[eDebate] Possible Topic Area

Dylan Keenan dylan.keenan
Mon Dec 22 23:11:16 CST 2008


I like this topic idea ---- the impact lit is already fun, and would be made
better when it central to the topic (although ME seems to disprove this a
bit. How were people still getting away with Steinbach generic ME war goes
nuclear when it was pre Iraq). I agree with Calum that a lot of heg debates
are kind of shallow. Part of the problem is that the debate often ends with
"heg inevitable ? we just make the US good at it/make the world hate us
less" ---- this topic seems like, if well debated, it could avoid some of
that.



I do have a few thoughts/concerns



1)      Can we stick the term grand strategy with any enforceable meaning?
That is, what is to stop the aff from say getting US security out of Nigeria
(not sure if we actually have military personel there) or withdrawing from
the Arctic, or stopping coast guard good will missions to X country and
nothing else. I get that the term grand strategy is a term of art, and is
designed to deal with this. I also know that terms like "energy policy" or
"constructive engagement" which are designed to make affs do something
significant frequently devolve to the minimum and nothing more. Given the
idiocy the neg gets away with these days something like that is perhaps
necessary but still, it is a concern because small affs ALWAYS reduce the
quality of debate.



2)      Conversely, I think we should center a lot of the topic discussion
around how the neg will try to cheat and write the topic to prevent that. Is
it possible people will have a counterplan to redeploy without changing
grand strategy (basically do the plan under a different name). To have host
countries force the US out? Use temporary redeployment to other areas?
Consult CP is a concern that always arises. Since the supreme court doesn't
set grand strategy a courts CP may be used with some stupid self serving
justification like "tests grand strategy" ? or con/con or amendment ? all
that trash. And some possibly legit PICS (offshore balancing except one
brigade at one port which is at risk of terrorism).



3)      Global link U questions will come up. Obama is gonna wind down in
Iraq. I don't want to hear a year of "drawdown now" = no link uniqueness.



4)      Is the topic a bit too expansive on the mechanisms besides military
power. That Layne def. mentions economic power. Is this basically sanctions
or trade policy as well?



A few pluses:

1) Advantage innovation. I think that is a big problem this year. I doubt it
would be when you have the whole military, planet, and economy to play with



2) I bet there are cards about the importance of a public statement shifting
US strategy for states as well as non-state actors. That might help deal
with negative BS counterplans



3) Big impact debates on a lot of different impacts = good for outweighing
disads.


On Mon, Dec 22, 2008 at 11:28 PM, Calum Matheson <u.hrair at gmail.com> wrote:

> This isn't really a reply to Dr. Glass, but just an explanation of why I
> suggested the phrase "grand strategy."  I'm certainly open to alternative
> suggestions.
>
> "Strategy" can be defined to narrowly--a military strategy, as opposed to a
> grand strategy, may be defined as a plan to accomplish a particular military
> objective.  Grand strategy can be defined as a broader policy, by the
> civilian leadership, fitting the use of force into an overall plan to
> achieve American objectives.  I want the aff to be able to do things other
> than simply reduce US deployed forces--offshore balancing for example--and
> be able to make the requisite changes in force structure, etc.  The phrase
> "military strategy" is properly used (according to some narrow definitions)
> only to describe land forces (so JFC Fuller was a military strategist, for
> example, as opposed to Alfred Thayer Mahan, a naval strategist).
>
> "Doctrine" was also not what I was looking for, although I intend to
> explore it as a separate area within the broader topic. It is my
> understanding that this describes a set of rules or procedures governing the
> conduct of the military.  So Operation Gericht (the WWI German operation
> around Verdun, 1916) was an "operation," the "strategy" was attrition, but
> the "grand strategy" was the overall German plan to dominate continental
> Europe (presumably for the purposes of evil, knowing them).  I could
> certainly be wrong about this (the terms, not the intent of Germany to do
> evil).
>
> Is anyone interested in this topic willing to suggest (directly to me, if
> you wish) alternate terms?  "Grand strategy" is not meant to be the primary
> limiting term, but rather to allow the aff to include broad changes in force
> deployment.  The "reduce deployment" part is supposed to be the primary
> limit.
>
> Some examples of how "grand strategy" is used:
>
> Christopher Layne uses it to describe a policy of offshore balancing,
> including the end of large-scale forward deployment (in "The Peace of
> Illusions," for example).
>
> This is Robert Art, in "A Grand Strategy for America:"
> "Grand strategy, like foreign policy, deals with the momentous choices that
> a nation makes in foreign affairs, but it differs from foreign policy in one
> fundamental respect.  To define a nation's foreign policy is to lay out
> the full range of goals that a state should seek in the world and then
> determine how all the instruments of statecraft?political power, military
> power, economic power, ideological power?should be integrated and employed
> with one another to achieve those goals.  Grand strategy, too, deals with
> the full range of goals that a state should seek, but it concentrates
> primarily on how the military instrument should be employed to achieve them.
> It prescribes how a nation should wield its military instrument to realize
> its foreign policy goals."
>
>
>
> On Mon, Dec 22, 2008 at 9:44 PM, David Glass <gacggc at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> hmm I'd just get rid of the words "grand strategy to"
>>
>> grand is obv problematic
>> a strategy need not be implement even if its purpose is to do something
>>
>>
>> so consider:
>>
>> Resolved: The United States Federal Government should  significantly
>> reduce its overseas military deployment.
>>
>>
>> On Mon, Dec 22, 2008 at 5:14 PM, Calum Matheson <u.hrair at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> > 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.
>> >
>> > Calum
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
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>> >
>>
>
>
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-- 
Dylan Keenan
Debate Coach
Barkley Forum
Emory University
dylan.keenan at gmail.com
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