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chris the hobo

How to run/argue heg debates

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well, this has been my first year debating, and I have been to about a dozen tournaments, but one thing that I still don't understand is how to run/argue a heg advantage. I have only faced it twice, the first time with a varsity partner, and we got face-crushed, and the second time with my fellow novice partner. The second time, it was basically us just reading off impact cards, because we had no clue what we were doing. (we didn't really need a link card because one of their impacts was Heg good.)

 

We got owned that round too, although I had an ok answer in the 2NR, saying that they dropped solvency (judge didn't buy this), so they didn't solve, and although they no longer linked to our Heg bad thing, but also lost their only advantage. (I'm calling it a thing because it sucked so bad that it really couldn't be considered a DA.) Then all that stood was our Canada CP. (which also sucked)

Needless to say, I suck at Heg debates.

 

 

So, how do I argue heg debates. I have no clue, so any advice would be helpful.

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Hegemony is really just an impact (or an impact scenario leading into further impacts). When you've been running it, you've been doing so as an impact turn - aff claims to solve for heg and that heg is good, you say heg is bad. Technically it's just part of the case debate although a lot of people put it on an entirely different flow of the 1AC (i.e. the 1AC has khalilzad at the end, the 1NC does an entire flow of heg bad)

 

Certainly, you can just read off generic "heg causes conflict" cards, but it's better to be more nuanced than that. My basic heg bad 1NCs go heg is unsustainable (we can't be the hegemon forever), heg is bad (causes war, whatever), smooth transition now solves/is better than later. Christopher Layne writes a bunch of stuff on all those levels of the argument so finding those cards should be really easy. Just having a contest of who can read more impact scenarios isn't really smart when you can just pseudo-concede their impacts and just say that they'd be worse if we prolong heg.

 

Granted, I'm not the best heg-debater so some of the heg hacks can correct me.

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Hegemony is really just an impact (or an impact scenario leading into further impacts). When you've been running it, you've been doing so as an impact turn - aff claims to solve for heg and that heg is good, you say heg is bad. Technically it's just part of the case debate although a lot of people put it on an entirely different flow of the 1AC (i.e. the 1AC has khalilzad at the end, the 1NC does an entire flow of heg bad)

 

Certainly, you can just read off generic "heg causes conflict" cards, but it's better to be more nuanced than that. My basic heg bad 1NCs go heg is unsustainable (we can't be the hegemon forever), heg is bad (causes war, whatever), smooth transition now solves/is better than later. Christopher Layne writes a bunch of stuff on all those levels of the argument so finding those cards should be really easy. Just having a contest of who can read more impact scenarios isn't really smart when you can just pseudo-concede their impacts and just say that they'd be worse if we prolong heg.

 

Granted, I'm not the best heg-debater so some of the heg hacks can correct me.

 

Yeah I agree with a lot of those points. I think Heg debates can be very useful and sometimes necessary for the negative if the aff is Big Stick, aka solve heg a million different ways or otherwise far right. A textbook Heg debater will argue (on the aff) that a world of heg solves back your DAs, because conflicts will be suppressed in a world the US is a global hegemon.

 

To combat this, you need to prove heg in some aspect at least is bad, at these this is what most ppl mean in a heg debate. You should play some defense on heg, like heg high now (u/q claims), make specific hard/soft pwr bad arguments depending on what exactly the other team runs.

 

Heg advantages especially on this topic are one of the few advantages that give affs teeth against foreign actor CPs, ie. Canada CP which means your ability to generate offense on heg or even defense can help you capture case and outweigh easier with your DAs.

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I agree with basically everything that's been said. However, some deeper elucidation:

 

There are a couple of debates that are tied to the heg good/heg bad debates --

1) Unilateralism versus multilateralism: straight-forward. Some authors (Krauthammer, others) argue that we should act multilaterally only insofar as it advances American interests. Such authors are generally highly skeptical of international organizations, like the UN, and NATO, etc. They believe tying the US to these bodies' decisions constrains our ability to exercise power, and in turn, hamstrings unipolarity. These authors are closely associated with the New Right/neoconservatism. On the flipside are authors who believe that unipolarity is unsustainable without the support of the international community. They argue that disregarding the will of our allies cripples our ability to get their support for American interests. Both of these camps argue for American leadership.

2) Hard power versus soft power. Hard power is concrete power -- things like the strength of our military, the size of our economy, etc. This is the sort of thing authors like Ferguson and Khalilzad assume. On the other hand is soft power -- cultural appeal. The term was coined by Joseph Nye, and its usefulness as a concept is debated fairly frequently. Popular media, international reputation, cultural value -- all these things affect soft power. Good debaters will have a "soft power key to heg" card in their 1AC if they're claiming it as an advantage.

 

It's entirely possible to argue soft power bad/heg good in the same breath -- especially if you have evidence that the aff policy constrains hard power in some way. Hard on this topic, but common on others.

 

Hypothetical aff (or counterplan, or whatever): withdraw from Iraq. While it'd be hard to find anyone who argues that doing this wouldn't help our reputation abroad, doing so might affect our hard power in more subtle ways -- allowing Iran to increase its power, etc. Thus, there's a debate to be had in regards to hard power vs. soft power.

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On the other hand is soft power -- cultural appeal. The term was coined by Joseph Nye, and its usefulness as a concept is debated fairly frequently. Popular media, international reputation, cultural value -- all these things affect soft power. Good debaters will have a "soft power key to heg" card in their 1AC if they're claiming it as an advantage.

 

IF you're interested in soft power, go get Nye's new book. It's full of up to date scenarios and explanations. Highly recommend it

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Hegemony is really just an impact (or an impact scenario leading into further impacts). When you've been running it, you've been doing so as an impact turn - aff claims to solve for heg and that heg is good, you say heg is bad. Technically it's just part of the case debate although a lot of people put it on an entirely different flow of the 1AC (i.e. the 1AC has khalilzad at the end, the 1NC does an entire flow of heg bad)

 

Certainly, you can just read off generic "heg causes conflict" cards, but it's better to be more nuanced than that. My basic heg bad 1NCs go heg is unsustainable (we can't be the hegemon forever), heg is bad (causes war, whatever), smooth transition now solves/is better than later. Christopher Layne writes a bunch of stuff on all those levels of the argument so finding those cards should be really easy. Just having a contest of who can read more impact scenarios isn't really smart when you can just pseudo-concede their impacts and just say that they'd be worse if we prolong heg.

 

Granted, I'm not the best heg-debater so some of the heg hacks can correct me.

 

 

Heg unsustainable would be aff uniqueness.

Heg sustainable would be neg uniqueness takeouts.

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Heg unsustainable would be aff uniqueness.

Heg sustainable would be neg uniqueness takeouts.

 

That makes no sense. If heg is unsustainable, the aff doesn't solve since heg will inevitably collapse anyway.

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That makes no sense. If heg is unsustainable, the aff doesn't solve since heg will inevitably collapse anyway.

 

he probably meant in a more short term "the way things are going now" sense

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The best argument you can make if you are on the heg good side of the debate is heg inevitable.

 

The US will always try to assert its heg, making all of the heg bad arguments non-unique, and meaning that the only impacts in the round are the heg good cards. Unless you're facing an offshore balancing cp, in which case you really do have to get into it.

 

That's just the easy way to win on the heg good side.

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The best argument you can make if you are on the heg good side of the debate is heg inevitable.

 

The US will always try to assert its heg, making all of the heg bad arguments non-unique, and meaning that the only impacts in the round are the heg good cards. Unless you're facing an offshore balancing cp, in which case you really do have to get into it.

 

That's just the easy way to win on the heg good side.

 

If heg is inevitable, what's the point of doing the aff?

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If heg is inevitable, what's the point of doing the aff?

 

is that a serious question? if you mean it rhetorically, then you are misunderstanding the nature of the unipolarity debate. America inevitably acts interventionist and attempts to project power, but the debate is over we have the leadership to gain cooperation on international issues. Debating whether US "heg" is good or bad completely misses the point.

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is that a serious question? if you mean it rhetorically, then you are misunderstanding the nature of the unipolarity debate. America inevitably acts interventionist and attempts to project power, but the debate is over we have the leadership to gain cooperation on international issues. Debating whether US "heg" is good or bad completely misses the point.

 

What you're describing is realism inevitable, not heg inevitable. Yes - America inevitably attempts to dominate the world (as any other country would...) but that's irrelevant to the question of whether unipolarity or multipolarity is better on-balance. You (and I_Hate_Policy) assume "heg bad" is random hippies whining about imperialism. If that's the argument whoever is going for - yes, "America = inevitably interventionist" responds to that. But "intervention bad" is a stupid way to go about the heg debate.

 

The better way, as noted above, is to win that collapse of unipolarity is inevitable (which your "countries inevitably act in self-interest" cards would agree with), and that a transition now is better than later.

 

wow... that's a round winner. Go for that and 'you don't have inherency' and i am sure 9/10 judges will vote.....for the other team.

 

Synergy has it right.

 

Missing the point - if the world will inevitably be unipolar with America at the top (which is what "US heg inevitable" means), you don't get access to "heg good" (Khalilzad, Ferguson, whoever...), meaning I just have to win a risk of an external impact to the case.

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My argument was not heg inevitable in the sense that American will always unilaterally dominate the world, but, yes that the US will inevitably exert its heg.

 

The argument is that your counter balancing/prolif/collapse now better than collapse later arguments are all untrue. Because, whether or not the US has "enough" heg, we are going to exert it. So, when the US collapses, it won't matter, because we'll always go down swinging. Proliferation is inevitable, as is counter balancing.

 

The heg good side argues that only their advocacy can keep US heg high enough to have a risk to stop these impacts.

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for those of u who think the hege debate (either hege good or hege bad) is just about getting a bunch of cards and walking into a round u couldnt be more wrong

the hege debate is probably the most simple most structured debates that has developed over the last couple of years...if u do just run the arg with a pile of cards ull get smacked on teh impact turn debate

the first thing that you need is to know the evidence and very well while having alot of good evidence is needed a person who gets up and reads kagan '7 card and just has all the arguments from that card could win a hege good

 

the other big part of the hege debate is structure...

a big hege team wants to always be the most structured team on hege

the core issues are usually (in order from most important to least)

1) uniquenss 2) alternative 3) the impacts

most people focus to much on the impacts even though they are the least important...

1) uniquenss--this is basically hege decline inevitable/not inev, or hege sustainable/unsustainable...if u win the uniqueness debate the other teams impacts become inevitable meaning you only look to yours

2) alternative--a hege good debater needs to know (or create in round) what the alternative is to us unipolarity/hegemony...whether its chinese hegemony, multipolarity (i.e. offshore balancing, big three, ect), isolationism, selective engagement, apolarity. this is because alot of good hege bad debaters will try to spike out of ur hege good arguments by having a wierd alt 2 hege that solves ur arguments. ur impacts have to directly answer there alternative to hege

a hege good debater needs to win that there alternative to hege isnt necessarily good just taht its inevitable and better than us hege

3) impacts--self explanitory...the most powerful type of impacts are the short term ones (i.e. transition wars) rather than the long term impacts (i.e. great power wars, econ, thayer, khalilzad) because if u loose uniqueness but win ur short term impacts outwiegh there long term impacts than you can still win teh debate

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