[eDebate] Ag topic and Russia (AT: Monte)

Rappmund, Phil p.rappmund
Wed Apr 23 01:43:46 CDT 2008

Re: cedablog topic at 

>>>"Advantage/area discussion? Uhm, ok, Im game. Give it a shot? 
We've not had a Russia topic either, in spite of its dramatic 
significance to everything, including global  agriculture. And, as 
I recall, there were at least 6 affs on last years constructive 
engagement topic that dealt with ag. The energy topic for sure had 
dramatic ag  intersections. The Europe topic did as well. This 
argument is, frankly, sophomoric."

I think people are overstating the "dramatic significance to 
everything" Russia has.  Yes, Russia is big and bad and has tons of 
nukes.  There would be some cool advantages.   But I don't think a 
Russia topic somehow accesses everything under the sun and then 
some.  There are advantages to solely focusing on pressing domestic 
issues with global implications.  Let's not forget the agriculture 
topic is not hurting for advantage areas.   Agriculture accesses 
environmental advantages of every kind, domestic and global 
economic advantages, trade advantages, global poverty and wealth 
disparity advantages, energy  advantages, relations advantages 
(esp. Brazil and G-20), etc.  This isn't the courts topic (which I 
actually liked, by the way).

Agriculture affs on the middle east topic?  You'll have to remind 
me what these were.  I think some people read a farm bill politics 
disad.  Maybe you're referring to the opium  eradication affs?  I 
think it's safe to say the topic paper goes in a completely 
different direction.  Contrast this to the fact that almost every 
area of the topic last year  had a Russian containment disad, or 
some sort of possible Russia advantage.  Our aff had a Russian 
containment good scenario all year, and I know we weren't the only 
ones (Starr evidence, anyone?)

Also, I think Cormack more or less addressed the Europe problems. 
Europe had 20 different topics in it that were tangentially 
related.  The amount of agriculture debates were  few and far in 
between and the agriculture topic never received the thorough 
investigation it warrants.  Also, the only people still debating 
that debated Europe would be fifth  years this coming season.

>>>"Finally, a comment. I think this paper looks better than it is 
in reality, especially relating to neg ground. The disads are all 
politics/econ, which are, literally, ensured  on every topic in the 
history of debate. They are "the reasons things dont get done" and 
not "the reasons we choose topics". We should look for a central 
area of reasonable  controversy over intrinsic disadvantages to the 
topic area, of which there are none unique to agricultural 
subsidies except the two most generic disads of all time. All of 
your  remaining 12 econ disads are still, in the end, econ disads. 
So, thanks, but no thanks."

AT: politics disads- so what?  Politics is inevitable every year. 
The elections links and PC links for farm subsidies are amazing. 
It's probably the most political issue of  any the topics minus 
maybe health care.  Might as well make politics less contrived if 
you can.

AT: only econ disads- wrong.  The topic paper outlines many 
different disads and is one of the few papers to actually provide 
full generic neg sections with evidence.  You've  got trade 
credibility (which really doesn't have to do with the econ), 
hegemony arguments, competitiveness (which is sorta similar to 
econ, but has completely different link and  internal link 
stories), food security, relations disads, etc.

Also, what exactly is the impact to having more econ disads?  I 
think it's time we start having more, and better economy debates, 
especially if we're starting to head into a  recession.  These 
disads aren't exactly your standard "biz con bad" contrived 
scenarios either.  Forget that "most generic disad of all time" 
junk.  We're talking about policies  that would have *significant* 
impacts on world food prices and state economies.  Not to mention 
the potential impact on energy markets, investments, global free 
trade and the  Doha Round, etc.  Sure, there might've been some 
econ disads last year... but none that really went deeper than 
reading a Bearden card.  If there's a substantial and intricate 
economy debate to be had, I say we should have it.

>>>"Also, these CPs are weak at best. Conditions, no thanks. That 
CP is not competitive, and conditions CPs are literally inevitable 
on any topic not a uniquely educational or  balancing function of 
this topic. Also, the nearly all cap on virtually any topic means 
that your "do less" CP prolly doesnt compete. No one is going to 
write into their plan a  specific benchmark. Welcome to modern 

I think the topic paper does one of the best jobs of outlining some 
of the specific CPs that would be available.  I mean, the Russia 
paper doesn't even really outline what some  of the generic CPs 
would be.  I'm worried that it would be another year of consult. 
Maybe there are some other good specific CPs (I legitimately don't 
know).  However,  agriculture has a substantial debate in the lit 
over the effect of caps vs. complete removal.  'Nearly all' is not 
the same as just cutting a couple bucks, which a lot of lit  says 
is enough to get the ball rolling.  I am told that people didn't 
really have competition problems on the Europe topic when 
caps/limits CPs were read.

The condition CPs absolutely compete- most of the trade credibility 
disads are contingent on people freaking out because we don't work 
out a deal with the EU first and make them  reciprocate.  Condition 
CPs are inevitable, but they usually take the form of bad consult 
CPs whose competition is contrived from some card that never really 
says "X country  wants to be genuinely, prior, binding, truthfully, 
consulted about issue X."  On the other hand, there is good lit 
that specific deals (usually regarding either manufacturing or 
beef tariffs) with the EU are necessary to solve and key to 
avoiding trade disads to getting the Doha round talks running again.

Plus, let's not forget the other CPs we researched as well- there's 
a good EU counterplan, increase subsidies for other crops CP, 
remove other trade barriers CP, etc.

>>>"With these criticisms noted, the topic appears to be some aff 
suggestions with very little negative ground provided. In my mind, 
topics should start with some interests in  negative ground and 
move later to the affs, not vice versa. I believe a lot of people 
feel similarly."

I think that's a view that probably has to be justified.  Are you 
seriously suggesting we just go find a cool disad and think of ways 
we can write topics so we can read those  disads?  Then we get 
problems like the courts topic, where there aren't really any 
solvency advocates and the neg wins most rounds on artificial CPs 
like distinguish.  I think  instead we should be worried about 
good, specific aff proposals in the literature that actually have 
solvency advocates.  The neg will find ways to win.  It's not like 
we're  debating in the pre politics/CP/K/consult era.

Finally, I want to say I don't have any real problem with the 
Russia topic.  I think it's a pretty cool foreign policy topic. 
But if Russia is voted on, some students will have  debated THREE 
of their four years on foreign policy.  Their ONE domestic topic 
would've been the courts topic.  I think that if we have the 
opportunity to debate a timely  domestic issue that is also very 
debatable in the context of the game, it outweighs a foreign policy 
topic.  Vote agriculture.


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