Monday, September 24, 2012

PF 2012 Proposed November Resolutions

Some of you may have already found out the two proposed resolutions for November Public Forum debate have been released for voting consideration. They read as follows:

Resolved: The United States government should increase its efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East.

Resolved: Current U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East undermines our national security.

At first reading, these both seem to be potentially interesting topics so I have not voted while I consider the topics more fully.  Here are some very preliminary thoughts.

The first topic reads, somewhat like a policy debate topic although it is much more narrow than a typical policy resolution. The use of the term "efforts" seems like a very vague term designed to prevent teams from focusing on particular "plan" proposals.  Over all, it seems there needs to be a fair amount of time dedicated to defining terms. At first glance it appears the Con ground is pretty large.  Potentially Con can argue the U.S. should not promote democracy, or take the position the current levels of promotion are sufficient or argue the current level are excessive, or change the actor and advocate someone else should promote democracy such as the U.N or E.U.  I am already thinking of ways to apply Policy-like "counterplan" ideas on the Con side and wrap them in a conventional PF debate case structure.  Again, without looking too deeply at this point, Pro has very limited range of advocacy and for me it seems very U.S-centric which is troubling on a certain level.

I like the wording of the second resolution much better.  It is very -er- PF-like if that term can be considered a standard.  The division of ground is very clear and I like that. It either undermines security or it doesn't.  The biggest requirement is try to get people's arms and heads around, what is the current U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East?  This can get a little sticky since there may be a general regional policy and there may be very specific policies for specified nations in the region.  I can't predict right now without lots of research how big of a factor the debate around the scope and content of U.S. policy may end up being. If it is a non-issue, then this topic can focus on a very compelling debate. Otherwise, it could make this debate misery.

Hmmm. Vote for the first or second...we shall see what the coaches think.

Comments welcome, as always.

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