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Author Topic: Category 3 - Reasons to include and to not include - Wording Thread  (Read 17682 times)
stables
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« on: May 19, 2011, 03:40:14 PM »

Please discuss these countries on this thread. Each of these countries is very significant to global geo-politics and to US foreign policy. They occupy a difficult place in the topic construction because they are (generally) not at the forefront of the Arab Spring uprisings, but they are not removed from these issues at all. Iranís summer protests may be seen as the first step in these recent protests. The Palestinian territories have also been experiencing recent demonstrations.  These countries need to be carefully reviewed because there will be very significant changes in the composition of the topic and the types of arguments available if they are included. These countries will be important parts of the debates, but it is very important to consider if their role is best as negative arguments (such as the Iran influence DA) or as topical actions. The controversy paper expresses caution and reservation about including any of these countries, but additional review is important.  I will be leading this group.

Iraq
Iran
Palestinian Territories
Saudi Arabia
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Gordon Stables
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sspring
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2011, 04:54:20 PM »

Is there a reason not to include Iran, other than the fact that it was in the last Middle East list? It seems like the Green Revolution would be a precursor to a lot of what is going on now. I understand that maybe DA is not necessarily the best mechanism, but it is probably the one of the most important states in the region in terms of political influence and relevance to the literature.
As such, I would be willing to do some of the work on this area (assuming Dr. Dave will let me...)



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ScottElliott
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2011, 09:23:44 AM »

It depends on your solvency mechanism. I highly doubt there are any democracy assistance cards out there regarding Iran. However, democracy promotion toward, or in, Iran would change the game dramatically.
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dbhingst
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2011, 12:17:57 PM »

You have my blessing to serve the debate community this summer.
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inherencyftw
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2011, 01:35:12 PM »

It would seem that including these countries may open space for debate as to the ability of the United States to proactively engage in activities which would shape the direction of uprisings in their infancy in those countries. Not to mention those 4 countries carry much more strategic value in terms of American vital interest than many of the other areas (obviously excepting Egypt and a few others). If democracy assistance is limited to encompass a limited set of foreign policy instruments, including a few more countries would unlikely severely disadvantage the negative.
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kevin kuswa
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2011, 02:11:46 PM »

If the standards are about the significance and nature of the recent "revolution" in each country, we should probably have a list like this:

Palestinian (Authority? maybe Territories would be better), Iran, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq, others?

Not sure on the importance of that variable compared to some others, but that's a pretty good list, I am definitely missing a few as well.  Kevin
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SteveMancuso
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2011, 04:35:22 PM »

Some of the most compelling controversies in the Arab Spring debate involve countries that have well-entrenched non-democratic governments.  Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia are three such nations with geopolitical heft, although others like Libya and even Egypt might qualify as well.

One issue with using the exact words "democracy assistance" in the topic is that the negative may be able to enforce a T regime that DA means government-to-government programs. If that's the case, including those nations above may not make much sense, which would be a shame, since they are hard cases and therefore great debates.

A possible way around this would be to rephrase the policy mechanism of "democracy assistance" slightly, but meaningfully, to "assistance to the democratic revolution."

David Ignatius, in the article cited in the controversy paper ("What Happens When the Arab Spring Turns to Summer?"), uses this phrase to frame his policy prescription: "...America's obligation to assist the democratic revolution in Egypt and its need to be clear and forthright about its own national interests..."

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/22/what_happens_when_the_arab_spring_turns_to_summer?

This wording allows (requires?) the affirmative to assist pro-democracy forces directly, which creates a pretty tight fit between the relevant policy mechanisms and the hard case nations like Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Requiring the affirmative to assist outside groups in overthrowing a current government would help protect the negative from small, soft affirmatives where the "democracy assistance" could be a tiny, pro-government program (i.e. give the Egyptian military government training to not use torture).

"The USFG should substantially increase its assistance to the democratic revolutions in Egypt, Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Syria" could be a starting point for a topic that would generate big, debatable affirmatives.
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inherencyftw
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2011, 05:22:22 PM »

The above concern is most certainly a valid one, though, I thing changing the wording to "increase assistance to democratic revolutions" might be rather unlimiting in terms of the types of assistance which could be offered. Similarly, surely direct assistance to pro-revolutionary forces in Saudi Arabia or Iran would encounter the very same complications arising from direct government-to-government assistance (which though one interpretation of DA, is certainly not the only interpretation). Finally, I think it's important to include Iraq, especially given the unique role the United States has played there. Seemingly ignored as of late, its future in terms of democracy surely fits squarely within the broader context of the Arab Spring.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2011, 05:24:55 PM by inherencyftw » Logged
kelly young
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2011, 05:58:11 PM »

Finally, I think it's important to include Iraq, especially given the unique role the United States has played there. Seemingly ignored as of late, its future in terms of democracy surely fits squarely within the broader context of the Arab Spring.

I'm sorry, but I don't understand what a topical aff for Iraq would look like. Our 2011 budget request for democracy assistance is $2.6 billion dollars, half of which go to Iraq.

Seems like any "increase democracy assistance" or "increase its assistance to [something democratic] faces some serious inherency problems.

Without spending much time search, I can't find advocates for more DA for Iraq. There are some "reformulate" our assistance advocates, but I ask, what would be a topical aff that does something the SQ doesn't already do for Iraq?

I support Malgor's call for a solid criteria on deciding this list (which I have no doubt Gordon is organizing with the TC). Probably better to begin with the questions: (1) do we spend a lot of democracy assistance on country X?; and (2) are there advocates for increasing DA to country X?

Strategic interest of the nation to the U.S. seems like a much lesser important standard.

From my reading on the topic so far, I am not terribly concerned about a lack of ground with the Tier 1 nations for the aff or neg. I'm not sure why we've jumped the cart to assume that the only good ground exists in the most controversial target nations. There's good ground elsewhere. Plus, these particular nations screw with the direction of neg arguments and seem to require too many contortion tricks in topic wording to make viable topical affs.


Kelly



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Matt Struth
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2011, 06:08:04 PM »

One issue with using the exact words "democracy assistance" in the topic is that the negative may be able to enforce a T regime that DA means government-to-government programs.

I think as long as we get the preposition right, I don't think DA should or has to be gov-to-gov. Here's some evidence:
Savun and Tirone, University of Pittsburg Political Science assistant professor, 11
[Burcu, University of Pittsburg Political Science assistant professor, and Daniel, University of Pittsburgh political science Ph.D. Candidate, "Foreign Aid, Democratization, and Civil Conflict: How Does Democracy Aid Affect Civil Conflict?," American Journal of Political Science, Vol 55 Issue 2, p233-246, April 2011, Wiley Online Library, accessed 5-16-11]

The critics of foreign aid efficacy also assume that foreign aid always goes to the government of the recipient country. Although most of the development aid goes to the governments of the recipient countries, democracy assistance aid is usually disbursed to a variety of sectors in the recipient country (Crawford 2001; Scott and Steele 2005). For example, Crawford (2001) shows that in 1994 and 1995 an average of 54% of the European Union's political aid programs were implemented by the recipient governments, and this percentage was only 5.1% for Swedish political aid (124). Similarly, Crawford reports that between 1992 and 1995, central and local governments were the main beneficiaries of 54% of the EU political aid. This number was 35.4% for Sweden and 55.7% for the United States, and 92.9% for the United Kingdom. On the other hand, civil society organizations, such as prodemocracy groups and human right groups, were the main beneficiaries of 46% of the EU political aid, 64.6% of the Swedish aid, 44.3% of the U.S. aid, and 7.1% of the U.K. democracy aid programs (138). These figures indicate that, unlike development aid, the majority of democracy aid goes to nonstate actors.

A possible way around this would be to rephrase the policy mechanism of "democracy assistance" slightly, but meaningfully, to "assistance to the democratic revolution."
...
This wording allows (requires?) the affirmative to assist pro-democracy forces directly, which creates a pretty tight fit between the relevant policy mechanisms and the hard case nations like Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
Requiring the affirmative to assist outside groups in overthrowing a current government would help protect the negative from small, soft affirmatives where the "democracy assistance" could be a tiny, pro-government program (i.e. give the Egyptian military government training to not use torture).
"The USFG should substantially increase its assistance to the democratic revolutions in Egypt, Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Syria" could be a starting point for a topic that would generate big, debatable affirmatives.

I'm all for protecting the affirmative, but I would be against changing the term to include the bigger 'democracy promotion' like actions. I think this goes against the intent of the topic paper and what schools who voted for 'democracy assistance toward MENA countries' voted for. The paper was oriented around assisting revolutions that have already started, not overthrowing entrenched governments.  Although I think we should be careful not to limit or restrict the scope of democracy assistance in the stem, I think it does give the affirmative more than enough ground and room for big stick affs. I didn't when the controversy area was released but I certainly do now.
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ScottElliott
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2011, 07:26:49 PM »

Matt is right in some respects, but it is more nuanced. If the claim is that "the majority of Democracy Assistance goes to non-state actors," you are right. My research indicates that the majority of USAID democracy assistance programs are actually administered by NGO's or political parties within a given country. However, each country's government must approve or tacitly approve of the program or the funding. How does this play out? An example or two: We decide to do a democracy project in Saudi Arabia.....Saudi Arabia just bans NGO's that oppose the Royal family. In Afghanistan, for instance, Karzai almost kicked out all NGO's unilaterally. Minimally, both Egypt and Jordon have specific laws requiring all NGO's and political parties to be registered with the State, and they can be de-certified if they threaten internal security or certain religious tenets. If you think that you can just give money to "Saudi Arabian Women want to Drive Fund," and get solvency, good luck...the Saudi Government will just ban the organization.

I think the topic committee should be concerned about writing the resolutions to reflect the real world methods in which democracy asssitance really works. In other words, the resolution would have to be something like "substantially increase one or more democracy assistance programs in one or more of the following countries;" or "subtantially increase one or more democracy assistance programs targeted toward one or more of the following programs." They may want to consider even writing, "substantially increase democracy assistance to one or more non-governmental organizations and/or political parties within  Libya, Jordon, Egypt, Oman, Tunisia and/or Yemen."  They may consider having USAID actually written into the resolution...."substanitally increase USAID democracy assistance programs  in Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt," etc. That would clearly limit affirmative ground and give everyone a steady idea of exactly what a topical affirmative plan should be.
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nathanford89
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« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2011, 08:23:42 PM »

There is no T "government to government" problem. 
The resolution as currently worded (which the majority of the debate community voted for) does not rule out providing democratic assistance to non-government actors.  This is a solvency issue.  For example, if Saudi Arabia has banned or will ban a certain form of democracy assistance then the NEG should explain why that solvency deficit is large enough to turn case solvency or mitigate enough of case solvency so that a DA will outweigh AFF advantages.

Nate Ford
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Nate Ford
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inherencyftw
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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2011, 06:46:55 AM »

I think that the criteria offered by Malgor (how much DA do we give a given country and is there a solvency advocate) is mutually reinforcing with including countries that have more strategic value in terms of U.S. national interest. For those countries that have larger strategic and geopolitical implications for U.S. foreign policy, I think there is a correspondingly larger bulk of evidence speaking to the necessity of U.S. action. This "US key" warrant will be important on such a topic when international actor counterplans are sure to be popular. Such is the reason to include controversial countries which pose unique challenges to foreign policy.

Regarding Iraq, the fact that DA exists in the status quo does not inherency make. So long as a team can show that there is a necessity for more aid, or a different type of aid, and that only by increasing that aid could an advantage be gained, I think the aff will have satisfied their burden. At any rate, as with other countries, this is a debate that can be had in round. For example, we offer DA to Egypt in the status quo, but: a)don't offer enough as per the most recent budget estimates and b) only offer assistance to government registered groups which is bad. Some recent editions of Foreign Affairs, Brookings Reports, and CFR articles point to the need for more DA in Iraq and why such assistance is vital, especially our ongoing troop withdrawal. Also, there seems to be a growing literature base concerning the reaction of Iraqis to the Arab Spring and its importance in the broader context of other revolutions. 
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louiep
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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2011, 10:53:00 AM »

I guess the term inherencyftw should familiarize her/his self with is "link uniqueness".  Even if there is LIT that says DA should be increased, that does not give the NEG adequate disad ground.  AFF will win these debates on the question of "link uniqueness" or even generic uniqueness 80% of the time. 
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ScottElliott
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« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2011, 11:39:50 AM »

I guess the term inherencyftw should familiarize her/his self with is "link uniqueness".  Even if there is LIT that says DA should be increased, that does not give the NEG adequate disad ground.  AFF will win these debates on the question of "link uniqueness" or even generic uniqueness 80% of the time. 

Maybe people should think about such things before they vote for a topic area.
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