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Topic Committee Liveblog -- Day 2

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fyi - manc is defending "missions," greta worried that "missions" isn't a term of art used by solvency authors advocating cuts in the arsenal.

Welcome back to Topic Meeting 2009. It’s Seth, filling in for your regular host Will Sears, who has left the studio to get Fitzmier from the airport. Antonucci opens this scene, in a striking pink polo shirt. His character requires no props other than a Dell laptop, a styrofoam cup, and a small anonymous book.

ANTONUCCI: Does “nuclear weapons” include testing? According to definitions from nuclear weapon free zones, it means nuclear exploding device, and testing does go boom. Plus, the text of the CTBT uses the phrase “nuclear weapons.”

I think we might need an additional phrase to include CTBT under the Mancuso definition. “Nuclear missions” seems to include full weapons. If it ends up being excluded, it’s by “missions” not by “weapons” or “arsenal.”

If “nuclear weapons” accidentally limits out FMCT, is there an impact to that? Did people feel like they were voting for that?

STABLES: Chris Jones clarifies that FMCT was not in the paper. He said it’d be a good idea, but it’s not in the paper.

MANCUSO: The paper does not say FMCT, but every report it cites as essential background reading does.

ANTONUCCI: “Nuclear explosive devices” may allow more things in.

Should we say “nuclear forces”? No. One, “nuclear forces” can also refer to a principle in physics, like strong and weak nuclear forces--a two-dimensional subset of our four-dimensional space-time. Two, it includes not just the warheads but all associated forces, like the conventional and ABM forces we use to support them. Three, “nuclear forces” has no clear statutory basis. They seem to have abandoned defining it in favor of these other smaller terms. “Strategic forces” might be better defined.

I don’t think we should say “nuclear arsenal,” which has no clear definition. It’s more metaphor and less statutory interpretation. “Nuclear arsenal” seems to include depleted uranium, and “nuclear weapons” does not. And if “nuclear arsenal” is stable in the way we want, it would just mean “nuclear weapons” anyway, so why risk it?

We have some good definitions of “stockpile, also known as the nuclear arsenal.” We could say “nuclear weapons arsenal.” That might not add anything, but as long as “nuclear weapons” is there, it won’t be a disaster.

Should we say “nuclear stockpiles”? I’m not sure, but I think probably not. It most likely lets in materials, according to some definitions. We can discuss whether that’s good or bad. So it allows FMCT, but it lets in any case that gets rid of plutonium and other fissile material, like MOX, etc. It’s also not that clear. If we want material stockpiles included, we should just say that: “material stockpiles and...” That seems the best route for clarity, rather than risking letting in things we don’t want.

KUSWA: How do “nuclear weapons” and “stockpile” interact? [or something to this effect]

ANTONUCCI: “Nuclear weapons stockpile” is plenty clear. Saying “nuclear weapons stockpile and/or nuclear material stockpile” would probably work.

[Here comes a small discussion of how “nuclear weapons” might allow affs that deal with the Sun. Some hilarity ensues.]

ANTONUCCI: “Nuclear exploding devices” has a clear statutory definition. A risk though is that some “nuclear exploding devices” might not be intended as weapons. It might allow in FMCT and perhaps even nuclear disposal cases.

STAHL: Did you investigate “warheads” at all?

ANTONUCCI: It’s pretty clear, but it’s more limited. “Weapons” means warheads and the launching device, so long as the device is destroyed in the attack. I don’t have any huge problem with “warhead,” but I think “weapons” does what we want a little better.

WHITMORE: What about fission or fusion weapons?

ANTONUCCI: I think “nuclear weapons” allows all the variants of atom bombs, H-bomb, etc.

WHITMORE: I’m thinking about future weapons and the like.

ANTONUCCI: If it uses a chain reaction destructively, it’s in.

STABLES: I think that’s true of almost any term we could use.


BROSSMAN: Now, the thirteen steps are clearly in the topic paper, and two of them discuss fissile material.

ANTONUCCI: Yes, but I don't think that's a problem for the Stables int'l commitments topic, b/c that resolution does not refer to the devices themselves directly.

STABLES: If we want to capture the broad role of weapons and fissile material, what phrase?

ANTONUCCI: Make it explicit that you're including fissile material by saying "fissile material stockpile."

STABLES: And if you don't want it?

ANTONUCCI: "Nuclear weapons." "Exploding device" allows more, but maybe you want that.

KUSWA: It's not worth the risk it includes power plants.

ANTONUCCI: I don't think it does. It might include some weird stuff, but I don't think it includes power plants.

STABLES: Before we break for lunch, I think that when we go to the next working group, the two guiding principles laid out this morning are grammatical accuracy and what it allows and what it doesn't allow. If we answer those two questions, we'll have time to lay out the fundamental questions for tonight's work. I know we have MIke's verification thing...

DAVIS: That'll be quick.

STABLES: Anything else?

[Nothing else presents itself.]


[drop curtain]

I've included a few quick definitions of nuclear weapons below - two of three suggest that delivery mechanism is certainly part of the weapon, distinct from the atomic device itself. Interestingly enough, the first definition (the most field contextual, as well) suggests that an ICBM warhead is itself a delivery mechanism, distinct from the atomic device.

If I had any worries, it would be that there appears to be a lack of consensus across multiple sources. This seems to be an area in which to tread carefully.

Nuclear Weapons:

NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Weapons that involve an explosion based on a chain reaction involving the fission and/or fusion of atomic nuclei. A nuclear weapon is the combination of an atomic device encased in a compartment designed to achieve certain effects as a result of the atomic reaction, delivered to its target by a vehicle of some type ranging from an artillery shell to an air-delivered bomb to an intercontinental missile warhead. See also ATOMIC BOMB; GUN-TYPE DEVICE; HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM; HYDROGEN BOMB; IMPLOSION DEVICE; PLUTONIUM; URANIUM.

Larsen, Jeffrey Arthur, and James M. Smith. Historical Dictionary of Arms Control and Disarmament, Historical Dictionaries of War, Revolution, and Civil Unrest, No. 28. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2005.

nuclear weapon
n. A device, such as a bomb or warhead, whose great explosive power derives from the release of nuclear energy.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

nuclear weapon

Any weapon that employs a nuclear reaction for its explosive power. Nuclear weapons include ballistic missiles, bombs (see atomic bomb and hydrogen bomb), artillery rounds, and mines.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

The Economist posted the following about three hours ago:

I think it is worth reading/discussing if negotiating an FMCT will be an explicit part of any resolution - it appears as if that will be part of the status quo.

Could there be a discussion about what kind of ground the negative is afforded under some of these resolutions?

Our neg is done. I'm not worried about it.

STAHL: Limited the treaties part of the list to CTBT. Other extant treaties like space and other disarm treaties and possibly other ones we haven’t found.

Replaced “in” with “of” thanks to Kelly Young’s suggestion that “in” suggests the size of the weapons.

Possibly could add “some or all” before nuclear weapons.

Antonucci asked if aff should be allowed to do unilateral or bilateral de-alert.

MANCUSO: Does “implement substantial reductions” allow the aff to take reductions we’ve already agreed to and put them into action?

BELLON: The stem requires a substantial change, which may limit out those affs.

ARNETT: And isn’t implementing those a big deal?

MANCUSO: You could maybe speed up current reductions.

STAHL: Probably not substantial.

MANCUSO: Are we sure we’re on “high alert status now”?

LACY: Can you “remove them from high alert status” by putting them on higher alert?

SOMEONE: Or launching them off?

STAHL: I worry “good faith” has such a broad precise meaning that the aff would have to put it in their plan or face topicality concerns. So I tried out the current wording to require the aff to implement the result of negotiations if it is what they are trying to achieve.

MANCUSO: I also fear “good faith” and worry about competition for “excellent faith” counterplans and the like.

Here’s my alternative: on the treaties topic, the wording was just “ratify and implement,” so we could say “negotiate and implement.”

STAHL: We seemed to determine that required them to implement even if negotiations fail.

If we proposed disarm, and Russia said no, we’d be screwed.

ATCHISON: That may not be the case if it’s “negotiate X and implement the treaty.”

MANCUSO: That’s not forcing them to implement their goal. We want to force the aff to implement the result of the negotiations.

BELLON: I think that putting “agreement” or “treaty” in there makes it a lot easier.

STAHL: I changed the wording on the google document to reflect the conversation we just had. So if everyone could take a look at that...

MANCUSO: The Russia part of your list is very broad, but that's ok.

STAHL: If they did a bunch of verification and stuff, the neg can CP that out. The aff has to include substantial cuts.

Shalmon did some research last night that raised significant problems for targeting. There's not a clear line on targeting, and it switches in crisis mode. And more importantly, we don't know what current US targeting is, b/c so much of it is classified. We don't know enough to debate it, and we don't want the aff to be secret. Targeting will be a part of use and cuts debates. You could always just do targeted cuts to the arsenal that caused that shift. No real way to control the directionality of the targeting part of the topic, and I think we'll get lots of the education anyway.

I'm sure people will disagree w/ that assessment, but I urge people to read Shalmon's cards.

STABLES: I think the public disclosure vs. covert policy issue is unavoidable in some way. And we did it on presidential powers. But, that being said, I don't disagree with your conclusion, that we don't have an effective wording to allow the targeting affs we want and not the ones we don't.

STAHL: I strongly feel that there should be at least one resolution that doesn't include targeting.

LACY: I worry there's no targeting wording that stops people from stopping hypotheticals like fighting the aliens in 2050. Why do we want to include it?

STABLES: Well, the Korea debate.

STAHL: I don't know how re-targeting reduces our reliance.

MANCUSO: Well it requires us to use conventional weapons against airports, etc. But declaratory policy links to all your concerns, b/c Kevin's 10 item list card includes things like declaring counter-force. I'm fine w/ taking the targeting wording out since I think they're all topical anyway under declaratory policy.

STAHL: I think that means we agree on the wording as it is now then.

MANCUSO: Fair enough.

GALLOWAY: How does the word "adopt" work here?

STAHL: "Adopt" is the term of art for that. The one problem with it is that I found one definition that it requires a vote, which I don't think contextualizes to nuclear policy.

GALLOWAY: I worry this is how we get into trouble, adding a lot of words at the end of the meeting. "Use" might easily mean "role," according to our paper.

ARNETT: What are all the new words?

GALLOWAY: use, adopt, implement, ending the production of fissile material -- I'm not even sure that's what the FMCT does from my research last night

STAHL: I looked it up. I didn't just make this up.

GALLOWAY: I respect all you've done. I want to have a list topic, but I've seen this happen.

STAHL: The "fissile material cutoff treaty" is not a term of art b/c one doesn't exist yet... "the FMCT" refers to something that doesn't exist, and "a FMCT" doesn't necessarily mean something precise. an FMCT could include lots of different things

BAUSCHARD: I wonder if anyone thinks this topic might be a little too big, and since there are some words we aren't sure of, would it hurt to take something out of there, especially something with wording problems? Like FMCT, you can always read the CP.

STAHL: I'd be fine w/ taking FMCT out.

BAUSCHARD: Yesterday, people talked about how that included nuclear energy and reactors.

KUSWA: FMCT might not even be consistent w/ the stem, b/c it might not be part of posture.

ATCHISON: Taking it out of the topic doesn't remove it from our discussions -- happening now, it's a DA, there ya go.

STAHL: Are we going to take FMCT out?

STABLES: We need to be comfortable w/ every option on the ballot. Is this two versions, one w/o it? Or one version w/o it?

STAHL: Ryan seems to believe that if we leave it in, much more wording work is required.

MANCUSO: I think that "a fissile material cutoff treaty" would fix it. Some of our problems are of our own creation by being too specific. The aff would have to negotiate something that has been considered an FMCT. There may be some variations, which I don't know enough about. I think it is a term of art. You would agree, Ryan, with that phrasing?

GALLOWAY: Yes. One of the reasons I am more comfortable w/ that. I would be happy as the neg reading this card trying to define the FMCT process and say the aff doesn't do all these elements.

STABLES: With that adjustment...

KUSWA: Jarrod makes the good point it will still be a negative position.

STABLES: Are we now talking about two lists? Dave and Greta mentioned multiple lists.

ATCHISON: In order to answer that, can we have a 30 sec debate among people who have researched it as to what we gain by having this in the topic?

STABLES: The literature says it would be the one multilateral forum. It's been the hotbed of int'l movement towards the NPT Review. That working group has the most to do moving forward. This gets us into the non-weaponized components, which may be too broad.

ATCHISON: Sounds like one of the best topic-specific DAs... coming down the pipe.

MANCUSO: Obama is pursuing it. It sounds like the status quo.

LACY: The aff would have to substantially change Obama's position.

MANCUSO: If you haven't been reading the papers the last two or three days, you might not realize how strong Obama's stance is.

ATCHISON: It has a chance to solve the aff if it passes. That's a good DA.

BROSSMAN: THe US has been pursuing FMCT for 12 years, and China and Russia were holding it up.

ARNETT: It's clear that Obama is going to push it, but it's not at all clear the Congress is going to pass it. That would be a substantial change in our posture. There's a good chance it will be inherent.

DAVIS: I will say that it's at the core of the verifiability debate.

MANCUSO: My hesitation with two options is that if this is the only difference, it seems hardly substantial enough to put both on the ballot. Part of my interest there is reducing the confusion of what people understand as the differences.

BROSSMAN: It takes the topic in some very different ways. I think if you put them both on the ballot, it seems like a significant difference. Speaking as one, it would have an impact on how we voted.

STABLES: I think that's a meaningful choice.

MANCUSO: As the day goes on, we're going to have a lot of tough decisions, but we need to have a presumption against dividing topics or we'll end up w/ 10. Maybe this is one we should.

KUSWA: I'll say take it off. Can we vote on this?

[Removing FMCT from the list passes]

STABLES: So we need to tackle high alert status.

STAHL: I just looked over what Antonucci said. He thinks we should use the term of art "de-alert."

STABLES: Well, it's politicized. Blair says it means one thing, and others refuse to agree to that interpretation. We can return to that after a small break -- what else do we need to tackle in a few minutes off?

STAHL: Galloway seems worried about "adopt" and "implement" and "use."

STABLES: I'm not as familiar, I'll be honest. What risks does "use" open?

KUSWA: It's like the high school topic. "Use" could be a very broad category.

GALLOWAY: Looking at this definition of "declaratory policy," I am very worried about "adopt."

STAHL: I realize there is a definition of "adopt" as a vote. Words have many definitions. There is no context in declaratory policy for using "adopt" as Congress. "Adopt" is the word used in the literature.

GALLOWAY: I haven't seen any document to that effect.

MORRIS: A Google search demonstrates "adopt declaratory policy" is in very common use.

GALLOWAY: I don't know what the purpose of the new declaratory policy wording is.

STAHL: "Universal NFU" was not the wording yesterday, and it was not what the committee seemed to want.

STABLES: We can further resolve the issue of the agent to avoid the enact problem. What other kind of affirmatives are topical under a broad definition of "use"?

GALLOWAY: I think it risks writing in the entirety of my and Kevin's topic as a subset. I think "use" means "role and mission." Perhaps it is limited by "declaratory policy," but I still haven't been told what that phrase means.

ATCHISON: If "declaratory policy" controls what has to be reduced..

GALLOWAY: Does it?

MANCUSO: I 90% agree w/ Ryan. This would essentially allow public statements about the entirety of topic #2.

STAHL: I think the neg can win that "adopt" requires implementation.

LACY: Is "adopt a universal no first use pledge" an acceptable alternative?

GALLOWAY: Gordon and I opposed that b/c the neg will rip it apart w/ their CPs.

STABLES: I don't know anyone who likes the narrow version.

ARNETT: Do you want to change this wording?

GALLOWAY: A claim has been made multiple times that this topic is narrow.

LACY: How do we reduce it?

GALLOWAY: I'd need to do some work.

STAHL: Unlike the HS topic, the neg would win T debates b/c the aff can't say there are no affs under a limited interpretation.

ARNETT: To deal w/ Greta's concern that "a no first use pledge" is universal, I have this card distinguishing between blanket and precise.

GRETA: My concern is that in the T debate, it'll be interpreted as universal and say limits.

ARNETT: They can maybe say "substantial" means that, but I don't think they can say NFU alone.

STABLES: "pledge" vs. "policy"? I'm doing a little on that

ARNETT: Also, does this allow conditional pledges?

[some people think it might]

MANCUSO: or you could say "ban on the first use of nuclear weapons"?

LACY: "a ban on the first use of nuclear weapons" might be less universal.

LACY, LEE, and OTHERS worry about the "ban" wording.

ARNETT: Before we move away from the "a no first use pledge" wording, let's have someone mount a case against the Iran and other affs.

SMITH: You all are relying on substantial to do some heavy lifting.

MANCUSO: What was wrong w/ the phrase “ban the first use of nuclear weapons”?

ATCHISON: The literature says “no first use.”

STAHL: It’s universal.

STABLES: Dave, I’m not opposed to your idea of “a no first use policy.”

ARNETT: It’s Ed’s, but I like it too.

LACY: “Pledge” makes it declaratory. “Policy” might be internal. I think.

SMITH: Yeah.

STABLES: Does "pledge" allow something less than the actual policy of the United States?

MANCUSO: Can I take a step back and say I prefer the wording Greta has in there this morning, even if it's broader? There would be viable T debates about broad and narrow meanings of the word "use." If the objection w/ it is that it basically imports the other topic, I think it might, but I also think that Greta's card, the 4 categories card, gives the neg a leg to stand on. I think we need to not try to word this NFU part right here right now. Someone needs to do an hour's work on this.

[straw poll of the committee on original wording or NFU wording]

GRETA: If people are so worried about "adopt" meaning a vote, we can may be change it.

MANCUSO: I'm with Greta. The literature is replete with "adopt" a NFU pledge.

STABLES: Tell Hardy the aff isn't locked into Congress. [Hey, Aaron! Hope you're doing well.]

Ok, de-alert.

SMITH: Are our weapons on high alert status now?

MANCUSO: There's literature in opposition to "rapid-launch."

STAHL: "Decrease the operational status of nuclear weapon systems" appears in a U.N. report on de-alert

STABLES: Does going to the narrower definition lend itself to the smaller de-alert affs? I want to make sure we do large decreases in operational status.

LACY: The broader you make this category, the more the aff has to do to be substantial.

SMITH: Greta, can you paste in that whole U.N. statement?


STABLES: "Operational status" seems to differentiate the core de-alerting affs from the others.

STAHL: So put in the phrase "decrease the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems" from this U.N. document?

FITZMIER: Doesn't "systems" allow for subs and the like?

MANCUSO: This [document, I didn't catch what exactly] also uses the "rapid-launch" phrase.

BELLON: I think you're stuck in a bad position here, b/c there is literature saying we've never been on alert 4 times ever. The more you do "systems" the more you allow.

STAHL: The language they used at the NPT Review Conference was concretely reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons systems. One way you de-alert them is to change the nuclear silos.

LACY: I don't think you necessarily need systems. You can't shoot the bomb until you open the hatch. The weapon is not ready until the hatch is open.

STAHL: I don't follow.

KUSWA: "Systems" is one of the largest. It's basically like "complex."

BROVERO: The DoD definition of "nuclear weapons system" is the weapon and facilities, personnel, transport, maintenance, [list goes on, I lost it, but you get the idea].

STABLES: Can they do it if they address just the weapons?

KUSWA: Yes, there are broad enough definitions.

LACY: Not all systems are weapons, but discussing the weapons involves the absolutely intrinsically related elements of the systems.

HESTER: If the whole point of this resolution is to be a smaller topic, why is changing how fast we fire them necessary? Why is de-alert such important ground?

STAHL: We want to access to good affs. De-alert is one of the stronger ones.

HESTER: Some would say that about CTBT. If the aff has the choice of number of weapons, declaratory policy, etc., what does de-alert bring to the table except avoidance of those other debates? What is so great about de-alert debates? And you can't find a phrase that limits it to what you want it to. Why is it necessary?

FITZMIER: It's not b/c it's a good aff; it's b/c it's a good debate, right?

HESTER: Is it?

STABLES: No one takes Blair seriously, which I think makes it a bad aff. It's not uncommon for opponents to avoid direct engagement w/ Blair, just ignoring his fundamental premise about alert status.

ARNETT: We have a lot to cover. Let's vote on de-alert in or out.

[5 committee members give de-alert a majority]

ATCHISON: As JP was kinda saying, can someone shut down scientists or a train or whatever, b/c w/o them, the weapons are less ready?

STAHL: Maybe.

KUSWA: The word "arsenal" might help that. It's a little smaller than systems.

STAHL: If the goal of your aff is to make nuclear weapons not operationally ready, the neg will have ground, whether you do it by firing scientists or de-alerting.

MANCUSO: Unless there's a weird advantage ...

ATCHISON: Yeah, like a nuclear accidents ban-the-railroads aff.

LACY: ...going for "substantial."

MANCUSO: There's a chance that the word "operational" limits that. I have no idea what "operational" means. It's in there for something. I guess, I assume.

STABLES: All those in favor of using the last phrase "substantially reducing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons" as a replacement?

[it passes]

LACY: There are bullets instead of commas.

STAHL: We've used them before.

LACY: Do we want "include"?

["including" gets replaced by "at least"]

[the committee now realizes that plank 2 is bidirectional and adds a comma]

[Mancuso moves to add "reduce" to plank 2 to avoid plans that restrict use in hypothetical situations]

KEENAN: I don't know about "restrict the use."

STAHL: We need the word "its" in there.

FITZMIER: Can someone say the argument for "restrict and reduce" again?

MANCUSO: Some definitions of "reduce" say "not allow an increase"?

FITZMIER: What about just reduce?

MANCUSO: "Restrict" gives a binding legal sense to it. "Restrict" can be effectual. It's kinda a weak one-two punch that adds up.

KUSWA: That new version of plan #2 looks good.

STABLES: Any other questions about approach #3 other than the relevant cross-applications from other resolutions?


MANCUSO: Let's look at #4 next since they're very similar.

STAHL: Can we look to 1 and 2 first, since they lend elements to 3 and 4?

MANCUSO: My problems w/ 4 are conceptual, not wording, b/c it's not bigger or smaller. It's just different.

LACY: If it's supposed to be open-ended, they should be bigger?

STAHL: We're just not sure if that's good across the board.

MANCUSO: The only way it's smaller is Russia.

STAHL: I think 3 and 4 are so similar we may not need both on the ballot.

STABLES: What are the differences?

KUSWA: A much larger multilateral area, and we don't know all the treaties available.

BROSSMAN: What about swapping the Russia wordings?

ARNETT: If there is a difference, I'm not sure both Russia wordings can be good.

STAHL: I think the one in 3 allows affs to discuss cuts and more.

ARNETT: And I think that's necessary to get any aff to work.

STABLES: Could the aff claim additional negotiation issues under the phrasing in #4?

SMITH: It seems as if they could use them as bargaining chips, but maybe they couldn't be in this final agreement.

MANCUSO: Your version in #3 seems very broad.

STAHL: I'm ok w/ that since it must always include deep reductions.

STABLES: Plus, changing status quo means that deep cuts plus is good second semester material.

SMITH: There are sizable differences, stem, multilateral, FMCT.

STAHL: Can I hear an argument for a bunch of multilateral agreements we aren't even sure of?

STABLES: Is "extant" the limit?

SMITH: Yeah, it is a limit, isn't it?

STAHL: Yes, I'm just worried we haven't vetted the ground on both sides.

MANCUSO: On one hand, we don't know what the core neg ground is for some of these treaties. On the other hand, there are people who don't want the topic committee to sit here and predict every aff today.

SMITH: The agreements that exist on nuclear disarm have the core neg ground that the US needs to maintain a robust nuclear presence. There's a reason in the status quo we haven't done this stuff. The neg has so much ground. You could give the aff Utopia as their aff, and the neg would win 40% of their debates.

[Ross and Lacy argue for a while]

ATCHISON: Greta mentioned that Andrea cut some cards on other extant treaties.

REED: There's a space treaty and [another disarmament treaty, didn't get the name].

MANCUSO: The philosophical point of including a more open-ended list is that we don't have the answers to all these questions for us.

ATCHISON: I think that we can get rid of #4 b/c Gordon's is going to establish multilateral.

STAHL: There is considerable aff flexibility in #3, in every plank except CTBT.

[afternoon meeting opens w/ topic #1]

STABLES: I think the limiting function is against things that are small relative to the squo, even if substantially hasn't had the clearest meaning.

LOWRY: We talked about whether or not to include the Article VI phrasing in the topic. We said it was best not to; it seemed redundant from a literature standpoint. We didn't want to force the aff to defend the NPT, especially K affs that don't want to defend the system. We could have two wordings, one which includes Article VI and one which does not.

STABLES: I don't think there's a meaningful substantive difference between the two, in terms of what affs are allowed and what affs are not. I think it could be bad for the aff to have an explicit reference to the NPT, and it does nothing for the neg.

ARNETT: I mean you're not going to put it in your plan.

STAHL: I'm not sure anyone has presented a reason to specify.

LACY: Tell me if I'm wrong. You don't want the aff bound by the entire NPT. Is using Article VI wording worse?

STABLES: I think so, since it introduces "good faith" and other wording. There is a question as to whether the 13 steps are Article VI commitments or implementation measures.

GONZO: My concern is just that they could do Atoms For Peace or other parts of the NPT.

STAHL: Neg will win that T debate.

GALLOWAY: It's not nuclear weapons posture.

KUSWA: Could someone win that our commitments are vacuous now?

STABLES: We have discussed the Bush argument that we are not obligated, but the legal consensus seems to be that we are obligated.

KUSWA: So if Obama changed his mind and decided we did not have commitments, what do we have in the second semester?

GALLOWAY: Even if Obama totally loses his mind, the neg can win that we have actual legal commitments.

SMITH: You took the NPT out b/c you're afraid people will put it in their plan?

STABLES: We were afraid affs would get assailed for their connection to the NPT.

SMITH: Is there another reason?

STABLES: Yes, Article VI, 13 steps, are they synonymous, are they not?

SMITH: Are you saying that being vaguer by saying "disarm commitments" actually is broader for the aff b/c it allows stuff in the 13 steps which aren't in Article VI explicitly?

STABLES: I think it avoids the possibility of confusion.

SMITH: Does it make it broader?

STABLES: It avoids a terrible T debate in which someone presents Bush's argument that Article VI doesn't say how comply.

SMITH: I have no understanding of the relevance of evidence saying Article VI does not have a means of compliance. Of course it doesn't, but the topic provides one by changing nuclear posture.

STABLES: There's a peace of evidence from the Bush lawyers that the 13 steps don't represent the Article VI commitment.

SMITH: That makes no sense at all as an argument in a debate round. If I read evidence that Bush said the 13 steps don't fulfill our commitments, are you saying that would be neg evidence against an aff that did something in the 13 steps?

STABLES: Yes. That's a T argument that this omits.

SMITH: What evidence is there that there are obligations outside of Article VI?

STABLES: If the 13 steps are outside of Article VI...

SMITH: My concern is that there are other commitments.

STABLES: If we discovered new extant commitments, how does that affect the topic? Conceding one exists, it would have no impact, b/c they all have to go through the NPT.

SMITH: It's maybe broader. And Article VI explicitly allows for negotiation.

STABLES: I just think there's a risk that people will read this bad T violation against the 13 steps. Do you think there's a greater negotiating ability w/ Article VI?


HESTER: Don't you think the aff could say Article VI is a clear commitment and includes negotiation?

SMITH: Alright. That's a good point.

FITZMIER: Do de-alerting and the like fulfill disarmament commitments?

GALLOWAY: According to the 13 steps.

STAHL: This is what this topic is. This is what we decided what it is.

HESTER: I think it's not perfectly clear what's in or out, but I agree w/ Greta that this is what this topic is. I would consider moving "substantial" to the commitment.

STABLES: There is some contextual evidence about "substantial changes to the nuclear posture." What limiting function exists is the difference between the status quo and the plan.

STAHL: Let's vote on this topic and moving on.

STABLES: All in favor of adding topic #1 to the ballot.

[most or all of the committee]

[on to topic #2]

GALLOWAY: We developed three ways of looking at this, pending Josh Hoe's commentary from yesterday and mission/role/size.

What is topical? It questionably includes FMCT. Having that debate might not be bad; it is certainly not ironclad for the aff.

"reduce"/"restrict": Thornton refers to START I -- the US and Soviet Union moved to "reduce and restrict." The size of the arsenal and the binding nature of it are both there. It is in the arms control literature, and it is close to a term of art. The addition of "restrict" was very strong in this capacity. It forces a binding cap on the aff to some degree, and "reduce" stops us from freezing the status quo.

Ed Lee was the man, as always, in suggesting "international" instead of "bilateral and multilateral." See why those terms are inadequate on pgs 7,8,9, maybe more. "International negotiations" is used. Whether we want to include that is different from whether we can. Josh Hoe wrote in to say we should have a unilateral topic.

Kevin e-mailed me some cards, saying "initiatives" is better than "policies." Policies are often larger, and initiatives often take the action. "Initiatives" also allows debate about Russia and China; reciprocal cuts are initiatives. "Policies" might prohibit small specific necessary actions.

Why different from other resolutions?

1. It restricts. Not substantial change.

2. You have to reduce. Substantial change may not require that.

3. "Mission" and "role" create great T defenses from the FAS document or Kevin's 10 items card.

4. It does not necessarily allow FMCT.

5. People may like the cases of this topic more. Posture debates can be esoteric and separate from the public, unlike debates about deterrence and role.

We are only looking for one ballot option.

KUSWA: We don't need the last clause on international negotiations. It's pretty clear from "role" and "mission" evidence that negotiation is included. To restrict "role" and "mission" allows that.

We wanted to maintain choice regarding role and mission. I feel strongly that role is better than mission, but I would be very happy with a topic that only dealt with missions.

I prefer 2.1A but have a feeling we will go with 2.1B.

FITZMIER: I have a question about "reduce and restrict." I think it poses counterplan difficulties for the aff. Nasty PICs come out of affs that can be solved by reduction and an additional mission competes against restrict.

GALLOWAY: It may compete, but I don't know if it solves the case.

LACY: I don't know if you can fix it by "reduce and/or restrict."

SOMEONE: That goes back to the only restrict issue.

GONZO: As I understand it, reductions in the past have only meant that warheads be downloaded from the weapons into a nuclear hedge or something similar. The neg could hedge warheads like normal, and it competes against restriction.

GALLOWAY: I disagree with the point that we have always done it. I don't know when we've done it w/o reduction and restriction, reading our evidence about START I.

There are two different arguments. If restrict is not in here, the problem is that my aff can build up conventional weapons or the RRW. That may be a bit of a pick-a-poison thing. There seemed to be a growing consensus that increase conventional weapons is not in the topic.

STAHL: Is restrict in there for the role part or for the size part as well?

GALLOWAY: Both I think, but we could entertain that notion.

LACY: Can we go through the checklist and see which must reduce and restrict?

FITZMIER: Take unilateral cuts. What's the aff's defense against reduction?

KUSWA: You're just talking about the size part? First of all, there's an earlier problem that if you only reduce the size, you could mean the size of the weapons, thus the word "arsenal." An aff that only deals with the size part can say the words are synonymous.

SMITH: I thought restrict started w/ Steve's point that it got some legally binding value.

STAHL: I'm not sure how you can reduce the size of the arsenal and have it play out that way.

SMITH: Does restrict cap the role? If I add a role to shoot asteroids out of the sky, that competes? I discover lots of new roles; does the aff have to cap the number of roles?

GALLOWAY: My answer begs my understanding of CTBT. CTBT allows testing for the purposes you define. How can a treaty that legally binds testing not restrict?

LACY: Like the energy topic, a cap could be dangerous.

GALLOWAY: I am concerned about the idea, especially with role, that restrict is not in there. I am worried about RRW and conventional weapons reducing the role of nuclear weapons.

ATCHISON: Is the following aff T: Drastic cuts that lead to new bunker busters? Have I restricted the arsenal?

GALLOWAY: I see 2 questions here. First, could you decrease the size of our arsenal and lead to better weapons? You could claim that as an aff. I can't see why you couldn't.

Second, I think you do have to have a legal restriction on the size of the arsenal. The way it's written right now, I think that's true.

LACY: Aff says we meet, reduce and restrict missions. Neg says CP new mission to nuke the moon.

GALLOWAY: The cap in terms of role might be less than the cap in terms of this. We have restricted the missions that currently exist...

LACY: The 2AC starts with "we meet restrict missions"...

MANCUSO: If the plan said ban counterforce missions, I don't think they have to ban all missions. If you want to CP w/ a new counterforce mission, go ahead. But if you come up w/ a new countervalue mission, I don't think the aff has to cap globally.

STAHL: Is there a downside to splitting it up? Some of us seem to have concerns about reduce and restrict size and perhaps lesser concerns about role.

GALLOWAY: I'm moving towards that friendly amendment.

STAHL: I'm not sure an aff that spurs new weapons is not T b/c it does not restrict size. I have no problem w/ the effects of deep cuts affs that spur weapons.

SMITH: Here's the problem. You have to reduce the size and cap the arsenal, the whole thing. Secondly, it's reduce and restrict the missions, which either means you have to do at least 2 or it means the set. If we took out missions, it's reduce and restrict the role, that there's this one role that you have to restrict, which makes any CP that adds to that compete.

GALLOWAY: Does this solve your concern? Reduce and restrict a role? One of the concerns about missions and role is that one is plural and one is singular.

MANCUSO: I disagree with the idea that restricting one part of it restricts the whole thing. If I said, we're not going to shoot any missiles at Asia.

STAHL: If the wording was we have to reduce the number of targets...

MANCUSO: I see what you're saying about size.

LACY: If the topic says reduce the colors in the box, you still have a box of 64.

GALLOWAY: I'd like to move on the issue of removing restrict when it refers to size.

STABLES: Using which as a starting point?


MANCUSO: We're not using missions?

GONZO: I have two questions. One, Ryan, is there an explicit reason for making missions plural and role singular?

[Galloway says roughly that role = deterrence and missions = the things they do]

KUSWA: The evidence on missions from the FAS talks about individualized missions. Role is singular b/c the evidence is talking about overarching role, and the question is whether your change is substantial compared to THE role. I think it would be even better if we made a choice between role and missions. Size we keep and has been addressed by using reduce.

GONZO: I worry if we define a singular role, restrict it implies a cap. There's a difference between restricting as a cap when you're talking about a mass noun.

HESTER: The cap analogy fails b/c the role is not quantifiable. If I restrict the role from first striking, you have CP competition on first striking alone.

GONZO: But a T argument against your failure to restrict THE role.

MANCUSO: As the proponent of missions, I'd like to say that this is the exact problem w/ role. It would sabotage this topic in my opinion if you just have role in there, b/c you can't restrict a singular role by getting rid of first strike. Deterrence would still be the overriding role. If the solution is make roles plural, then it means missions! That's what I've been saying all along. If this topic gets changed so that it only says role, it will become all about the size portion. No one will ever win they're T under role. The virtue of the compromise of including all three was that it was a compromise and didn't require this re-litigation. This boogeyman of the Minsk/Smolensk whatever is completely made up. No one has come up w/ a single card for that. I feel strongly that missions or roles plural needs to be in there, but if you think roles solves the problem you have with missions, you're wrong.

I hope we have time for making this a solely unilateral topic.

STABLES: So it's now a question of roles or missions or both?

[nods around the room]

KEENAN: If I pass an amendment restricting the role of the CEDA President from hosting the CEDA tournament or one restricting roles of the CEDA President from hosting the tournament, hosting the topic meeting, etc., what's the difference?

MANCUSO: In the plural sense, those are the missions of the CEDA President. So if you wanna put roles in there, ok, but you're not getting rid of the boogeyman of singular mission affs. Plus, roles plural will get neg args that roles mean things like "deterrence and assurance," which is bad for the aff especially when you want to link turn the DAs.

KEENAN: I still think it's a collective noun.

STABLES: Role, missions, or both?

KEENAN: You can't REDUCE a singular role.

STAHL: There is evidence talking about "reducing the role."

KUSWA: Tons.

HESTER: All the weapons have the same role of deterrence but done in different ways. If you restrict that role from going to submarines, it's restricted from THAT task. Even plural roles stays generally broad, I think, unlike missions.

MANCUSO: If roles are pluralized, how do you restrict them from small things like Smolensk? At least with missions, when they read their deterrence link turns, the neg says you're no longer topical.

HESTER: Not all deterrence is the same. They mean US deterrence, not necessarily nuclear deterrence.

STABLES: Are we gonna try this again? Three options.

[A vote occurs -- no option gets a majority]

[vote again, the option for both roles and missions wins]

MANCUSO: We got feedback from Josh Hoe that the committee is not very sensitive to the issues of negative ground on int'l negotiation. The topic paper authors didn't say much about the neg ground on int'l action. Do we want to present an option on the ballot that is closer to the topic paper and gives them just unilateral action?

STAHL: I think Josh's understanding is a misreading of the topic paper. At one point it even promises the Russia topic paper w/o the baggage.

MANCUSO: I can't disagree with that. What's the generic neg ground?

STAHL: You still get the deterrence DA.

GONZO: You still get the deterrence DA. The other really important thing is that if there is insufficient neg ground against int'l affs, that simply means there is no aff ground against int'l neg CPs. Some of the best arguments on treaties were Russia cheats, etc. We should give this ground back to the affirmative.

STABLES: Article after article in the topic paper speaks to bilateral and multilateral possibilities.

ARNETT: I think the T argument I talked about w/ topic #1 is much stronger here. I don't know how negotiating something restricts the role and/or mission?

HESTER: By entering a negotiation where other countries will have a say, that does restrict our arsenal. Some types of negotiation would be topical and some wouldn't. Ultimately the aff would be bound to be doing something; they get to say unilateral sucks.

SMITH: If you don't get to have some involvement w/ other countries, the whole tactical issue w/ NATO, toss that out...

KUSWA: Look at the list of 10 items; they call for negotiations.

I know you are busy, I actually like the topics better and better, sorry to bother

Even if you are right that the topic paper was full of multilateral options - it did literally name check a mutilateral negotiations as CP ground.

Even if Greta is right that you "still get the Deterrence" debate (and Greta is usually right for sure)..It doesn't change the fact that the link debate is MUCH better for the AFF in a world where the AFF gets to do the aff in a multilateral fashion. The best links say "the US should not make unilateral cuts/change posture." In previous years we have allowed the AFF to jumpstart the international action (I am not talking about the CP as much as the DA).

Finally, the question of why good ground for the Aff means good ground for the neg wasn't really answered in light of a few examples I gave (literature bias aff and same direction as the sq).

Thanks for the time, and as always great work,


STABLES: Are there other questions about approach 2?

SMITH: I thought you didn't want a unilateral one? Is there int'l language in there?

ATCHISON: I also have that question.

ARNETT: I will say if you add multilateral, it helps the aff, but I don't know...

SMITH: It doesn't hurt to make your 9-0 explicit.

STAHL: I don't know if it fully rectifies the concern. I think Arnett's concern as stated related to restriction is that int'l stuff is not an on face a restriction. Saying through unilateral or international means would not fix the restriction.

LACY: That still applies more to the topic as written.

ARNETT: Why not allow the debate?

MANCUSO: That's a compromise.

ARNETT: Why is the debate bad?

SMITH: Because allowing the aff to be int'l is good. The aff shouldn't be stuck w/ unilateral. So creating debates to undo that is bad. We should be debating about what we want to be debating about.

KUSWA: The T debate will be better than that -- what kind of multilateral action? Tacking it on doesn't solve...

SMITH: You're right. It's partial solvency. In one debate, the aff can say the topic specifically authorizes int'l. In another, they can't.

ARNETT: Adding int'l explicitly has the aff at freedom. Adding multilateralism gives them some ground.

SMITH: They worked long and hard on the wording and came up w/ "international initiatives." People are gonna say, hey, this middle one doesn't say you can do negotiate. It says the USFG should restrict, not some int'l agreement should restrict.

MANCUSO: Of course, size only need be reduced. Plenty of the international policies are size-related.

BELLON: I think this problem is just as possible w/ the explicit element. Even entering into an agreement might be an on-face reduction. If that's true, the explicit part isn't necessary. If it isn't, the explicit part runs into all the trouble of the list topic.

SMITH: Maybe we all agree that since the topic doesn't say how you reduce, you're allowed to reduce through either. Greta is very good at arguing that our community tends to vote in practical T debates for the more limiting interpretation, time after time, and so people will say there's more than one way to read this. Yes, it could be read as multilateral, but it's narrower if it's only unilateral, so that should be the controlling interpretation.

ARNETT: Let me make an argument for democracy. Let the debates happen b/c if the community really wants int'l, that's how it'll be interpreted.

GONZO: Let me make an argument against democracy. It breaks down over time, given the way that topicality plays out.

KUSWA: The words still matter. We've had all these debates about role and mission, and they can be defined to benefit the community.

BELLON: If that is your concern, remember that whatever words we add on to the topic will have the same problem. If you chose to do int'l, you risk being stuck w/ what your partner says.

MANCUSO: If put int'l at the end, it will control how it's interpreted. What else could they have possibly meant?

STAHL: I think would be true except that you can prove that there are int'l cases which are restrictions. If you think the CTBT reduces the role the nuclear weapons, I don't think the wording at the end would make any difference.

ARNETT: I agree 100%. In the small direction it might make a difference, I think it should go neg b/c a lot of people want to have those debates.

[motion to add the phrase fails 6-3]

MANCUSO: Do we think we need "its nuclear weapons arsenal" in there twice?

STAHL: I think it reads more clearly.

MANCUSO: I'm not sure. It seems ignorant to me.

STAHL: I think removing it creates ambiguity about the verbs.

MANCUSO: Yeah, that's a substantive concern.

[topic #2 passes]

after substance-neutral grammatical edits, topic #3 is up for review on google docs

STABLES: Vote on this slate of 3 topics on the google document.

[passes unanimously]

STABLES: Thanks to the committee for all your work. You only get recognized when things go wrong. I don’t do the page counts, but it’s been a tremendous amount of work, and it’s so appreciated. Thanks especially to Ryan and Greta who are cycling off the committee in the next few months. Does anyone want my job? Because I’m happy to do it but I’m also happy to give it up if anyone wants me out.


GALLOWAY: Big thanks to Gordon, who puts up w/ a lot and does an incredible amount of work.