[eDebate] HC over Russia-this post reaches ede warnerian levels of length

M G malgorthewarrior
Thu Apr 24 14:52:33 CDT 2008

Ya know, this feels a little hopeless, as Russia is clearly the frontrunner on edebate (granted that's 5 people).  But, if we look at past trends, a topic like Russia is much more likely to win than health care.  But hey I usually root for the underdog, might as well continue the trend.


Russia cards are great, but they are all written by scholars who still need something to talk about now that the Cold War is over. Aside from the nuclear issue (important, but something we have debated, and debated, and debated), Russia is losing influence in world politics.  It has gone from superpower status at its height to a power that is merely trying to gain influence via proxy at best, using softpower and bolstering regional influence in the few places where it has any.  Russia will always be relevant to world politics, but there still isn't a huge policy challenge that has substantive, material affects on the outcomes of US foreign policy.  In fact, most of the issues that we are talking about with Russia are so secondary they are just remnants of the Cold War.  In short-Russia cannot challenge the US in any meaningful way, cooperation is at best inevitable and at worst only going to affect small issues.  Essentially the only viable affs are going to be those that try to promote internal reform in Russia.  We JUST had a fopo topic that focused on encouraging internal reforms.  Why would we just switch geographic areas?

Health care is going to be the single most important domestic issue of OUR TIME.  Russia is the single greatest foreign policy issue of OUR PARENTS time.  And any reason you have about why Russia WILL be more relevant is support for delaying Russia a year or two.  HC is not only going to be one of the BIGGEST issues in the election, it is something that will effect every single person in this community in material ways.  Odds are someone in your family is denied access to health care.  I won't quote more evidence, the paper did a fine job of that, but it saddens me that no one is even mentioning an issue area that is the consensus biggest risk to the survival of our economic and internal stability.  This is a great year to debate health care: 

first, it's a big election issue. i'll go over ground more later, but for the first semester elections will be a central argument on the negative.  The link debates are timely, go both ways, and unlike Russia directly RELATE to uniqueness (UQ- McCain losing now bc of Health Care).  What part of the population will get motivated to hit the ballot box because of our policy toward Russia?  Is the Russian vote how one wins Ohio, Florida, Michigan.  

Second, it's domestic not foreign.  The last domestic topic left a LOT to be desired.  It's frustrating that this community is so obsessed with big bad impacts that we have to take the shortest route there by debating something global.  Health Care is a great topic because it mixes foreign and domestic in tangible ways that are very relevant to our geopolitical standing.  Not only is disease a major risk to the survival of humanity (much more so than a full scale nuclear war), it is something that is more likely to be fielded as a weapon than a nuclear attack with the Soviet Un...errr Russia.  Readiness to both incidental and intentional outbreaks of disease is vital to the security of America.  What do you think happens to our hegemony if there is a massive viral outbreak?  What happens to American exports, financial markets, etc?  These are relevant foreign policy issues that become handled through domestic policy.  


I already got into this with the points about relevance (obviously ground on a topic implicates its relevance).  The aff ground on HC is well grounded in the literature, of the highest quality, and predictable.  If you like to categorize strategies, there will be 2 central methods to solving access to health care, either increased market incentives or increased government regulation.  NOT only does this give the Aff a lot of flexibility in the mechanism, it makes for built in, very intricate CP debates.  More importantly, there will be solvency evidence for a lot of specific affirmatives.  

Aff ground on Russia would be OK i guess, but in the end it's going to create a disconnect that often manifests itself in foreign debate topics (avoided for the most part on the ME topica), there are going to be affs that DON'T fundamentally change the nature of cooperation going against the built in, core negative ground that is PREDICATED on a fundamental change.  Now this is something wording can potentially fix, but given the problems people are already experiencing with terms of art, there is great potential that affs can make relatively small changes leaving the neg in a tougher spot.  
This is especially true given the murky nature of uniqueness ground.  Russell is right we are not completely cooperating with Russia, nor are we completely isolating Russia.  This makes is very similar to the China topic in which the committee struggled to figure out which way UQ was better and build a topic around that.  The result: Harvard wins the finals of CEDA because they have a card from THAT day that says "pressure now and more coming."  Given that against less tangible, or less predictable, affs the negative will inevitably collapse into perception links over substance links, this UQ question becomes huge.

Calum says this is good because it increases the clash and depth of debate....but I don't think that's how a lot of people saw it on the China topic.  I heard  a lot of OBSERVATION 4 Pressure now, and often debates would come down to who had a more recent and warranted card over the nature of pressure.  Russell says this is solved by requiring more specific strategies, but I would like to again reference finals of Harvard KM v Dartmouth CS, 2 of the best teams of the season who found themselves in the same debate-is there pressure now?  

Neg ground on HC is awesome.  First, a depth of solvency answers to affs as well as solvency for CPs.  The best part is Affs will have answers to all of those CPs as well.  You can change incentive or regulatory structure of the HC system, or just go the opposite way of the aff (they encourage market, you encourage gov etc).  CPs on Russia....consultation and conditions....YAAAAY!  I haven't heard one of those in forever....  The most generic cp other than an agent CP on HC would be a reg neg counterplan.  At least we haven't heard that in 4 years.  And speaking of conditions, there is a debate amongst health care reformers over whether or not government incentives should be conditioned toward hc industry internal reform or unconditional to create incentives for said reform.  That's an interesting twist on an ole fav.  Overall, I think that division of literature and usable evidence is a little more unique and beneficial for HC.

Disads....oh disads.  I'll start with Russia.  The core DA if the resolution requires cooperation is probably going to be relations trade off with China.  Wow, this is an impact scenario that is both very timely, and likely to be triggered by small US changes in cooperation.  Yeah right, that's about as likely as the Hawks ending a game within 10 of the Celtics.  The neg will be weighing the risk of US Russia relations going up so high, in such a short timeframe, as to immediately collapse us china relations to such a degree that there is a war escalating to extinction over taiwan.  I know that in debate we put up with some ridiculously fake crap, but come on?  
Any decent aff is going to shred the impact calculus on this disad. "yeah, i just vote neg because I think that if we give Russia a couple hundred million dollars, the chinese are probably going to preemptively strike taiwan."  Calum is right there will be evidence, but the links won't be specific to the plan, they'll just say up relations with 1 decrease with the other.  The probability of this being a relevant question to most affs is very slim.

But of course, we have the internal politics DA.  God I do love the internal politics DA.  I voted for Iranian Coup like it was my job.  But with Russia it makes less sense-there isn't widespread consensus in Russia that cooperating with the US is bad considering they do it all the time.  And affs aren't going to be antithetical to some of the religious principles governing Russia like they were with Iran on the ME topic.  No the affs will increase cooperation in an economic or military fashion.  Also, given that the UQ on a nationalism DA is in the affs favor (nationalist now), the neg would have to argue that moderate forces take over in Russia and that's bad....wow, that's the right side to be on in that debate.  

More likely to compensate for this problem, negatives will focus on specific political moves, like a poli cap DA.  Many remember the Hu disad and look back with fondness, like a Mavericks fan who remembers that just 2 seasons ago they were choking in the finals instead of the first round.  First, keep in mind that the Hu disad didn't get awesome until the stratfor card came out.  Second, it only had 1 real impact scenario.  In actuality the disad wasn't that great, but it allowed negatives to get away from the 'pressure now' debate so they embraced it with love.  

Let me translate what you're saying when you support a topic because it will have internal foreign politics DAs:  "god you know what would be awesome.  Let's take a US politics DA, and decrease the amount of literature on it as an issue.  That would really increase the quality and diversity of arguments on it.  I think this would really make for great debates every neg round for an entire year."

HC gives you some of the most intricate politics link debates on both elections and general politics that we have seen, even better than the FF topic.  And the politics disad WILL be back after the election.  Most people's only response to this is:  we'll have politics on every topic.  Yeah, but it won't be good on every topic.  If Russell is right that the better teams will have to step their game up in terms of specificity, then the politics DA on the HC topic gives them a much better chance to do that.  It's an issue that all in Congress have VERY specific opinions of and that effects their relations with other members of congress.  

Econ DA-This will be the heart of the topic, IMO.  The Aff will require such a sweeping change to US HC policy (biggest since WW2), and HC so intimately relates to our economic well being, that this debate is unavoidable.  The concern with this is that UQ is too great in favor of econ being down now....unfortunately this just exposes how fake debate can be sometimes.  The aff and neg aren't going to be arguing that they prevent a double dip recession...they are going to be talking about how the economy is STRUCTURED.  This will implicate UQ in ways we haven't thought of yet.  It won't be about defending that consumer confidence is UP now (which will be an argument for those who prefer biz con or consumer con) but proving that the economy is structurally sustainable more in the status quo or cp than in the world of the aff.  This is very defendable, and still integrates our traditional economy debates (consumer, investor, business confidence, housing markets etc) into uniqueness but only as proxies to link arguments (aff wins consumer confidence down now, but neg wins aff crushes housing sector amongst low income families, which is key to long term sustainability).  We would have debates about WHAT economic indicators are more important and how they effect structural sustainability.

Industry DAs will also factor in, but access impacts outside of economy.  Depending on the Aff there are a multitude of industries that can be effected.  These not only promote economic growth, but are intricately related to aff advantages.  Our bio readiness, export market promotion, and pharma products designed to fight disease are implicated by the survival of the industries.

OK, I think I've set a new record on edebate but I'm going to briefly mention Ks.  Honestly, K people never really voice their concerns in topic discussion (except those who want a completely different type of resolution).  Health care has much better plan based links than Russia.  More importantly, it has viable aff link turn ground.  The argument that the state is key to protect us from the market is pretty compelling on the aff when answering the foucault K.  Not to mention that feminists, race theorists, homosexuals, gingers, all critical theorists coming from multitude of perspectives chime in on this issue.  

It's better than hearing another dillon v guizzini debate...god i love those, too.

In the end, it's kind of sad.  I do think that the privilege most of us in this activity has motivates us to prefer international after international after international topic at the expense of real, material issues that effect members of this community everyday.  A lot of us can just afford to vote foreign every year because it's a shorter route to great power wars.  Well HC is a timely issue, and coming off a foreign policy topic I think it's a good time so we can debate it during an election.  It seems like a domestic issue can only make it through if it's all we put on the ballot.  Russia will win any year we put it on there, so we can't we just agree to hold off and vote for it next year?  the eve will only become more stable with a year after the election done.  

At the very least, let's stop being so predictable. People's infatuation with the Russia topic reminds me of all the times my fat ass would roll into Baskin Robbins as a kid.  The flavors are so colorful, filled with flavor, and all look tempting.  But in the end you only like 1 or 2 and bitch about the rest.  Just keep in mind, every complaint we've had about foreign policy topics like Europe or China is just waiting to manifest in the Russia topic.  

Can we get a word count on this?  is it the longest edebate post ever?  

Express yourself wherever you are. Mobilize!
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