[eDebate] Possible Topic Area

Calum Matheson u.hrair
Mon Dec 22 16:14:02 CST 2008

I may or may not work on a Russia topic, but I'm interested in another one
too, about US military policy.

I'm thinking about something like this:
Resolved: The United States Federal Government should adopt a grand strategy
significantly reducing its overseas military deployment.

Topical affs would include offshore balancing, various incarnations of
selective engagement, strict isolationism, and more radical options like
discontinue the war on terrorism, disband the military, and so on. Policy
advantage areas would include terrorism and proliferation of course, but
also (in my opinion) a much more nuanced discussion of military power than
that to which we have recently been accustomed.

The advantages wouldn't all be about hegemony, but it has bothered me for
some time now how often we talk about that, and how rarely actual strategy
is involved, and how shallow our discussions must necessarily be when
neither side can actually change the way military force is used, as opposed
to the simple level of its power.

I'd like to include a version with a non-US actor, something like this:
Resolved: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization should substantially change
one or more of its operational doctrines.

"Operational doctrine" is a term of art that would create a somewhat
different focus for the topic than the US-only resolution above. I'm not
sure what I think about international actor resolutions yet, but there seems
to be some interest.  I like the idea of NATO as an actor: the c/p ground is
particularly interesting (US or EU, with multilateralism, burden sharing,
and EU defense as extremely well-developed net benefits/disads), and it
avoids the most common objection that I've heard to these topics, namely
that there is insufficient advocacy literature in English.

I've already done a fair amount of research on this, especially the terms
that might be included, although the resolutions above are very much
preliminary ones. Anyone who is interested in
helping/criticizing/questioning/attacking me without clogging the electronic
tubes should feel free to contact me at u.hrair at gmail.com.

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