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Author Topic: Category 3 - Reasons to include and to not include - Wording Thread  (Read 23410 times)
kevin kuswa
Sr. Member
Posts: 346

« Reply #30 on: May 30, 2011, 10:42:24 AM »

Iran and Iraq would both be good debates under democracy assistance...thanks for the updates on those.

On a related note, I have been exploring Kurdistan as well as Turkey to see if either of those entities would make sense on one of the lists.  I do think there is some material justifying an increase in democracy assistance to the Kurds, primarily in Iraq, but also in Turkey, Iran, Syria, and a few other places.  The evidence on Turkey is a little better (being a NATO country with EU aspirations and human rights problems), but still not great.  I would suggest at this point not including either possibility, but more research might help.  If anyone is interested in continuing to pursue one or both of these possibilities, let me know and I will pass on what I have.

Sr. Member
Posts: 334

« Reply #31 on: May 30, 2011, 12:29:44 PM »

Re: Iraq -

Ross – I very much agree the overlap with the recent high school topic is a concern for including Iraq. You are correct that repetition with either college or high school topics is not something we seek to encourage. If there is an overlap it should be designed to promote a different set of research and experiences. Thanks for the good catch.

Scott – I agree that there should be concern for uniqueness arguments. I also noted how the broader trend of US support in Iraq is declining. I didn’t attempt to argue that made for a perfect situation, but that it does create a baseline. For example, a substantial increase in aid to a country that receives a great deal of aid is much more than a country that receives little aid now. I am not saying substantial T would ensure negative ground, just that as we review the topic there are reasons why including a country that receives a large amount of aid would offer some avenues to develop arguments. The literature that I pointed to is engaging this debate and I think Louie and others have correctly identified potential concerns about if this ‘declining support’ is sufficient as a foundation for uniqueness. I did note several reasons why I am not persuaded about including Iraq.

I know it was just an example, but I am curious about the topicality of that breastfeeding program. Public health programs are important, but my understanding is those types of ESF programs for public health seem to be more commonly understood as development or economic assistance.

Re: Iran -

Scott – I guess I have a hard time believing a series of arguments for and against inclusion of countries is indicative of ‘pie in the sky promises.’ I don’t share your faith in polemic argument and I try to explain the potential options in either direction. The Takeyh evidence about Iran talks about assistance for several aspects of civil society. It cites previous examples, like that of in Poland under Soviet rule, where the aid very much resembled a lot of what is considered democracy assistance.

I think we can agree I have already outlined affirmative and negative arguments about providing assistance to Iran. Your assertion is now that this is not democracy assistance. I know you have asserted there is no democracy assistance to Iran, but I am curious as to the support for that claim.

This confusion was part of why it was very important for me to correct the mistaken impression that USAID is the only aid provider. Iran does receive democracy assistance now in several forms that very closely resemble what the literature suggests. In fact, review of government policy and public budget estimates all confirm there is certainly democracy assistance, not just promotion, to Iran. I cited the 2009 GAO Report last night that contains the following unambiguous statement about even aid from the State Department:    p. introduction

Data available from State show total democracy assistance allocations of about $2.25 billion for fiscal year 2008. More than $1.95 billion, or about 85 percent of the total allocation, was provided to field-based operating units, primarily country missions. Although complete data on USAID funding per country were not available, USAID mission data, compiled by State and USAID at GAO’s request, show that in a sample of 10 countries, most democracy funds are programmed by USAID. In the 10 countries, annual funding per project averaged more than $2 million for USAID, $350,000 for State DRL, and $100,000 for NED. In fiscal year 2008, more than half of State funding for democracy assistance went to Iraq, followed by China, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea, and NED funding for democracy programs was highest for China, Iraq, Russia, Burma, and Pakistan.

A couple of examples that explain how State and other agencies have democracy assistance in Iran:

First, consider the humorous acronym for The Near East Regional Democracy program.

Stephen McInerney, Director of Advocacy for the Project on Middle East Democracy, April 2010, “The Federal Budget and Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2011: Democracy, Governance, And Human Rights In The Middle East” p. 15 

The Near East Regional Democracy (NERD) program was established in March 2009, as a new program to support democracy and human rights in the region, particularly in Iran. It includes a strong focus on support for media, technology, and Internet freedom. The establishment of the NERD program is widely viewed as a recognition by the Obama administration of the need to support democratic reformers in Iran, while at the same time reacting to criticisms of the Bush administration’s specific approach in this regard.

Second, the NED.  There is also the very clear understanding that the Takeyh discussion is very much what the NED supports in their programs. Any review of the NED highlights how much of their aid is for exactly these kinds of programs. The NED website discusses two sets of programs for Iran
Freedom of Information $278,773
To assist in the free and broad access to information by Iranian citizens and to help provide a variety of mediums by which political activists and citizen journalists may disseminate knowledge and opinion.
Human Rights $395,733
To promote awareness of and respect for fundamental human rights, through monitoring, documenting and reporting of human rights violations.

Supporting press freedom, access to information, and human right monitoring are all big discussions of democracy assistance. If you are worried that there aren’t specific advocates (beyond Takeyh) I offer another example:

Geneive Abdo, Director of the Iran Program at the National Security Network and the Century Foundation, February 18, 2011, Foreign Affairs, “How U.S. Support Could Lead the Opposition to Victory”

After the protests in 2009, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps established a cyber defense command to counter online political activism, making Facebook and Twitter inaccessible to those without filter proxies bought in the West. On Monday, the regime banned Iranians from organizing; blocked BBC Persian, a main source of information in Iran (much as Al Jazeera is in the Arab world); and put the de facto leaders of the Green Movement under house arrest. Iranian leaders have announced that they will create a special court focusing on "media crimes," a move that will surely deter even more journalists and citizens from using the Internet to disseminate information about the protests. Even the regime's moderate conservatives, such as Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani, have been quick to demand that opposition leaders face trial for the most recent protests, some even calling for their execution. Of course, the Egyptian government also shut down the Internet -- but only for one day during the heat of the protests. And unlike Egypt's military, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard cannot be counted on to sit on the sidelines.
Even so, tens of thousands of Iranians reportedly protested on February 14. But if world leaders were to support civil disobedience, for example by making sophisticated technology available to Iranians to counter the regime's manipulation of the internet, the momentum could build for future demonstrations even if the violent security forces started to crack down.
At the moment, Iran's opposition is far less unified in its goals than the Egyptian opposition was during its protests. Some factions want only to reform Iran's theocracy, while others (particularly the younger activists) want to dismantle supreme clerical rule altogether and establish a parliamentary democracy. The West's endorsement of the movement could strengthen Iran's opposition as a whole but only as long as Washington does not talk of trying to supplant the regime with a Western-style democracy. The leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood have made clear that Egypt will be a democracy that reflects the religious and cultural values of Egypt, and the United States should not try to dictate Iran's future form of governance.
Washington's public support, moreover, would deprive the Iranian regime of one of its weapons: anti-Americanism. For example, the Iranian government has tried to convince its people that U.S. sanctions are designed to hurt them, not the regime. Some Iranians have been left believing that the United States cares more about security issues -- in particular preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon -- than their well-being. But far from wanting the United States to back off entirely, a majority say that they would like closer ties with the West, according to a recent poll from the International Peace Institute.


As I mentioned yesterday, none of this means Iran should be in some or all of the wordings. I am trying to review the literature to outline our options. I welcome other folks to review materials and to provide support for the discussion of including any of these nations or how the wording should be framed. Kevin’s recent post is a big help in looking at the prepositions and we certainly have a lot more to explore.

Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
kelly young
Full Member
Posts: 246

« Reply #32 on: May 30, 2011, 09:59:30 PM »

Include Iraq?

Is Iraq a site of the Arab Spring protests?

In general the answer is yes. There is a rising tide of public opposition to the current government and there have been substantial public demonstrations and an aggressive response.

Amnesty International, April 28, 2011, “Days of Rage: Protests and Repression in Iraq”

Tens of thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets since early February 2011 to protest against the lack of water, electricity and other basic services, rising prices, unemployment and endemic corruption, and to demand greater civil and political rights. In the Kurdistan region of Iraq, demonstrators have also protested against the two main parties that have dominated local politics for decades and monopolized state resources.
Protests initially erupted in Iraq in mid-2010 over the government’s failure to provide basic services, but then stalled. For example, on 19 June thousands of people protested in Basra against the frequent power cuts. According to reports, at least one person was killed in front of the provincial council building when police fired on stone-throwing demonstrators. In response to this and other protests, the Electricity Minister resigned and on 25 June the Interior Ministry issued new regulations that make it extremely difficult to obtain official authorization to hold protest meetings or demonstrations.
The successful popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt in early 2011 encouraged Iraqis to defy the restrictions and resume demonstrations. Many protesters widened their calls to demand the resignation of local and central government representatives, or to protest against restrictions of civil and political rights. Protests built up until 25 February, when tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in cities across Iraq, including the Kurdistan region, in support of what they termed a “Day of Rage”.
The various forces under the control of the authorities and political parties, including security guards, armed forces and security forces, responded from the start with excessive force, killing and injuring protesters, and with frequent arrests. The first fatalities were on 16 February in the eastern city of Kut in Wasit province, and on 17 February in Sulaimaniya in the Kurdistan region. Activists told Amnesty International that the ferocity of the crackdown following the “Day of Rage” led to a decline in the number of protests in subsequent weeks, although protests have continued.

These protests will continue, but they don’t appear likely to topple the current government.

Aseel Kami, Reuters, May 18, 2011, “Analysis - Power protests threaten Iraq government”

Iraq's punishing summer heat will fuel angry street protests over the nation's feeble power supply but the rallies are unlikely to topple the government, even if some ministers are sacked as scapegoats.
The electricity grid, hobbled by years of war and under-investment, will probably supply less than half of Iraq's 15,000-megawatt peak demand this summer as temperatures head to 50 degrees Celsius plus.
An emergency plan to place temporary generators around the country is a year away and faces major problems, officials say.
The power issue is one of the most visible benchmarks for Iraq's nascent democracy and among the most frustrating elements of Iraqi life more than eight years after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and unleashed war and chaos.
"There will be crisis and shortage this year," said Laith al-Mamury, head of contracts and investment at the electricity ministry. "The gas, diesel and thermal turbines which we made contracts to buy will not be ready ... this summer."
What impact that might have on a fragile governing alliance of Shi'ite, Kurdish and Sunni political blocs is a big question facing Iraq in coming weeks, with sweltering heat likely to drive Iraqis out of their un-airconditioned homes and onto the streets in protest.
"I expect that a lot of people will go out. They will not endure the heat. That will put the government under pressure," said Yaseen al-Bakri, a political science professor in Baghdad.
"But for the government to resign, no, I do not believe that will happen... I believe there will be firing of some ministers who will carry the burden ... they will be scapegoats."

If we decide to include Iraq it should be seen as having some of the same debates about domestic unrest and public discontent as other topical nations.

My goal here isn't to argue with Gordan, but merely to continue discussion of why Iraq shouldn't be included. I will concede at this point that there will likely be some decrease in aid in the SQ. I'm remain unconvinced that this decrease is significant, particular in light of the amount of military aid that we increasing to ensure stability. Given that Gordan's conclusion is that "These protests will continue, but they don’t appear likely to topple the current government," it seems unlikely that democratic inclusion or other institution/democracy building is really as important as general stability measures. My concern, much like Louie's, is that the neg against the aff will be horrible given that this decrease in aid is occurring within a broader context of massive diplomatic and military investment (even though we are withdrawing, we are giving tons of military/security aid). If we didn't invest massively in this nation, help elect and support the current regime, and influence every aspect of security and political issues within the country and THEN the SQ cut the amount of DA, I'd buy this uniqueness claim. I've yet to see anyone suggest a unique neg link on this topic. I think the neg will be able to generate tons of potential stability CPs (as they did against translators affs last year), but the link level uniqueness seems weak. Where is the controversy in increasing DA aid to a country we already invest so much in and have every reason to ensure the withdraw is successful?

As for the point raised in this first quote, I don't understand the point of it. Yes, there are Arab Spring like protests, but they are different precisely because we wouldn't fund those movements, would we? Does it make sense to fund forces to overthrow the very government we helped put in place within the last few years? It's that a significant part of the direction arrow for the Arab Spring topic? I'll concede Kuswa's idea of a fund the Kurds to overthrow some locally entrenched bureaucrats aff, but the smaller and smaller the aff, the worse the negative options. 

Quote from: stables
Is there a uniqueness problem for disadvantages to Iraqi aid?

This legitimate question identifies an important dynamic – Iraq is one of the largest recipients of US democracy assistance. It and Afghanistan both have received large sums of aid as part of the effort to build domestic institutions alongside the US military operations.

United States Government Accountability Office, Report to Congressional Committees, September 2009 “DEMOCRACY ASSISTANCE: U.S. Agencies Take Steps to Coordinate International Programs but Lack Information on Some U.S.-funded Activities”  p. 9-10

In fiscal years 2006 through 2008, funds allocated for the GJD strategic objective were provided for democracy assistance programs in 90 countries around the world. Almost half of all democracy funding over this period was spent in Iraq and Afghanistan; the next highest funded countries, Sudan, Egypt, Mexico, Colombia, and Russia, accounted for more than 25 percent of the remaining GJD funding allocated to individual countries other than Iraq and Afghanistan. Of the 20 countries with the largest GJD allocations, 8 have been rated by Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization, as not free; 8 have been rated aspartlyfree;and4 have been rated as free.16

The historical presence of this large amount of aid doesn’t necessarily ensure that similar funding will be available in the future. As some of the posts have mentioned, there is an ongoing debate about how much continued aid will be possible for Iraq as the US military operation winds down. In short, there is not much concern about the trend in uniqueness for the basic question of current US aid. There has been ample US aid and that support is weakening. The question relates to the future of that aid and if the unsettled nature of that assistance is sufficient for inclusion in the topic.

The following evidence offers an example of what kinds of affirmative evidence exists for an Iraq affirmative.

Sean Kane & William Taylor, United States Institute of Peace, May 16, 2011, The United States in Iraq: Options for 2012,     p. 1-2

The U.S. role in Iraq is transitioning from military-led to civilian-led with ambitious goals that embody the once unthinkable hope for positive outcomes from a domestically polarizing conflict: an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, self-reliant and can contribute to peace and security in a region of the world vital to U.S. interests. With a December 2011 deadline looming for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, the United States and the new Iraqi government are attempting to define how a long-term strategic partnership across the diplomatic, economic, security and cultural fields can further these goals.
This military-to-civilian transition in Iraq involves the State Department and a plethora of civilian agencies taking on tasks ranging from traditional diplomacy and development assistance to police mentoring, military modernization, and managing and providing protection to an estimated 17,000 employees and contractors in an improving but still lethal environment. Adding to an already challenging situation on the ground, the unique nature of the current fiscal cycle has further increased the degree of difficulty by creating uncertainty as to what resources will be made available to the State Department to accomplish its new multifaceted mission.
In a time of unparalleled financial and economic pressures at home, there are no easy ways to escape this conundrum. Yet the stakes are high. The success or failure of the military-to-civilian transition will determine not just whether the U.S. achieves some return on its costly eight-year investment in Iraq, but also represents a testing ground for the U.S.’s ability for war termination of the asymmetrical conflicts that defined the first decade of the 21st century. The lessons learned from winding down the Iraq war could help to inform the scheduled transition in Afghanistan by 2014, as well as future cases where civilian agencies take over from the military in post-conflict or post-disaster settings.

It should be noted that although this card, as an example, does appear very solid on its face there are still some remaining questions, such as: Will the current fiscal uncertainty actually result in substantial cuts? Would affirmatives be able to offer support for a substantial increase in that level of funding? Is there robust (i.e., arguments on both sides) about the role of this aid? Some of the cites posted on the forums don’t really address these questions as much as they discuss the larger role of foreign aid and especially how aid should be conditioned on Iraqi progress in key areas.

As we continued to review the Iraq literature we will be focusing on these last questions. I do think the general parameters of the literature offer the possibility of including Iraq, but there are concerns about how optimal this literature would be for debates and about how including Iraq might adjust the focus of the topic.

I very much welcome specific evidence on any aspect of this subject. Identifying advocates or opponents of new democracy assistance (civic support, institution building, electoral support, etc.) to Iraq would be very helpful.

I still don't buy the strength of the aff and the Kane & Taylor evidence is just more evidence of this problem. That article actually outlines a host of diplomatic missions like security and development assistant that contains only one DA program - developing rule of law through police forces. Seems like the DA AFF is fairly weak in solving this broader range of diplomatic and security issues outlined by Kane & Taylor:

Kane & Taylor May 6 2011
State Department officials have described their complex new mission in Iraq as based on four pillars:
•    Broader Diplomatic Presence: Faced with the daunting task of replacing the 126 military bases and 16 Provincial Reconstruction Teams when U.S. combat operations ended in August
2010, the new diplomatic mission will be the largest in the world. The plan publicly outlined
in February by U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey included 15 sites around the country,
including two consulates, two temporary Embassy Branch offices, three air hubs, three
police training centers and five Office of Security Cooperation sites. This broad diplomatic
presence—still much less than the U.S. military presence even now—was described as
necessary to give the U.S. government situational awareness around the country, manage
political crises in potential hotspots such as Kirkuk, and provide a platform for delivering
economic, development and security assistance. In the years to come, the State Department will likely face a similar operational challenge as the U.S. military in Afghanistan hands off security responsibility.
•    Development Assistance: USAID development programs, USDA agricultural advice and the
provision of American technical know-how to help Iraqis more effectively use their human
and natural resources are symbolic of the new relationship Iraq seeks with the United States
and the rest of the world.
The Strategic Framework Agreement signed between the U.S. and
Iraq in 2008 provides an aspirational roadmap for the delivery of American assistance under
the new mission and is in many ways the bedrock of the future relationship between the
two countries. A similar framework document to provide basic guidance on shared American-Afghan priorities on the civilian side could be helpful in organizing a future militaryto-civilian transition in Afghanistan.
•    Police Development: In October 2011, responsibility for training Iraq’s police will shift from
the Department of Defense to the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics
and Law Enforcement Affairs
(INL). INL, the Department of Justice and others will work
on professionalizing police management and shifting the police from counterinsurgency
operations to community policing and rule of law reform. The goal is a police force that, unlike in Egypt or Tunisia, protects the population rather than the state. Police development
is therefore key to building a stable Iraqi democracy
and is planned to include some 190
advisers around the country.

•    Modernization of the Iraqi Security Forces: Later this year an estimated 200-person Office
of Security Cooperation–Iraq (OSC-I) in the U.S. Embassy will take over from USF-I as the
mechanism for providing assistance to the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The 650,000-strong
ISF is judged as largely capable of maintaining internal security but as possessing key gaps
in external defense, including an inability to maintain air sovereignty or to conduct the
combined arms operations that would be necessary to defend Iraq’s borders from an external
 The danger is not that Iraq will actually be invaded, but that its well-known external
vulnerabilities will leave it open to coercive diplomacy and interference in its internal affairs
by the region.
The OSC-I will help fill these gaps by managing a $13 billion Foreign Military
Sales program, training the ISF on weapons systems, carrying out joint U.S.-Iraqi military
exercises, and implementing military exchange and professionalization programs. Some
analogue to the OSC-I will likely be considered in Afghanistan in the coming years (a similar
office already exists in the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan).
Even this short sketch illustrates why the State Department’s top management official accurately describes the scale of the transition challenge in Iraq as “…a major endeavor…without

And to further Ross's point, we debated a lot of Iraq stability affs last year due to the number of translators affs. So far, the evidence offered doesn't show that the Iraq debate can be crafted in a way to offer unique educational debates that we haven't already had several times - the heart of the debate is to stabilize the nation so the U.S. can successfully withdraw and maintain its credibility for future nation-building missions. Same old debate we'd had on this subject. Let's debate something new with better negative uniqueness than "a small decrease in one type of aid in a nation dominated by US military and other diplomatic aid" provides.


American Forensic Association Vice President,
Director of Forensics/Associate Professor/Area Head (Com Studies),
Department of Communication
Wayne State University
kelly.young [at]
Posts: 5

« Reply #33 on: May 31, 2011, 04:54:40 AM »

On to something different.....

A) Sudan

For increasing Demo Assistance to this country I think that is would be educationally viable as Sudan does not have a Demo is the Squo, does not receive a significant amount of Demo funds from the USA, has Demo NGOs (as in the cite), could have good advantages like Genocide (Its doubtful any other aff could have a genocide adv), fem adv, terrorism, soft power, ect., the aff can probably link to the generic args/core of the topic, would have a specific neg, and can have competition against foreign CPs. (yay Canada, though there is a Demo NGO listed). 

South Sudan is succeeding from North Sudan on July 9th, 2011.  By Sudan in the topic paper I'm assuming Gordon is talking about the gov in Khartoum (North Sudan).  I think we should start thinking about whether or not South Sudan should be included in the topic? 

Reasons to Include South Sudan

1) Lots of Aff Inherency, The Demo just began there, I'm sure US Demo funding does not specify between North Sudan and South Sudan, all the reason why we should increase Demo funding.

2) Regional Significance/Education, If Sudan is included in the topic then its lit base will probably talk about needing to fix South Sudan in order to fix/prevent war in North Sudan.  If theres a strong Internal Link saying Demo Assistance solves this then it could be a viable advantage. 

Reasons to not Include South Sudan

1) Leads to Specific Advantages outside the Arab World, like stability advantages for the Horn of Africa or Central Africa, or possibly AU legitimacy advantages, though on the other hand all the North African countries in the topic have a risk of causing an this advantage to exist.

2) Extra T/Effects T Affs, the lit on South Sudan could cause teams to bust out a team that involves Ethiopia or Eritrea that could lead to some benefit for South Sudan.  Though on the other hand North Sudan could face the same issue as it has Ethiopian and Eitrean refugees and shares a boarder with both countries. 

3) Is there Solvency Advocates?, its such a new country there might not be though I doubt that because the North Sudan lit must talk about South Sudan.

4) We could just make North Sudan T and that would solve back South Sudan, This interpretation could allow the edu about South Sudan to be present in North Sudan debate rounds w/o the adv.s ourside the Arab world. (Obama says he will recognize South Sudan as a country when it declares independence so theres no risk of plan flaws)

B) Topic wording

Mauritania and Sudan would, topically, be apart of Sub Saharan Africa, so if these two countries are included in the resolution then it can't be MDNA.   

C) West Sahara, by any chance Gordon Stables were you planning as including this as a part of Morocco or ignoring or ?
Sr. Member
Posts: 334

« Reply #34 on: May 31, 2011, 10:25:35 AM »

Kevin - Thanks for the help with Sudan. The idea of including a Sudan was listed as part of the original paper and is currently under consideration by the 2nd group, led by Mike Davis and Sarah Partlow-Lefevre.  Hays Watson had provided some research on that question here

For organizational purposes I will repost your commentary on that thread as well. For anyone interested in helping with the Sudan or any of the following question countries , please reply to that item.



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