[eDebate] Russia: Agriculture, Ground, Etc.

Cameron T. Norris cameron.t.norris
Thu Apr 24 23:38:48 CDT 2008

 I really think the topic paper deals with the Europe question really well.
I recommend looking there first.  This has been somewhat discussed in
previous posts as well, but I'll try to lay this to rest here.

Yea, and what's more, we have debated and research issues directly
> pertaining to the ag topic area as recently as 3 years ago which can mean
> duplicative education for 4th & 5th year seniors.

For a point of clarification, it was four years ago, which means only 5th
year seniors will potentially be affected.

That monstrous hydra of a Europe resolution had folks debating the Farm Bill
> and GMO's.

First, the topic paper does a great job of pointing out the irony of what
you just said.  The "monstrous hydra" of the Europe topic didn't have us
substantively "debating" many of the seven areas that were included.  Few
teams actually had subsidy debates all year given the massive size of the
topic and the sheer amount of substantive areas it encompassed.  Also, the
Europe paper only scratched the surface of the subsidies debate, as it
required rescission of *nearly all* subsidies in the 2002 Farm Bill, rather
than delving into the nuances of the different subsidies.  Notice that was
the 2002 Farm Bill not the 2007 Farm Bill that's being discussed in the
present, which includes many substantial changes in subsidies.  Thus,
there's no impact to having had agriculture in a former resolution,
considering any backfiles would be hypergeneric, outdated, and probably

Also, as far as the GMO stuff goes.  There are no subsidies targeted for GM
foods in the 2007 Farm Bill, so the chance for overlap could only
potentially happen at the impact level.  That people may use backfiles for
impacts is, well, non-unique.  I'm sure if Russia was the topic we'd all be
dragging out our backfiles even more so.

Likewise, I realize the "we've discussed this in some form before" argument
links to both agriculture and Russia.  However, it's a real stretch to say
we've discussed the merits of U.S. agriculture policy more than Russia in
debate's recent history.  Even if ag was a minute, underdebated part of the
Europe topic, teams have been discussing U.S. policy toward Russia on the
aff and neg almost every year.  If there's a risk of repeating ourselves, I
think the risk is MUCH higher for a Russia topic.  I know our squad had 2
types of Russia containment advantages in the 1AC this year (besides the
bluezillion Russia DAs we heard), we had a Russian mafia scenario in the 1AC
on the Courts topic for crying out loud, and as Mike Burshteyn pointed out,
we can discuss the Motherland once again on an agriculture topic.  Overlap
of topic areas is inevitable.  I think it's safe to say agriculture, in
comparison to Russia especially, is a topic this community has yet to
discuss in depth.

That supercharges Calum's offense that not only have we not had the choice
> to engage the Russia debate as the central focus of the debate, but we have
> already had resolutions that centered conversations about agricultural
> policy.  The Europe resolution might just prove that the interest in
> debating agriculture is far behind the curve as compared to some of the
> other options.  Debaters turned out in droves to research terribly banal IPR
> lit rather than subjecting themselves to pages and pages of farm subsidy
> work.  Take it from the gal who was handed the Farm Bill & GMO topic areas
> of research...you're far better off debating Russia.

I don't really buy this argument.  There are multiple reasons why an area of
a certain resolution may be ignored.  In fact, it happens every year.  Also,
there has been plenty of "interest" in the topic on edebate and CEDAtopic; I
think that's something the community has spoken out on already.  The fact
that agriculture was not discussed as much as the other parts of the Europe
resolution 1) takes out your argument that we've already discussed it as
"the center of a resolution," and 2) doesn't imply that the literature was
boring or not well developed.  There could be multiple attributing factors
like the hugeness of the Europe topic (which from what I hear not much got
discussed at the normal level of depth), the coincidental timeliness of
other areas (Ii.e. Iraq, but given the current 2007 Farm Bill controversy,
the literature on ag right now is smoking), or other issues.  It'd be
difficult to argue, however, that the literature on subsidies isn't some of
the best out there.  If we could focus the resolution on this rich body of
literature, it could give us a unique, sustainable full season of debate.

Also, as an aside...it's time for a freaking domestic topic.  One with big,
nasty, Russia-size impacts, balanced literature, a clear resolution
mechanism, as well as a good, somewhat underexplored repertoire of critical

Ag in '08
Cameron Norris
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