[eDebate] missions

Malcolm Gordon malgor.debate
Fri Jul 10 16:18:52 CDT 2009


I must disagree with a few of your characterizations, Paul.  Most
importantly, the way you are reading resolution three that allows it to
limit out random bilateral russia affs.

"The United States Federal Government should substantially change its
nuclear posture in one or more of the following ways"

This is the governing phrase, how could I disagree?  And if it were the only
thing relevant, it might be enough to limit out the strange bilateral affs.
(resolved: usfg should substantially change its nuclear posture; this would
certainly exclude non-posture related concerns as extra topical).
Unfortunately, the resolution actually qualifies what constitutes said
change with the phrase "in one or more of the following ways."  It is a
particular statement that anything that meets one of the listed actions is
considered a substantial change in nuclear posture.

Therefore the additional qualifying phrase of:

"Negotiation and implementation of a bilateral agreement with Russia that
at least includes a substantial reduction in nuclear weapons"

means that any aff that meets that sentence is, by definition, a substantial
change in its nuclear posture.  So any aff that negotiates and implements a
bilateral agreement with Russia that "at least" includes a substantial
reduction in weapons is topical.  "at least" is a floor, not a ceiling.
There is nothing in that sentence that prevents affirmatives from adding
things not related to nuclear posture, because the resolution has already
dictated that as long as the deal contains a reduction in weapons, the
negotiated and implemented deal meets the threshold.

if the plank read "negotiation and implementation of a bilateral "arms
control" agreement with Russia that at least includes a substantial
reduction in nuclear weapons", then I would agree with you.  The resolution
would then say the agreement must exlusively be an arms control deal.  That
qualification, however, does not exist.

As far as your concern that topicality will often exclude things it would be
nice to debate under a resolution....I agree, topicality tends to exclude
affirmatives, as that is its purpose.  But no topic will contain all the
salient issues because competitive equity is a consideration.  FMCT is a
good example, it is just as important in the literature as CTBT, but likely
even harder to win as topical under any resolution but 1 (even then it will
be difficult to prove its a substantial change in posture).  On the treaties
topic, we didn't debate law of the sea, or CEDAW, or the treaty on rights of
the child, or landmines, etc.  On the courts topic, there were a littany of
big cases that didn't get in (I was a HUGE advocate of putting Terry v Ohio
in the resolution...get it, huge...cause i'm fat...).  This is inevitable
and a very subjective voting determination for coaches.

Your last point, about holdouts, is also inevitable.  But 2 provides very
compelling negative interpretations that will limit these affs out.  If they
are going to be so effective as to make even the most unlimiting
interpretation acceptable under 2, they will under 3 as well.  Once we've
crossed into that threshold, the difference is lost on me as to which would
be worse.

I also agree with Mancuso, while we might be afraid because missions and
roles are largely redundant, it's not a deal-breaker as much as a reason we
shouldn't be scared that the addition of missions will explode the topic.
Especially since there is good evidence that defines missions in a way that
excludes hyperspecific country affs (don't retaliate against brazil if they
nuke us, for instance).

I understand people like 3 because it lists a few affs, so it will help in
preparation.  But no one has given an example of affs that will be extremely
unpredictable under topic 2.  I have only heard examples of how topic 3
allows interpretations that are very justified under the wording of the
resolution and very unlimiting.
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