January Policy Digest

What a month for policy debate! Some debaters continue to debate space policy, an issue which has witnessed a rebirth after the Florida primaries. Others are moving on to next year’s transportation infrastructure topic. Whatever topic you debate, we have you covered!

Infrastructure will be the 2012-2013 Policy Debate topic

The NFHS released the resolution for 2012-2013, which reads:

Resolved: the United States federal government should substantially increase its transportation infrastructure investment in the United States.

Most debaters expressed displeasure following the topic announcement. That’s why we felt it was especially important to introduce exciting ideas and several NCPA briefs on the topic. We are also the only website posting free evidence on this topic. Start your research early by exploring issues ranging from the desirability of traffic to public opinion of transportation projects.

Clinton supports the Code of Conduct

In a move we forecasted to Debate Central readers in November, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that the U.S. plans to enter formal consultations and negotiations on a Code of Conduct for space. This is a game-changing announcement!

The news met mixed reviews. Proponents argue it will herald a new era of international cooperation and reduce the risk of miscalculation in space. Opponents argue that nations like China will independently drive a space race and that Clinton’s statement was just rhetoric.

China’s space program

We’ve written extensively about several recent events in China, including the launch of Tiangong-1 and the formation of the NSSC. The pace of Chinese space policy has been breathtaking.

These events have led many to theorize that China is taking up the mantle of space leadership. New developments, such as the construction of an alternative to the Global Positioning System (GPS), demonstrate that China is increasingly looking upward to determine their future.

More free evidence!

We’ve published free updates to several hot topics.

Hegemony: Christopher Layne, famous debate author and professor at Texas A & M, wrote a must-read update to his controversial thesis on American hegemony. He is joined in his pessimism by a recent survey of graduates from the Harvard Business School. In contrast, Brookings Senior Fellow Robert Kagan takes both to task, counseling against the belief in American decline.

Politics: Politics has been the most popular disadvantage on the topic. We break down the most popular agenda items while offering lots of free evidence to help defeat them. While space has been a hot topic in Florida primaries, don’t expect it to receive much national coverage.

Link uniqueness: A common affirmative answer to disadvantages has been to read “link uniqueness,” which argues that the U.S. is already making substantial investments in space. The recent budget cuts have led to a host of excellent evidence that makes this argument easier to defeat on the Negative.

Space taxis: We’ve written all year about the importance of building an American set of launch vehicles to the ISS. The only thing piling up faster than the delays in completing the project is the evidence noting the downsides to status quo policy.

Expert predictions: Debate is driven by the predictions made by academic experts. It is important to remember just how often these predictions fail.

–One final note: We’ve been very impressed by the blog entitled ‘Space Report’ and think you will be, too.

About Lauren Sabino

Lauren Sabino is the Director of Youth Programs at the National Center for Policy Analysis. She currently administrates Debate Central, the largest free online debate resource.
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