[eDebate] Russia topic, part 2

Dylan Keenan dylan.keenan
Wed May 7 12:03:36 CDT 2008

So, I'm sure at this point that most people are set in their ways on topic
voting but I figured I might try and make one last pitch about why we should
not choose Russia. I'll say this in context a bit more below, but I would
urge everyone to do some research on their own rather than just saying
"Russia. Big impacts. Cool."

The problems with Russia

1.      Affirmative literature is not deep enough. I had several
conversations at the TOC this weekend where there was at least some
agreement that affirmative depth is lacking here. This isn't true for all
proposals. For issues that have been around for a long time such as START
III or CTR there is depth of literature but many of these issues are better
accessed through arms control and even here the lit tends to be about
existing programs and funding versus not funding. Things like peace keeping
or interoperability have a few well developed articles written and many
articles that use them as the passing conclusion of discussions about
US-Russia relations in general. I think this needs to be the central
overarching criteria for a topic. The common thread over the topics I've
been involved in is that the more detailed the solvency literature in laying
out proposals, how they are implemented, and defending them against viable
alternatives, the better the topic becomes. This isn't really the sort of
thing that I can prove by cutting cards but I would urge people who are at
all on the fence to do an hour or two of research. You're choosing a topic.
It is well worth your time to realize that Russia aff lit is lacking in
development. This is important because when affirmatives solve with lots of
evidence there is better clash on cases, more well developed negative
strategies and an incentive to stick to the center of the topic. While the
internal links from Russia to the big impacts are sort of intuitive it is
pretty easy to get big credible internal links from the other topics to big
impacts. We can, in fact, claim big impacts on any topic. What we can't do
is make up solvency advocates meaning that has to be the main guiding factor
in topic selection.

Pre-empt: I am not saying Russia isn't "viable", whatever that word means. I
am saying it is exponentially less developed than, say healthcare. And this
is an area where degree matters. A LOT. There is a world of difference
between having 10 good solvency articles and having hundreds, especially for
the negative in having case specific solvency answers, but also for the
affirmative when debating against counterplans. The Russia topic paper lays
out lots of proposals which can all be readable affirmatives. Will they be
as sweet as say the grand bargain aff or taking regime change off the table
was this year. Definitely not, and mainly because of under-development.

2.      While Russia literature is an inch deep on solvency it is also a
mile long. For this, I will cut some cards for based on discussions I had
this weekend.

*US should modify re-employment of scientists to focus on non-proliferation
and environmental problems*

Luongo and Hoehn in '3

(Kenneth and William, Russian-American Nuclear Security Advisory Council,
Arms Control Today, "Reform and Expansion of Cooperative Threat Reduction",
June, http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2003_06/luongohoehn_june03.asp)

*A fundamental source of instability within the former Soviet WMD complexes
is economic in nature*. Therefore, addressing the economic dimensions of
threat reduction is essential. The downsizing of WMD production plants and
related infrastructure will continue to displace thousands of scientists and
workers skilled in the details of weapon design, manufacture, and
maintenance.  However, *the re-employment programs currently in place for
weapon scientists, while essential, are not providing many career-changing
opportunities* in any of the WMD complexes in the former Soviet Union. The
two main strategies for the redirection of the scientists that have been
pursued by governments?research-contracting and technology-driven
commercialization and business development?are inadequate. New approaches
and new attitudes are required to meet this challenge.  The
science-contracting approach remains an essential lifeline for many weapons
scientists, but the duration of most projects does not exceed three years,
and many of these scientists still maintain their weapons-related employment
during that time. Indeed, a recent analysis by the International Science and
Technology Center (ISTC), which provides former Soviet weapons scientists
with opportunities to redirect their talents to peaceful activities, has
shown that many of the scientists working on its projects are not being
converted completely from weapons work but are mostly being detoured
temporarily.2  At the other end of the re-employment spectrum, government
investments in commercialization have had some successes but yielded few
real results, often because the projects have not adequately conformed to
market needs. Creating successful commercial enterprises is difficult enough
in Russia due to the systemic barriers to business creation. When the
additional impediments posed by the Russian weapons complex are added, it
becomes a daunting challenge.  *Western governments must be willing to
accept these realities and lower their expectations that commercialization
in the WMD complexes will completely solve the problem of excess scientists.
* Russia must also curtail its unrealistic economic expectations and
recognize that systemic problems in that country impede commercial progress.
*A more comprehensive, integrated, and effective strategy for addressing the
re-employment of scientists across the WMD spectrum needs to be developed
and implemented. A positive first step would be harnessing the experience
and knowledge of the excess weapons scientists to solve real world problems
in the areas of environmental remediation, energy technology development,
life sciences, and nonproliferation. Such an approach would provide global
benefits as well as a path to sustainable, peaceful career change for these

*They continue*...

*Steps that Congress can take include*:    * Supporting the amendment of
current law to give permanent authority to the president to waive the annual
certifications required for CTR programs and Freedom Support Act
nonproliferation programs. The president requested this action in the fiscal
year 2004 budget request to Congress.    * *Expanding and refocusing efforts
designed to employ excess weapons scientists and specialists* peacefully and
eliminate WMD complex infrastructure irreversibly. Excess weapons scientists
and workers are a major root cause of the proliferation threat given their
expertise and access to weapons and materials. *These efforts need more
funding, greater flexibility, and new strategies* in order to provide the
career-changing opportunities that can further reduce, if not eliminate, the
threat these scientists and their facilities pose.

*And stuff like this ---- increase cooperation to establish a framework for
scientific research on arctic marine stuff*

RAISE in '5

(Russian-American initiative for land-shelf environments, "Proceedings of a
Workshop on Facilitating U.S. ? Russian Environmental Change Research in the
Russian Arctic",

3.      Workshop participants concluded that it *would be helpful if U.S.
entities such as the  Arctic Research Commission and the Polar Research
Board of the National Academy of Sciences would take a more active role in
improving the prospects for bilateral research *in the Russian Arctic, while
working with long-standing organizations such as the CRDF. *The possibility
of a National Academy study committee, with Russian agencies and scientists
participating, was also suggested as a positive mechanism to formally
identify challenges and solutions that are needed to improve U.S. and
Russian scientific cooperation in the Arctic*. Finally, many U.S.
participants recognized that more effective contact with U.S. congressional
representatives and staff by scientists about bilateral arctic research
issues is needed.  *A key objective should be to better educate higher
levels of the U.S. government as to the scientific needs for improved
bilateral arctic and global environmental change research* across national
boundaries in the Arctic.   4. *U.S.** scientists need a better "road map"
for success in Russian field research because the current lack of
information is a significant impediment;* Russian collaborators could assist
by obtaining policies in writing.  Russian institutes can help in some
instances, as well as more government-to-government agreements such as
between U.S. organizations and the Russian Academy of Sciences and
ROShydromet, with clear means of communication when local problems arise*.
Higher-level agreements with the Ministry of Science and Technology, and
Russian Navy interests and the highest levels of the U.S. government are
probably required to enable routine sampling across the U.S. ? Russian EEZ
and territorial boundaries for biogeochemical processes that are critical
for assessing arctic environmental change*.  Use of Russian-flag ships is
clearly an advantage for marine sampling in the Russian EEZ, but the
specific reasons for rejection of scientific sampling clearance requests are
not otherwise often clear. *NOAA's  RUSALCA program that has facilitated a
modest marine sampling program in both U.S. and Russian waters over the past
several years, is one of the few recent success stories for bilateral arctic
marine research. The efforts of its agency personnel in negotiating
agreements with Russian institutions to facilitate this shipboard research
should be emulated by a larger cross-section of U.S. research funding

*Expanded coast guard cooperation on energy security = energy security for
Russian LNG*

Collins in '7

(Gabe, US Navy War College, Lecture Notes on Geoinformation and Catrography,
"Northern Shield: US-Russia Maritime Energy Security Cooperation", Springer)

Navy-navy cooperation is a critical component of maritime energy security.
However*, port and critical facilities protection is typically a Coast  Guard
responsibility. Thus, we will first discuss the possibility of maritime  energy
security cooperation between the US Coast Guard and Russian  Maritime Border
Guards.  Russia faces substantial security threats in the energy arena.
Moscow  grapples with an insurgency in Chechnya and general instability in
the  North Caucasus not far from its major Black Sea oil loading ports. It
is  conceivable that a non-state group wishing to harm Russia might consider
attacking key energy export infrastructure*. Chechen terrorists have already
demonstrated the capacity to strike deep into Russia. Notable attacks  include
the Beslan massacre in 2004, the 2002 Dubrovka theater hostage  taking
("Nord-Ost"), and the 1996 raid on Budyonnovsk. Such an  enemy might
consider attacking major energy export facilities.  Russian oil and gas
infrastructure is spread over a wider geographical  area and would be
tougher to secure than facilities in countries whose main  fields are
centralized. *In additon, because Russia's core oil production  base
presently lies far from tanker loading terminals, the country must take  a
comprehensive approach to oil and gas supply security*. Russia must protect
tankers at sea, secure loading terminals, and safeguard the production
and long pipelines that bring the oil to the seashore. Russian  companies
are moving to enhance onshore energy infrastructure security,  as Gazprom
and Transneft are both working to establish armed security detachments  that
would be responsible for protecting production, processing,  storage, and
transport infrastructure [17]. Yet there remains a need to secure  the sea
zones around key terminals, producing fields, and export  routes in the near
shore waters most easily reachable by terrorist actors.  *Protecting key
seaside energy infrastructure is an area where the US  might share knowledge
and experience and collaborate with Russia. The  United States Coast Guard
(USCG) has substantial experience protecting  LNG and tanker loading
facilities. In the wake of the 9-11 attacks, the  USCG stepped up its port
security operations and learned how to foster  public/private partnerships,
helping it secure some of the world's busiest  energy ports, most notably
the Port of Houston [18]. This experience can  be shared with the Russian
security services as they work to formulate the  most effective facilities
protection plans. USCG personnel would also have  the opportunity to learn
from their Russian counterparts, who bring their  own unique operational
experiences to the table.  units have successfully protected Iraq's Persian
Gulf oil export facilities  for more than 3 years, developing a wealth of
experience and combat  tested techniques that could be usefully shared with
Russian security  forces.* The USCG's maritime security response teams
(MSTs) and maritime  safety and security teams (MSSTs) are trained to
operate in high  threat areas and deploy anywhere in the United States
within 12 hours  [19]. If the USCG helped create Russian Maritime Border
Guard and FSB  teams with similar capabilities, this would enhance oil and
gas export security.  *Maritime energy security cooperation can build on the
precedent set by  the 6-year old North Pacific Coast Guard Forum, which
brings Japan, Russia,  Korea, China, Canada,* and the US together to
cooperate on regional  maritime issues. Russia will hold the Forum's
annually rotating presidency  in 2007. This presents an ideal moment to
begin discussions on bi and  multi-lateral maritime energy security
collaboration. Existing fisheries enforcement  agreements between the US and
the Russian Maritime Border  Guards may provide a starting point for energy
security cooperation in the  North Pacific [20].  *Coast Guard to Coast
Guard cooperation would ideally include oil spill  contingency planning and
preparation of mitigation measures, since several  new energy producing
areas and shipping routes lie in fragile Arctic  ecosystems and other
sensitive zones such as the Baltic Sea and Sakhalin  Island. Fisheries are a
rich Russian natural resource and a joint oil spill response  plan benefits
both nations. Along with an oil spill response plan,  both parties might
also consider establishing joint iceberg and tanker tracking  centers in
order to further boost maritime safety on the Arctic, Baltic,  and Black Sea
energy shipping lanes*.

Now, having read that, try and cut some specific neg cards. Not a lot of
good comparative literature I bet? Good answers to agent counterplans, to
PICS? Good pic literature? The problems are manifold. Add to this the
uniqueness complications resulting from small affs like this and you can see
the issue. I would also point out that even if some of these affirmatives
have OK lit (which they really don't) a few things are important:

   1. I found this in 30 minutes and I tend to cut straightforward aff
   lit because I lack creativity. Imaging what experienced squirrel aff
   researchers with months will do. The results are too horrific to
   2. This is all lit for somewhat big proposals but still wouldn't have
   a credible link to pretty much anything other than supergenerics
   3. Imaging someone finding a specific link to one especially
   vulnerable port or group of scientists, narrowing the plan and using this
   solvency. The problem is now that much worse

3.      Global uniqueness. I think Bricker and others explore this issue
pretty well but it is much less of a problem for ag and a problem NOT AT ALL
for healthcare or arms control. Again if it is a problem, magnitude matters
but lets not even have these debates if we can.

4.      Negative ground. I have to say this discussion is a bit amusing.
People have criticized me for saying politics links would make healthcare
awesome but in the same breath mentioned red spread, one of the most
clownish and absurd arguments in debate, as viable ground on a Russia topic.
Calum seems convinced that internal politics or triangle disads are good
ground on Russia even if they are generically bad. I see little evidence of
this, but here's the important part. While the impacts to these arguments
are good for Russia (if not for other countries) the internal links remain
problematic. This is especially true vis-?-vis most affirmatives we will
see. China or the Russian elites may be concerned about the over-arching
trends in US-Russia ties but to establish coast-guard intel sharing or joint
arctic environment research and claim that will tip the geostrategic
triangle between Russia, the PRC and the US does not pass the laugh test.
Negatives will struggle to establish a credible link against the litany of
tiny affirmatives Russia will inevitably produce.

I would hope as an alternative people choose healthcare. The depth of
solvency and internal link literature is literally unparalleled. You can
access pretty much every impact in debate, and if you think it is only
economy, you clearly haven't read the topic paper.

At the end of the day, the best topics are ones that comport closely with
the literature and have literature which is incredibly rich and comparative.
Healthcare fits the bill quite well. Russia, not so much.

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