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Author Topic: 2011-12 Paper - Supporting the Arab Spring - Democracy Assistance in MENA  (Read 16778 times)
stables
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« on: April 25, 2011, 05:12:22 PM »

The new paper is attached.

I am also reposting the old paper which is relevant only for the extended discussion about democracy promotion.

I welcome comments and feedback.

* Arab Spring Controversy Paper 2011.pdf (557 KB - downloaded 7662 times.)
* Old paper - 2007 - Democracy Promotion Controversy Paper.pdf (324.93 KB - downloaded 3544 times.)
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Gordon Stables
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tcram
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2011, 01:09:21 PM »

Great paper Gordon.  I have a question that I don't think was clearly addressed in the FAQ.  You cite 'recency' and new-media research-literacy as potential boons that can stimulate new research skills in addition to the more traditional 'scholarly presses.'  While I agree with you in part, I fear 'hyper-recency' can create problems that make it really tough for a smaller squad to cover ground at the outset as well as reinvent as major events unfold.  For example, American support for many of the core topic countries was a topic area for my parli debaters this spring at their championship tournaments and our prep strategy was basically 'see what things look like the night before we debate' because there was so much instability in who the major players were and the direction things could go in.  I think we also learned on the nukes topic that changes in policy at the strategic level can both enhance debates (NFU v. Sole Purpose was an awesome debate) as well as undermine them by shrinking durable literature into an incredibly narrow arena as wonks speculate what a new policy will be on the eve of its release (have fun if the NPR gets pushed out a week before the NDT...)

My specific question is this: How durable are the mechanisms of democracy assistance in countries where there is no real status quo and may not be for several months?  Are the mechanisms contingent on the players involved or are there plans that can 'ride-out' major changes in the region or major changes in Obama's policy (after all, most of the sources you cite say that we have less of a 'policy' right now and more of a 'well, what will our policy be?')
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stables
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2011, 05:54:37 PM »

Thanks Travis. A very good question.

I think there are two parts to answer the reasonable concern about the fluidity of the topic. We can all agree that we want to engage important and timely topics, but we are concerned about being overwhelmed by events. I remember the negotiations with North Korea really changing the debate about the rogues topic right as the season started so this concern has some precedent.

We have to acknowledge that there is a real prospect of dramatic change happening within the topic counties. When the demonstrations started in Egypt few predicted it would end with Mubarak's resignation, especially that quickly. The situations in Libya and Syria are obviously very fluid and could dramatically change at any time.

What debaters and coaches can expect about the topic is that there will be similar categories of responses to each crises. Of course the nuances will differ from country to country, but in each case there is a debate about if the US should follow any of the following paths:
- Encourage the current government to work with the demands of the opposition
- Support the opposition as they seek change
- Support the development of new institutions

The types of recommendations and forms of development assistance will be tailored to the goals (above) and the status of the revolution. There are some common ways to research and engage these approaches. I won't pretend that there is a single, one-size fits all approach, but I do think that having countries at all stages of revolution in the topic will make this process easier. For example, the core topic nations include a country that has already changed governments (Egypt) and country in active revolt (Libya) and a country where the government has made substantial concessions to stay in power (Jordan). I view these as the continuum of what could happen with each country and it does provide a way to engage the topic in a holistic sense.

I do think your question also is a good reason to be careful when including some of the category 3 countries which could include some radically different aspects of the debate.

One quick aside for anyone interested in this topic and in DC. Tomorrow afternoon at the Cannon House Office Building (Room 122) there is a hearing titled, "Promoting Democracy Abroad: Understanding US Efforts" from 2:30 - 4:00 pm. More information is available at https://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6580/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=41630

If anyone else has questions, please let me know.

Gordon





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Gordon Stables
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kilakevthekevdogkilionare
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2011, 09:16:52 AM »

Under the guise of this topic, could affs that would give Demo assistance to Iraq or Afganistan be considered T since were helping their Demo prosper?  Reason I ask is because their Demos aren't likely to collapse anytime soon, though you don't get a Demo adv, but you could possibly get advantages through stability.  Also, I know that there are a lot of pseudo democracies (like Kuwait, Lebanon, and Morocco) that have elections but they only partially effect the outcomes of policy in the country, could those countries hypothetically recieve Demo assistance.  I was wondering because for teams that won't be cutting new evidence every day, Affs based on either Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Morocco could be a good choice for them. 
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jshane
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2011, 09:51:22 AM »

Could you perhaps clarify what the actual mechanism of this topic is? I have read through the section "policy mechanisms" about 15 times and I'm still a bit puzzled as to what a formal democratic assistance policy would be? The evidence you cite seems to only indicate vague/indirect actions the US takes to promote democracy.

To answer my own question (which you should feel free to correct if I'm making an incorrect assumption), it seems "democracy promotion" broadly refers to things like increasing troop presence, train native military, remove PMCs/US puppets, shoot Ghadafi in the face, etc. If that is true, do you have any concern that the general aff position may be bidirectional (i.e. increasing troops would counter-act the power of anti-democratic dictators yet in many cases, it is the presence of US influence that allows the rise of those, often US-sponsored, dictators like Mubarak. Thus, removing troops could also counter-act that power).

Perhaps these concerns are facile, but I'm interested in hearing your interpretation.
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Malgor
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 11:02:19 AM »

Could you perhaps clarify what the actual mechanism of this topic is? I have read through the section "policy mechanisms" about 15 times and I'm still a bit puzzled as to what a formal democratic assistance policy would be? The evidence you cite seems to only indicate vague/indirect actions the US takes to promote democracy.

To answer my own question (which you should feel free to correct if I'm making an incorrect assumption), it seems "democracy promotion" broadly refers to things like increasing troop presence, train native military, remove PMCs/US puppets, shoot Ghadafi in the face, etc. If that is true, do you have any concern that the general aff position may be bidirectional (i.e. increasing troops would counter-act the power of anti-democratic dictators yet in many cases, it is the presence of US influence that allows the rise of those, often US-sponsored, dictators like Mubarak. Thus, removing troops could also counter-act that power).

Perhaps these concerns are facile, but I'm interested in hearing your interpretation.

This is my concern with the democracy assistance area.  the term democracy assistance is very broad and there are few (if any) good exclusive definitions.  The card outlined in the paper talks about two components:  political and developmental.  In the same card, there is a discussion about democracy promotion and how the US uses a wide range of instruments to exert democratic influence:  aid conditionality, use or threat of sanctions, and other methods.

political aid would be money to help elections, political parties, or civil society organizations.  the developmental aspect of democracy assistance is much more broad-the evidence provided in the paper says it can entail aid to help the government distribute services to its people (since this is necessary for a healthy, functioning democracy).  There are also three phases in which democracy assistance has been used:

pre revolution to show support for opposition
mid revolution to deter attacks on civilian populations or even provide aid to the opposition
post revolution to help with the building of civil society, elections, political parties, and to provide developmental AID

Gordon has already pointed out that the paper lists countries in all three phases.    This is a very broad spectrum.  It means the topic committee will have to do a lot of work on wording papers.  What concerns me is how drastically different the approaches are.  Even the card in the paper that outlines political and developmental approaches says "The two core approaches— political and developmental—are indeed different in important ways. Understanding their differences is useful in grasping the evolving state of democracy assistance generally."

My main worry is that the term is so new, ill-defined, and all-encompassing that, much like the 'whole of government' approach in the failed states paper, it doesn't provide much in the way of limiting the aff. 

To be fair, the paper says democracy assistance may not be the term of art in the resolution.  But as these definitions show, this gives the topic committee that latitude to go anywhere from making it a topic about election assistance and post revolutionary countries, to just another foreign aid topic with MENA countries as the target.  And keep this in mind, including countries in different phases of revolution may require a broader mechanism to access the core affs in each area.

The uniqueness problem is also big here, I'm surprised more haven't discussed it.  Foreign policy disads often rely on links of perception.  The China topic and the NW topic are good examples.  The links on both were about the perception of us pressure/decrease commitment to NW.  Even before substantive measures were taken (like the NPR), disads were non unique because of the perceived forthcoming change.  This is not a slight problem.  these perceptual problems are absolutely inevitable.  The US will be involved in the region at some level, and actions will be taken by both target countries and the US.  Each of these will create large uniqueness problems for many negative arguments based on regional perceptions of these actors (target countries and US). 

Of course, my squad is 1/2 K hacks anyway, so if there are two things that don't deter them it's uniqueness and topical limits.
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stables
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2011, 11:32:01 AM »

I will try to answer both sets of questions in this post.

kilakevthekevdogkilionare asks
"Under the guise of this topic, could affs that would give Demo assistance to Iraq or Afganistan be considered T since were helping their Demo prosper? Reason I ask is because their Demos aren't likely to collapse anytime soon, though you don't get a Demo adv, but you could possibly get advantages through stability."


Iraq is mentioned as an option in the paper, even I placed it in the least recommended tier. Afghanistan is not mentioned at all in the paper. Both are undergoing domestic upheaval, but their changes are different from what is happening in many of the other countries. These countries obviously have US troops actively operating on the ground and the idea of an indigenous democracy movement is very different. The crux of the controversy (and by extension) topic is designed to look at those states whose people are making their own, very dramatic, efforts to move to democracy. Adding both states where the US is functionally already a directly important aspect in governance is both a shift away from the core literature I identified and a very different set of debates.

kilakevthekevdogkilionare asks
  Also, I know that there are a lot of pseudo democracies (like Kuwait, Lebanon, and Morocco) that have elections but they only partially effect the outcomes of policy in the country, could those countries hypothetically recieve Demo assistance.  I was wondering because for teams that won't be cutting new evidence every day, Affs based on either Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Morocco could be a good choice for them.

Agreed that there are many other states with weak democratic systems and that could get assistance. I am not sure that if I was trying to develop a topic that would limit the daily need for research I would include Iraq and Afghanistan. The importance of these countries to US foreign policy ensures that they produce a volume of regular information.

I mentioned in an earlier post that the best way to address concerns about the too-timely nature of the topic is to encourage countries experiencing similar situations. We can adjust both the number and the type of countries in the topic to resemble similar transitions. Much of the core negative argument structure (either from a traditional policy or critical perspective) is likely to place heavy emphasis be about the US role in the transition. This is a further reason why countries that are geo-politically important, but not undergoing widespread public opposition (i.e, the third tier of countries in the paper) may not be ideal for the topic.

Moving to the second post.

jshane asks
"Could you perhaps clarify what the actual mechanism of this topic is? I have read through the section "policy mechanisms" about 15 times and I'm still a bit puzzled as to what a formal democratic assistance policy would be? The evidence you cite seems to only indicate vague/indirect actions the US takes to promote democracy."

To answer my own question (which you should feel free to correct if I'm making an incorrect assumption), it seems "democracy promotion" broadly refers to things like increasing troop presence, train native military, remove PMCs/US puppets, shoot Ghadafi in the face, etc. If that is true, do you have any concern that the general aff position may be bidirectional (i.e. increasing troops would counter-act the power of anti-democratic dictators yet in many cases, it is the presence of US influence that allows the rise of those, often US-sponsored, dictators like Mubarak. Thus, removing troops could also counter-act that power).
Perhaps these concerns are facile, but I'm interested in hearing your interpretation
.

Democracy assistance, like all foreign assistance topics, applies a conceptual limit to a variety of foreign aid programs. As mentioned in the India discussion and consistent with experience in past foreign aid topics, these topics encompass a variety of specific programs. In this context we are talking about a range of programs to help institutionalize democratic systems (i.e., election assistance, institution building, economic support) and overall the way in which these programs demonstrate political support for particular regimes. For this kind of topic the type of assistance is one important element, but the political salience of the aid is also likely to be very important.

The movement between democracy assistance and democracy promotion is very important. Democracy promotion, as you identify, is a much broader category of policies and conceivably directions. My goal in drawing it back to assistance to prevent those examples which are part of the broader foreign policy doctrine that is unrelated to US assistance programs. In other words, the best way a topic is limited in actual practice is when both teams can point to scholarly literature to differentiate what is understood as assistance and what is someone arguing to promote democracy by (insert your examples). In short, the topic mechanism provides teams with a contextual way to argue for a meaningful limit.

The other part of what makes this topic appealing from a mechanism standpoint is that the foreign policy community is now gaining enough experience with the mechanisms to have robust scholarly debate on the distinctions and the most effective forms of democracy assistance. The Burnell evidence in the controversy paper (Peter Burnell, Department of International Studies, University of Warwick, 2008, ―From Evaluating Democracy Assistance to Appraising Democracy Promotion‖ Political Studies, (Vol 56, 414–434), p. 425) is reflective of a scholarly debate that will allow teams to have debates of all sort about the assistance, even outside of the daily context of today's events. The other reports cited in the paper are the beginning of an extensive discussion about democracy assistance. Perhaps an under-recognized side-effect of the Arab Spring is that the interest in the mechanism of the topic is also discussed in more detail.

Looks like new posts are coming in - I will try to continue the conversation there.

Gordon
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tcram
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2011, 11:48:00 AM »

I disagree that the term "democracy promotion" or "democracy assistance" is either vague or overly new in the literature.  It has actually been strongly contested within political science circles for the greater part of 30 years now.  Furthermore, there has been a lot of movement within Congress in the last ten years to provide a more stable conceptual container for what 'democracy promotion' or assistance is, especially in the wake of the Bush administration's 2006 NSS and forcible regime change in Iraq.  

But one example: (http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL34296.pdf)
Congress has demonstrated its concern for the lack of a consistent definition for
democracy. The Senate Foreign Operations Appropriation Committee Report for
FY2006 (S.Rept. 109-96/H.R. 3057) stated, “The Committee remains concerned that
the State Department and USAID do not share a common definition of a democracy
program. For the purposes of this Act, ‘a democracy program’ means technical
assistance and other support to strengthen the capacity of democratic political parties,
governments, non-governmental institutions, and/or citizens, in order to support the
development of democratic states, institutions and practices that are responsive and
accountable to citizens.”14
The following year, the Senate Appropriations Committee Report for FY2007
(S.Rept. 109-277/H.R. 5522) asserted, “to ensure a common understanding of
democracy programs among United States Government agencies, the Committee
defines in the act ‘the promotion of democracy’ to include programs that support
good governance, human rights, independent media, and the rule of law, and
otherwise strengthen the capacity of democratic political parties, NGOs, and citizens
to support the development of democratic states, institutions and practices that are
responsible and accountable to citizens.”15

By focusing the mechanisms into assistance (and there are ample areas that could be specified within a topic, such as elections, judicial independence, constitutional liberalism, freedoms of press/association, human rights, peaceful transfer of power, etc), I think we can contain the otherwise bidirectional elements like 'shoot Qaddafi' or other forcible regime changes.  I also would like to know where people are finding cards that support starting war #4 in the region...

Now, I will say that I wouldn't not be a hundred percent in favor of focusing exclusively on material or technical assistance both because I think it would create the 'MENA FA' topic that Malgor fears as well as eliminate some of the more interesting diplomatic options that are involved, but the point is that there is a lot to work with here and it can be divided in a reasonable and principled manner.

In terms of global uniqueness, I don't understand the lamentation of the 1ac 'uniqueness overview' as somehow being peculiar to some topics.  It has pretty much been a permanent feature ever since the China topic.  I only think it creates a very serious problem when there is literally not a distinguishable difference between the status quo and a plan change.  This is why it was like hitting your head against the wall debating Afghanistan on the Middle East topic.  As long as no crazy huge changes occur, I think that the negative can definitely win uniqueness for a disadvantage, especially given the Obama administration's tendency to play things slow and maintain flexibility on all fronts.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2011, 11:58:35 AM by tcram » Logged
stables
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2011, 11:52:29 AM »

Malgor's post is very helpful because it outlines the next steps in the process. The outer limit of the size of the topic is already clearly present in the controversy paper (USFG should substantially increase democracy assistance to one of more of x countries and I outline seven preferred options).

What the paper doesn't try to resolve on its own is how much of this debate the community wants in its resolution. The community, through the committee, has two choices for limits.

First, the mechanism. Malgor correctly points to the literature that identifies democracy assistance as part of a broader FP continuum. Nothing in the paper encourages or suggests any reason why the topical mechanism would be broader than democracy assistance. As I just mentioned in the last post, the ability to argue that democracy promotion is a larger term is acknowledgement of an outer limit on the topic mechanisms.

The distinction between political and economic democracy assistance is taken from the literature and it provides options. We can either enjoy that the policy literature already provides conceptual categories or we can choose to limit the resolution embracing those categories. Either way, this is a narrowing function that will be based on the optimal topic framing.

Second, the countries. The groupings of countries in the controversy paper are designed to pick countries that are experiencing similar changes and that have similar relationships to the US. Obviously the lists are not 100% uniform (Libya has a different set of challenges now) , but Malgor's concern about uniqueness is also something that can be addressed by ensuring that the topic has some consistency in terms of country situations.  This is a situation where the coherence of the topic may run into the view of 'stability.'

We could, as the previous poster suggests, embrace countries not going through as much domestic upheaval today. As far as we can guess (irony intended), those nations would be 'stable' in terms of their domestic environment and therefore, US support. Picking these countries does, however, move the debate away from the core of the domestic uprisings.

The core 'uniqueness' of this topic is that these nations are in transition. I don't want anyone to believe that this topic somehow can predict the future and argue that these changes will be frozen from September through March. This is a topic about transitions and change. Picking a mechanism like democracy assistance, unlike a broader foreign policy doctrine like constructive engagement, provides a narrower range of policy when (not if) further change occurs in these nations. This is an important distinction. democracy assistance rarely is provided overnight.

A lot of the controversy paper literature notes that the crisis in Egypt took the US some time to respond and it opened an active debate about what should come next. This should be the 'worst case' scenario for those concerned about the stability of the SQ. If a dramatic change in a country happens overnight it will set off a debate about what comes next. The nature of these transitions is that advocates point to their preferred solutions and the administration (eventually) responds. This is the dynamic in which the most dramatic changes will take place. I believe there is both a lot of upside (both educationally and argumentatively) to being part of this movement. It is also isn't that much beyond what past foreign policy topics have experienced (i.e., the Korea part of the Constructive engagement topic comes to mind).

Malgor also notes that debate has developed a series of arguments that don't rely on uniqueness. These arguments, from all ideological positions, seem to be common on topics when there is very little movement in the literature about the topic. I think there will be ample literature for a lot of different type of ideological arguments on this topic and there will also be generic ground when people are truly unsettled by recent events. For me, I think the opportunity to have our debates engage something as dynamic as these revolutions is worth the potential uncertainty (which is shared by all competitors).

Great posts all - keep them coming. A robust discussion on our proposals is the best way forward!

Gordon



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Gordon Stables
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2011, 12:20:28 PM »

tcram is right, affs have uniqueness claims on every topic.  there are, however, degrees in how relevant those claims are.  I am in no way suggesting the topic will die for the negative because there is no uniqueness.  I am suggesting that there is a high chance core topic das (think deterrence da on the NW topic) could fall by the wayside because it's much easier to win uniqueness on politics (why?  i have no earthly idea.  probably bc most politics uniqueness cards aren't conclusive).  it's a valid concern for any voter that believes topic specific disadvantages are an important criteria for picking a topic.

Gordon has presented some useful ways the committee can work around this with country groupings etc.  History shows the community will likely vote for one of the more limiting resolutions on the ballot.  the most limiting resolution in this topic area will likely be one that concisely defines the parameters for AID, and has a limited set of countries all in similar circumstances.

while i agree that democracy promotion is not a new term, democracy assistance is an emerging, evolving category of AID.  i like T debates.  doesn't scare me, but people are always concerned with limits limits limits this time of year.
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stables
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2011, 04:14:44 PM »

To help reinforce my view that the salience of the Arab Spring revolutions is also forcing greater attention on the mechanisms of democracy assistance I just saw a Freedom House report  from today that is concerned with this issue. They are worried that the budget climate will actually reduce funding for these kinds of programs. The full report is available at http://www.freedomhouse.org/uploads/special_report/100.pdf

In their press release summary (available at http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=70&release=1408) they note

“During difficult budget times it is natural that foreign aid should come under the same scrutiny as other parts of the budget, however large cuts to the international affairs budget would have a detrimental effect on the ability of the United States to be an effective world leader and to protect its international interests,” said David J. Kramer, executive director of Freedom House.   “Moreover, cuts would disproportionately affect democracy and human rights funding, which makes up only 10% of foreign assistance.  The grassroots movements for democracy in the Middle East that have occurred over the past few months demonstrate why the United States should be redoubling its efforts worldwide, not cutting back.”
The President’s request for the democracy and human rights portion of the international affairs budget for FY 2012 is $3.15 billion, a seven percent decrease from current levels.  The militarily strategic countries of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan receive more than half of that funding, leaving every other country in the world competing for the remaining funds.

It seems pretty clear that despite dramatic changes in the region we should not expect the mechanism to be so unstable as to make debate impossible.

As another reminder, I want to encourage all of the authors to share web resources about their topics. As educators we can all do well to share resources and facilitate the highest quality debates. I have been posting a series of regularly updated links to resources on this topic proposal. You view or subscribe to it at
https://www.google.com/bookmarks/l#!threadID=GiMgKMewRGk4%2FBDQE3ggoQlra25_Ul

Gordon
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Gordon Stables
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2011, 05:08:56 PM »

One (hopefully) last other note for today. In our discussion of how the death of Bin Laden will influence the current international moment there is a real reason why this is directly involved with the Arab Spring proposal. Every day there is more discussion about how this is remarkable moment in history because the traditional paradigm is being challenged by the people of the Middle East and North Africa. Many authors note why the death of Bin Laden is additional evidence that we are entering something different from the 'post-9/11' era.

One example from today is by  Salman Shaikh, Director, Brookings Doha Center, May 4, 2011, “Out With Bin Laden, In With Arab Spring” http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2011/0504_bin_laden_shaikh.aspx?p=1

The previous decade was defined by "the war on terror" and its "fight against Islamist extremism."
It was a paradigm foisted on the world by a U.S. president who waged wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and resorted too often to the binary language of "them and us." To many Arabs, their daily struggles with stagnant, unresponsive and repressive regimes were subsumed to the omnipresent narrative of a fight against Islamist extremists.
They and the universal democratic values they wanted were forgotten in their leaders' pursuit of another goal: the destruction of al Qaeda and its affiliates and the prized head of Osama bin Laden. In pursuit of those goals, the West, in particular the United States, was accused of siding with autocratic regimes that effectively proved their indispensability as guardians against extremism and as bulwarks for stability.
The West's al Qaeda obsession and the invasion of Iraq that resulted in particular were triumphs for Bin Laden and his followers.
His goal was to rally all Muslims in an endless fight against the "Western Zionist infidels" and create the perfect Islamist caliphate. For a while, there seemed no alternative to the binary world that Bin Laden and his enemies had created and the Bush administration supplemented.
Extraordinarily, one act of suicide -- that of Mohamed Bouazizi in a small town in Tunisia -- changed all that. The street vendor set himself on fire in protest after a police officer humiliated him, setting off a popular uprising that would topple Tunisia's authoritarian president.
From this act of desperation, not vengeance, has emerged the promise of a new beginning and a new Arab world. Throughout the region, there is a sense that there is light at the end of the tunnel when only a few years earlier there seemed none.
The Arab world's response to the death of Bin Laden has, perhaps not unsurprisingly, been contradictory. Though there has been condemnation of the United States, there has also been a mixture of ambivalence and rejoicing.
It belies a growing self-confidence amongst at least some in the Arab world to bring about change. The killing of Bin Laden has also, notably, raised fears that Western interests will once again focus on the conflict with extremists. Arabs themselves want to move on and are in no mood to go back to the past.
The killing of Bin Laden has also been accompanied by calls to the outside world to take notice of the Arab struggle. This is the moment to recall President Barack Obama's speech in Cairo nearly two years ago where he called for a "new beginning" in U.S. relations with the Arab and Muslim world.
This is a defining moment for a man who may well be the right npresident at the right time of history. While his speech was not in itself enough to transform relations, the killing of Bin Laden presents an opportunity to close the sorry chapter of the past decade.
As Arabs open their own new chapter in their transformative struggle for justice, equality and freedom, it is time for the United States to truly join that struggle. A transformed Arab world is the best response to bin Laden's life and his legacy.


This type of evidence is representative of a lot of scholarly examination. Hope this helps to contextualize recent events in light of this proposal.
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2011, 05:26:26 PM »

Gordon-

what do you think the core policy DAs will be on this topic?  the paper seems to indicate there will be more than one core relations DA.  I know you don't have a crystal ball, but you have done a lot of research in this area.  In your opinion, which disads are most likely to cut across the topic.  Most specifically, which disads are most resilient in the face of the likely changes that will happen over the next year?

malgor
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stables
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2011, 06:15:47 PM »

Outside of the traditional domestic DAs (those related to the economic and political objections to providing aid) which are still very relevant I think there will be DAs both from the dominant states in the region that fear losing influence with these new regimes and the Israel DA.

The paper includes discussions of how both Iran and Saudi Aarabia both fear the success of these revolutions. Specifically, the idea that the topic has the US more closely embrace democratic reform in their neighbors is a reason for concern in both countries. I think you will see people both argue that these nations may play a spoiler role against such US policies and it may also influence their internal debates about their sphere of influence. These are linked to the idea that US policy is embracing these these changes.

 There is also likely to be an Israeli politics/security DA because the greater democratization in these is likely to force the US to have influence with demanding a pro-Israeli stance. There is already concern about how much the new Egyptian government will back away from the cold peace it had with Israel. You can see this same dynamic for each of the topic countries.

Fnally, these are likely to be China arguments which describe their fear of the US pushing democratic reform. Good evidence suggests China is working hard to avoid these kinds of revolts and The downside of these soft power style advantages is enhanced US credibility and strategies to reverse authoritarian governments.

I also think there will obviously specific politics and reforms DAs for each of the countries. These couple of arguments outline some of the international relations tensions inherent in the topic.
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« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2011, 07:36:38 AM »

One addendum to this: I think the global/regional democracy influence DA shouldn't be underestimated. The broad based democratic reformism that (some) claim is underway now can be understood in the SQ as a somewhat organic/internal emergence, a result of the political character of the Middle East and its people at the moment. At least, that's how uprisings are generally understood when they end up broadening and snowballing into more grand movements. The perception of the U.S. as either A) meddling or B) quietly directing these protests is in some ways the central question for the Arab propoganda attempts to ameliorate and respond to their demands. So I think it's a really big disad, with scenarios in lots of Arab countries.

I'd be ecstatic about several of the topics, including this and tax reform.
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