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Re: Treaties Topic Paper
I think that the treaties paper is the best topic paper that has been
submitted so far. All of the papers are good, but from a pure
debatability standpoint, treaties is most appealing. Sean's biggest
arguement is only being able to argue "treaties bad". This is a fallacy
at best, there is plenty of debateable ground (i'll answer more
specifically on the line by line). i don't know what sean means by
"treaties bad", but there are plenty of foreign policy implications when
you debate any treaty. There is plenty of room for political da's and
policy kritiks, but the largest asset is that the debates are a lot
deeper because the topic very focused. now more specifically:
On Wed, 16 Apr 1997, Sean Harris wrote
> Concern #1: Topicality. The T debates would be pretty much non-existant.
> Now some might say that's good, but I do think that there should be at
> least the possibility of a T debate for the negative to have as a weapon.
> Not that anyone votes on T though...
tex says: i don't think this is true at all. on any topic, people will
find a way to push the envelope of topicaliy. The specificity of the
topic wording will allow for greater T debates, because ground is already
established. think about it: the aff can only ratify a treaty that has
already been negotiated (for example-picking from the three possible areas
stated in the topic paper). That seems very specific and easy to prove
the aff non-topical if they don't do it. if people are concerned that
they won't be able to run and win T, there not thinking--more specific
topics divide ground more easily and its easier to determine what is and
> Concern #2: Predictable negative ground. This is partially mentioned
> above, the only consistent ground being "treaties are bad." When we wrote
> the environment topic this past year, predictable ground for the negative
> was a primary concern. I don't think we succeeded (how naive were we to
> think that only executive agencies could pass regulations?). But, at the
> same time, that doesn't mean that predictable negative ground should not
> be a goal. The affirmative will always have infinite prep time, no matter
> what the topic is. I still think the focus of choosing and wording a
> resolution should be preserving predictable negative ground. The treaties
> topic would have almost no predictable ground because everything from the
> CWC to the treaty on treaties would be topical.
tex ans: that's not true at all. of all the topics, this establishes the
most predictable ground for negatives. just debating treaties bad isn't
true. the aff has to defend the entirety of the treaty (they can't spike
out of it--it all has to be ratifyed). with this topic--counterplans
would be the way to go--find a part of the treaty that sucks--exclude it,
renegotiate it and thus a counterplan with a net benefit. secondly, the
topic is designed to protect the negatives, only a few treaties are up
for ratification (48 was the number i heard thrown around), that seems
like predictable negative ground to me. Not to mention, the debates
would be a lot deeper, if people took the time to research them.
As far as Luxembourg being topical, i would say maybe if its already been
negotiated and ready for ratification.
that's my spill for now, gotta go write term papers.
> Final concern: The following case would be topical:
> US-Luxembourg Income Taxation Treaty September 4, 1996
> Uh, yeah, US-Luxembourg relations are key to space, space is bad.
> Pre-empts: Bipart is not predictable negative ground, it is inevitable
> negative ground. It'll be around, as will Clinton. The fact that they
> link does not mean the aff is set. The negative needs predictable ground
> that is somewhat specific to this res.
> I think treaties, as a subject area, is facinating to discuss, but as a
> policy resolution, it's too broad for the affirmative.
> Sean Harris
> Whitman College
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