[eDebate] Russia v. Dylan

Calum Matheson u.hrair
Mon Apr 21 11:43:24 CDT 2008

Dylan seems to have several concerns here.  I'll do my best to answer them

1.       The damned politics disad, still.  Brent did a good job answering
this.  There will be politics links to cooperating with Russia.  I promise.
"I want to debate about disads that have tangential links to the topic?you
would make me learn stuff about relevant, topic-variable issues" is a
terrible argument.  The politics disad is policy debate's answer to
normativity?brutally generic, theoretically insipid, and the ultimate
promoter of laziness.  Choosing a topic based on *good* links to your
favorite generic versus *great* links to it amounts to intellectual seppuku.
But without the cool Bushido honor part.

2.       Internal politics disads.  This objection is a bit too generic.  I
believe that Dylan is generally correct that internal politics disads are
mediocre, but Russia is a very important exception to this rule.  The
political situation in Russia is unique (I spare everyone and not belabor
this point yet again).  A great deal is written about it in English; most
major Russian newspapers are available in English editions (they are even on
Lexis!  Fancy that!), cooperation with the United States is an extremely
important political issue in Russia, and there is an enormous corps of
academics, journalists, and professionals who specialize in the study of
that country.  It's like, super big and scary.  People pay attention to it.
The impact to these disads is very strong.  Here is one example:

"Russian internal troubles?such as a leadership crisis, coup, or civil
war?could aggravate Russia's fears of foreign aggression and lead to a
miscalculation of U.S. intentions and to nuclear overreaction. While this
may sound like a complicated and improbable chain of events, Russia's story
in the 1990s is one long series of domestic crises that have all too often
been the source of nuclear close calls?the United States might find itself
the victim of a preemptive strike for no other reason than a war scare born
of Russian domestic troubles." (PV Pry, "War Scare: US-Russia on the Nuclear

Nuclear war.  Yeah.  We are not talking about the internal politics of
Andorra, here.   It's Russia?there are lots of good cards.  A tortured
progression of internal links that end in histrionic nonsense about the
economy or free trade is not preferable to a three-card disad that ends in
the worst conceivable fate for humanity.

For someone that accuses us of failing to go beyond the "one card exists"
test, I must say that it's disappointing that you have chosen the "I have
zero cards, but this is my opinion" standard.  The uniqueness is less
conclusive?  Yes, God forbid that there would be cards in both directions.  If
we aren't careful, issues will get contested, and we could end up with a
debate on our hands.  I don't think there's any reason to believe this is
particularly true of the disads on the Russia topic.

3.       Relations disads are bad.  Again, I think Dylan is correct in the
abstract, but not in this specific case.  The US-Russia-China triangular
relationship has been very extensively studied.  Internal link cards do not
come from some hungover correspondent who needs to add inches to a column,
they come from book-length studies of world politics.  Here are three of
them: Voskressenski, "Russia and China: a Theory of Interstate Relations,"
Levin, "The Next Great Clash: China and Russia vs. the United States,"
Wilson, "Strategic partners : Russian-Chinese relations in the post-Soviet
era."  Yes, the links are usually generic?but the topic we wrote involves
US-Russian military cooperation in significant areas, and there are not only
specific links, but quite broad ones that apply to many affs.  This disad
was indeed weak on the China topic (certainly no opaque prolif disad).
went the wrong direction?Russia-China relations were high; the US pressured
China; US-China relations were fairly low.  The disad now works in reverse,
but uniqueness is the same?Russia-China relations are strong (but not *too*
strong, as the good, reverse-causal internal links establish), US-Russian
relations are rocky, and cooperation has faded.  There are also disads on
this topic that are not triangular, but involve third parties.  US-Russian
cooperation could weaken NATO, for example, by reducing the US need for it.
There are also encirclement disads that are somewhat distinct from

There is no reason to believe that there are "no links" to the smaller affs.
Peacekeeping, for example, easily spills over to levels of cooperation that
link to disads.  Here's an example:  "[M]ilitary cooperation between NATO,
Russia, and Russia's neighbors? could have a positive impact on our broader
political relationship with Russia?A healthy mil-to-mil relationship could
go a long way in reversing this trend and helping us avoid a larger conflict
later." (Holinger, Christopher. "Improving military-to-military Relations
with Russia." JFQ,  issue 45, 2d quarter 2007.

4.       We didn't do any neg work; there are tiny, unanswerable affs.  Like
what?  Reinforce what base?  We don't have any joint US-Russian military
bases.  Stop sub-bumping in one area in the Arctic?  Got a card for this?  What
area in our proposed resolution would this fall under?  Terrorists are going
to attack something?  Good Lord, citizen, get off of edebate and alert the

There are not a ton of unanswerable, tiny affs lurking in the margins of
US-Russian cooperation.  This may be a great fear of yours, but you ought to
provide some examples to distinguish paranoia from concern.  Are you holding
out on the evidence?  Is there some new internet in Michigan now that we
don't get here in Texas?  Do I have to pack up and head to Californy?

There are a surprising number of people who write cards, hate Russia, and
don't want us to jaunt down the aisles of history arm-in-arm with the Evil
Empire.  What is the advantage to these tiny leprechaun affs of yours?
relations?  Sounds like there are some neg arguments, too.  Yeah,
sub-bumping was a pretty good aff on the high school Russia topic in 1998.  The
best version was unilateral.  It is not topical for a variety of reasons
under our proposed resolution.  All the affs have to cooperate with Russia,
meaning the neg has, at a minimum:  US-Russian relations disads, trade-off
disads, the unilateral c/p to solve all the fictional bases affs, the
multilateral forum c/p, a variety of medvedev/putin disads, a bewildering
variety of critiques, consult counterplans, and all the other arguments that
breed in the depths of debate where the light of work ethic cannot fall on

And get this?it would all link to politics.

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