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Introduction to Public Forum Debate. Myers Park Tutorial 2013. Different types of debate: what suits you?. Different types of resolution: Fact, Value, Policy Resolved: Today is Monday. Resolved: US is a more important subject than world history.

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introduction to public forum debate

Introduction to Public Forum Debate

Myers Park Tutorial 2013

different types of debate what suits you
Different types of debate: what suits you?
  • Different types of resolution: Fact, Value, Policy
  • Resolved: Today is Monday.
  • Resolved: US is a more important subject than world history.
  • Resolved: NC should require 2 years of history to graduate.
  • Formats differ: debate alone or with a partner?
  • Topics differ: a new topic(s) every tournament, a new topic every month, every two months, one topic for the entire year?
  • All research topic areas and develop speaking skills.
formats public forum debate
Formats: Public Forum Debate
  • Teams
  • Topic for competition changes every month
  • Switch sides
  • Decide on sides and speaking order with a flip of a coin
  • Speeches build on ideas: constructivesand answer the other team’s arguments: rebuttals
  • Flip the coin, will you pick sides? Will you pick speaking order? Whatever you decide, the other team gets to choose the other.
  • 4 minute constructive speech…pro
  • 4 minute constructive speech…con
  • 3 minutes CROSSFIRE – period for both debaters to ask and answer questions.
  • Let’s say you want to take some time to talk to your partner about how to address the opponent’s case, this is called prep time and you have a total of 2 minutes to use throughout the debate

4 minute rebuttal speech…pro

  • 4 minute rebuttal speech…con
  • 3 minutes of crossfire
  • 2 minute summary speech…pro
  • 2 minute summary speech…con
  • 3 minute GRAND crossfire
  • 2 minute final focus…pro
  • 2 minute final focus…con
what might be possible topics
What might be possible topics?
  • Timely and in the news
  • Important
  • Concrete
  • Domestic policy
  • Foreign policy
topic area for debate foreign affairs and nuclear weapons
Topic area for debate: foreign affairs and nuclear weapons
  • Decision 1945
hiroshima starts the debate
Hiroshima starts the debate
  • The only two uses of nuclear weapons in war to date.
  • Firebombing campaigns had destroyed many Japanese cities and America was preparing tor a costly invasion of Japan.
  • US calls for surrender of Japan in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945, threatening Japan with “prompt and utter destruction”.
  • Ignored, America dropped Little Boy on Hiroshima on August 6, followed by Fat Man over Nagasaki on August 9.
death toll
Death toll
  • Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki, with roughly half of the deaths in each city occurring on the first day. The Hiroshima prefecture health department estimated that, of the people who died on the day of the explosion, 60% died from flash or flame burns, 30% from falling debris and 10% from other causes. During the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries.
  • Although there was a sizeable military garrison in Hiroshima, most of the deaths were civilian.
  • On August 15 the Japanese announced surrender. America had plans for 7 more bombings.
  • Just War Doctrine says war is justified only if the cause is just, the force used is proportional, and the war is fought with discrimination.
  • "The fundamental issue that has divided scholars over a period of nearly four decades is whether the use of the bomb was necessary to achieve victory in the war in the Pacific on terms satisfactory to the United States.”, J. Samuel Walker
  • Prevent greater casualties on both sides with invasion
  • Did it end the war quicker?
  • Three Nuclear Principles forbids nuclear armament in Japan
nuclear weapons today
Nuclear Weapons today
  • Only nation not to sign the No First Use Agreement
  • Why do nations want nuclear weapons?
  • Believe more secure
  • Prestige with being a member of the nuclear club
  • Arms races with neighbors
  • To overcome conventional weakness
  • Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)
non state actors terrorism
Non-State Actors; Terrorism
  • Terrorism-actions intended to produce terror by nonstate entities by the potential acquisition of nuclear weapons.
  • State sponsored terrorism, obtain fissile material through loss, theft, or sale on blackmarket
  • “dirty bombs” seeded explosive or incendiary bombs that are technically radiological rather than nuclear weapons
diplomatic efforts
Diplomatic Efforts
  • Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, 1963
  • Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, NPT 1968.
  • 5 original nuclear-weapon states (US, Soviets, UK, France, China) can’t transfer nuclear weapons, other nuclear explosive devices, or their technology to any non-nuclear states.
  • Non-nuclear states who are parties undertake avoidance of acquisition or production of weapons or devices, in return for acquisition of nuclear technologies for peaceful activities (like energy). Must accept safeguards.
  • Iran, North Korea, Syria…
what to do the military option
What to do? The military option
  • More than a dozen occasions nonnuclear weapons states have been targeted with military force since 1941.
  • 1942 British commandos attacked a German occupied site in Norway
  • Iran-Iraq War and aftermath
  • 1991 Persian Gulf War US bombed numerous Iraqi nuclear facilities
  • Israeli bombings v Iraq and Syria
  • Planned by Egypt, India/Pakistan, Soviets v. South Africa, US v. China, international efforts to control North Korea and Iran

Two additional factors- First…

  • More likely to consider raids based on the likelihood of success. Weaker states will require allies, ex. African states don’t act, Soviets might v. South Africa.
  • The number of nuclear facilities the target possesses. Iraq and Syria only had single facilities that had not yet produced weapons. Iran has multiple facilities, not a single nuclear chokepoint.


  • The costs can deter a military option. Could the strike trigger a large scale war or produce other undesirable outcomes? Iran counter with attack on the Strait of Hormuz threatened core US politico-strategic interests.
  • Normative costs. International norm against use of force, Article 56 of Protocol I Additional to Geneva Conventions (1977) specifically prohibits targeting nuclear plants.
    • “As a military matter, the bombing mission would be straightforward. The Air Force could destroy the target, no sweat. But bombing a sovereign country with no warning or announced justification would create severe blowback.” George Bush memoir re Syrian nuclear development
  • CBWs are weapons that cause harm either with the toxicity of chemicals or the infectivity of diseases or biological agents that can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans and animals or the environment.
  • First modern weapon used on April 22 and 23, 1915. Cylinders of liquefied chlorine gas opened into the wind at Ypres in WW I.
  • Iraqi mustard and nerve gas in Kurdish town Halabja, March 16-18, 1988.
  • Syria today
international law
International Law
  • 1925 Geneva Protocol. Agreement not to use CBWs, No First Use model.
  • 1972 Biological Weapons Convention outlaws development, production and stockpiling of biological and toxin weapons. No enforcement.
  • 1977 EnMod Treaty- no environmental modification techniques
  • 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention- no development, production or stockpiling. DOES have enforcement
  • 2004 UNSC Resolution 1540- universalizing parts of conventions to non-state actors
biological weapons
Biological Weapons
  • During the Cold War the US and Soviet Union developed arsenals. In 1969 President Nixon announced that the US would unilaterally and unconditionally renounce biological weapons. He ordered the destruction of the entire US stockpile and conversation of all facilities to peaceful purposes.
  • BWC goes into force 1975 with 4 nations thought to have programs (US, Soviets, China, So Africa). By spring 2005, 169 signed but 7 suspected of research program ( China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, No. Korea, Russia, Syria).
  • Russia admitted in 1992 had not ended program.
  • Difficulty with weaponization and dissemination.
  • Anthrax scares but only 2 significant attacks: Japanese religious sect AumShrinrikyo try to weaponizebotulinum toxin but settle with chemical agent sarin for attacks in Tokyo subway in 1994 and 1995.
  • 1984 Dalles, Oregon, religious cult Rajneesh disseminated salmonella bacterium in 10 restaurants, infecting 750, but not deaths.



October 2001, letters sent to members of Congress and the media containing anthrax. No sophisticated dispersal mechanism. Killed 5, infected 18 others

  • Mass disruption, psychological implications, and billions in decontamination and prevention expenses.
  • The shift argument-deny nuclear weapons and rogue states will switch to cbws which may be worse.
september october topic
September/October Topic
  • Public Forum
  • R: Unilateral military force by the United States is justified to prevent nuclear proliferation. S/O
  • R: As a last resort, unilateral military force is justified to minimize nuclear weapons proliferation. BB
things to remember in any debate
Things to remember in any debate
  • You are debating the topic, it isn’t personal.
  • Decorum is important
  • Taking notes is necessary. Active listening is a crucial part of success in debate.