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Author Topic: Moving to the second phase of the topic selection  (Read 23362 times)
kevin kuswa
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« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2011, 09:48:24 PM »

preposition key.  agreed for sure.  ...and isn't durant even more awesome than anyone thought (even though the mavs will take game #1)?  k
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RGarrett
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« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2011, 10:00:01 PM »

I have read Gordon's Kevin's and Hester's responses. I sincerely, apologize for an insult to the researchers, the question I requested to be answered in my mind is a genuine question for the next phase I would sincerely like answered. I think it is important that those of us who will not get to attend the topic meetings ask the questions we would like the topic committee to answer.  I agree largely with Gordon's sentiment that there are many answers to these questions, my problem may not in fact be a problem, this question may cause us to broaden the mechanism, etc.  Given that all of those potential solutions might be very important to the direction of the topic I hope that if there are multiple solutions that each is specifically compared to the others.

I will say one reason I am very skeptical of taking the approach that the resolution will be viewed reasonably by debaters and judges after it is final is that my experience has been different.  Almost every member of the committee thought CTBT should be topical under nuclear weapons, but the community felt very differently about this issue. I think that debate judges can be unreasonable in their demand and expectation for cards in a topicality debate, but I also think if we address head-on some of the potential hard line views that may come about  we could produce a better topic.

@RG: Not only is your request for citations off the mark and the wrong path to emphasize as we open up the research, you have forgotten another part of the equation:  THE PREPOSITION.

Democracy assistance "to" vs. "in" vs. "for" vs. "within."

This variable will change your hasty attempts to slap a bad "govt.-to-govt." T argument on a much more nuanced and vibrant phrase.

I am still not sure I follow you here.  If the resolution said provide Dem Assistance within Syria, if Democracy Assistance requires consent of the government it will still require consent. I might agree the word "to" might require government to government and so that would be an important limiting consideration.  The word within would allow a broader set including government to non-government, but I think the word democracy assistance itself would then limit that set (if it implies government-to-government it does not matter that we chose a broader preposition because something else did the limiting work). If the resolution writers want a way to address this in the resolution it could be, you could say The USFG should provide democracy assistance to/in/for, ----, with or without their government's consent.  That is one option, making an explicit definitional pre-emption in the resolution might be drastic but I think the CTBT example provides some context for why debate judges can be very unreasonable sometimes.


I think Hester that evidence might be useful but here is a piece of context from that article that concerns me:

"In some places, the range of U.S. political aid work
has been broader than that of European donors. For
instance, in the Gulf, U.S. funding has encompassed
projects on political participation, the rule of law, press
freedom, judicial reform, civil society, labor rights, and
political parties, whereas European projects have been
slightly more narrowly focused on women’s rights,
economic governance and media capacities.
27
 But both Europe and the United States hesitate to undertake or
sponsor projects that do not meet with local govern-
ment approval, and will only provide funding to local
organizations as allowed by local laws—a constraint
Arab governments are tightening with alacrity.
28:"

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stables
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« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2011, 10:35:32 PM »

Ross, Mike, Kevin -

Thanks for pushing this conversation forward. This discussion is exactly the kind of follow-up that we need. I am not sure the analogies always help us, but the specifics of this are helpful. As we research the legal limits (for t) and the practical limits (for solvency) we want to be guided by allowing the affirmative to employ mechanisms that work with the optimal scope of potential actions. My initial concern was about the tendency to want to narrow the potential topic before the full options are considered. If there is a conversation about how the topic mechanism needs to be carefully considered to provide a maximum amount of flexibility for non-governmental assistance that should certainly be carefully considered. The nature of a changing topic requires us as to look carefully at these items. Thanks for the notes and keep the research coming.

FYI - I keep adding the document links to the google bookmarks. Please send anything along that you would like to share.


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Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
Adam Symonds
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« Reply #33 on: May 17, 2011, 10:41:52 PM »


"In some places, the range of U.S. political aid work
has been broader than that of European donors. For
instance, in the Gulf, U.S. funding has encompassed
projects on political participation, the rule of law, press
freedom, judicial reform, civil society, labor rights, and
political parties, whereas European projects have been
slightly more narrowly focused on women’s rights,
economic governance and media capacities.
27
 But both Europe and the United States hesitate to undertake or
sponsor projects that do not meet with local govern-
ment approval, and will only provide funding to local
organizations as allowed by local laws—a constraint
Arab governments are tightening with alacrity.
28:"



Even taken at face value, that quotation is a disad to funding them, not a statement that aid is illegal or impossible without consent. Footnote 28 there refers to this article which concludes that even backsliding regimes grant consent to those local groups. This report also says:

"Responding to local priorities: Local project partners and grantees are, of course, the most vulnerable
to repressive measures. Nevertheless, civil society groups and other groups that engage with U.S.-funded
democracy promotion groups tend to be of such political caliber that they are not readily intimidated
by authorities’ official hostility. “The kinds of groups that openly work with us,” says one democracy
promoter, “are fairly resilient and don’t scare easily.” There is relatively little evidence of current or
prospective grantees declining to accept support from, or otherwise engage with, U.S. democracy
promotion groups, either because of fear of official sanctions or retribution. In some cases, to the
contrary, reports one democracy promotion group, “their fear is that we will capitulate and leave.”

That report also concludes that we should provide democracy assistance to NGOs in repressive regimes:

"Congress should seek to ensure and increase assistance for democratic political parties,
nongovernmental organizations, and independent media in repressive or hybrid regimes
while placing severe restrictions on all forms of U.S. aid to these states and, in appropriate
cases, prohibiting U.S. government agencies from providing loans and investment to the
governments concerned, except on humanitarian grounds."

It's a very good NED report and well worth the read, but it certainly doesn't conclude the US can't ever provide democracy assistance to these groups or that consent is needed.

(I should note this article is a bad example to use in reference to democracy assistance, as they use the term interchangeably with democracy promotion!)

« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 10:59:14 PM by Adam Symonds » Logged
stables
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« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2011, 01:46:07 AM »

On Thursday President Obama is scheduled to give a major address updating US policy toward the wave of demonstrations known as the Arab Spring. This is obviously going to be important in explaining the future of our upcoming topic.

I will continue to update the google bookmarks with commentary about the address. Already there are a number of articles suggesting specific courses of action. I think this will be fertile for folks looking to consider potential affirmatives options. You can view or bookmark these links at https://www.google.com/bookmarks/l#!threadID=GiMgKMewRGk4%2FBDQE3ggoQlra25_Ul
Thanks to Kelly Young, Scott Elliott and Justin Stanley for sending along links and evidence.

I also wanted to share a good summary of how to follow the commentary about the speech on twitter. I will retweet some of the material using @gstables and this post provides a much more thorough way to follow the speech.

http://www.demdigest.net/blog/2011/05/didnt-get-an-invite/
Further to the Democracy Digest‘s on-line symposium previewing Obama’s address, you can view the speech via live-streaming from the State Department at WhiteHouse.gov/live and then accept The White House Blog‘s invitation to take to Twitter to continue the conversation:
Immediately afterwards, the live-stream will switch to a follow-up Twitter chat with Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, where anyone will be able to pose questions and reactions via Twitter.
NPR’s Andy Carvin (@acarvin) and Foreign Policy’s Marc Lynch (@abuaardvark), two experts who bring both a deep understanding of foreign policy and extensive online networks, will facilitate a world-wide conversation that will include participants from the Middle East and North Africa.  As Andy explains:
Rather than come up with all the questions ourselves, we’d like to invite you to help us craft the questions. If you’re on Twitter and want to submit a question, please post a tweet with your question and include the hashtag #MEspeech in the tweet. You can pose your question before or during the speech. We won’t be able to get to every question, of course, so we encourage everyone to follow the #MEspeech hashtag and join the broader conversation about the speech on Twitter.

Also - the wiki will be up and running soon. Keep sending your cites and evidence along to help frame the topic wordings. Thanks to Justin Stanley for sending this item.

Alternatives: Global, Local, Political 2008 33: 461
“Wilson Victorious? Understanding Democracy Promotion in the Midst of a Backlash”
http://alt.sagepub.com/content/33/4/461.full.pdf  (GS)
 
Democracy, of course, is a notoriously contested concept, and promoters of democracy usually give only the vaguest account of what it is they are promoting.21 The concept of democracy promotion presents similar difficulties. Five core terms may be distinguished:
 • Democracy promotion is an umbrella term that covers various activities aimed at fostering, improving, and sustaining good governance at several political levels. It comprises assistance, consolidation, dissemination, and advocacy.22
 • Democracy assistance is the provision of support (either financial, cultural, or material) to “democratic agents” in the process of democratization, without entailing direct intervention. It seeks to foster the conditions for the rise of a democratic regime, such as NGOs’ patronage or diplomatic pressure, and is thus, as Thomas Carothers put it, “a quiet support for democracy.”23
 • Democracy consolidation is another type of support, more direct and explicit, toward newly formed governments, weak institutions, or systems in decay, with the goal of enforcing the procedural side of the targeted polities, and is aimed at “avoiding democratic breakdown and avoiding democratic erosion” while strengthening preexisting structures.24
 • Democracy dissemination comprises all those activities that seek to advance democratic governance structures by intervening directly in the internal affairs of nondemocratic polities, reshaping authoritarian, fragile, or collapsed states through explicit pressures, or enforcing instruments of international law with democratization goals.
Democracy advocacy is, contrary to the two prior types, a noninterventionist form of promotion, usually involving of massmediarelated activities and nongovernmental organizations like think tanks.
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Gordon Stables
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Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
ScottElliott
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« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2011, 10:34:52 AM »

The 1NC: "One Off---Inherency....."
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stables
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« Reply #36 on: May 19, 2011, 11:09:31 AM »

Hahahaha...Good thing the major policy initiatives like economic aid and debt relief are not traditionally thought of democracy assistance. Love the glass half empty crowd - congratulations to everyone for having a year to research one of the most timely and important topics. I know we have some loud critics, but this is a great opportunity.

The bookmarks are also being updated with great new links. If you want to follow the NPQ question on twitter, search #MESpeech. A lot of good discussion there with Andrew Carvin.

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Gordon Stables
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Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
Malgor
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« Reply #37 on: May 19, 2011, 12:17:03 PM »

please don't lump me in with the rest of these critics.  my post was about the need for the committee to develop good standards for picking a country and for them to be open about it.  I outlined a few criteria that i think we should use.  I did not imply the topic is broken, but I did predict how picking a country for inclusion would play out and i have a feeling these concerns will be ignored.

for instance, including a country in the middle of a civil war in the topic is a disaster and these concerns are being swept to the side with vague claims that we have to debate it because people are talking about it in the news.  that is a poor way to pick a country, see my previous post for reasons why.  this is not something that should be ignored, people should be concerned.  I think the committee gets a lot of unwarranted criticism, this is a good opportunity to have a discussion about the criteria being used to include a country.  

« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 12:19:04 PM by Malgor » Logged
kevin kuswa
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Posts: 345


« Reply #38 on: May 19, 2011, 12:49:18 PM »

malgor,

you've been raising good points and i do not think your arguments are at all in the same basket with those who would define words with absolute decree right now or ignore the stage we are in.

we should discuss the criteria for including/excluding countries--exactly.  i think that's what committee members and others are researching.

there are a number of variables in the topic paper for inclusion and I don't think it stops at just "country X is in the news."  palestine is in the news (central to Obama's speech earlier), yet it is not on the list of core countries to include at this point (although I think it should be).

some of the key variables covering countries undergoing change (or lack of change) in the region are:

A) degree of stability
B) current leadership/govt structure (ideology)
C) current leadership/govt structure (allegiance to the US)
D) opposition movement (size and strength)
E) opposition movement (uniformity)
F) opposition movement (allegiance to the US/ideology)
G) US policy in the Squo
H) geography
I) dynamic for change (solvency possibility?)
J) others

Sure, this is a Chinese Encyclopedia to say the least, but something we have to dive into...Gordon's paper provides a good matrix and three layers of countries, but that is not meant to be definitive or overly rigid.  Wording papers could work within that matrix or propose an argument for a different perspective.

malgor, it seems as though your argument is that the degree of stability (is there a civil war right now?) should be a concern in terms of changes that are likely during the year.  This may be a good way to define a list, but there is also an argument that those are the places that are most in need of the discussion.  Either way, something to continue to contemplate and a big variable to consider.

kevin


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stables
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« Reply #39 on: May 19, 2011, 01:20:57 PM »

A couple of thoughts

I can't repeat this enough times - the absence of discussion on the forums isn't the same as the absence of consideration. The topic committee is now actively researching in order to submit proposals. As I have explained there are two large sets of research  - focusing on the mechanism and focusing on the countries. No one believes the questions of countries are settled. If anything the paper provided a foundation for the next stage to proceed. You will note it tried to avoid late surprises, but it didn't treat anything as a given.

The best way for everyone to help is advance the conversation - If the question is making sure there is uniqueness to Libya, let's have that discussion. I didn't hear anything in the speech this morning that changes the Libya debate, but that doesn't mean there isn't a separate discussion to be had.

I do think the civil war there poses some questions and challenges. At the same time, I have tried to caution folks not to necessarily avoid unstable countries because 1) the topic invites/encourages a discussion of unstable nations and 2) we have no promise that currently stable topic countries won't be unstable during the year. This is why I keep returning to the education aspect. It in no way ignores our job to produce a foundation for good debates, but it is a very honest statement that if you try to word this topic to maximize a very clear unchanging SQ you will 1)fail and 2) not debate the essence of the topic. The alternative is to explore how the changes will happen and how the topic can evolve with it. Case in point, today's speech is a milestone event, but it doesn't reverse much of the topical question. The US is still largely in a similar position with regard to how it works with assisting democracy. As specific nuances of policy develop from this speech, we want to make sure the topic is capable of evolving in that direction.

Back to your explicit point, specific discussion of any country is warranted. Let me perfectly clear - the topic committee would welcome anyone's input on a consideration of any of the topic countries. We just know that these forums are great for discussions, but the amount of discussion here isn't necessarily correlated to the work we are doing. Let's open up a thread about Libya and discuss that in depth. I think the committee would love that help. Just know why I tend to react negatively if the conversation moves to a more global concern about not including any of the unstable countries at the core of this foreign policy question.

Lots of room for help. We have a lot of mechanism work and a lot of country work. I know the committee appreciates when the community uses the forum to help us explore this questions. Thanks for all of your help.




 
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 01:40:00 PM by stables » Logged

Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
Hester
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Posts: 153


« Reply #40 on: May 19, 2011, 02:02:54 PM »

The 1NC: "One Off---Inherency....."

1998 NDT, Southeast Asia Security Assistance topic, UWG BC is debating MSU CS in the quarters, with the winner set to debate Emory KS in the semis. Emory KS ran a demining affirmative i was very familiar with. in our pre-NDT research, i had found silver bullet inherency evidence indicating the entirety of Emory KS' plan had already been done. if we had won that quarters debate, we were going to read "1 off - inherency" against Emory. alas, we lost a 3-2... damn you Corndog and Sully.
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ScottElliott
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« Reply #41 on: May 19, 2011, 03:03:36 PM »

Our team won a round at CEDA Nats on inherency debating Afghanistan. We had to spend a couple hours thinking and writing out why inherency should remain a voting issue in modern debate. LOL.
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Malgor
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« Reply #42 on: May 19, 2011, 03:17:22 PM »

A couple of thoughts

I can't repeat this enough times - the absence of discussion on the forums isn't the same as the absence of consideration. The topic committee is now actively researching in order to submit proposals. As I have explained there are two large sets of research  - focusing on the mechanism and focusing on the countries. No one believes the questions of countries are settled. If anything the paper provided a foundation for the next stage to proceed. You will note it tried to avoid late surprises, but it didn't treat anything as a given.

The best way for everyone to help is advance the conversation - If the question is making sure there is uniqueness to Libya, let's have that discussion. I didn't hear anything in the speech this morning that changes the Libya debate, but that doesn't mean there isn't a separate discussion to be had.

I do think the civil war there poses some questions and challenges. At the same time, I have tried to caution folks not to necessarily avoid unstable countries because 1) the topic invites/encourages a discussion of unstable nations and 2) we have no promise that currently stable topic countries won't be unstable during the year. This is why I keep returning to the education aspect. It in no way ignores our job to produce a foundation for good debates, but it is a very honest statement that if you try to word this topic to maximize a very clear unchanging SQ you will 1)fail and 2) not debate the essence of the topic. The alternative is to explore how the changes will happen and how the topic can evolve with it. Case in point, today's speech is a milestone event, but it doesn't reverse much of the topical question. The US is still largely in a similar position with regard to how it works with assisting democracy. As specific nuances of policy develop from this speech, we want to make sure the topic is capable of evolving in that direction.

Back to your explicit point, specific discussion of any country is warranted. Let me perfectly clear - the topic committee would welcome anyone's input on a consideration of any of the topic countries. We just know that these forums are great for discussions, but the amount of discussion here isn't necessarily correlated to the work we are doing. Let's open up a thread about Libya and discuss that in depth. I think the committee would love that help. Just know why I tend to react negatively if the conversation moves to a more global concern about not including any of the unstable countries at the core of this foreign policy question.

Lots of room for help. We have a lot of mechanism work and a lot of country work. I know the committee appreciates when the community uses the forum to help us explore this questions. Thanks for all of your help.




 

I think the main point of miscommunication here is that you believe my concerns are something that can be answered with research, whereas I believe talking about these criteria stands prior to research.  Discussing guidelines and criteria for evaluation provides us with a way to understand the purpose, interpretation, and approach that we should take to research; it answers the question of "what part of this research should concern us."

I have no doubt there is plenty of work being done and that it will be transparent given the wiki and google bookmarks etc etc.  But that doesn't mean we are having a public discussion about what makes a country worth including or necessitates their exclusion from the topic.  Once those standards are created, it's much easier for people to access and understand how topic committee members will interpret their results.


The list of components Kevin outlined is pretty robust, but it begs the question of how much we value those components, and which ones should have priority. 

I presented a case for why "it's an important country" isn't a good enough way to evaluate their inclusion.  I gave a set of standards for evaluation in an earlier post.  No one has offered answers for my concerns, which again are based on standards we can develop prior to the research phase.

I am surprised people can have a predisposition that a country in the midst of a civil war, that will be changing a lot from day-to-day, should be included in the topic.  Gordon is certainly right that any country can erupt into change; the solution to deal with that by including a country we already know is facing the highest amount of instability possible barring a complete collapse of their nation-state, is grossly inadequate.
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stables
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« Reply #43 on: May 19, 2011, 03:28:16 PM »

"I gave a set of standards for evaluation in an earlier post.  No one has offered answers for my concerns, which again are based on standards we can develop prior to the research phase."

You have written a lot and much of it dealt with the mechanism (or other) questions. Can you just highlight or clarify which standards you are referring to?
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Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
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Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
kevin kuswa
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« Reply #44 on: May 19, 2011, 03:44:44 PM »

variables from the topic paper that should come before the "too unstable to debate" element being applied to Libya:

1. is the govt. that is in power or was recently in power relatively authoritarian/oppressive? 
2. is there an opposition or set of oppositions that is in the midst of organizing for more freedoms?
3. is US democracy assistance limited, unsucessful, or completely absent?

this is just a stab to get some more discussion going here and help the committee, but I would think that a "yes" to the above three questions would argue for inclusion in at least one of the lists on the ballot.  Countries that are experiencing a lot of change would be more likely to have a yes on these three levels, taking the civil war argument in the opposite direction.

the research and the contextualization of the research happen at the same time, but we're looking at the key questions with these variables.  good stuff.

kevin
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