[eDebate] Counterplan Competition

michael hester uwgdebate
Thu Jan 17 00:51:14 CST 2008

in a quid pro quo plan, the US offers to do _____ if the recipient country
does ________. (this statement includes 'not doing' something, e.g.,
attacking, too)

in its essence, it is an exchange. my take on competitive CPs focuses on
this notion of exchange, specifically what kind of "deal" the US is trying
to make. CPs that create a harder bargain for the US to "sell" are

a CP to have the US offer less is competitive.

a CP to require the recipient country do more is competitive.

the plan is: The USFG will not attack Iran if Iran agrees to not develop
nuclear weapons.

an example of the first CP: The US will not attack Iran with nuclear weapons
if Iran agrees not to develop nukes. the CP is LESS than the plan b/c the
plan is a prohibition on ALL kinds of US attacks, whereas the CP only
prohibits SOME kinds of attacks. it is functionally less than the plan.

an example of the second kind of CP: The US will not attack Iran if Iran
agrees not to develop nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. the offer of
the CP and the Plan are functionally mutually exclusive. it only appears to
be "plan plus" if one ignores the basics of exchange. an analogy to commerce
shows what i mean: a store has a sale on avocados, 3 for a $1. in exchange
for $1, the store gives you 3 avocados. haggling with the store to get 4
avocados for a buck is a mutually exclusive offer. it does NOT equate to a
"plan plus" whereby the original three avocados are merely augmented by an
additional avocado. it is an entirely different option where the store is
asked to "do more" (provide avocados for a quarter rather than 33 cents).

in this framework, the above CPs are competitive. the following would not

a CP to have the US offer more.

a CP to require less of the recipient country.

in these examples, the original "deal" of the plan is made easier for the US
to sell. using the avocado example again, the first CP would offer the store
$2 for three avocados;  the second CP would ask the store for only 2
avocados for a buck.

i think this CP theory accurately addresses the policy literature on quid
pro quo foreign policy AND provides fun ground to debate.


On Jan 17, 2008 12:42 AM, Jean-Paul Lacy <lacyjp at wfu.edu> wrote:

> In his "Wake Series of Poker" results, Will Repko mentioned (tangentially)
> that the quid pro quo thing introduces a whole new set of counterplan
> competition questions.
> In that vein, here are some questions to help explore that:
> 1. Does this counterplan functionally exclude something from the plan?
>        Plan: Offer Iran X if they do Y
>        Counterplan: Offer Iran X if they do Y and Z
> 2. Does this counterplan functionally exclude something from the plan?
>        Plan: Offer Iran X if they do Y
>        Counterplan: Offer Iran X
> 3. What about this counterplan?
>        Plan: Offer Iran X
>        Counterplan: Offer Iran X if they do Y
> I'm interested to hear what people think.
> Yes, there are more nuanced questions than whether the CP excludes
> something from the plan that also determine if a counterplan is
> competitive, but I think a broader discussion of "what actually excludes
> stuff from the plan" is useful.
> So far this year, I've tried to remain as agnostic about these questions
> as
> possible. I've tried to let the debaters arguments rule my decision-making
> as much as possible. This is getting harder as my own thoughts calcify. My
> hope is that y'all can help us judges approach things with a fresh mind.
> --JP
> lacyjp at wfu.edu
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