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Author Topic: Question for Treaties Advocates  (Read 8615 times)
Adam Symonds
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Posts: 349


« on: April 25, 2011, 09:20:07 PM »

During last year's topic balloting period, my students complained that the treaties topic would be 5-6 different topics. Based on our experience with the last treaties topic, I couldn't disagree with them. We voted for 5 treaties, but got "lucky" in the sense that 2 (Kyoto and SORT) were virtually nonexistent in our debates.

So that being said, what would you all tell someone who believes the above and doesn't believe "process cp + politics" provides a coherent negative approach to all of these treaties?
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Ryan Galloway
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2011, 09:42:49 PM »

I would say Samford is a small school, and we voted for treaties last year, and are likely to support it again.

First, having five-seven negative strategies isn't too many.  We did a lot more than that this year, and even our pre-NDT focus consisted of far more than this.  People over-estimate workloads and panic into voting for topics that are far too small.  Small schools can bolt in on a topic like treaties and know more about their work than their opponents.  Refine your strategy as the year goes on and have your students cut a lot of the cards so the debates come down to in-round knowledge and execution.

Second, it is very predictable what you get when you vote for treaties.  Your pre-season work will be a lot more predictable than voting for other topics where you may not know the mechanism.  How much of your immigration work went to waste when visas became the area?  Did you know what you were getting?  With treaties, you are pretty sure what the treaties are, and the mechanism is pretty precise.  Work all summer on it.

Third, stable mechanism means generics cut across the treaties.  This might be your concern, but teams were successful with CEA's as the process cp on the last go round.  Topics aren't built on harm areas, they are built on mechanisms.

This ignores all the educational and relevance benefits to debating a wide range of contemporary issues put in a nice package called multilateral treaties.  A lot to be learned on big issues of the day.  It's what was neat about treaties before, and can be again.

That said, there are a lot of good topics out there.  I'd be happy to provide some comparisons and contrasts if you have a front-runner you like better. 



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Paul Elliott Johnson
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2011, 09:43:25 PM »

I would say that debating five affs, even if they are very different from one another, is a more manageable research burden than one thinks.

I'm not necessarily a treaties advocate but I mean, five is not that big a deal. Its not like going back to the pre-internet days when the affs were unpredictable AND you had nothing to say to them.
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charrigan
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2011, 09:48:01 PM »

We voted for 5 treaties, but got "lucky" in the sense that 2 (Kyoto and SORT) were virtually nonexistent in our debates.

This is the answer. There is nothing wrong with a topic that includes 3-5 treaties. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with a democracy assistance topic that lists 3-5 major countries.

Smaller is better for everyone because the best debates are about the countries, the treaties, the type of critical infrastructure, the failed state, etc., not the mechanism (ratification, protection, money) independent of what it interacts with.

Whatever the topic, vote small to encourage depth and discourage shallow topic-wide generics.
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Whit
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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2011, 09:48:23 PM »

I think that rather than being "5 different topics" it's more like "5 different affs." Specifically, five different really good affs. So essentially from the NEG perspective you have to do five case negs. Yes, you'll probably have to update them regularly because of advantage innovation. That isn't so different from most topics though. This year for example:
Let's say for the sake of argument you were comfortable with conflating EB/H1-B as one case neg. Then you had to have an EB-5 case neg. There was also translators/SIVs. You needed some type of trafficking strategy. Add in something to deal with family affs and that's five distinct major case negs you had to update for every tournament. On top of that there were any number of smaller affs that didn't fit into any of those categories.

The treaty topic to some extent (there will always be outliers) will eliminate those extra affs so you can focus more on the big case negs.

On the last treaties topic, I was at a small school. We updated all of the specific case negs (but yeah sometimes let the Kyoto and SORT negs slip a little bit). We also relied on CEA and politics to some extent (a reason why I don't think allowing it is a terrible idea). I seem to recall a global governance kritik as well. I remember it being much easier to manage from a negative perspective than the Europe topic that followed (which was essentially 6 different resolutions).
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Adam Symonds
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Posts: 349


« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2011, 09:53:03 PM »

Third, stable mechanism means generics cut across the treaties.  This might be your concern, but teams were successful with CEA's as the process cp on the last go round.  Topics aren't built on harm areas, they are built on mechanisms.

This is the rub, I think - if students really don't want to do the process cp + politics as the only negative to the topic mechanism, then they're stuck here.

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Malgor
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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2011, 09:59:12 PM »

One big premise at play here is that the treaties will all have robust and innovative case debates.  So yes, there are only X affs, but each one lends itself to an in depth debate.

I will put Adam's concerns about the topic being too diverse aside (not to say it isn't valid).  Which treaties lend themselves to innovative, large, case specific negative debates through an entire season?  Brad mentioned this earlier, and it was a major concern last year that still has not been answered. 

I am not claiming there are none, but I'd like opinions on which treaties do have a large enough set of case arguments to sustain an entire year.  I think we can all agree that some don't have enough.  The treaties contained WILL determine the viability and quality of any treaties topic. 

malgor
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Ryan Galloway
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2011, 10:06:37 PM »

And that is why those treaties can be amply discussed in round 2.  We know certain treaties have such ground, so the wording phase is the right phase to discuss questions like "I like treaties, but don't like Ottawa."

I'd like to hear more comparisons.  What as opposed to treaties?  Which topic do people like better?

I like Democracy Assistance, Failed States, and India a fair amount.  I especially like the timeliness and relevance of democracy assistance and failed states, and think those components may give them a leg up on Treaties.  India is interesting as well, the focus on one country for foreign assistance is unique.

RG
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Adam Symonds
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Posts: 349


« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2011, 10:08:58 PM »

And that is why those treaties can be amply discussed in round 2.  We know certain treaties have such ground, so the wording phase is the right phase to discuss questions like "I like treaties, but don't like Ottawa."

I think this only works to a point - we have to have some guarantee that there are, in fact, enough treaties with viable debate to choose to vote for the whole topic, don't we? What if we vote for it and the wording papers can't find treaties that work?
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Malgor
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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2011, 10:14:50 PM »

The notion that we shouldn't base our votes on the treaties that might be debated makes no sense to me.  since the only affs on the topic will be treaties, they would seem to be the only concern.

this gets back to what I was saying earlier.  The treaties topic will entirely be determined by the treaties.  As you said, the core ground will not be about the mechanism.  So all of the educational and competitive research arguments people are using to indict or defend the topic completely rest on which treaties we are debating.  It's a concern because advocates of the treaties topic have repeatedly stated that one of its unique benefits is it provides a lower breadth, but higher depth, of case arguments.  I am asking them which treaties they think can support an entire year of well developed, continually innovating negative case arguments.

Given these facts, it would be foolish to vote for a treaties topic until several viable sets of treaties have been provided.  Some of the other topics on the list have a broader set of arguments against the mechanism, so voters can have more confidence that regardless of the focus areas, there will be strong sets of arguments for the negative.

And shouldn't it be obvious which topic I like?

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Whit
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Posts: 79


« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2011, 10:22:18 PM »

1. LOST

2. CTBT

3. ICC

4. CEDAW or OTTAWA (take your pic)

5. something for the K people Smiley maybe that's CEDAW or CRC or "Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights" or the Disabilities Convention

Boom, ship it.

I don't think anyone questions LOST or CTBT, or they shouldn't at least. The args against the others are "I'm skeptical, because I did research on that a few years ago." Oh yeah, there's also the "only faces political opposition" argument. Let's not underestimate the power of political opposition. How many debates this year were won on KORUS and case defense? The solely political opposition argument is also specious. The military clearly doesn't think we should ratify the Ottawa treaty, and pissing off the generals was good enough to win many debates on the nukes topic. Just to be clear, that means there is a CMR disad.

« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 10:35:00 PM by Whit » Logged
Paul Elliott Johnson
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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2011, 10:33:21 PM »

beating some janky ass visa advantage on case D and politics is not analagous to throwing down with the monster CTBT, for what its worth.
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Whit
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2011, 10:40:46 PM »

beating some janky ass visa advantage on case D and politics is not analagous to throwing down with the monster CTBT, for what its worth.

Brad's argument about only facing political opposition was in reference to CEDAW and OTTAWA (to the best of my understanding). I don't think anyone is suggesting the only good answer to CTBT is politics. While many treaty advocates would like us to believe that it is only petty washington politics that prevent any of these treaties from being ratified, the truth is that almost every one of the treaties discussed so far has a number of detractors based on merit. It is unfair to label all detractors as "the black helicopter" crowd. Not every treaties bad article is about a creeping world government.
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Jessica Kurr
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Posts: 89


« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2011, 11:18:24 PM »

How would the treaty amendment counterplan work? My understanding is that CTBT cannot be resubmitted as is because it was already submitted to the Senate that way. That means ratifying CTBT would require amending the CTBT. Would affs get to specify that as normal means? Or would amend then ratify become a viable option?

We successfully won on this strategy on the nukes topic when people still ran CTBT at the beginning of the year, but I doubt how viable it would be, primarily given judge/community backlash, for a whole season.

Similar to this strategy is ratifying with reservations. This is actually very common practice when the U.S. ratifies a treaty. Would a counterplan, given the ratify and implement mechanism, that ratifies with reservations be considered a PIC or some form of legitimate counterplan? Or would the aff solvency mechanism destroy any competition?

If you want to get into generic literature about ratification mechanism, reservations and amendments are a key component. More importantly, you could actually discuss specific parts of a treaty while counterplanning out of every other part. If that isn't stable generic negative ground, I think negs will be in trouble some of these treaties.

Also, Moon Treaty? 
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seanbram
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« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2011, 07:16:03 AM »

How would the treaty amendment counterplan work? My understanding is that CTBT cannot be resubmitted as is because it was already submitted to the Senate that way. That means ratifying CTBT would require amending the CTBT. Would affs get to specify that as normal means? Or would amend then ratify become a viable option?

The CTBT doesn't have to be resubmitted.
Kimball 9-13-09 – Ececutive Director of the Arms Control Association, Daryl, Quoted in the Daily Kos, “The Mushroom Clouds on the Horizon: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty”, http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/9/13/781453/-The-Mushroom-Clouds-on-the-Horizon:-The-Comprehensive-Test-Ban-Treaty)
You have to have two-thirds, so 67 votes, so that's why I said in that December column I wrote... with 60 Democrats the president is within striking distance of getting the necessary two-thirds. It's still very tough, but he's within striking distance. The other parliamentary thing is that the treaty was signed in 1996, it was transmitted to the Senate in 1997, and even though the Senate voted on it and rejected it in October of 1999, it's still technically on the executive calendar of the Senate, so it doesn't have to be resubmitted. It's there already.
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