Monthly Archives: August 2010

Live From The Topic Committee Meeting: Final Topic List

The final list of topic candidates for the 2011-2012 season is as follows:

1. Cyber Warfare: The United States federal government should establish rules of engagement governing its use of cyber warfare.

2. Southeast Asia: The United States federal government should substantially increase its development assistance to Southeast Asia.

3. Space: The United States federal government should substantially increase its exploration and/or development of space beyond the Earth’s mesosphere.

4. India: The United States federal government should substantially increase its cooperation with India in one or more of the following areas: civilian space programs, nuclear proliferation, trade.

5. China: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic engagement with the People’s Republic of China on one or more of the following issues: trade, currency, environment.

This list will be voted on by schools throughout the country via the state and national debate organizations.

Live From The Topic Committee Meeting: Final Voting

The NFHS topic committee is meeting this morning to narrow down the list of eight working resolutions to the final five that will appear on the national ballot.

Update:

1. The Russia topic was voted out in the first ballot. There were 28 total ballots; each ballot ranked the top five topics. Russia received 8 votes; Urban Renewal finished seventh with 9 votes and so remains on the ballot.

2. The Urban Renewal topic was voted out on the second ballot. One more balloting will occur to eliminate another topic; the final five topics will appear on the national ballot.

3. The IMF/World Bank topic was voted out on the third ballot. It received 13 votes; the second-lowest vote recipient was Cyber Security with 17. The top vote getters were India (25/28), Southeast Asia (24), Space Policy (24), and China (22).

Three of the following topics will NOT make the cut:

Cyber Warfare: The United States federal government should establish rules of engagement governing its use of cyber warfare.

Southeast Asia: The United States federal government should substantially increase its development assistance to Southeast Asia.

Russia: The United States federal government should substantially increase its constructive engagement with the Russian Federation.

Space: The United States federal government should substantially increase its exploration and/or development of space beyond the Earth’s mesosphere.

India: The United States federal government should substantially increase its cooperation with India in one or more of the following areas: civilian space programs, nuclear proliferation, trade.

Urban Renewal: The United States federal government should substantially increase its urban renewal assistance in the United States.

IMF/World Bank: The International Monetary Fund and/or the World Bank should eliminate one or more economic policy conditions placed upon Highly Indebted Poor Countries.

China: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic engagement with the People’s Republic of China on one or more of the following issues: trade, currency, environment.

Discussion and advocacy of each topic is underway; voting will begin in the next hour or so. I will update this post as votes are taken and topics are eliminated.

Live From The Topic Committee Meeting: Working Topics

It is day two of the NFHS Topic Committee meeting in Deerfield, Illinois. There are eight working topics that were discussed yesterday in committee and that are being discussed by the entire group today. The complete working resolutions (still subject to change, so comments are encouraged) that have been discussed so far include:

Cyber Warfare: The United States federal government should establish rules of engagement governing its use of cyber warfare. Previous version: The United States federal government should increase anti-cyber warfare operations.

Southeast Asia: The United States federal government should substantially increase its development assistance to Southeast Asia.

Russia: The United States federal government should substantially increase its constructive engagement with the Russian Federation. Previous version: The United States federal government should substantially increase its constructive engagement with the Russian Federation on military security issues.

Space: The United States federal government should substantially increase its exploration and/or development of space beyond the Earth’s mesosphere.

India: The United States federal government should substantially increase its cooperation with India in one or more of the following areas: civilian space programs, nuclear proliferation, trade.

Urban Renewal: The United States federal government should substantially increase its urban renewal assistance in the United States.

IMF/World Bank: The International Monetary Fund and/or the World Bank should eliminate one or more economic policy conditions placed upon Highly Indebted Poor Countries.

China: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic engagement with the People’s Republic of China on one or more of the following issues: trade, currency, environment.

Do you have thoughts about any of these potential resolutions? Post a comment and I’ll bring it to the attention of the committee. In particular, it would be great if people who are familiar with doing “Word PIC research” would make sure that we do not repeat the “Sub-Saharan Africa” disaster (where the resolution included a term that did not have a defense against a critique of its usage).

Book by Horowitz

Mike Horowitz, a Prof at Penn but more importantly the person who found the Murray card, has a new book coming out with obvious utility for this topic.

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce the release of my first book, The Diffusion of Military Power: Causes and Consequences for International Politics.  It is now available for purchase at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and other places.  It is available in paperback, hardcover, and kindle editions.  Published by Princeton University Press, the book assesses the factors that drive the diffusion of new military innovations throughout the international system and the way these diffusion patterns shape international politics.  It covers historical cases such as battlefleet and carrier warfare, contemporary challenges such as nuclear weapons and suicide terrorism, and the way the information age may impact the future of warfare and American power.  As the press page states:

The Diffusion of Military Power
examines how the financial and organizational challenges of adopting new methods of fighting wars can influence the international balance of power. Michael Horowitz argues that a state or actor wishing to adopt a military innovation must possess both the financial resources to buy or build the technology and the internal organizational capacity to accommodate any necessary changes in recruiting, training, or operations. How countries react to new innovations–and to other actors that do or don’t adopt them–has profound implications for the global order and the likelihood of war.

Horowitz looks at some of the most important military innovations throughout history, including the advent of the all-big-gun steel battleship, the development of aircraft carriers and nuclear weapons, and the use of suicide terror by nonstate actors. He shows how expensive innovations can favor wealthier, more powerful countries, but also how those same states often stumble when facing organizationally complicated innovations. Innovations requiring major upheavals in doctrine and organization can disadvantage the wealthiest states due to their bureaucratic inflexibility and weight the balance of power toward smaller and more nimble actors, making conflict more likely. This book provides vital insights into military innovations and their impact on U.S. foreign policy, warfare, and the distribution of power in the international system.