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Author Topic: K ground?  (Read 7616 times)
jtedebate
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Posts: 52


« on: May 25, 2011, 07:22:02 PM »

After reading the papers and discussions (please let me know if I missed something!), I cannot find a discussion (barely a mention) of K ground on here or in the topic papers.  The older paper made a casual reference to imperialism and human rights...I'm curious if this is because people are resigned to the same stale K we heard on the ME topic? 

Has anyone looked into K ground we don't hear all the time (cap, security?  That was the main reasons I supported Critical Infrastructure.  Lots of people have a K of Iranian Threat Kon...but is this as deep as it will get given the countries being discussed?  I can foresee a stray article here and there that might have something specific for, say Syria, but stray articles and being able to find really good cap or security links kinda like telling vegetarians "Hey there's a salad bar!"

I am certainly willing to assist the topic committee in this effort (but I will not be able to attend the topic meeting).  jtedebate@gmail.com

(yes, I know people will run security and cap, etc....but there should be more...especially if K ground is a consideration at all in topic or wording selection)
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kevin kuswa
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Posts: 345


« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2011, 08:00:24 PM »

JT--it should be a great feast for critical arguments, including case-specific versions of Orientalism and Critical I.R., but then some new work on democratic agency and how it is co-opted or manipulated by various incantations of the state or state-funded ngos.  The intersection of these critiques of "democracy" with the conditions in the region should also grow deeper with an assessment of democracy and Islam (and degrees of compatibility).  Democracy assistance itself typically has four major prongs--human rights, civil society, elections, and governance.  Those prongs all have their connections to assumptions regarding citizenship, identity, bio-power, and other means of governing populations.  Advantage areas will open up more doors, but there appears to be a strong and varied set of arguments critiquing the expansion of assistance in the region by the U.S., particularly assistance promoting an American notion of democracy.  Those possibilities are also distinct from the huge (literally huge) number of solvency arguments against this type of aid that can serve as critique links, counterplan net benefits, etc.  The negative should not have any trouble carving out some ground this season.  Kritik space on the aff may be slightly more difficult if the intent is to defend the topic wording, but there should be some ways to defend a more radical notion of democracy (the micro-agency arguments) within the context of "expansion."  The aff can always simply fund revolution.  Good post, though--the explicit articulations have not been made yet, but they are definitely there.  Kevin
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jtedebate
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Posts: 52


« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2011, 09:13:35 PM »

Thank you Kevin!  I hope this gets the ball rolling!  And thanks to Gordon and everyone on the Committee...this is largely a thankless job--thank you.

I think the most direct thing Kevin mentioned for the Committee is to take into consideration these subsets of democracy assistance when deciding the specific countries.  If countries like Iran are excluded, we also lose some of the more developed K ground you mentioned.  I'm not as much concerned with K ground on the Aff per se, only because whatever K ground we find on the Neg will transfer to the Aff.

I am not quite convinced that the K lit on democracy assistance in these specific countries is developed...Case specific versions of Orientalism?  There weren't that many good Iran links (most of the from the same small group of authors or very repetitive), what's that like for Bahrain?

Democracy and agency?  I'm not sure how state cooptation/manipulation is really "new"...maybe a few authors have some funky spin...?

Islam and democracy...now this is an interesting area, with developed lit....is there anything distinct between this conflict/intersections specific to Tunisia or Egypt?...hopefully so...This is an area the Committee should investigate!

*Two other ideas given the topic that could come in several forms:  "revolutionary" politics (people vs. gov't...might work with an NGOs CP as well) and media coverage/spectacle (would be specific to the issues of the aff/country)


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kevin kuswa
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Posts: 345


« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2011, 11:21:05 AM »

Islam and democracy...now this is an interesting area, with developed lit....is there anything distinct between this conflict/intersections specific to Tunisia or Egypt?...hopefully so...This is an area the Committee should investigate!

*Two other ideas given the topic that could come in several forms:  "revolutionary" politics (people vs. gov't...might work with an NGOs CP as well) and media coverage/spectacle (would be specific to the issues of the aff/country)

JT—Good to get the ball rolling a little, I like your thought on the NGO argument as a way to get to revolutionary politics, not to mention media/spectacle issues.  I largely agree with your post except that good neg. ground does not always help open space for affirmatives, a bigger concern on this topic.  I do think we will all be surprised at the large amount of specific evidence for critical positions on the negative.  The critiques of democracy are potential round-winners, especially because the policies themselves have outpaced the assumptions holding up democracy itself.  A compelling argument can be made that the affirmative has to defend democracy to defend democracy assistance.
 
Improving Democracy Assistance: Building Knowledge Through Evaluations and Research (2008)
IMPROVING DEMOCRACY ASSISTANCE
Building Knowledge Through Evaluations and Research
Committee on Evaluation of USAID Democracy Assistance Programs
Development, Security, and Cooperation
Policy and Global Affairs
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12164&page=23
“Unfortunately, the growth of widely accepted findings regarding the causes and consequences of democratization has lagged behind the growth of democracy assistance activities. Scholars continue to debate exactly how to define democracy, what pathways lead most reliably to full liberal democracy, what the necessary conditions are to achieve and stabilize democracies, and what the consequences are of transitions to democracy for various sets of institutions and geohistorical contexts (Lowenthal 1991, Lijphart 1999, Cox et al 2000, Przeworski et al 2000, Diamond and Plattner 2001, Mansfield and Snyder 2002, Bunce 2003, Chua 2003, Junne and Cross 2003, Acemoglu and Robinson 2005, Pevehouse 2005, Shapiro 2005, Bunce and Wolchik 2006, Tilly 2007). In policy terms this means that scholars can provide only qualified advice on how to move countries.”

Also, here’s a card hinting at a number of positions involving democracy assistance and Islam.  I don’t agree with Phillips’ initial characterization of fundamentalism, but the issues involving culture, religion, and modernization are all good locations for the negative, assuming that the aff has, at a minimum, found a way out of American Exceptionalism and Spanos.

Phillips, American U., ’09 (By David Phillips Created 12/22/2009, New Frontier In Democracy Assistance , Atlantic Council, http://www.acus.org/print/6088 Director of the Program on Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding at American U., acsd 5/25/11)

“Democracy assistance typically focuses on constitutional arrangements protecting and promoting individual and minority rights. It often emphasizes electoral assistance and measures to strengthen political parties, independent media and civil society. This is anathema to political Islam, which emerged in the 20th century as an effort by fundamentalists to address challenges of the modern world. Rejecting innovation, they believe that any Muslim who deviates from Shari’a, the strict interpretation of Islamic law, is impure. Linking piety with an end to political corruption and misrule, they reject constitutional democracy as the basis for secular government that empowers human rulers over the law of God.  Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is the primary proponent of this radical political theology. He maintains that Islam and democracy are fundamentally incompatible: “Liberalism and Western-style democracy have not been able to realize the ideals of humanity. Today, these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of liberal democratic systems.” (Open letter to President George W. Bush, May 2006). While Ahmedinejad believes that democracy represents the secularization of Christian and Western values and therefore lacks universal appeal, many Muslims reject fanaticism, citing Islam’s traditions of pluralism, cosmopolitanism, and open-mindedness. Hundreds of millions of Muslims live in democratic countries, either as minorities or majorities in countries ranging from Turkey and Indonesia to Western Europe, and enjoy democratic freedoms. They maintain that the Islamic process of consultation is entirely consistent with democratic debate. The democracy deficit in the Arab and Muslim world is more a problem of supply than demand.”
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jtedebate
Jr. Member
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Posts: 52


« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2011, 12:38:05 PM »

Anyone else finding alot of K links in "reform democ asst" papers...that go on to suggest a policy remedy?   If this is the norm (of course we'll find links elsewhere), then it seems as though there could be alot of CPs with a K(-ish) net benefit, or maybe help Affs on the framework debate (if author concludes we should pass a policy/reform)...?

K Affs---all I meant was that if there is biopower for the neg, Affs will claim it too...Affs that only want a marginal connection to the res will have every inch of neg K ground to play with

Ks of Democracy---I agree, the aff should have to defend democracy if they advocate democracy asst.  I hope people will look to full K's of Democracy versus just democracy links to cap, feminist IR, biopolitics, etc.  And there are quite a few beyond these links that work...and this is a place where country-specific arguments can definitely come into play. 

The cards Kevin posted...  The second might be good support for including Iran though, but barely hints at an Islam K (which some lit will simply say "islam hates democracy" others will be more in depth*) (interesting area)

The NAP book advocates that passing policies is good, but also has a lengthy discussion of methodologies.  I think this is a great place to begin...Ks of Method!  And this is very specific, not want most people claim when they say "methodology".  This book discusses the scholarly methods USAID uses/should use to evaluate problems (SQ) and solutions...nice find

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ScottElliott
Full Member
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Posts: 148


« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2011, 06:49:12 PM »

Gordon is right.We are doing "democracy assistance" in Iran. I did some research on it and he is right. However, the "democracy assistance" we are doing is via State, in fact, democracy promotion [disregard the inherency implications for the moment]. See, e.g. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/rm/2011/163123.htm 

"We believe that Internet Freedom is essential to 21st century democracy promotion. Our Internet freedom programming, which is a priority for Secretary Clinton, is aimed at making sure the voices for peaceful democratic reform – in Iran and around the region – can be heard. We have spent $22 million on Internet freedom programming to date, and have notified Congress of our intent to spend $28 million more this spring. Countering Iran’s increasingly active Internet surveillance and censorship efforts requires a diverse portfolio of tools and training. State Department grants will support more advanced counter-censorship technologies, including circumvention tools in Farsi, secure mobile communications, and technologies to enable activists to post their own content online and protect against cyber attacks. We also have trained 5,000 activists worldwide – including Iranians – in cyber-self defense. And we plan to expand these efforts to teach democratic activists, journalists, bloggers, human rights defenders and others how to protect their online privacy and their data – so that they in turn can train others. One of our grantees has just developed a mobile panic button that works on the kind of inexpensive cell phones used in much of the world. Pushing the button alerts others that an activist has been assaulted or arrested – a sad necessity in an era when official abductions and disappearances are all too common. Activists around the world have told us that when police come to break up pro-democracy protests, they often grab demonstrators’ mobile phones in order to track down their contacts. Within a few months, we also expect to have software that will wipe the contact lists from mobile phones with the push of a button."

If you do not believe me, please see....http://csis.org/publication/critical-questions-democracy-promotion-next-administration  as well as http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Bureau_of_Democracy%2C_Human_Rights_and_Labor  and http://www.ndi.org/files/2344_newdirections_engpdf_07242008.pdf  and http://www.princeton.edu/~ppns/papers/democracy_bureaucracy.pdf and http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/22C89.txt

Now what do I mean by that? I mean the Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor is providing dissident groups with tools to foment revolution in Iran. See also, the State Department's "democracy assistance" programs targeting Cuba. If that is what everyone wants to debate in Iran, then I am all for it (no sarcasm). Essentially, including the Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor programs as democracy assistance gets us back to square one....democracy promotion.
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