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Author Topic: Category 3 - Reasons to include and to not include - Wording Thread  (Read 17687 times)
inherencyftw
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« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2011, 01:23:50 PM »

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.  

Well it is rather presumptuous to assume I'm unfamiliar with that term, isn't it, and a rather unproductive way of persuading colleagues wouldn't you say? In any event, the concern about link uniqueness is an absolutely fair one not exclusive to Iraq, but given recent speeches and policy actions, true of  Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and others. Such developments abound in a dynamic, current-events topic. But, while certain perception disads like politics will find themselves terminally nonunique, which in all honesty is a good thing in my opinion, other criticisms of increasing the mechanism of democracy assistance are still unique - concerns over undue U.S. involvement, relations with other countries who may not be beneficiaries of aid, the harms of democracy assistance etc. This is no less true of status quo Iraq, which, a very quick google search will show, is going through its own round of kind of Arab Spring. But ironically, given the fact that very little attention has been paid to Iraq recently and DA has been slashed, there is a better chance of winning uniqueness debates (yes, link uniqueness too) on Iraq than on a Libya, Syria, Egypt, or Tunisia.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 01:34:54 PM by inherencyftw » Logged
kelly young
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« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2011, 07:29:38 PM »

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. 

Echoing your snarky comment to Louie, I thank you for the presumptuous lesson in inherency...

With that said, you don't really answer me. We offer 1 BILLION dollars in a variety of DA assistance to Iraq.  That not just like giving $22 million to Egypt (which is a relatively small amount of aid). We are involved in every aspect of election and governance building in Iraq now as it is the largest recipient of DA. The problems you identify with Egypt are vastly different than Iraq because we helped put in place the government and we offers tons of DA now (again, 1 BILLION DOLLARS). I will buy inclusion of nations like S Arabia or Iran (although I'm not necessarily in favor of the idea), but I'm not seeing this wave of affirmative advocates you claim exist.

How about you link some of the FA, Brookings, CFR articles that advocate more DA to Iraq. If not, in the immortal words of Dallas Perkins, "I ain't buying it."


Would you 
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inherencyftw
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« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2011, 09:24:56 PM »

I apologize if I seemed at all to be presumptuous. At first read, it appeared that we had very different conceptions of inherency, which, based on this most recent post, we do not. Regarding some links for increased democracy assistance, I hope what I have attached below is helpful. I think that substantial portions of all of those articles are pretty solid. Regarding how that evidence squares with the evidence you have offered regarding the $1 billion in assistance, it seems to demonstrate that much more, and specifically targeted initiatives are needed. An interesting stat that I found is that found here: http://pomed.org/mcinerney-appropriations-fy11/. (Particularly the section reading "    * The administration is increasingly leaving Iraq’s governance to Iraqis.  As the U.S. military draws down its presence in Iraq, the budget is also beginning to decrease large-scale bilateral funding for democracy and governance in Iraq, which is reduced 46% from existing levels." That said, I think the debate over status quo versus plan is an important one which would generate great in-round debates. I guess my position is basically that provided a necessity can be demonstrated, and solvency advocates are available (which I think they are in the case of Iraq, and most certainly Iran), the country ought be included, especially given the renewed focus that debates over military drawdown in Iraq will yield.

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/03/07/the-cost-of-ignoring-iraq/

http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/papers/2010/12_iraq_strategy_pollack/12_iraq_strategy_pollack.pdf

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/67481/emma-sky/iraq-from-surge-to-sovereignty

http://www.cfr.org/iraq/winning-peace-iraq/p22825

http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2010/0630_iraq_trip_pollack.aspx
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 09:28:48 PM by inherencyftw » Logged
kelly young
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« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2011, 09:30:59 AM »

I apologize if I seemed at all to be presumptuous. At first read, it appeared that we had very different conceptions of inherency, which, based on this most recent post, we do not. Regarding some links for increased democracy assistance, I hope what I have attached below is helpful. I think that substantial portions of all of those articles are pretty solid. Regarding how that evidence squares with the evidence you have offered regarding the $1 billion in assistance, it seems to demonstrate that much more, and specifically targeted initiatives are needed. An interesting stat that I found is that found here: http://pomed.org/mcinerney-appropriations-fy11/. (Particularly the section reading "    * The administration is increasingly leaving Iraq’s governance to Iraqis.  As the U.S. military draws down its presence in Iraq, the budget is also beginning to decrease large-scale bilateral funding for democracy and governance in Iraq, which is reduced 46% from existing levels." That said, I think the debate over status quo versus plan is an important one which would generate great in-round debates. I guess my position is basically that provided a necessity can be demonstrated, and solvency advocates are available (which I think they are in the case of Iraq, and most certainly Iran), the country ought be included, especially given the renewed focus that debates over military drawdown in Iraq will yield.

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/03/07/the-cost-of-ignoring-iraq/

http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/papers/2010/12_iraq_strategy_pollack/12_iraq_strategy_pollack.pdf

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/67481/emma-sky/iraq-from-surge-to-sovereignty

http://www.cfr.org/iraq/winning-peace-iraq/p22825

http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2010/0630_iraq_trip_pollack.aspx

These are very weak examples of solvency advocates for Iraq. Presenting articles that say that we should be concerned about the political situation in Iraq does not a solvency advocate make. The only article that even comes close to discussing the importance of democracy assistance is the foreign affairs article. But rather than claim that we need to increase those funds, it argues we should "continue" providing those funds.

There are probably political problems in Iraq, particularly in light of a US withdrawal. That doesn't mean anyone thinks democracy assistance is the solution. So far, I still fail to see any strong increase DA to Iraq advocates that warrant inclusion of this country.
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inherencyftw
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« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2011, 10:41:57 AM »

I guess we just fundamentally disagree as to whether Iraq ought be included. I think my position remains that the very good conversation we are having about inherency and solvency questions is one that is best conducted in round, and that including Iraq doesn't impose some unreasonable burden on the negative should an Aff choose to run it. In any event, I think that the Foreign Affairs article makes two important claims, the first, you rightly point out is that the United States must continue a policy of engagement on Iraq particularly on issues of democracy assistance - he specifically references civil service institutions, constitutional reforms, etc. The second, is that should that policy flag, a recipe for violence is created. Given the Project on Middle Eastern Democracy evidence citing a near 50% reduction in bilateral funding for democracy and governance in Iraq, and other articles citing Washington's turning a blind eye to Iraq, a situation likely to be worsened with impending withdrawal, I think that the Foreign Affairs evidence, and the Brookings Pollock evidence, which does call for continued and indeed expanded governance assistance efforts are solid endorsements for DA to Iraq. Would you be willing to post a solvency advocate or two that you've found for Egypt substantively differs from the few that I've posted for Iraq? I think that might help me get a better idea of what you might be looking for.
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louiep
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« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2011, 01:58:52 PM »

I guess we just fundamentally disagree as to whether Iraq ought be included. I think my position remains that the very good conversation we are having about inherency and solvency questions is one that is best conducted in round, and that including Iraq doesn't impose some unreasonable burden on the negative should an Aff choose to run it. In any event, I think that the Foreign Affairs article makes two important claims, the first, you rightly point out is that the United States must continue a policy of engagement on Iraq particularly on issues of democracy assistance - he specifically references civil service institutions, constitutional reforms, etc. The second, is that should that policy flag, a recipe for violence is created. Given the Project on Middle Eastern Democracy evidence citing a near 50% reduction in bilateral funding for democracy and governance in Iraq, and other articles citing Washington's turning a blind eye to Iraq, a situation likely to be worsened with impending withdrawal, I think that the Foreign Affairs evidence, and the Brookings Pollock evidence, which does call for continued and indeed expanded governance assistance efforts are solid endorsements for DA to Iraq. Would you be willing to post a solvency advocate or two that you've found for Egypt substantively differs from the few that I've posted for Iraq? I think that might help me get a better idea of what you might be looking for.
No, these are not debates that should happen in rounds because the conclusion is one sided.  The reason we are conducting research now and having discussions about what should be included in the topic is to make sure "quality" debates can/will happen.  You are attempting to persuade the community to include Iraq, it is your burden to present evidence that Iraq can withstand a season of "quality" debates.  To date the articles you have provided have not suggested a substantial increase in DA to iraq.
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inherencyftw
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« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2011, 03:14:39 PM »

No, these are not debates that should happen in rounds because the conclusion is one sided.  The reason we are conducting research now and having discussions about what should be included in the topic is to make sure "quality" debates can/will happen.  You are attempting to persuade the community to include Iraq, it is your burden to present evidence that Iraq can withstand a season of "quality" debates.  To date the articles you have provided have not suggested a substantial increase in DA to iraq.

I wasn't disagreeing with the fact that research and dialogue weren't important now to determine the inclusion of a particular country. I think we just differ on whether quality debates can happen in the case of Iraq. Here's a few more links that might be helpful. The first more generally situates Iraq in the context of other revolutions. The second is more constructive in offering policy actions. And the third is more inherency related.

http://carnegie-mec.org/publications/?fa=43306

http://carnegie-mec.org/publications/?fa=42994

http://www.boell.org/downloads/fy11-budget-analysis-final.pdf
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louiep
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« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2011, 10:51:46 AM »

I wasn't disagreeing with the fact that research and dialogue weren't important now to determine the inclusion of a particular country. I think we just differ on whether quality debates can happen in the case of Iraq. Here's a few more links that might be helpful. The first more generally situates Iraq in the context of other revolutions. The second is more constructive in offering policy actions. And the third is more inherency related.

http://carnegie-mec.org/publications/?fa=43306

http://carnegie-mec.org/publications/?fa=42994

http://www.boell.org/downloads/fy11-budget-analysis-final.pdf
I am so confused why you keep posting these FYI articles and insisting that they are solvency advocates.  The first two articles simply inform a reader what is going on in Iraq and makes a small argument that US funding is important.  The two articles go as far as to say "The US should not forget about Iraq" and "Obama might have to fight to keep the current finding levels"  Neither of the articles call for a policy change and neither are even close to providing an example for why Iraq should be included in the resolution.
The real kicker is the 3rd article that BOLDLY makes the claim that Obama will NOT have a problem securing funding levels for Iraq.  The line is something like, "the expectation therefore is that Congress will FULLY grant his overall request".  His, meaning, Obama's budget and that budget being DA and aid to Iraq.  So in the Squo, Iraq policy will remain the same and there is NO jeopardy of large funding cuts.  I guess that is inherency FTW - for the NEG.  Maybe you are citing that there is a cut from 300 to 175, BUT the article does not take a stance that those cuts will jeopardize the mission, AND it says that additional monies will go to the Iraqi military to secure stability.  Hmmm, so Iraq will receive money and will be stable in the squo - yeah we should definitely include Iraq for these sweet debates. Aff is reinstate the finding levels and Neg gets a sweet....... nothing. 
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inherencyftw
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« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2011, 06:43:42 PM »

I am so confused why you keep posting these FYI articles and insisting that they are solvency advocates.  The first two articles simply inform a reader what is going on in Iraq and makes a small argument that US funding is important.  The two articles go as far as to say "The US should not forget about Iraq" and "Obama might have to fight to keep the current finding levels"  Neither of the articles call for a policy change and neither are even close to providing an example for why Iraq should be included in the resolution.
The real kicker is the 3rd article that BOLDLY makes the claim that Obama will NOT have a problem securing funding levels for Iraq.  The line is something like, "the expectation therefore is that Congress will FULLY grant his overall request".  His, meaning, Obama's budget and that budget being DA and aid to Iraq.  So in the Squo, Iraq policy will remain the same and there is NO jeopardy of large funding cuts.  I guess that is inherency FTW - for the NEG.  Maybe you are citing that there is a cut from 300 to 175, BUT the article does not take a stance that those cuts will jeopardize the mission, AND it says that additional monies will go to the Iraqi military to secure stability.  Hmmm, so Iraq will receive money and will be stable in the squo - yeah we should definitely include Iraq for these sweet debates. Aff is reinstate the finding levels and Neg gets a sweet....... nothing.  

The reason I keep posting these articles is to try to have a constructive conversation around the inclusion of Iraq with evidence, at least I believe, that is passable for solvency. I also post them because I was asked. Regarding the first article, I didn't claim it as a solvency advocate, nor would I construe it as one. It was intended, as I wrote, to generally situate Iraq in the context of the Arab Spring. Regarding the second article, it offers proactive recommendations (4 on point I believe) for actions that the United States should take in ongoing efforts to assist Iraqi democracy. This, taken with Pollock's recommendation of increased assistance makes a decent case for Iraq's inclusion. Regarding the 3rd article, I think you and I are reading it very differently. As you rightly point out, the article does state that Congress will approve Obama's budget. However, that budget is a 46% reduction in current bilateral democracy assistance. Something, I view as a very large funding cut. While that article takes no stance on the overall effect of those cuts, the FA article previously posted explicitly states that a failure on the part of the United States to comprehensively engage Iraq is a recipe for violence, thus calling for, at very least, substantially more funding (I think we'd agree that 46% is substantial). Regarding neg ground, Iraq shouldn't be punished by exclusion for being a strategic option. There are still plenty of options: A)as you note, defend the status quo method of disengagement, B) oppose U.S. involvement in domestic decisions and reformulations of Iraqi democracy, and others. The negative's ability to make a solid inherency press shouldn't disqualify a country's inclusion as that would remove inherency as a negative argument (excepting inherency arguments claiming that other, non plan measures are solving for the harms). Would you mind posting a solvency advocate for one of the other country's that you think should be included? It will help me get a better idea of what you might be looking for.
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inherencyftw
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« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2011, 06:59:03 PM »

On a completely unrelated note, I've seen a few recent FA, CFR, and AEI publications that deal with democracy assistance to Iran (about the Green movement) and Syria (called U.S. options in Syria - it recommends DA among other options).
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ScottElliott
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« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2011, 12:08:47 AM »

I call bullshit...or sloppy use of terms by the respective authors of those articles. We may be doing democracy promotion, or they may be advocating democracy promotion, but it ain't democracy asssitance to Iran.
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ScottElliott
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« Reply #26 on: May 29, 2011, 12:17:13 AM »

Iraq makes about as much sense for inclusion in this general topic area as Afghanistan did on the "increase relations with the Middle East" topic a few years ago. I hate to break it to you...but the American rape......uh, invasion....uh, forced imposition of democracy, under the Bush Administration has almost zero relation to the stuff going on in Yemen, Jordon, Egypt and Tunisia. Yeah, Iraq is a struggling democracy, but the roots of their new government is so bound up in American Imperialism and War on terrorism policy, that it is almost the opposite of the other three countries I listed. Those countries are having revolutions IN SPITE of the U.S. In fact, the literature going into late 2010 pretty much says that U.S. democracy assistance in Egypt, Jordon, and Yemen was a waste of money because the U.S. was providing too much support for the entrenched leaders in order to fight the WOT and to counter Iran (that is one reason why fiscal year 2010-2011 saw cuts in DA funding). I think Iraq would be a bad fit for the topic area.
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stables
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« Reply #27 on: May 30, 2011, 12:48:37 AM »

Thanks to everyone for their contributions and posts over the last few days. I will try to answer a number of questions raised on this thread in this post. I will later be answering some of the more global questions posed in the other thread, even though there is clearly some overlap.

Two quick comments –

How to help on the forums
We appreciate all of the help folks provide at this time. Lots of work at this point is conceptual, so please share all of your comments. When however, we are having specific debates about the literature the best way to contribute is to provide a quick card or two to help reinforce your argument.  I do appreciate the cites and have added many to the google bookmarks. When you add cards we will include those on the wiki and be able to go right into the wording work.

What our goals are now
You will see me provide reasons for and against a lot of these items. I don’t think our goal now is to make a series of final decisions about potential expanded or contracted wording options. My view is that the committee should be investigating the relative merits of specific approaches for and against these limits. The meetings themselves will allow us to assemble wording options that reflect that spectrum of options. In other words, we need to understand how to expand or contract specific wording options now. At the meetings we have to develop a slate of topics, which will likely include some broader and some more narrow options.

But what if you want to argue for a specific wording?
If anyone out there wants to suggest specific wordings, please post or send along a defense of that option. If you put something concrete together (not just a random mention in a post) we will add it to the agenda. I know that there are a lot ‘obviously good’ ideas that come up at this point and we always welcome getting help on those items.

Onto specific questions. Please let me know if I missed your comment or question.

Government to government aid
I think Matt, Adam and a couple of other folks have provided additional evidentiary support for the idea that there is democracy assistance that goes to elements of civil society outside of national governments.  Clearly there is a debate to be had about how much control governments expect to have in this process, but I don’t see that as a factual question about if some aid goes directly to non-governmental aspects of a nation.

The committee will be looking at ways to include these civil society discussions are part of our research. I think Matt and Kevin are both correct that the choice of preposition will be a large determinant of how much the topic includes these arguments. This is clearly one important choice to be made about the scope of topical affirmatives. Steve’s wording suggestion is another choice to go in this direction.

Include Iran?
There has been some discussion of Iran so lets me offer an outline of the work in progress. I originally included Iran as a category three country because I think there are compelling reasons for and against including it as a topical country. I still believe that is true and I think that at the meetings this can be one of the countries that could be included when considering creating a broader resolution. Remember our goal is to provide a slate of possible wordings, so I do think Iran is a relevant question to that possibility. Here is a short summary of the pros and cons of including.

Reasons to include Iran:

1.   Education/ Topic coherence - Some scholars point to the Green protests in Iran as the beginning of the Arab Spring. The idea of large scale demonstrations using new social media really took on a new meaning in Iran. Even if these protests didn’t have the same success as they would in 2011, there is a rich debate about the need for expanded democracy in Iran. Students would get the opportunity to examine a contested political situation where previous US efforts to expand democracy have a controversial history including CIA efforts to topple the Iranian government.

2.   The geopolitical importance of Iran – One of the potential concerns about the topic is that some of the core countries may not be understood as major geopolitical players. Iran is an incredibly important country in so many respects (regional influence, relationship to Israel, ties with Egypt, nonproliferation, etc.). Including Iran would provide for a rich set of debates.

3.   A very interesting debate about the topical mechanism – The green movement protests have created a dynamic where there is a clear non-governmental sector to support. There is an active debate about if overt US support for the protestors would help legitimate their efforts or if it would collapse the resistance by having them seen as western puppets. A card supporting each side follows.

Aff – The US should provide assistance to the Iranian civil society as the only way to end the Iranian threat.

Ray Takeyh, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, February 17, 2011, Washington Post, “The U.S. must empower the Green Movement” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/16/AR2011021606440.html

As Iran's streets erupt with pro-democracy demonstrations, it is all too obvious that the only option the United States has in altering the Islamic Republic's behavior is to support the Green Movement.
The clerical oligarchs have tried hard to prevent the contagion of democracy from afflicting their nation. Despite their maladroit attempt to establish a moral continuity between Iran's 1979 revolution and the recent uprising in Egypt, and their threats of violence and retribution toward those who protest, the mullahs have failed to reclaim their citizens.
It is too facile to suggest that the wave of protests rocking the Middle East was born in Iran, but it is not too simplistic to stress that Iran will not be left behind in the march for freedom.
The Middle East is undergoing one of its most momentous transformations since achieving independence from imperial rule. Although the canard of Islamist takeover has unsettled many pundits and policymakers, the bottom line is that the region has left behind its infatuation with revisionist ideologies. In the streets of Arab capitals we are witnessing the passing of the age of ideology, as neither pan-Arabism, with its promises of modernity, nor Islamism, with its pledges of authenticity, can redeem the region's autocrats. The restive youth and the overburdened middle class can no longer be tempted by faded orthodoxies and false shibboleths that conceal the reality of repression and corruption. In retrospect, the Green Movement that arose after Iran's disputed presidential election in 2009 was not so much a catalyst but a harbinger of this new epoch.
As exhilarating as the early stages of the region's political transition may be, democratic upheaval is likely to narrow the conventional options of addressing the threat of Iran's nuclear program. Great powers such as Russia and China that place a premium on stability are unlikely to agree to more economic sanctions. The Arab states preoccupied with renegotiating their national compacts will be reluctant to participate in efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic. And the military option that was always unattractive has now become implausible; it would be rash to employ force against Iran's suspected nuclear installations and radicalize the Arab populace just as forces of moderation and democracy seem ascendant.
All is not lost, however. The only durable solution to Iran's nuclear conundrum was always empowerment of the Green Movement. Tehran's callous leadership, indifferent to the financial penalties of its nuclear truculence, was hardly prone to make cost-benefit assessments and constructively participate in negotiations. Although it has been customary since the disputed presidential election of 2009 for the Washington establishment to pronounce the demise of the Green Movement, the battered Iranian opposition has succeeded in de-legitimizing the theocratic regime and enticing a significant portion of the population to contemplate life beyond the parameters of clerical despotism. Citizens' disenchantment was mirrored by the steady stream of defecting regime loyalists, who have forsaken their revolutionary patrimony. The breakdown of ideological controls in Iran is bound to affect the cohesion and solidarity of its security services. Deprived of popular credibility or a convincing dogma, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei may not even be able to enforce his rule through fear.
The key challenge for the United States is to find ways to connect with the Green Movement. As important as social media or rhetorical declarations may be, such measures are limited. The model of Eastern Europe is instructive, as the West managed to covertly use a range of institutions, such as the Catholic Church and labor unions, to funnel assistance to dissidents. Several parts of Iranian civil society - labor syndicates, savvy youth, clerical dissidents, liberal protesters and universities - exist in a state of perpetual rebellion; they deserve to be beneficiaries of American advice and assistance. Whether motivated by idealism or a desire to advance practical security concerns, the West must recognize that the only thing standing between the mullahs and the bomb is the Green Movement.
The demise of the Islamic Republic is inevitable. Should the Middle East move toward realizing the aspirations of its citizens, and embrace pluralism and accountability, it is hard to see how a retrogressive clerical tyranny can persist in the region. During the democratic transition, there is still the challenge of tempering Iran's pernicious ambitions, and the mullahs' penchant for terrorism must still be addressed. The chimera of a diplomatic solution should no longer blind the international community to Iran's political vulnerabilities. In the end, the most effective means of disarming the Islamic Republic and ending its reign of terror is to invest in the indomitable Green Movement.

Neg – The Green Movement is succeeding because it is a fundamentally internal cultural and political movement. Western aid will destroy its credibility.

Hooman Majd , January 6, 2010, author of The Ayatollah Begs to Differ. He advised and interpreted for two Iranian presidents, Mohammad Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on their trips to the United States, Foreign Policy, “Think Again: Iran's Green Movement It's a civil rights movement, not a revolution.” http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/01/06/think_again_irans_green_movement

"The Green Movement Wants or Needs Foreign Support."
Dead wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is insulting and patronizing to suggest, as many commentators do, that without foreign help or support the green movement cannot be successful, that Iranians on their own are incapable of commanding their own destiny.
U.S. President Barack Obama has so far expressed only moral support for Iranians fighting for their civil rights and has rightly articulated the unrest in Iran as a purely Iranian affair. Lacking relations with Iran, Obama can do little to help the green movement, but plenty to hurt it. Coming out squarely on the side of the opposition in Iran is likely to undermine its credibility, and perhaps even lend credence to the government's assertion that the movement is a foreign-inspired plot that will rob Iran of its independence.
That the green movement has survived, and even grown, in the absence of foreign support (even moral support in its inception) is evidence that Iranians are perfectly capable of maintaining a civil rights movement and agitating for democratic change without the prodding, influence, or support of foreigners. Furthermore, if there is only one aspect of the Islamic Revolution that almost all Iranians can agree on as positive, it's that key events, such as the spontaneous unrest after the election and all the way back to the revolution itself, have happened independent of foreign influence.
The most potentially damaging accusation the government has made against the green movement is that it is a foreign plot to foment a "velvet" or "color" revolution that will once again render Iran subservient to a greater power. But this accusation has not stuck because the movement's leaders have always eschewed any foreign support and framed their fight as a purely Iranian one.
The idea that foreign support is either necessary or important to the green movement's ability to achieve its goals is as preposterous as imagining, say in 1965, that overt Soviet support of the civil rights movement in the United States was necessary for that movement to be successful.

Reasons to exclude Iran:

1.   Difference in the type of affirmatives – Even though the US has strongly opposed the Libyan government’s actions in recent weeks, prior to the demonstrations it was not US policy to seek regime change in the other topical countries. For most of the topic countries, the advocacy of US democracy assistance is based in the idea that a specific country can improve their democratic institutions. The advocacy of expanding democracy in Iran is often associated with the idea of toppling the Iranian government. 

2.   Repetition of past topic vs. new country debates – The debate inside Iran has changed since the last Middle East topic to some degree, but much of the debate about US policy to Iran is similar to the previous topic. There is not only the concern about recycling past arguments, but there is also the real concern that the presence of this oft-debated country would come at the expense of other, less often-discussed, nations.

3.   Iran will be discussed in some form, even if it is not a topical country. As the controversy paper mentions, the Arab Spring demonstrations are both an opportunity for Iran to gain regional influence and a threat to Iran’s allies (such as Syria). I envision a very viable sphere of influence disadvantage about how US democracy assistance threatens Iran’s security environment. This debate admittedly won’t be the same as directly including it in the resolution, but Iran is likely to be a subject of discussion in any event.

Obviously the discussion of including Iran is also linked to the broader questions of the optimal size of the topic and the balance of affirmative and negative arguments. There are, however, reasons to consider Iran as one of the potential countries in some of the resolutions. I invite further research and input on the subject.

Include Iraq?

There has been more discussion of Iraq on the forum so I won’t outline all of the issues involved. Like Iran, Iraq is under consideration as a category three country that could be added to some resolutions. This work is also in process, but here are my observations to date.

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” http://web.docuticker.com/go/docubase/64246

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”
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/18/uk-iraq-politics-electricity-idUKTRE74H2YR20110518

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.

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” http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PCAAB950.pdf  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, http://www.usip.org/files/resources/The_United_States_in_Iraq.pdf     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.

AT: Specifying just USAID

In one of the posts Scott discusses have the resolution specify USAID. I don’t believe in general that topics should over-specify the actors and in this case it is especially not advisable to consider such a step. Democracy assistance functions as a decentralized series of programs, like much of foreign aid. The GAO identifies at least three major actors that provide US democracy assistance. There is extensive debate about the coordination of these programs and it would be appear to artificially restrict the topic if we only considered some of these efforts. I do also think that the following GAO work also identifies that limiting the actors might also restrict the range of how some core programs are implemented.

US democracy assistance provided by USAID, State DRL and NED

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” http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PCAAB950.pdf  p. 11-14

USAID, State DRL, and NED fund democracy assistance programs in countries throughout the world. USAID’s and State DRL’s foreign assistance programs are funded under the Foreign Operations appropriation and tracked by State as part of GJD funding, while NED’s core budget is funded under the State Operations appropriation and is not tracked as part of GJD foreign assistance funding.
U.S. Agency for International Development. In fiscal years 2006 through 2008, USAID democracy programs operated in 88 countries worldwide. USAID’s Office of Democracy and Governance, based in  Washington, D.C., supports USAID’s democracy programs worldwide, but these programs are primarily designed and managed by USAID missions in the field. USAID democracy programs cover a large variety of issues including media, labor, judicial reforms, local governance, legislative strengthening, and elections. USAID programs are managed by technical officers, typically based in missions in the field, who develop strategies and assessments, design programs, and monitor the performance of projects by collecting and reviewing performance reports from implementing partners and conducting site visits, typically at least monthly.
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. State DRL implements the Human Rights Democracy Fund, established in fiscal year 1998, providing grants primarily to U.S. nonprofit organizations to strengthen democratic institutions, promote human rights, and build civil society mainly in fragile democracies and authoritarian states. In 2006 through 2008, State DRL’s programs operated in 66 countries worldwide. According to State, State DRL strives to fund innovative programs focused on providing immediate short term assistance in response to emerging events. In addition, State DRL can also fill gaps in USAID democracy funding (see app. II). Unlike USAID, State DRL manages its democracy grant program centrally. State DRL’s Washington-based staff monitor these grants by collecting and reviewing quarterly reports from grantees and conducting site visits, typically through annual visits to participating countries.17
National Endowment for Democracy. In 1983, Congress authorized initial funding for NED, a private, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization.18 NED’s core budget is funded primarily through an annual congressional appropriation and NED receives additional funding from State to support congressionally directed or discretionary programs.19 The legislation recognizing the creation of NED and authorizing its funding, known as the NED Act, requires NED to report annually to Congress on its operations, activities, and accomplishments as well as on the results of an independent financial audit.20 The act does not require NED to report to State on the use of its core appropriation; however, State requires NED to provide quarterly financial reporting and annual programmatic reporting on the use of the congressionally directed and discretionary grants it receives from State.21 NED funds indigenous partners with grants that typically last for about a year. NED monitors program activities through quarterly program and financial reports from grantees and site visits, performed on average about once per year, to verify program and budgetary information. About half of NED’s total annual core grant funding is awarded to four affiliated organizations, known as core institutes.22 The remaining funds are used to provide hundreds of grants to NGOs in more than 90 countries to promote human rights, independent media, rule of law, civic education, and the development of civil society in general.

Footnote  18
The legislation authorizing funding for NED, National Endowment for Democracy Act, spells out six purposes for the endowment: encouraging democratic institutions through private sector initiatives; facilitating exchanges between U.S. private sector groups and democratic groups abroad; promoting U.S. nongovernmental participation in democratic training programs; strengthening democratic electoral processes abroad in cooperation with indigenous democratic forces; supporting the participation of U.S. private sector groups in fostering cooperation with those abroad "dedicated to the cultural values, institutions, and organizations of democratic pluralism;" and encouraging democratic development consistent with the interests of both the United States and the democratic groups in other countries receiving assistance from programs funded by the Endowment.  See Pub. L. No. 98-164, Title V, 97 Stat. 1017 (1983).


Thanks again for all of the feedback. More in the coming days on the general country criteria discussion. I hope that this work has started to explain that process.

Gordon
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Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
RGarrett
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Posts: 53


« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2011, 08:22:22 AM »

Including Iraq:

One criteria I don't think you mentioned in regard to Iraq but did in regard to Iran is that it has recently been debated.  Iraq was a country in the most recent high school topic, the mechanism for that aff was to reduce US presence so maybe this is not much of a concern.  However, one primary negative argument was that continued/increased engagement was good, so both sides of the debate were covered.  While not all members of the college community have exposure to high school debate I think there would be a lot of rehashing of the work that was done. 
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ScottElliott
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Posts: 148


« Reply #29 on: May 30, 2011, 08:52:53 AM »

First, I like the general topic area. However, bad topic wording and pie in the sky promises from the TC leads to bad debates. Why does this matter to me? I have to sit through those bad debates all year. Thanks to members of the Topic Committee for there work. But I am critical of some of the claims Gordon has made.

First, Gordon says, "Aff – The US should provide assistance to the Iranian civil society as the only way to end the Iranian threat.

Ray Takeyh, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, February 17, 2011, Washington Post, “The U.S. must empower the Green Movement” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/16/AR2011021606440.html"

Really? Is that the best you got for an Affirmative on Iran. The word "assistance" does appear in the card you gave us. However, go back and read the card. The author is talking about "covert" assistance. This is democracy promotion....not democracy assistance. That's fine with me. I am down with expanding the resolution to democracy promotion...but that evidence is not about democracy assistance programs one would find in the Department of State, the USAID, or the NED.

Second, regarding Iraq....it is NOT an issue of affirmative teams having unique advantages. I can write a case  to increase breast feeding programs in Iraq and get an advantage. The issue is NEGATIVE uniqueness. Go ahead, give it your best shot....give me a general disad that would be unique to a plan targeting democracy assistance in Iraq. Even better, find a Kritik, even the dreaded "Spanos" K, that will gain much offense from a 2AC block saying, "the U.S. invaded Iraq, we have boots on the ground, and we spend more money on democracy promotion in Iraq than anywhere else in the world...which means, the Aff. controls uniqueness, there is only the risk of the Aff. turns." It really sucks when the Negative has to run a counter-plan to withdraw from Iraq just to get uniqueness for as disad or K.

Third, this is how Syria and Iran are going to play out if they are chosen as topic countries.....minimally, Wake and Kansas State will resurrect versions of the same cases they ran on the Mid-East relations topic a few years ago (I would, those cases rocked!). How does that play out?

Plan: The United States will offer democracy assistance to Iran (or political parties in Iran).
Advantage in the 1AC. Democracy in Iran is good, would stop proliferation. The 2AC trick: Iran (or Syria) will say no, or crackdown on those groups recieving assistance. This gives the U.S. the greenlight to  launch a militry campaign against those countries. You are right, DA does nothing, but hardpower rocks! Just a heads up of how it will most likely play out.  Libya provides an example of how Obama will pull the trigger, by the way.

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