[eDebate] C. Jones on the nuclear weapons topic

Shawn Powers spowers
Tue May 12 19:47:59 CDT 2009

Subject says it all....

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Chris Jones <cjones21 at gmail.com>
> Date: May 12, 2009 5:17:35 PM PDT
> To: Shawn Powers <spowers at usc.edu>
> Subject: edebate post?
> Sp,
> any chance you could throw this up on edebate?  I don't have an  
> account.  Much appreciated.
> Best,
> cj
> There has been surprisingly little topic discussion here or on the  
> CEDA site about the topics, for better or worse, but with topic  
> ballots due in the next bit I wanted to offer a reprieve from the  
> evidence standards firestorm and provide a last plug for the nuclear  
> weapons topic if there are still some folks on the fence:
> The topic is sweet:
> It?s now or never--- as we discussed in our paper, if this topic is  
> going to be debated this is the year.  After the NPR, QDR, NPT  
> Review Conference, etc. are over this topic will be nowhere near as  
> timely.  In the words of former Secretaries of Defense Perry and  
> Schlesinger from the May 6 final report of the Congressional  
> Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States (one of a  
> few major reports that has been released in the couple weeks since  
> topic papers have been out which speaks to the degree of awesome  
> literature coming out on this question):
> This is a moment of opportunity to revise and renew U.S. nuclear  
> strategy, but also a moment of urgency. The opportunity arises from  
> the arrival of a new administration in Washington and the top-down  
> reassessment that must now begin of national security strategy, of  
> approaches to nuclear security, and of the purposes of U.S. nuclear  
> weapons and their supporting capabilities. The urgency follows,  
> internationally, from the danger that we may be close to a tipping  
> point in nuclear proliferation and, domestically, from an  
> accumulation of delayed decisions about the nuclear weapon program.
> (http://media.usip.org/reports/strat_posture_report.pdf)
> Good division of aff/neg policy ground - It provides affs with the a  
> number of possible aff areas (arms control, doctrine, posture) while  
> probably excluding some of the more ?nonproliferationesque? affs  
> like set up an international fuel bank, strengthen the PSI, etc that  
> don?t link to core neg ground are somewhat of a separate  
> consideration.  The negative gets deterrence DA?s (both deterring  
> Russia/China and extended deterrence) which is a huge chunk of core  
> ground, impact turns to advantages (prolif good, npt cred bad, etc.)  
> and a ton of counterplan ground based on how large and to what  
> degree the aff reduces reliance.
> The K constituency- Jessica said this much more eloquently than I  
> could but nuclear weapons is an awesome topic for the K.  Extend the  
> Nunn, Kissinger, Schultz, Perry 2k7 impossible dream aff evidence.   
> The degree to which fundamental assumptions about the role the  
> nuclear weapons play in our security have changed drastically even  
> since it was last debated in 2002/2003 (High School WMD/CTBT).  The  
> Russian critical literature is almost predominately general foreign  
> policy K?s (Schmidt, Tickner, Spanos, Heidegger, etc.) that almost  
> all apply equally well, perhaps better, to a nuclear weapons topic  
> but the reverse causal argument from Russia to nukes is not the case  
> because the nuclear weapons critical literature argue nuclear  
> weapons and the policies associated with them in and of themselves  
> are problematic, which does not even have to even the broad level  
> claims about international relations.
> AT: A couple major concerns I?ve heard:
> Neg uniqueness ground - Cooperation with Russia and ?Reduce Reliance  
> on Nuclear Weapons? are both parts of the Obama agenda- no question  
> about it.  There are two major reasons this is less of a concern for  
> nuclear weapons:
> A.     The complexity of relations-  US/Russian relations are  
> horribly complex and as the Strategic Posture Commission (guess what  
> I?ve been reading at work?) explains (http://media.usip.org/reports/strat_posture_report.pdf 
> ):
> Two decades after the end of the Cold War, Russia and the United  
> States are certainly not enemies but neither are they allies. The  
> picture is a bit more complex.  The two are strategic partners on  
> some important international questions, but strategic competitors on  
> others.
> The problem with this for debate is that affs (and 2 minute 1AC  
> uniqueness observations) will run to things we are partners on and  
> have mutual interests in dealing with but the neg ground for the  
> topic is premised on the latter category of issues.  The affs will  
> get smaller and smaller and the red spread DA will still be the red  
> spread DA.  This is not the case with the nukes debate.  Even  
> negotiating a START follow-on, which most people seem to think is a  
> good idea, has to be approached very carefully.  Schlesinger?s  
> remarks to the SASC on the Commission Report have an extended  
> deterrence link in it for a START follow-on (http://armed-services.senate.gov/statemnt/2009/May/Schlesinger%2005-07-09.pdf 
> )
> B.     How evidence gets deployed in debates- core neg ground on the  
> Russia topic is ?cooperation bad.?  In other words, link cards will  
> be based on the word ?cooperation? to try to garner internal link to  
> big impacts and affs will update their ?united states and Russia and  
> w/25 cooperation? to find a host of miscellaneous things we  
> cooperate on.  It happened with pressure.  It happened with  
> overrule.  It happened with financial aid.  The same is not the case  
> with nuclear weapons because link arguments won?t be rhetorically  
> based on ?reducing reliance on nuclear weapons.?  Teams will not  
> read link cards like ?if the US reduces their reliance on nuclear  
> weapons, x happens? it will be things like ?if the United States  
> cuts numbers, x country builds a bunch of nukes,? ?if the triad  
> loses flexibility, y country freaks out? because the debates in the  
> literature don?t occur at the meta-level of ?yes/no reliance.? I  
> can?t speak to the Russia topic as much on this question but all of  
> the ?US reducing nuclear reliance now? jazz is primarily Executive  
> Branch/State Department huff and fluff that doesn?t impact topic da  
> links.  We haven?t operationalized policies to make that reduced  
> reliance the case and even "big steps" like the START follow-on are  
> looking to be VERY modest so as to not disrupt any of these major  
> deterrence considerations.  It is very easy for the State Department  
> to decide to search a few more ships, plant a few trees, and pledge  
> to jointly protect the environment in the name of cooperation with  
> Russia but it is a BIG DEAL to make changes to our nuclear weapons  
> strategy that has been at the core our the national security  
> strategic of the United States as well as its allies and competitors  
> for half a century.  Just ask the Pentagon.
> ?Reliance? is a bad verb- I got an e-mail about reliance being bad  
> because it is fuzzy and hard to quantify.  I agree that reliance is  
> not just numbers and involves an element of perception but I think  
> that is why it is a good topic.  Schlesinger is right that nuclear  
> weapons are ?used? every day in the way they dissuade and deter and  
> that is what the topic gets at.  The contextual T evidence on this  
> question I thought was pretty good for a cursory search?both in  
> carving out affs that actually do reduce reliance and ensuring neg  
> link ground to thinks like the deterrence DA.  Reliance, salience,  
> and emphasis seem to be the terminology used in many of the major  
> reports on the issue.  All of this said, this also was a time  
> constrained choice and should be further evaluated by the topic  
> committee.
> The ?in its national security policy? modifier is bad (Sorry  
> Antonucci never check the facebook and just saw your message)?it  
> didn?t show up in the approved controversy.  We thought it was  
> decent but didn?t have time for a good evidentiary defense of it.   
> Probably a great thing for the topic committee to task out to explore.
> Consider the real world impact a debate is pushing the envelope-  in  
> debate terms this is a defensive takeout that does not take away  
> from the reasons why this would be a sweet topic to debate.  That  
> said, I don?t see why it is a bad thing that college debate topic  
> could have a ?real world? impact.  If a college debate topic could  
> have the added benefit of providing value to policymakers, why not?   
> Kids way down the road reading framework cards about how debating  
> nuclear weapons had an impact seems like a cool thing to me but  
> maybe I'm crazy.  According to the editor of the Nation, Katrina  
> vanden Heuvel, from yesterday (http://www.thenation.com/blogs/edcut/434649/the_fierce_urgency_of_disarmament 
> ):
> Dr. Bruce Blair of Global Zero said a major challenge will be to  
> sustain the disarmament momentum and "prevent a lapse." While  
> nuclear abolition has broadened its appeal politically--receiving  
> endorsements from conservatives such as former Senator Chuck Hagel,  
> John McCain, Henry Kissinger and George Schultz--Blair said the  
> constituency isn't as vibrant as it needs to be and young people  
> aren't sufficiently involved.  His colleague, former Ambassador  
> Richard Burt, agreed. He said there simply isn't "a constituency  
> like there was twenty or thirty years ago. Younger people are not  
> paying attention."  (Yes this is from a blog. It is also from a  
> reputable blog quoting qualified nuclear people and is talking about  
> the role of young people not a cp/da strat)
> Time will be very tight this week but will try to answer concerns if  
> I can.
> Best,
> cj

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