[eDebate] Russia v. Arms Control

bandana martin drmosbornesq
Sun Apr 20 19:05:53 CDT 2008

"arms control writers have yet to die from collective irrelevance" - calum

that is awesome

On 4/20/08, Calum Matheson <u.hrair at gmail.com> wrote:
> I actually think the arms control topic is okay.  If there was no Russia
> topic, it would be alright.  There is, though, and arms control is no
> match.
> The central controversy of the Russia area is whether Russia should be
> treated as a military partner of the United States, or as a competitor.  I
> feel that the reasons why this topic are timely have been explained
> extensively in the topic paper (Stone: read the one that advocates the
> Russia topic, not the one about a bunch of phrases that we didn't use), and
> that the doubters have done little to respond.
> Stone wonders whether anything will really change, and concludes, with no
> apparent research, that it won't.  This is quite possible, but it's also
> part of the argument advanced already in the discussion:  there is a
> debate about whether Russian policy will change or not, which I analogized
> to previous debates about Gorbachev and Putin.  Stone's opinion merely
> proves that there is a debate over that.  Good.  There should be.
> Some people think that Russia's policy will indeed change, or at least
> could, in response to United States initiatives.  The Christian Science
> Monitor, on the second of February, for example, argues that although Putin
> has promised continuity, there will have to be a "system of balances,"
> because the country "could be destabilized if the two men quarrel."  There's
> an article in Newsweek on 2-25 about the fights Medvedev will face
> distancing himself from Putin's siloviki allies.  There's a good article
> in the Financial Times, 3-3, about the possibility that this will change
> Russia's course by creating opportunities to increase cooperation with the
> US.  Steven Sestanovich wrote something similar, arguing that behind the
> placid exterior, there is already a fight for control over Russia's future
> that could split the leadership.  In fact, although Medvedev seems willing
> to continue many of Putin's policies, the area of biggest uncertainty is
> relations with the United States and Europe.  I can provide dozens more
> articles here.  The point is that there is a healthy debate:  one that is
> unlikely to repeat itself for some time.  No Russian leader (ever) has
> voluntarily stepped down from power?to suggest that there will not be timely
> literature about Russia's future direction is uninformed.
> Yes, there will be new literature about the NPT.  Time advances inexorably
> forwards, and the old arms control writers have yet to die from collective
> irrelevance, so there will be stuff published.  The coming of the next
> review in 2010 is an argument for debating arms control in 2009-2010,
> however.  It may be timely, but not in the way Russia is?the Russian
> leadership is going through an unprecedented change.  The NPT is going
> through another damn review that will produce the same set of complaints and
> suggestions that all the other ones did.
> There are some problems with the "timeliness" of the NPT, as well.  The
> 2000 recommendations include things like "implement START III."  This
> treaty not only doesn't exist, it never will?it was replaced by the Moscow
> Treaty of 2002, which has been ratified already, and implemented (to some
> degree).  Other suggestions, like the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty,
> exist, but have been largely dormant for some time.  Much of the aff
> literature for the CTBT gets updated, but the neg literature less so.  The
> point is not that this makes the topic bad, it's just that you are defending
> the timeliness of suggestions made eight years ago.  Russia literature is
> more dynamic.
> Does arms control access Russia?  Yes.  Does Russia access arms control?  Also
> yes.  Which is better?  Russia.  Cooperation with Russia allows discussion
> of more than just nuclear weapons?some areas Gannon, Lamballe, Rubaie, and I
> suggested include space, naval cooperation, peacekeeping, and
> counterterrorism.  Arms control provides a number of plans, but a great
> many of them have the same advantage?proliferation.  There are certainly a
> few more, but while there are different advantages to the various Russia
> areas, there are relatively few for arms control.  Some of them are the
> same, but the issue of US-Russian cooperation contains much more room for
> creativity?although it has some common negative ground, and probably more so
> than arms control.  There are not only US-Russian relations disads, but
> NATO cohesion and credibility, third-party disads like China and Japan, and
> a huge, vibrant debate about Russian internal politics.  Dylan doesn't
> want to hear "stupid Medvedev disads."  He then said we should debate
> health care or agriculture so we can have good politics links.  I think
> silence on this issue is an adequate response.  Let's debate "Resolved:
> the USFG should burn flags to celebrate sexual deviance" every year.  Russia
> has good, unique disads.  No matter what wins, the oily stain of the
> politics disad will never be cleansed from debate.  The common ground of
> arms control is?prolif good?  Opaque prolif?  Deterrence (although it only
> links to a few affs)?  Oh, wait, no.  It's politics.  Issue resolved.
> Stone also tries to "throw something out for the hippies."  Perhaps some
> people have been taking 4/20 celebrations too far.  Here's his offer:
> nuclearism.  Our discussion of critical ground for Russia is not just "I
> can haz nuklearizm?"  I may not have conveyed this eloquently, but there
> is much more to US-Russian interaction than nuclearism?Russia has been
> presented in the "West" as a nightmarish, inhuman enemy, often described in
> the language of racial inferiority, mixed with trepidation over its military
> might and the threat that Russian/Soviet ideologies have presented to the
> liberal capitalist countries that dominate the world order.  Nuclearism is
> just better on a Russia topic?fear of US-Soviet war is the context for much
> of the work done in that field.  Russian history is a rich source of
> comparison with the United States?my discussion of contiguous colonies in
> the first post, for example.  There's a body of literature that critiques
> the focus on US-Russian politics as an elitist mechanism to suppress debates
> over humanitarian issues in "non-strategic" areas of the world.  Even
> urban policy in the US that has disenfranchised Blacks has a connection to
> the Cold War.  The discipline of urban planning got a boost from the
> countervalue-counterforce debates of the 1950s and later, where white
> American planners suggested that we bait the Soviets into targeting inner
> cities while whites fled to the suburbs.  Disaffected, beret-wearing
> Marxists love to complain about the modern Russia.  The literature about
> Cold War representations of the US-Soviet conflict applies to modern Russia,
> too?this is a well-developed, highly specific critique of enemy
> construction.  You can totally haz more than nuklearizm.  YA RLY.  I'll
> bow to the superior K knowledge of Kansas JS though.  Who wouldn't.
> There seems to be concern over solvency mechanisms.  Read our paper.  There
> is plenty of advocacy for change in US policy toward Russia.  I will try
> to respond to some specific concerns:
> a)      a) There's not enough.  There most certainly is.  I feel that the
> four of us did well in providing cites for various proposals to cooperate
> with Russia over military issues.  Here are some examples:  develop joint
> or interoperable forces for peacekeeping, increase funding for Cooperative
> Threat Reduction, develop joint missile defenses, joint space initiatives,
> and logistical cooperation.
> b)      b) There are too many, and they are small.  The Russia area does
> provide quite a bit of aff flexibility.  Even small affs, however, much
> increase cooperation with Russia in a military area, and as discussed above,
> there are a number of disads here.  Link uniqueness is not generally a
> problem?although the US does cooperate with Russia in some areas now, the
> trend is markedly downward, the political situation in Russia has changed
> greatly since the bulk of these initiatives began, and the doubters have not
> provided many examples here of affs that are large enough to have good
> advantages, but small enough to dodge the core negative arguments.  I will
> concede that you will have to cut some cards.  Alexei Stakhanov would have
> cut fifty in the time it took you to read this sentence.
> c)  "What is bilateral cooperation anyway?" This is my personal favorite.
> The word "bilateral" has been added here because it limits the forums in
> which the US and Russia could cooperate?it excludes potentially large areas
> like the United Nations, Nato-Russia Council, OECD, and so forth.  Maybe
> these are potential counterplans?that would be nice since each one wouldn't
> apply to every area of cooperation, so preparing for them would not be
> unmanageable.  The phrase "bilateral cooperation" obviously limits the aff
> to joint projects with Russian participation, but the real limit here comes
> from the areas?nonproliferation, counterterrorism, et cetera.
> Scott Elliot:  you lived in Russia.  I have genes.  We're even.  I read a
> lot about genetics.  It is a good topic...for a PBS documentary.  I would
> watch the hell out of that.  Russia is a country assembled from the left
> over scraps of nightmares and shattered dreams of a new society.  The choice
> seems clear to me.
> My almost pathological love of the Soviet Union should be obvious by now,
> and I have lots more to say, but this is already pretty long.  I need to
> see if Putin/Stalin slashfic exists somewhere on the internet.
> And by the way, the refs cheated in that 1980 hockey game.  Miracle my
> ass.
> Calum
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