Monday, December 6, 2010

Juggernaut #1: Bio-terror Warning

Overview:
Aight. My favorite case of the year. The basic premise is that biological attack is an international threat because diseases transcend borders. If you don't nip an attack in the bud, it spreads and impacts other countries. Protect Russia, protect America. 

Juggernaut Rankings:
  • Significance: 10
  • Solvency: 9
  • Judge Appeal: 10
  • Topicality: 10
  • Researchability: 10
  • In-Round Debate:10
  • Composite Ranking: 9.83

Premise:
Russia has a little problem with terrorists. They actually have more terrorist attacks than we do. Moreover, their terrorists are substantially more sophisticated and thus dangerous. There have been chemical attacks, terrorists caught with or attempting to steal WMD materials, and known biological operations. These guys are nasty. The problem is that if Russia is ever attacked with biological agents like Small Pox or Plague, the disease would spread to America within a matter of days. We would become collateral damage of an attack. The plan expands an early warning program under CTR to monitor Russian nodes of transportation, commerce, and population in order to provide the US with early warning. 

Significance:
You have access to 1 harm. Fortunately, it is the biggest harm there is: Biological attack. Quite simply, biological attack is the biggest threat in the world. A terrorist with a nuke, crazy Iran with a nuke, full blown World War 3 would not be as bad as a smallpox attack. The disease would spread, killing millions, and leaving the survivors sterile. It would be undetectable: as simple as opening a vial in a subway or coughing on someone. The attack is silent, deadly, unstoppable, and has the potential to kill in the order of billions of people if it got going. 


Solvency Mechanisms
Here's where the case becomes really good, IMO. The US has an epic program called Bio-Watch, which is a system of integrated sensors that can literally smell the disease in the air. This might not sound big, but it is. It's the difference between diagnosing and understand the attack as it happens, and waiting until people check in to the hospital and die. As it stands, if Russia was hit with smallpox, they wouldn't even know until someone was diagnosed in the hospital a week after the attack. Bio-Watch lets us know as it happens. Real Time vs 1 week delay. That's big because it allows us to begin vaccinations, quarantines, and other programs to counter the spread right away, instead of once it's too late. 

Topicality:
It's specific to Russia because Russia is the only country that faces such a high-tech and developed terror threat. If a bio-terror attack happens, it will happen in Russia. 

Possible DAs
I haven't heard any yet. No joke.


Small Pox. It floats into Mordor. 
Scared yet? 

18 comments:

  1. Is there any advocacy for this?

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  2. Possible solvency arguemnt, russia hates us and won't let the US government monitor thier coutnry, espically sensitive infrasturcture like mass transit systems.

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  3. " Protect Russia, protect America."

    *Cough* your case is not protecting Russia, it's warning america when it falls. *cough* :P

    As Anonymous said, a good solvency argument would be that Russia (who's relationship with United States is currently (to put it far too lightly) precarious) would not submit to random 'sensors' on their soil.

    Another Solvency:

    Just because we'll be warned, hours (or perhaps days) before our impending doom does not mean we will have enough time to develop an anti-dote, or even do anything but get a few people under-ground before the bio-terror hits.

    Also, what's the relevance? Would Russia not let us know if biological weapons were being launched against them? With today's mass-media (camera's everywhere, as well as internet bloggers and tweets) would we not know IMMEDIATELY what virus was being spread, and what the symptoms of said virus were?

    Dis-Ad: PaNiC (DUN-DUN DUNNN)

    Imagine: Russia (or some unknown/known terrorist organization) decides to play a little 'trick' on us. They put a little bit of 'bio-terror' upon one of the sensors. Immediately, the United States Government tells all its citizens to "calmly proceed to some underground shelter and wear white-face mask thingies." LOOTING, PANICKING, RUSHING AND DRIVING ERRATICALLY TO FIND A PLACE OF SHELTER. People get trampled, businesses get TRASHED, economy gets TANKED. WE ALL DIIIE. :P All from a microscopic wiff of bio-terror, with no way to prove Russia's guilt, or prosecute whoever was actually responsible. (They'd blame it on a glitch prolly.)

    Sounds like giving Russia another weapon against us in a time of diplomatic turmoil...

    All things considered, I would rate this case:

    Significance: 5

    Solvency: 4

    Judge Appeal: 6

    Topicality: 10

    Researchability: 10 (lots of stuff on this, as well as the above arguments.)

    In-round Debate: 9 (would be fun to watch... or judge) :)

    Composite Rating: 7.333

    Summarizing Statement: I wouldn't run it unless I was sure the other team didn't run ^ those ^ arguments, or you had some REALLY good refutation.

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  4. Russia Might Decline:

    Also, giant Space Aliens from Mars might eat us all.
    Seriously though, Russia has virtually no reasons to decline our offer. Russia is at even greater threat from bioterror than we are because terrorists hate them even more than they hate us.
    http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/19135/improving_russiaus_relations.html

    Warning:

    The warning period is not a time to develop an anti-dote or vaccine. If you are that far behind, you are screwed anyway. Cooperation does not extend to only warning each other, it would (should) also include Medical cooperation, there is plenty of advocacy for International Medical Cooperation, (including Russia specifically) and Russia is extremely skilled with both Biological weapons and developing vaccines and drugs.
    “Mass-Media” might give us some warning, but if you believed everything on the internet, Cats and cheeseburgers would rule the world. Additionally, Bioterror agents have long Incubation periods.

    Smallpox, for example, can go 17 days before a victim becomes symptomatic, two days of which he is extremely contagious. The symptoms are also vague, so we wouldn’t really know what in the world was happening for weeks, and then we would all be dead.
    UNLESS WE HAD A SENSOR THAT COULD DETECT THE RELEASE OF BIOTERROR AGENTS WITHIN 30 MINUTES OF RELEASE! >=o!!!!!

    Panic:

    Russo-phobia.

    Insane Russo-phobia.

    Actually, Russia might do this. Actually, any of our allies could do something along these lines. Actually, ANYONE could do this. We’d probably be better off living in a cave.

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  5. Those arguments are pretty trash. You don't seem to understand how bio-terror works. Let me enlighten you.

    It wouldn't be a case of a large attack with missiles and guns. The terrorist would just open a vial of smallpox and drop it on the ground. No one would know. You literally would not know the attack had happened until people started dying. That's the idea of the case. Know about it and start vaccinating before people die. Head start is good, yo.

    Also, Panic is the dumbest argument ever. The only way to avoid panic entirely is to hide the attack from the public. Which is A) Dumb and kills people, and B)Impossible.

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  6. "No reason to decline."

    Excuse moi? 1st, not having a reason to decline =/= having a reason to accept. If you are claiming that Russia/US relations are not in/near complete turmoil now, you are most severely mistaken. What with the 'spy' situation, Russia refusing the American Dollar, joining the WTO through the EU, they have proved they neither want nor do they need economic or military ties with the US. Not to mention the embarrassment Wikileaks caused for both countries... now is not the time for an action like this... Russia simply does not trust us.

    Also, Russia has far less to fear from terrorists recently, as much focus has shifted to South and North Korea, as well as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

    Further, I would say your response to the DA is inadequate at best. Sure panic will happen if bio-terror is unleashed, but if a sensor was tripped by someone who would have a vested interest in our economic downfall and turmoil that would ensue through said panic, it sounds like a pretty slick way to throw America for a loop without causing any collateral damage. "Russo-Phobia" is no way to respond to this type of risk.

    "Also, Panic is the dumbest argument ever. The only way to avoid panic entirely is to hide the attack from the public. Which is A) Dumb and kills people, and B)Impossible."

    I would caution you against calling arguments 'dumb'... especially when you don't understand them. It comes across quite cocky and, if you end up mis-understanding the argument, bites you in the butt. I was not stating panic itself is the dis-advantage (you apparently stopped reading at the tag-line), of course panic would ensue if a biological weapon were used, but the dis-advantage was specifically referring to the effects of a purposeful false alarm. (Darn technology...) The impact to a false alarm would be almost as devastating (at least to the United States) as a biological attack itself.

    Plant some of these in the US, where we can monitor them more closely, if you must. (Oh wait, not topical. Never mind.) ;)

    But again, none of this matters, because Russia wouldn't agree. It's ridiculous to believe they would allow American 'sensors' in public places.

    I do see a way you could claim solvency, that is why I gave points for it whatsoever. But the possibilities of Russia refusing the American sensors, or a false alarm, or an infection for which there is no cure far outweigh the slim chance at an advantage. I would vote neg.

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  7. ^ You haven't seen the case run, or researched it.

    My team that is running it has been dominating their affirmative rounds. Thank you for this ill-conceived feedback, but this case is working, and the evidence supports it.

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  8. "Excuse moi? 1st, not having a reason to decline =/= having a reason to accept."
    I never said that. Russia has no reasons to decline and every reason to accept. This makes it a perfectly reasonable gamble to take, considering that Russia is not run by reasonable people, not lunatics.

    Unless you can prove a disadvantage/opportunity cost. Which would be interesting.

    "If you are claiming that Russia/US relations are not in/near complete turmoil now, you are most severely mistaken."
    New START treaty.
    WTO Accession Talks.
    Everyone and their dissociative personality agreeing Russia and US relations are the best since... well, ever.

    "Also, Russia has far less to fear from terrorists recently, as much focus has shifted to South and North Korea, as well as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India."
    What...?
    Terrorists hate Russia, and have consistently targeted it over the last decade. There is no reason to assume that since international focus has shifted that Russia is magically not threatened.


    "Further, I would say your response to the DA is inadequate at best. Sure panic will happen if bio-terror is unleashed, but if a sensor was tripped by someone who would have a vested interest in our economic downfall and turmoil that would ensue through said panic, it sounds like a pretty slick way to throw America for a loop without causing any collateral damage. "Russo-Phobia" is no way to respond to this type of risk. "
    There are two parties who could trip the sensors in Russia.

    First is Russia, Russia has very little to gain by throwing us into chaos. Or triggering a false alert, unless they want to terrorize us.

    Which they don't. Russo-Phobia.

    We have to trust people at some level, or we can go live in a cave and throw rocks at people who come near us.

    Or it could be terrorists.
    "Hey Boss, I have an idea! Let's use our valuable Biological agent to trip a Biosensor in Russia!"
    "How about we just use the Biological agent, and actually kill people!" >:O!!!!!


    "But the possibilities of... an infection for which there is no cure far outweigh the slim chance at an advantage."
    What...?
    "We don't have a cure for this disease. So we don't want to know about it when it comes for us." >:D!!!!!

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  9. "Trust but verify" was Ronald Reagan's maxim when the original nuclear treaty talks with Russia began to take place.

    Russia's accession into the WTO had absolutely nothing to do with the US. The EU was the primary force behind Russia's acceptance. ( <-- this would be important to research for you guys)

    You are essentially giving Russia a button, "Oh hey guys, when you all start dying off, press here so we can save ourselves." Now, who says Russia wouldn't use this ability to hurt the US economy? WHO SAYS RUSSIA WON'T PUSH IT REGARDLESS OF BIO-THREAT? (aff team???)

    (Also, I read an article a while back about terrorists targeting Russia because of nuclear weapons... (not altogether surprising) so here's a question. Why would terrorists use biological weapons, in an attempt to get nuclear ones? Sounds like a down-grade in weaponry to me... the point being Russia will not be a place for terrorists to target biologically. It will be a place that terrorists wish to destroy. (que afore-mentioned countries... middle east... india, pakistan, South Korea, North Korea etc. Where the over-whelming majority of terrorist attacks happen.) This isn't an incredible argument, but I'm very interested in seeing the way you address it.

    The reset policy failed because of international spies, we and Russia are at odds. Sure, trust other nations, but we need verification that Russia won't ever use this trust against us. The plan offers no verification, therefore the risk outweighs the advantages.

    You are right, though. I have never debated this case, and it COULD be that I have missed a lot of the links between advantages, the evidence on solvency... but going off what I see, there are some gaping holes which need to be fixed.

    I would advise those of you running this case to drop the 'russo-phobia' refutation. It's terribly un-educated. + there is better refutation.

    Unfortunately, I do not have any more time to critique, or go over the rest of the argumentation (darn finals...) but it has been fun going back and forth over this, and I wish you all great success for the rest of the year.

    Peace out! :-D

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  10. Where does the plan text come from?

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  11. The plan text basically comes from a combo of DHS advocacy on Biowatch, and Pathogens initiative advocacy for US-Russian cooperation on spread and detection.

    You have nice, specific advocates from these sources for A) High level coop, and B) Biowatch as the preferred instrument.

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  12. didn't the US already ratify pathogens?

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. This is a good article talking about the biowatch program and the potential of real-time detection:

    http://www.nti.org/e_research/e3_92.html

    Here is my favorite article advocating US/Russian bio-defense cooperation:

    http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=9471#toc

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  15. I think it's cool how if you implemented Biowatch into CTR as the preferred instrument, we'd basically have bio-detection on the entire northern hemisphere. WIN.

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  16. I would like to note that this case is still VERY strong. Despite Bluebook's mid-season brief., all of the DA's and solvency arguments can be refuted. As long as you understand how your plan works.

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  17. So what exactly is this case supposed to be doing? Are we offering to let Russia use BioWatch?

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  18. How is this case doing? Does anyone have a flow of how it's being run specifically?

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