparations paper talks about would be better
accessed by arms control. I think there can be a discussion of race had on
the arms control topic. There is certainly plenty of literature written
about US weapons policies in relation to other countries. A lot of authors
say we're hypocritical because we build nuclear weapons while telling
countries like Iran they can't have them.

Here is my major concern about the reparations topic. It is supposed to be a
topic that spurs a discussion on race, but I think this will go down one of
two ways. Either there is good negative ground and the negative just goes
for counterplans that solve the aff and net benefits and race isn't
discussed. Or there isn't good negative ground and the neg is forced to sack
up on util good and a politics/spending da, which also means a discussion of
race doesn't happen. Those people who want to talk about racism will find a
way to talk about racism. I'm not saying we shouldn't confront these issues
in our community, rather that a reparations topic isn't the way to do it.

Short thoughts on wording
I think the topic would work best as some form of the 'elegant wording' from
Greta's paper. A list topic risks the problem of the election, while a topic
focusing on the 2000 review conference creates aff flexibility and still has
a stable mechanism that allows the negative ground.

-Chris
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