Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Infrastructure - Review of Cases - Part 7

For other Policy Debate postings, including an analysis of the Infrastructure topic follow the links here.


Case Reviews
Since camp cases are emerging, I have decided to scan through select case Affirmatives and deliver some summaries. While I will be looking at specific camp cases, I intend to summarize the general advocacy without reference to specific files. So, if several camps put out a high-speed rail case, for example, I will generally summarize the case plans, advantages, etc. without referencing a particular file. Now for sure, some of the reviews will be one particular file, if no other camp puts out a similar case.

This series will spread out over several postings as I find time to review the cases. In general, the posts will be short, the comments will be brief and they are strictly my opinions. If I say I do not like a case, it does not mean you should avoid looking at it, especially since sometimes the files are updated and improved.

The case files, I review will be taken from the National Debate Coaches Association, Open Evidence Project.

NextGen is the proposed 21st century air traffic control system which replaces the current obsolete system with satellite-based capability.  The system currently has insufficient funding.

Airport congestion impacts competitiveness. Nextgen will revitalize a faltering FAA which is a key to jobs.  Aerospace spending and jobs spillover and increases the economy and U.S. leadership whereas economic decline results in global wars.

NextGen is compatible with the European Air Traffic Management system currently being upgraded, which would increase US-Euro cooperation. This presents the opportunity to include Russia which is a key to reducing the risks of an Arctic War.

A very tenuously linked claim that NextGen will be transferred to Africa which is a apparently a dangerous place to be airborne.  The poor safety standards, perhaps better to claim security standards, encourage the spread of terror, crimes and instability leading to state failure (the Se'Kapchangah card actually says this). When states fail, the spillover leads to nuclear shenanigans.

NextGen increases aviation reliability which leads to more reliance on air for trade leading to economic recovery. In fact, aviation pretty much solves the world's problems...well...some pretty big ones.  For example, it allows the delivery aid to Africa and is a measure of leadership and airpower. It also solves soft-power, war, prevents nuke war in middle Asia, solves Middle-east conflict, and cures the common cold.  Okay, curing the cold is a little far-fetched, but not all that other stuff.  We have evidence.

And on and on and on. Is there anything Airpower and NextGen does not link to?

The Good
I know there are good things about NextGen and there are many advantages and spillover effects that can come from its funding and implementation but they are not well developed in the camp cases I reviewed.  It is possible to pull a few strong advantages from these files and there are good extensions and answers.

The Bad
The Russia advantage is not linked. It goes from cooperation with Europe to, gee, think of the advantages if Russia was involved too.  But there is no evidence such cooperation with Russia will happen. In fact, many of the advantages claimed by some of these cases will crumble when pressed by Negative so I advise debaters to really be careful about the links in these cases.

I think NextGen can be developed into a decent case but the files I reviewed have not lived up to my expectation.  Do your own research on this one and use these camp files as starting point for some of the reasonable, well-linked advantages and discard the rest.

Case Potpourri

Many of the cases I reviewed were interesting but I have not included them in this series for various reasons.  For example, I have decided not to include any of the pipeline-type cases which included the various CO2 and Keystone Pipeline cases. While these cases provide some good cards proving their topicality, the mere fact they have to prove they are topical suggests that teams that want to avoid lengthy "T" debates, should avoid these cases

Alt Fuels
There are also several flavors or alternate fuel cases which argue the U.S. should create an infrastructure which augments the usage of alternate fuels, ranging from electric to hydrogen fuel cells.  For most part these cases are identical, only the relevant fuel type changes.  I reviewed one and left the remainder out.

Sea Power
There are a host of cases dealing with the sea and maritime capabilities and some of these pretty good but I think certain cautions may be in order.  Whereas, ports because of their role in intermodal transport are, in my opinion, unquestionably topical, open sea capabilities are probably marginally topical.

Finally there are several cases with are aimed to building military dominance.  ORS, for example, is ripped from last year's topic (as is space elevators).  And there are a few other "build-up the military and dominate the world" type Affirmatives.  In general, I think these kinds of cases can avoid certain kinds of counter-plans but they attract some really good disadvantage scenarios and critiques.

My advice, if you want to run a military, hegemony, leadership, dominance type case, run SUSTAIN (also from last year's space topic).  It has exceptional links to NextGen and Low Earth Orbit Airline capability which provides internal links to all of the airpower and globalization and terrorism advantages running through every other case I reviewed.

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