Mon Jul 13 12:10:52 CDT 2009
I dont really have much to add, except that I feel like analogy between "change posture" and "gotta have a cap" is faulty because of the way that the literature in the field addresses both issues.
Adding a cap was an artificial movement created as a result of bizarre yet comprehensible (in some ways) community behavior on T. On the other hand, changing our posture is considered as something intimately related to the question of negotiations, offers, etc. So I would say that to the extent that the literature helps to resolve that question, it makes for better debates that reflect the reality in the field, not a moment where debate artifice impinges upon our process of building models for how policymaking ought to occur over a particular issue.
Substantial has been a good limiting word when things are quantifiable (fossil fuel consumption, economic pressure on China), and a really bad one when its remains somewhat amorphous and ephemeral (Indian Country). This year's issue is more like the latter, because you are allowed affs that do more than cuts in weapons (that would be more easily quantifiable). Under 3 "declaratory policy" seems to fix most of these problems, which is unclear under 2.
--- On Sun, 7/12/09, Eric Morris <ermocito at gmail.com> wrote:
> From: Eric Morris <ermocito at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [eDebate] missions
> Cc: edebate at ndtceda.com
> Date: Sunday, July 12, 2009, 6:57 PM
> I prefer resolution 3 for its relative
> assurance of solid affirmative ground. It's easier to
> defend a huge, straight down the middle case if trying to be
> topical means usually makes you topical. If a lot of teams
> choose to defend one of a few cases, it means you can be
> substantively prepared in a higher percentage of debates.
> There will always be teams who run to the margins or decline
> to be topical at all. I like having a topic that
> incentivizes running one of a few big cases, even if the
> enforcement mechanism isn't fully predictable.
> I could make arguments about why any of the three topics
> could be larger, and despite attending the topic committee
> meetings, I'm not fully confident about how the
> community will come down on certain issues. Thus, I'm
> more included to vote for what a topic solidly protects than
> what it excludes, as the latter seems to vary throughout the
> That said, I'm concerned about affirmatives which
> preclude single targets, countries, and regions under topic
> 2. I don't trust "substantial" T to behave
> consistently, and topic 2 depends heavily upon that T
> argument. I don't see any benefits that would overwhelm
> pushing dealerting and CTBT into the 'maybe' zone.
> I'm not sure that topic 1 is considerably better, but I
> do think the question of what disarm commitments we've
> made (with all NPT signatories, for example) is at least an
> evidence-heavy discussion. Big cases can probably find lots
> of cards explaining how they move us in the direction of
> disarm commitments. I think judges behave more predictably
> with contextual evidence than with short definitions. I hope
> that people who have a big problem with some part of topic 3
> will at least put topic 1 ahead of topic 2.
> Here's some dialogue with T-Cram. Although some of it
> reflects other points people have made, I have some time
> constraints today.
> T-Cram: "Is multilaterialism inevitable under any of
> the resolutions? ?Topic 3 people say 'well at least we
> only get Russia. Topic 2 is bilateral accords with China,
> NWFZs, etc etc.' ?If the wordings of 1 and 2 allow such
> shenanigans, why wouldn't planks 3 and 5 of Topic 3
> allow it as well? ?Saying 'those affs wouldn't be
> changes in posture' is confusing when the rez
> simultaneously suggests negotiated cuts with another country
> are topical."
> Ermo: Given the possibility of negotiation failure (I
> don't see a basis for fiating the other parties to a
> treaty under any of these topic wordings), there is at least
> an effects T hurdle to any case. Topic 3 clears that hurdle
> for Russia by specifically including it. I don't feel
> there is enough consensus on this sort of effects topicality
> to preclude it on any topic. Certainly, the negative will
> have the "just run Russia" argument if an
> affirmative tries another country under topic 3, but
> that's just one defensive argument.
> T-Cram: "What consequences do the words 'negotiate
> and implement' have in terms of the aff's
> relationship between solvency and topicality? ?If Russia
> ultimately says no and the plan reverts to the status quo,
> is it an untopical affirmative because it did not achieve a
> change in nuclear posture (policies governing the role,
> mission, and size of the U.S. nuclear weapons
> Ermo: I think the intent of the wording is to make sure
> that you have to implement that which is agreed to, and
> opposed to negotiation without implementation or
> implementation without regard to successful negotiation.
> Obviously, if negotiations fails, there is no agreement. If
> an affirmative takes some unilateral actions in a direction
> as an act of good faith and then negotiates for a position
> farther in the same direction (yes, I've seen cards
> advocating that strategy), they are probably at very little
> risk. They have some shield against extra-T on the Russia
> stuff, and yet could probably meet another of the list
> options as well.
> T-Cram: "Does the aff have to guarantee a deep cut on
> their side regardless of what Russia does? ?Does the aff
> get to fiat Russian acceptance to get around these problems?
> ?Is the aff bound to implement any changes Russia offers
> during the negotiation process?"
> Ermo: Maybe, no, and probably not. The former is probably a
> community issue, and the latter probably hinges upon the
> plan wording and evidence read by either side about
> Russia's counter offer. I don't really see any
> unique basis for the fiating Russia interpretation, and it
> would be a substantial departure from prior practice. Not
> promising that no one will try, but I don't think the
> wording makes it necessary, which means deference to
> limiting interpretations will be a problem for those teams.
> T-Cram: "What consequences do the words 'negotiate
> and implement' have in terms of counterplan competition?
> ?'Offering' on the middle east created a mess for
> what we typically consider to be competitive
> 'plan-minus' counterplans. ?To an extent, this was
> an interesting direction for debates because the topic was
> fundamentally concerned about diplomacy, but is this
> something we want to revisit as a subset of a much larger
> resolution with so much other stuff going on? ?This also
> taps into whether there's really common ground on this
> topic beyond advantage areas (a very weak argument, as
> Malgor has shown)."
> Ermo: On the Middle East topic, the double offer perm was
> pretty effective unless the negative had a very
> sophisticated argument. I might say that CP's that
> handle that perm well deserve serious consideration. I'm
> comfortable with the directionality imposed by the two more
> generic components of the list topic for keeping the
> negative manageable (without imposing a precise list of
> cases, for sure). I'm not convinced the word
> substantially does much in topic 2, which means there could
> be cases that said "remove city X from targeting
> because they have this cool museum or some important
> artifacts". This concern is compounded by concerns that
> the specific missions for particular weapons are classified.
> T-Cram: "What are these numerous tactics and tools
> that the US can offer that are both in the literature while
> also being limited to changes in nuclear posture? ?If
> reflecting the literature is a virtue, why do you interpret
> a topic in a way that excludes the two most salient issues
> in US/Russia arms negotiations? ?NATO expansion and NMD are
> both outside the scope of 'nuclear posture' in a
> definitional sense but are the core Russian concerns and is
> also the first things to roll of the tounges of anyone who
> is talking or writing about possible bilateral agreements
> with Russia. ?It seems 'you gotta change posture'
> has taken on the figure of your much maligned 'you gotta
> have a cap.'"
> These are REALLY good questions, but they are also
> community prediction questions since they hinge on the
> intersection of two separate parts of the topic. I would
> tend to think an agreement which included NMD or NATO
> expansion in a deal that included changes in our nuclear
> posture would be a deal that changed our nuclear posture and
> thus met the stem. See the above part about whether having
> an initial unilateral component would make the affirmative
> safer on topicality.
> Whether there is a strong enough lit base to protect such a
> plan against CP's to make unilateral changes to NMD and
> NATO is another question, because the negative should be
> able to use such CP's to focus the debate back to
> nuclear posture if they wish. I suspect the number of plans
> with enough literature support to fight back against such
> CP's will be a manageable number, but any firm
> prediction made before we even start debating is less than
> fully certain.
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