[eDebate] Nuclear Wording

Michael Antonucci antonucci23
Fri May 15 17:19:53 CDT 2009

"That the United States federal government should significantly limit the
use of its nuclear weapons"

short version -

I'm skeptical.  Reduce reliance is a term of art.  This topic lets in some
of the bad periphery (add a failsafe) while excluding some of the good core
(SLBM shift, deep cuts.)

long version -


Reduce reliance [in its national security policy] is a term of art.
Sticking to the lit's good, especially when the real center of the lit's
been suggested by genuine nuclear policy experts (the topic authors).  That
isn't dispositive, but I do tend to default to their expertise.


Only limiting USE of nuclear weapons would allow NFU variants, but would
appear to exclude
- elimination of the land-based triad leg (shift to SLBMs)
- deep weapons cuts, in all of the arms control variants.
- etc

This suggested topic allows affs to change aspects of our nuclear posture,
but doesn't appear to allow any change in nuclear force structure.

Cutting to 1000 (and associated mechanisms) should be topical.  That's a
core Obama proposal.  It's a substantial part of the core Daalder/Lodal
article (http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/2297/20092010-college-debate-topic.)
It's a central component of the Schultz/Kissinger/ et all op-ed piece that
spawned a lot of this debate.

No first use is sweet, as are LOW variants, but not enough of a topic.  Some
affs have to change force structure, not just the contingencies under which
nukes get used.

I suppose one might argue that any nuclear cuts would also limit use - you
can't use them if you don't have them??  I think that interp's weak sauce.


Improving nuclear security in ticky-tack ways (that terrorist argument) is
much more difficult to debate.  There's core ground to directly refute force
structure changes.  There isn't nearly as much ground against minor security
upgrades at facilities, or a single article about another mostly classified

Michael Antonucci
Debate Coach
Georgetown University
Mobile: 617-838-3345
Office: 202-687-4079
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