topicality n.
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Topicality . With Ethan Ridings. How to run T. First: Interpretation . You should first offer your interpretation of the resolution Example Interp : Economic engagement does not include lifting embargoes- that’s an economic incentive

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With Ethan Ridings

first interpretation
First: Interpretation
  • You should first offer your interpretation of the resolution

Example Interp:

Economic engagement does not include lifting embargoes- that’s an economic incentive

Robert N. Haass, Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Brookings, 2000, Survival, Vol 42, no. 2, Summer, p. 114-5

Architects of engagement strategies can choose from a wide variety of incentives. Economic engagement might offer tangible incentives such as export credits, investment insurance or promotion, access to technology, loans or economic aid. Other equally usefuleconomic incentives involve the removal of penalties such as trade embargoes, investment bans or high tariffs, which have impeded economic relationsbetween the United States and the target country. Facilitated entry into the global economic arena and the institutions that govern it rank among the most potent incentives in today’s global market. Similarly, political engagement can involve the lure of diplomatic recognition, access to regional or international institutions, the scheduling of summits between leaders – or the termination of these benefits.

second violation
Second: Violation
  • The neg should then explain how the affirmative team violates the negatives interpretation.
  • Now lets pretend that we are the negative and we are facing an affirmative that is removing the embargo on Cuba. The negative should explain that “removing” the embargo isn't increasing economic engagement and that it is merely an economic incentive- ultimately violating the negs interp.
third standards
Third: Standards
  • Standards offer “reasons to prefer” the negative interpretation
  • Without standards, the affirmative could just bring up another definition saying how economic engagement can include embargos. Then it would just be meaningless debate.
    • Examples
      • Limitation
      • Field context definition
      • Fairness
      • Legal context definition
      • Grammar
forth voting issue
Forth: voting issue
  • The neg should then explain why topicality must be a voting issue, because without it, debate would be incredibly unfair to the negative. Negative teams should not have to be prepared to debate any issue the affirmative chooses to discuss. Indeed, the very reason why the framers choose specific resolutions and the reason the high school debate community voted to select one resolution was to frame the scope of every debate. If affirmative teams could select whatever plan about any issue they thought was relevant, it is impossible to imagine the negative team having adequate time to research and prepare strategies against the affirmative case and plan.
first we meet
First: We meet
  • The aff should be ready to explain before the speech WHY they meet the neg interpretation of the resolution.
second conter interp
Second: Conter-interp
  • The affirmative should have definitions of every single word in the resolution to be able to respond to any topicality argument.
  • For the example interpretation from the negative, the affirmative could respond that lifting embargos is considered economic engagement with this counter interpretation.

The plan is economic engagement

Dave Lindoff, 10-20-2008, "Dave Lindorff: How Much Longer Will the Cuba Embargo Last?," Truth-Out,, accessed 5-10-2013

If the oil starts flowing, how long will it be before the U.S. starts clamoring to buy it? How long will it be, for that matter, before U.S. oil companies start using their lobbying clout to get the U.S. embargo lifted,so they can get a chance to join the drilling party? After all, if the U.S. companies are kept out by vestigial anti-Communist ideology, the investment opportunities will be left wide open for European, Middle Eastern, and Venezuelan interests. For the long-suffering Cuban people, who have been forced to eke out a national economy virtually barred from the global marketplace, this oil find is an astonishingly lucky break, particularly coming at a time that existing oil reserves are beginning to run out, and that prices for crude are soaring. It's going to be fun to watch the rationalizations coming out of Washington, particularly from the hard Right, for whom Fidel Castro's Cuba has for several generations served as a prime bogeyman in the Cold War pantheon of villains. Just as Corporate America has since the 1970s been hypocritically singing the praises of Communist China, and has been justifying economic trade and investment with that nation on the grounds that "economic engagement" will bring democracy (all the while calling for a boycott of all things Cuban), we will soon be hearing such songs about virtues of economic engagement with Cuba.

third counter standards
Third: counter standards
  • The aff should also be prepared to offer counter standards. The affirmative should also make it clear how the neg is OVERLIMITING.