[eDebate] Email Conversation with Chester Crocker About T-QPQ

Andy Ellis andy.edebate
Thu Feb 28 12:12:22 CST 2008


kudos to dartmouth for posting this in a visable and accesible
forum...its much better than having it at
students.dartmouth.edu/charkins/pages/ccrocker.htm with a no search
tag in the head which they could have done if they where simply after
published ev...

On 2/28/08, Dr. Joe Bellon <debate.gsu at gmail.com> wrote:
> Nothing wrong with e-mailing topic authors, nothing wrong with posting the
> results.
>
> I would, however, like to sound a cautionary note against drawing broad
> conclusions from this particular e-mail. From time to time, we seem to make
> decisions as a community about the truth or falsehood of a topicality issue
> based on our perceptions of "consensus" reached on edebate.
>
> I don't think the Crocker e-mails are aff cards (even apart from the
> question of whether we should be in the practice of reading e-mails in
> debate rounds). JP has laid out a couple of the arguments on this point. I
> think when Crocker says that there was nothing formal or explicit he means
> that there was never a written document. This does not mean that there was
> no condition of any kind. If CE was unconditional, how can we explain his
> discussion of what would happen if CE "failed?" CE clearly had a specific
> goal of producing change in the target country, and it seems problematic to
> allow affs to claim the nature of that change can be found in the penumbra
> of their advantages.
>
> Furthermore, If you read his e-mail as saying that unconditional affs are
> topical, it seems to me those affs have to explicitly keep rollback on the
> table. Crocker argues that part of the strategy of CE was that the target
> country knew that if it didn't do what the US implicitly wanted then we
> would change our policy and start being hardline (his "good cop-bad cop"
> comment). Again, it is obvious from this discussion that CE had a specific
> outcome as a goal. If the plan were modeled off Crocker's description, it
> would include the proviso that failure on the part of the target country to
> meet a specific condition would result in reversal of the plan.
>
> Furthermore, it is interesting to note in the other e-mail in the thread
> that Crocker claims CE means you have to engage every country in the region.
> Of course, if you're willing to have a plan that engages every country in
> the region maybe QPQ isn't the worst of your worries...
>
> Dr. Joe Bellon
> Director of Debate
> Georgia State University
>
> On Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 11:27 PM, Brent Culpepper <
> brentonculpepper at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > I agree w/ JP.  Great Research.  It's always quite interesting to see just
> > how much our topic interpretations differ from what the original authors
> > meant by a term of art.  It's part of debate - largely a good part I might
> > add.  We should be doing research up until the end of the topic.  It is
> what
> > makes debate interesting and evolving.  There is nothing questionable
> about
> > this post.
> >
> > brent
> >
> >
> > On Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 9:57 PM, Jean-Paul Lacy <lacyjp at wfu.edu> wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > Great research!
> > >
> > > My thoughts:
> > >
> > > So, the conditionality of Constructive Engagement with South Africa was
> > > informal and implicit, & the old Crocker article doesn't define
> Constructive
> > > Engagement as a "formal quid pro quo," nor does his definition really
> apply
> > > to Constructive Engagement toward a single government.
> > >
> > > Do the texts of Crocker's email & his "definition" from 1989 make
> > > *purely* unconditional moves topical?
> > >
> > > Maybe not, unless they are communicated to informally imply a reciprocal
> > > "good cop, bad cop" relationship.
> > >
> > > I don't know if "modern" plan-writing is up to Crocker's challenge,
> > > given the way we shy away from articulating broad, strategically
> ambiguous
> > > foreign policy goals as plan texts...
> > >
> > > This is probably another good example of where we haven't really "caught
> > > up" with the literature and instead keep trying to make foreign policy
> with
> > > so much concreteness that it really misses the specific nuances of
> > > diplomacy.
> > >
> > > --JP
> > > lacyjp at wfu.edu
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > At 09:39 PM 2/27/2008, Kade Olsen wrote:
> > >
> > > Given "definition intent" debate, Caroline Harkins emailed Crocker, Here
> > > is the conversation:
> > >
> > > Caroline,
> > >
> > > you have asked an interesting and somewhat unusual question. The answer
> > > is that a diplomatic strategy such as CE cannot become formal or
> > > explicit without risking getting dragged into the negotiation of an
> > > international understanding or agreement, a treacherous path and one
> > > that could have produced months of lawyerly haggling over words and
> > > interpretations. The conditionality was informal in another sense, too.
> > > If this strategy failed or collapsed in recrimination, the 'other side'
> > > could readily imagine what might replace it. In other words, there was
> > > an implicit good cop, bad cop aspect to the approach we took when
> > > dealing with Pretoria.
> > > Most important to grasp, however, is that CE was a regional diplomatic
> > > strategy focused - in sequential terms - on addressing southern Africa's
> > >
> > > regional conflicts first, and then on its internal ones. The logic was
> > > to engage with the broadest range of regional actors in order to wind
> > > down regional conflicts. So, your question is too narrow - we were not
> > > applying CE only to South Africa or to its govt. These issues are
> > > discussed extensively in High Noon in Southern Africa.
> > >
> > > hope this helps.
> > >
> > > best wishes.
> > >
> > > CAC
> > >
> > > Caroline A. Harkins wrote:
> > > > Dr. Crocker,
> > > >
> > > > I am a policy debater at Dartmouth College and the current debate
> > > > topic focuses on constructive engagement and U.S. Middle East policy.
> > > >
> > > > Given your considerable expertise and personal experience with
> > > > constructive engagement in South Africa, I was wondering if you could
> > > > resolve a few questions I have regarding some ambiguities in the
> > > > historical literature on engagement.
> > > >
> > > > In your 1989 Foreign Affairs article entitled "Southern Africa: Eight
> > > > Years Later," you wrote that the U.S. policy of constructive
> > > > engagement with South Africa was conditional:
> > > >
> > > > "Regarding South Africa, constructive engagement was by definition a
> > > > conditional concept: in exchange for Pretoria's cooperation on
> > > > achieving Namibia's independence, we would work to restructure the
> > > > independence settlement to address our shared interest in reversing
> > > > the Soviet-Cuban adventure in Angola; in exchange for reduced
> > > > rhetorical flagellation and minor adjustments in certain bilateral
> > > > fields (e.g., civilian export controls), we would hold Pretoria to its
> > >
> > > > self-proclaimed commitment to domestic reform. There would be a change
> > >
> > > > of tone toward reciprocity and even-handedness. But there would be no
> > > > change in basic policy parameters on such matters as the U.S.
> > > > opposition to South African apartheid laws and institutions or
> > > > bilateral security ties -- no "rewriting of the past 20 years of U.S.
> > > > diplomacy," as the 1980 article put it -- in the absence of
> > > > fundamental internal change."
> > > >
> > > > When you state that U.S. policy was "by definition a conditional
> > > > concept," do you mean that there were direct conditions placed on the
> > > > government of South Africa?
> > > >
> > > > If so, were those conditions made explicit to the government of South
> > > > Africa. To clarify, for example, would you argue that there was a
> > > > formal quid pro quo with the government, such that there were stated
> > > > incentives that could be provided or denied based on compliance with
> > > > specific U.S. demands? Or was the "conditional concept" of the policy
> > > > informal?
> > > >
> > > > Thank you for your time and consideration. Any information that you
> > > > could provide on this question would be thoroughly appreciated.
> > > >
> > > > Sincerely,
> > > >
> > > > Caroline Harkins
> > >
> > > --
> > > Chester A. Crocker
> > > James R. Schlesinger Professor of Strategic Studies
> > > Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
> > > Intercultural Center Room 801
> > > Georgetown University
> > > Washington, D.C. 20057
> > > Phone: (202) 687-5074
> > > Fax: (202) 687-2315
> > > Email: crockerc at georgetown.edu
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Caroline - I have no problem provided you post both your question and my
> > >
> > > response. The reason is that most people assume CE is a strategy for
> > > dealing with one regime that is troubled, isolated, evil, odious,
> > > authoritarian, illegal or whatever. Since South Africa was/is the
> > > dominant power in the region, people ignored the regional point - we
> > > were seeking to engage all those parties that would reciprocate our
> > > diplomatic initiative. In addition, the South African government took
> > > the words 'CE' and proclaimed that the US was engaging with it, a
> > > self-serving distortion. Feel free to post this comment as well if you
> > > like.
> > >
> > > Sincerely,
> > >
> > > CAC
> > >
> > > Caroline A. Harkins wrote:
> > > > Dr. Crocker,
> > > >
> > > > Thank you so much for rapid and thorough response. Given the
> > > > importance of this subject to the debate community's discussion and
> > > > understanding of constructive engagement, would you mind if I shared
> > > > your explanation with other policy debaters interested in this subject
> > >
> > > > on our email listserv?
> > > >
> > > > Sincerely,
> > > >
> > > > Caroline Harkins
> > >
> > > --
> > > Chester A. Crocker
> > > James R. Schlesinger Professor of Strategic Studies
> > > Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
> > > Intercultural Center Room 801
> > > Georgetown University
> > > Washington, D.C. 20057
> > > Phone: (202) 687-5074
> > > Fax: (202) 687-2315
> > > Email: crockerc at georgetown.edu
> > >
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