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Author Topic: Resolutions for the ballot  (Read 27665 times)
ScottElliott
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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2011, 07:33:20 PM »

The risks of voting for "overly-timely" topics: "In March, the U.S. Agency for International Development published ads in Egyptian newspapers asking for grant proposals on a $100 million program to support "job creation, economic development and poverty alleviation" and a $65 million program for "democratic development," including elections, civic activism and human rights.
Egyptian officials, who insist they should be allowed to vet or select recipients, were incensed by USAID's bypassing the government to solicit proposals directly from the public. They reacted with fury when a line of applicants snaked on the street to USAID's offices in a Cairo suburb, and USAID organized seminars to explain the application procedures to packed audiences outside the capital."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304665904576383123301579668.html

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kelly young
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« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2011, 08:44:55 PM »

The risks of voting for "overly-timely" topics: "In March, the U.S. Agency for International Development published ads in Egyptian newspapers asking for grant proposals on a $100 million program to support "job creation, economic development and poverty alleviation" and a $65 million program for "democratic development," including elections, civic activism and human rights.
Egyptian officials, who insist they should be allowed to vet or select recipients, were incensed by USAID's bypassing the government to solicit proposals directly from the public. They reacted with fury when a line of applicants snaked on the street to USAID's offices in a Cairo suburb, and USAID organized seminars to explain the application procedures to packed audiences outside the capital."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304665904576383123301579668.html



From the Category 1 Core Countries Report:

http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/pubPDFs/PolicyFocus110.pdf Egypt’s Enduring Challenges Shaping the Post-Mubarak Environment David Schenker Aufzien fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at Washington Institute for Near East Policy Policy Focus #110 | April 2011

As with the revolution, Egyptians will be responsible for doing the heavy lifting to ensure the transition goes in a democratic direction. But Washington can play a role in making the process transparent. One way to engage in this effort would be to provide funding to the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, as well as to the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, to work with Egyptian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) during the complex period ahead. These U.S. entities have experience in providing much-needed technical expertise and can share critical lessons learned from similar transitions for which achieving maximum public buy-in was a priority. Given Egyptians’ long experience with authoritarian government and dirty tricks, any experience that Washington can provide could go a long way toward building confidence among Egyptians that a credible process of reform is under way. On February 17, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that $150 million in foreign assistance funding had been “reprogrammed…to put ourselves in a position to support our transition [in Egypt] and assist with their economic recovery.”170 While this assistance offers a good start, it falls woefully short in both economic and humanitarian terms for a country of 83 million people.

I'm also curious to now how many of those grants described are available to anyone associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the core affs listed in that same country paper?

See, the funny thing about overreacting to news in June is that most of this won't be a factor in September. Much like when the U.S. "aggressively" went after China for Yuan devaluation in June 2005 and when NATO finally agreed to peacekeeping (but not reconstruction) in Iraq in May-June 2003. Like our typical foreign policy response in the Middle East, the Obama administration will likely give the Egyptian government veto again over this aid (although we have given part of our demo assistance as direct grants to NGOs without Egyptian approval since 2005, so it's a tad surprising the uproar now) or we will scale back the aid, etc.

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Director of Forensics/Associate Professor
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ScottElliott
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« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2011, 09:27:08 PM »

Kelly, Uh, that is what the WSJ article is specifically responsive to...including specifically responding to the two organizations you mentioned. Not an overreaction...just pointing out the wrinkles in the topic: 1) for Egypt, your uniqueness on the neg is pretty much screwed because the U.S. began the application process for $63 million in specific democracy assistance programs....I doubt those will be approved by September; meaning, your links to disads and K's better be pretty damn specific or 2) your inherency has been lost on the Aff...see, e.g., the very two programs you mentioned (National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute) will be getting funding in the Sqou by September. Your April, 2011, evidence is already out of date.  Too late to do anything about it now. But, maybe people can learn for future topic selections.

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kelly young
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« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2011, 05:16:00 AM »

Kelly, Uh, that is what the WSJ article is specifically responsive to...including specifically responding to the two organizations you mentioned. Not an overreaction...just pointing out the wrinkles in the topic: 1) for Egypt, your uniqueness on the neg is pretty much screwed because the U.S. began the application process for $63 million in specific democracy assistance programs....I doubt those will be approved by September; meaning, your links to disads and K's better be pretty damn specific or 2) your inherency has been lost on the Aff...see, e.g., the very two programs you mentioned (National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute) will be getting funding in the Sqou by September. Your April, 2011, evidence is already out of date.  Too late to do anything about it now. But, maybe people can learn for future topic selections.



Imagine what would happen if someone invented the novel idea of a uniqueness CP before then? *Shudder* But the inclusion of "for" probably killed those too.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 05:18:23 AM by kelly young » Logged

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ScottElliott
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« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2011, 11:11:35 AM »

Well, I think it sucks when negative teams have to counterplan in uniqueness for disads.
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ScottElliott
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« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2011, 08:16:55 PM »

Well Kelly, it could be worse....we could be debating whether to build 10 inch sewr pipes versus 12 inch sewer pipes. LOL
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DSDebate
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« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2011, 11:47:09 PM »

All -

As you decide how to vote, I would encourage the community to consider factoring ethnic and sectarian demographics into their choice of country lists. I heard some chatter about the desirability of debating Iran as an Aff, and I wanted to send out some thoughts about how I've seen these issues contested in the Middle Eastern and African countries I've worked on/with.

There's no real way to avoid debating Iran entirely - with the exception of the states that border Israel, Iran is the central foreign policy issue for all the Gulf Arab states. Containing Iran isn't the only US security objective in the Middle East, but it matters for virtually any Arab Spring topic, because limiting Iranian influence and power has been one of the key arguments rationalizing US support for unsavory Arab regimes.

I'm not going to weigh in on whether debating Iran as an Aff has gotten stale or boring, because I'm not qualified to assess that. I have no dog in any topic fight. I'm contributing this because I think that there's a decent chance that the role of ethno-sectarian demographics in the MENA area is not 100% clear to the entire community.

Some key facts that dictate the role of Iran in Arab political discourse:

- Iran is not Arab. Iranians don't generally speak Arabic, they speak Farsi. The two languages do use a common script, and share some words, but they are not really mutually comprehensible. But in any case, the linguistics aren't very important - 'Arab' is an ethnic designation, so this isn't a question of fuzzy geography or culture, it's a demographic fact.

- Farsi is also called 'Persian,' and Iran is essentially a nation-state that contains much of the territory of the last incarnation of the Persian Empire. It is a multicultural state, but it has only a tiny Arab minority (less than 5% of the population). The restive minority populations that really concern Iran are Kurdish and Azeri. These populations are much larger than the Arab population. I do not know this for certain, but given my work on the Iraqi provinces that border Iran, I would guess that many of these Arabs - at least half -  are members of the Shi'a sect, and are bilingual Farsi and Arabic speakers.

- Iran is about 90% Shi'a, and about 10% Sunni. For the total Muslim population globally, those numbers are roughly reversed.
This isn't some trivial thing - it's a disagreement about how to understand the Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) legacy that has been a source of violence for over a thousand years. It is true that Sunni and Shi'a have lived in harmony in many places, but it is also true that the theological disagreements between the sects are very significant, and basically irreconcilable - when the sects are at peace, it is because they agree to disagree about fundamental questions. 
A lot of nominally secular Arab nationalism is tinged with a pride in Arab ethnicity that is mixed with disdain for the synthesis of pre-Islamic Persian religious traditions with Islamic culture that characterizes modern Iran. Syria has a similar issue. The Alawi (who live in Turkey, Syria and Lebanon) self-identify as Twelver Shi'a, but it is not uncommon for conservative Sunni to view them as infidels (kuffar) or polytheists. Theologians generally characterize their beliefs as syncretic - combining elements of pre-Islamic religions, Islam, and Christianity.

- A general note about the Arab world: people should appreciate that if a Muslim says they are not religious, it generally doesn't mean the same thing as an American who says the same. Religion simply plays a much greater role in life in the Middle East and North Africa, even in secular states than religion does in most rich Western nations. I have met a number of relatively secular, Westernized Sunni Arabs in the US who think that Shiism is heretical, if not pagan or polytheistic. These folks don't disagree with Sunni fundamentalists about the nature of Shiism - they just don't think it's worth fighting or yelling about.

- There are sizable Shi'a communities outside of Iran, but Iran is the religious heart of the Shi'a world. This is because the most prestigious Shi'a religious schools are physically in Iran (in Qom), and because Shiites, unlike Sunnis, have a hierarchical clerical establishment. A good way to understand this would be to say that Shiism is like the Christian churches that organizationally imitate the Vatican (like the Anglican church, for example). By contrast, Sunni clerics are more like evangelicals in the US - a sect that has a loose, informal hierarchy based on prestige and resources. Iranian clerics have links with non-Iranian Shi'a abroad, and all prominent Shi'a clerics who live outside Iran were trained in Iran, and speak Farsi. Because of the way that zakat (mandatory Islamic charity) payments work, this means that a lot of money comes into Iran's clerical establishment from abroad. This explains some portion of the economic clout of the clerical establishment and its associated bonyads.

- The closer a country is to Iran physically, the more likely its culture is to be influenced by prior Persian conquest and Shi'a diaspora. Iraq and Bahrain are the two Arab states with Shi'a pluralities, and they both border Iran (Bahrain's border is a maritime one). The Afghan language referred to as Dari is basically a dialect of Farsi, and there are large Shi'a populations there, and in Pakistan as well (Pakistan and Afghanistan border Iran).

- The political parties and insurgent groups that Iran has funded or otherwise supported overseas are usually Shi'a and have a religious or sectarian agenda. This isn't always the case - Iran did support Pakistan's efforts to support the Kashmiri jihad, and did reach an accommodation with the Taleban - but it is the case for the most prominent groups sponsored by Iran. Hezbollah, Badr Corps, Jaish al-Mahdi (Sadr), al-Dawa, are examples. 

- In addition to the factual ties between Arab Shi'a and Iran, there is a fact-based, but paranoid conspiratorial narrative that plays a huge role in sectarian politics outside Iran.
Consider a short summary of the above:
Iran isn't Arab
Shi'a elsewhere have religious (and financial) links to Iran
Shi'a regard Sunnis as usurpers and Sunnis view Shi'i as heretics
Shi'a are a minority in most Arab states
Iran has funded overseas Shi'a groups, including violent ones
This means that when a group is using sectarian or religious arguments to mobilize a Sunni population politically, it is common for them to argue that Shi'a political power represents a foreign, un-Islamic, non-Arab subversive threat. A similar set of arguments are often made about mobilizing the resources of the state to combat Iranian influence or military power.
Because the Iranian SAVAK (the pre-revolution secret police) and Mossad worked together, and because Jews and Persians are perceived as existential threats to Arab interests, it is not uncommon to hear conspiracy theories that link Israel and Iran. There is a darkly amusing discussion on jihadica.com, for example, about how jihadis debate whether al-Qaeda or Hezbollah (hence, Iran) and/or Israel was responsible for 9/11 (despite multiple attempts by AQ affiliates to claim the attacks and dismiss the Shia-Jew claim).

- Most of the autocratic regimes in the Middle East have a sectarian character. The families and tribes that have come to dominate the governments of many Arab states tend to contain only members of a single sect. There are some Arab tribes that include multiple sects, but these are not the dominant tribes in any Arab regime that I am aware of. Most Westerners think of a family as a nuclear unit with a small number of first-degree relatives. In the Arab world, a tribe is a collection of extended family lineages and in Arab politics 'ruling family' can refer to a very large group of people - the terms clan, clade or lineage are probably less confusing and more accurate.

Sectarianism in some topic states:
- Shi'a Islam is the state religion in Iran. Although it is common to refer to the regime as "Islamist," and to also use this term to define groups like al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, the terminology is misleading. Sunni Islamists generally view Iran's system with even greater disdain than secular democracy. This is logical, because in Sunni Islamist thinking, Iran is openly ruled by heretical perversion of God's message, whereas secular democracy replaces the rule of God's law with the human-created rules. Like many religious conservatives, Sunni Islamists reserve their greatest vitriol for apostates - those who profess to be Muslims while embracing (what they regard as) heresy.
- Bahrain's ruling family is Sunni; the Shi'a majority claims to be systematically victimized and has pushed the protest movement forward. Saudi Arabia's intervention there is at least partly a result of the fact that it also has a restive Shi'a population (a minority, but geographically clustered near oil-producing regions). In the 1970's and 80's, Saudi Arabia dealt brutally with Shi'a uprisings that were in some ways linked to Islamist activism in Iran.
- There are substantial Shi'a communities in Afghanistan, which is mostly Sunni. They are mostly Hazara, I think (not sure).
- Syria's ruling family is Alawite. The Alawi are a relatively insular community that has some of the characteristics of an ethnic confederation, but they also have a particularistic religious creed, which they define as an offshoot of Twelver Shiism. The majority of Syrian Muslims are Sunni (hence, not Alawite). The army units and police that are most loyal to the regime are dominated by Alawis.
- The Baath regime in Iraq was dominated by Sunni tribes - which is one reason that the Syrian Baath and Iraqi Baath were never particularly friendly. The Iraqi Baath repressed both the Kurds (who are not Arabs either - there are both Shi'a and Sunni Kurds), and the Arab Shi'a ruthlessly. The current government is a coalition of Kurds and Shi'a; the movements referred to as 'insurgents' are Sunni Arab, and draw from the populations that benefitted from Baath largesse. The other armed groups that fight the government are not rebels, they are properly referred to as 'militias.'
- Northern Yemen is majority Shi'a, southern Yemen is Sunni (the areas closest to Iran have the largest Shi'a population). The total population is split - there are slightly more Sunni than Shi'a. President Saleh, who was the leader of North Yemen prior to reunification in 1990, is Shi'a. His relations with his own tribe are strained - the tribe has rebelled against the government. I don't know enough about the ongoing rebellion to define its sectarian character - but I do know that the urban areas tend to have mixed populations. Rural tribes tend to be more exclusive, and the tribes (which have a great deal of power in the home regions) have been prominent in the rebellion.
- The breakdown of Lebanon's consociational regime in the 1970's was linked to the relative growth of the Muslim population. The French-written constitution reserved increasingly disproportionate power to Christians. Dissatisfaction with this pushed Muslims towards rebellion while fear pushed Christians towards aggressive efforts to protect their status. The sectarian split in Lebanon's Muslim population is highly significant. Hezbollah is backed by Iran and is the most powerful military force in the country, and is a Shi'a political party. The Hariri family is backed by Saudi Arabia, and is Sunni, as are the Palestinians who live in Lebanon. Pro-Hariri and Hezbollah forces have fought street battles in the recent past. Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri (whose son was Prime Minister until recently) was assassinated by Syria, and that government (which again, is Shi'a dominated) also helps back Hezbollah's power. The groups represented in the security forces the US helped to arm are generally associated with Hariri, the Druze or Christians (if Hezbollah were incorporated into the military, US security assistance would face both legal and political problems). There are slightly more Sunnis in Lebanon than Shi'i. The two sects together represent about 60% of the total population. 

- The decision to use 'for' rather than 'to' or 'in' in the resolutions creates the possibility that Affirmatives will engage transnational political factions - expatriates, exiles, diasporas, etc. The lack of a phrase like 'government to government' also means that Affirmatives may choose to target aid at groups that are opposed to the incumbent regimes in the topic countries. Ethnic groups and sects that face repression at home tend to have the most active expatriate communities.

If the US were to support exiled Shi'a, that would, in most cases, align the US with Iran's position towards the topic country in question. Many groups have been pushed out of their home countries, or blacklisted from US assistance programs at least partly because they are sympathetic to Iran (or accepted/currently receive assistance from Iran). Or, to put it differently, some groups that have been exiled or repressed from US-supported governments have turned to Iran. Since US sanctions legislation restrict involvement with Iran-linked groups, assisting them will functionally weaken the unilateral sanctions regime.

 A somewhat related concern are other minority groups that exist across topic countries. The relevance of minority rights for 'democracy' is contestable, but there's no question that ethno-national identity issues drive a lot of undemocratic politicking in the Middle East and North Africa. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan have been at the center of a number of political crises. Iran, Iraq, and Syria all have struggled to accommodate their Kurdish populations, and have at times used force to crush their national aspirations. They have also sponsored Kurdish rebels in unfriendly bordering states - Iran and Iraq are notorious for this. The general rule has been that the sect that dominates a regime will tend to sponsor Kurdish groups that match its sectarian affiliation and that are opposed to its enemies'. The (Sunni) Baath sponsored Sunni Kurdish opposition to the (Shi'a) regime in Teheran, and so on.
The Druze are a wild card in Lebanon and also live in Israel (and serve in the Israeli military). Afghanistan and Pakistan's border regions are populated by the same ethnic groups - and those ties combine with hostile terrain to make those regions porous, insular and difficult to govern from afar. Dealing with violent Pashtun (aka Pakhtun, Pathan) politics has been a perennial problem for governments in both countries. Pakistan recently renamed its restive Northwest Frontier Province Khyber-Pakhtunkwa. There is a debate in the legal academy about whether the Pashtun system of unwritten tribal law (Pushtunwali) is a barrier to democratization or not, and how our aid programs ought to treat it. Incidentally, Pushtunwali prescribes rather strict rules of hospitality, and some Afghanistan experts suggest that this explains why the Pashtuns who sheltered al-Qaeda could not and would not turn them over to the US even when it was obvious that a crushing American strike might be on its way.

To reiterate a point I made earlier about Afghanistan as a topic country: I suspect that one of the two-time NDT champions from Northwestern could deliver an extended monologue on this subject, given his time in Afghanistan and bar card.

Outside of the Islamic community, there are some quirky minority rights issues in some of the topic countries - Coptic Christians are clustered in Southern Egypt, and there are the Maronites in Lebanon. I cannot recall exactly what the relationship between these sects and the Chaldean Christians in Iraq is. I recall that one is closer to the Vatican than the others. Christian communities also inhabit Palestinian territory - whether these are Armenian Orthodox, or some other sect, I am not sure. Obviously, the exact religious distinctions are not as significant as whether or not these communities have links to a diaspora, or strong trans-border linkages with other groups, and whether their socio-political status generates substantial impacts. I didn't ever deal with these communities, so I can't speculate about this - but I suspect that other members of the community will have more knowledge.

Ethnic and religious minority communities could factor into your topic selection votes for the same reason as the sectarian question - supporting one of these groups, or enabling reforms that protect them could have trans-border consequences. This could impact the functional size of the topics. I do not think there is a good way to avoid debating these small communities, because an Affirmative that uses a broad plan to avoid these discussions would face potential exclusion CPs, and there are other ways to access these ethno-religious issues. For example, France is the traditional protector of Maronite rights - French or EU implementation would likely build on that pre-existing affinity in a variety of ways.

There are some fairly small religious communities that do not have substantial trans-border communities. Syria has its Alawites, and there are some groups in Iran and Iraq that are basically unique to those states - Zoroastrians (Iran) and Yazidis, for example. Beyond the old 'does substantial mean anything' debate, helping these populations might have a plausible defense, precisely because of their quirkiness. Zoroastrianism was the state religion of the Persian Empire. When Arab Sunnis want to say something nasty about Iranian Shi'a, they not infrequently call them "fire-worshippers" or "Magi," which are both references to Zoroastrianism. Because of their historical role and the religious sensibilities at issue, they are potential 'canaries in the coal mine' for a society's willingness to tolerate difference. The Yazidis are significant for similar reasons - they pray to the "Peacock Angel," and there's some question as to whether this literally means Satan, Lucifer, the Devil, one of the above, all of the above, or none. Needless to say, Yazidis have been hit with some pretty brutal atrocities over the years.

These smaller minority groups could be go-to ground for small-ish Affirmatives for precisely that reason (empowering them won't affect nearby states very much).

That's all for now.


DAS
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Malgor
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« Reply #22 on: June 28, 2011, 05:50:52 PM »

Thanks DS for the detailed analysis.  It's quite comprehensive and a great way to explain the differences between countries. 

I think the inclusion of Iran is a big issue for many voters-some really want Iran in the topic and some really don't.  I have no idea how it got on 1/2 of resolutions given that it was not considered a core topic country in the paper, and the ballot seems to vehemently stick to most other parts of the paper (namely the stem).

Since the options on the ballot show zero diversity between mechanisms, countries should have an even larger effect on how the topic plays out.

I will throw in some more traditional 'debate-speak' reasons to rank the 3 Iran options last (though DS's analysis sheds light on how Iran's characteristics will inevitably effect the topic, and may provide some very unexpected twists).

1) been there, done that.  Iranian adventurism and nuclear proliferation will be core issues, and aid conditions affs may be topical.  I understand the inevitable response:  the debaters of this generation weren't around for the ME topic (unless they are 5th year seniors, which there will be plenty of).  I think we need to expand the timeframe for recycling topics beyond the 4-5 period of debaters.  The coaches and educators have a generally longer involvement in debate.  We will push all the same arguments and issues on our students out of convenience and strategic pressure (other squads will dust off the same args, so we'll have to do the same).  We should go for fresh ideas.  That was part of the spirit of picking this topic, and unsurprisingly people at the committee meeting were anxious to hijack that process in favor of getting some old favorites in.

2)  it will dominate the topic.  This is unquestionable to me.  Let me be clear:  I am not saying there won't be other awesome core affs on the topic.  I am saying that many teams, especially the most influential teams that drive the upper levels of competition, will run Iran.  They will find internal links to the core Iran advantages of adventurism and proliferation (oddly enough the exact cards the Topic Comm prioritized when researching Iran) and run with those advantages.  It will not just be that there is a recycled idea in the topic, it will be that that idea dominates the landscape of the topic.

3)  The above 2 arguments trump the "iran is a core middle eastern country" complaint.  Yes, Iran is a core country, but so are many of the nations in the resolutions.  Egypt and Tunisia are at the heart of the topic (even though Tunisia is not in all of the resolutions), and we never debate them.  The same can be said of other countries.  Once again, there are pedagogical choices to be made.  Why would we choose to embrace and make the focal point of the topic a recycled place when we have the chance to create a space that entirely focuses on new areas for debaters and coaches to explore?  I know the answer-  the shiny object principle.  Iran is a place where we know there might be big bad wars etc.  It seems to always be an important criterion for the topics we pick.  I assure you, given the region we are debating those impacts are there no matter the country talked about.

Thanks again to DS for the input.  As per usual your analysis is thorough and compelling.

I'll close with a deep, philosophical, and mentally stirring statement:  The star is the shiniest part of the Christmas tree, but the presents underneath are where the real magic happens.

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ScottElliott
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« Reply #23 on: June 28, 2011, 08:58:11 PM »

I think the inclusion of Iran and Syria makes those versions of the resolution bidirectional. How so? 

"For" is typically defined as "in reference to," or in the "direction of." If you default to "for" meaning, "in the favor of," then I want to see cards out there that says we should be supporting the Syrian or Iraq regimes. Recall, the resolutions do not say "for the people of X," it just says, "for X." I blieve most people are going to default to "for" meaning "directed toward," or in "reference to." Therein lies the problem of bi-directionality.

In the case of democracy assistance "for" Tunisia, Lebanon and Egypt, democracy assistance is what I believe msot people think it is...assistance to help the current government that is quasi-democratic, or an emerging democracy become more democratic. These countries have relatively good relations with the U.S. and the U.S. is trying to help these respective governments. The four pillars of DA seem to indicate that this is the general purpose of DA.

However, in the cases of Syria and Iran, any democracy assistance "for" those respective countries, is, in fact, directed toward overthrowing there totalitarian regimes. The U.S. has an antagonistic relationship with both Iran and Syria. Any assistance would be going to dissident groups working to overthrow the governments. In other words, DA would be promoting a U.S. hard-line policy.

It is conceivable that a clever Affirmative could give assistance to the governments of Iran or Syria to stabilize their authoritarian regimes (plenty of evidence out there that says DA does exactly that---see, e.g all analyses of DA to Egypt prior to Novemeber, 2010.)

It seems to me that a resolution is not good when Affirmatives can choose to be both hard-line and soft-line toward a government, and still be topical. It also seems to me to be difficult for negatives when half the topic countries would be a U.S. soft-line, supportive role, and the other half would be a U.S. hard-line antagonistic role. 

Excluding Iran and Syria would eliminate this bi-directionaly, or at least severely limit it.

Scott
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Malgor
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« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2011, 09:18:30 PM »

there was an effort to put countries in every phase of transition on every topic constructed.  many people, myself probably the most vocal, pointed out that this creates problems with coherency etc etc etc pre meeting.  I do not know if anyone with those opinions was present at the meeting/being vocal at the meeting.

apparently those concerns were not considered relevant or they were ignored entirely.  it happens.  the ciiiiircle of liiiiiiiife. 

no matter how much input we give you still need the committee to reach some consensus on broadening mechanisms, creating more coherent country lists etc.  that support was insufficient to create any movement on the resolutions constructed to generate options that satisfy these requests.
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ozzy
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« Reply #25 on: June 30, 2011, 09:49:02 AM »

iran may overshadow other parts of the topic because of the total amount and currently-evolving nature of its lit base compared to the other countries. i think these are good reasons to include iran in the slate and perhaps the final topic. it dominates for a reason. i dont think the debaters who actually researched/ran iran are under the impression that it is a stale or played out conversation. i don't want to speak for everybody but i know many iran debaters feel that there was more than enough variation for it to have been the entire 07/08 topic. how sweet that would have been. we won't run out of iran. anybody that wants to go to war over a lit base can sign right up by reading iran or going deep against iran affs. the other countries are less likely to stay fresh over the course of a debate season. maybe we haven't debated them before. maybe ... so what ..

also thank you to DSDebate for the excellent posts!
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ScottElliott
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« Reply #26 on: June 30, 2011, 11:07:37 AM »

I am trying to figure out what anyone thinks they are going to be able to claim as solvency for any major advantage for the "USFG increasing its democracy assistance for Iran." No doubt Iran is going to play into the topic. But I am not sure how democracy assistance, as traditionally defined (the four pillars--elections, governance, human rights, etc.) gets to any big Iran impacts. You all are obviously brilliant researchers. Please show me at least an article or two that says U.S. democracy assistance will somehow stop Iranian proliferation or lead to some major change in the Iranian political structure. This is so obvious, I am sure there will be a million solvency advocates posted within minutes [insert sarcasm].The "really cool" stuff with big-boom impacts can't be accessed through democracy assistance. Just because Iran is cool and big does not mean it makes for great Affirmative ground.

Scott 
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ScottElliott
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« Reply #27 on: June 30, 2011, 11:20:40 AM »

Before you vote for Iran as a topic country, consider the following article:

http://armscontrolcenter.org/policy/iran/articles/democracy_promotion_funding_iraq/
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Malgor
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« Reply #28 on: June 30, 2011, 12:31:58 PM »

iran may overshadow other parts of the topic because of the total amount and currently-evolving nature of its lit base compared to the other countries. i think these are good reasons to include iran in the slate and perhaps the final topic. it dominates for a reason. i dont think the debaters who actually researched/ran iran are under the impression that it is a stale or played out conversation. i don't want to speak for everybody but i know many iran debaters feel that there was more than enough variation for it to have been the entire 07/08 topic. how sweet that would have been. we won't run out of iran. anybody that wants to go to war over a lit base can sign right up by reading iran or going deep against iran affs. the other countries are less likely to stay fresh over the course of a debate season. maybe we haven't debated them before. maybe ... so what ..

also thank you to DSDebate for the excellent posts!

i assume this is not a joke, though it sounds like one.  no one thinks we'll run out of things to say-as others have pointed out every issue is so deep innovation is inevitable.  don't have much else to say; you ignored all legitimate reasons to exclude iran and went all in on "it's a shiny toy."  i think other people are approaching it more from a comparison of educational opportunities.  i think debaters will have a lot of shiny objects with the resolutions without iran, but they will be unique educational opportunities, provide more topic coherence, and avoid the slew of issues outlined by DS.
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KnOlsn
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Posts: 5


« Reply #29 on: June 30, 2011, 12:45:04 PM »

I do not think there are very many intelligent people advocating democracy assistance in Iran.  I think people from Harvard will have more insight then me, but I remember the literature being overwhelmingly against "anti-Iran-government" assistance.  My research was cursory given most of Harvard's affirmative was not concerned with democracy assistance, but it was very difficult to find anything peer-reviewed that supported such activity.  I am similarly unsure about what democracy assistance the U.S. could provide to Iran itself; I think Iran would probably refuse governmental reform type assistance.  Including Iran would create big, but stupid, debates.




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