Aff Starter Pack – Search for mh370


Advantage Two – US Soft Power Background info



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Advantage Two – US Soft Power




Background info



Background and Thesis for this Advantage

“Soft power” is a term that’s most often used by debaters to describe the negotiation and diplomatic leverage of a country. It is usually advanced in contrast to “hard power” (military might).


.. to analogize, if one used “soft power” to stop a building from being constructed, one might go to a City Hall meeting and draw upon persuasion or reputation. If one were to deploy “hard power” they could also stop the building – but maybe by using a bulldozer.
This advantage argues that the country that finds the missing plane would win the “ultimate soft power” prize.
The advantage then argues that this boost in US soft power could help the US on a variety of challenges it confronts on the global scene. In short, it would be nice for the US to be able to diplomatically persuade countries through persuasion and not have to resort to… bulldozers.


Top-Level of the Advantage




US Soft Power Advantage

Advantage Two – US soft power

Success in finding 370 is key to the global reach of US soft power.



Zappone ‘14

Chris Zappone – Foreign News editor at the newspaper The Age. Also writes for the Sydney Morning Herald. Formerly wrote for CNN. “MH 370 Malaysia Airlines search has shades of Cold War contest” – The Cold War Daily – March 25th – http://acoldwarmentality.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/mh370-malaysia-airlines-search-has-shades-of-cold-war-contest/

Since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing, there have been moments when the mystery of the plane’s fate has been freighted with geopolitical importance. Obviously, for people in the know, the satellite and search capabilities of the countries involved must have been very instructive for the rival nations. No doubt the US, China, India, Japan, Australia have taken a lot of interest in what each other can sense via satellite and other means. But there has also been the challenge of the nations trying to achieve a task whose dimensions have been largely unknowable at times. The fact that the search relied on sensitive satellite and radar technology gives the moment a quality of geopolitical competition that has echoes of the historical Cold War. Moreover, there has been a huge, global audience following this event in real time, giving an adventure-like quality to the mystery of the plane’s whereabouts. It’s worth lingering on what a decisive find of the wreckage, or discovery of the cause of the incident could do for a country’s standing. This is the ultimate soft-power prize. Families grieve and the Malaysian elite cope with the political fallout but for a lot of the world this event is really about which nation is more capable of finding a solution to a problem whose extact nature is not readily known. It reminds me of early spaceflight efforts in a way – a nation’s narrative is about its ability to succeed in a dealing with an issue whose parameters are unknown, to step into a situation and create the reality through technology and determination. This is a subtle point – but central to the jockeying for position going on in the Indo-Pacific and more broadly globally. Any country that can prevail and succeed in such a confounding situation will gain in the global public’s eyes.


Modules to choose from




Note to students

Again, there are several modules from which to choose. It is quite unlikely the 1AC would opt to read them all.


The first scenario is about Russia.
It argues that declining US soft power helps Russia’s goal of trying to re-gain significant influence in Former Soviet States (when I say “Former Soviet States” think of countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia). The module then claims Russia’s influence in that region will be bad and cause showdowns between Russia and the US.
The remaining three scenarios have nothing to do with Russia. These scenarios are about the Indian Ocean. All three stem from the effect US soft power could have on ensuring that energy transit routes in the Indian Ocean have better policing. Each of these scenarios involves reading the “A.I.I. ‘13” card (the one that starts with… “Up until relatively recently, much of the maritime security debate has concentrated…..) so if you read more than one of the following scenarios, be careful to try and avoid duplication:


  • Energy Transit – SLOC’s/econ module

  • Energy Transit – Waste Colonialism Module

  • Energy Transit – Nuclear materials module

Russia Module

Waning US global image means Russian expansionism can succeed in Former Soviet States.



Lankina – April 15th

(et al; Dr. Tomila Lankina – teaches political scientists and IR at the London School of Economics –



“What Putin gets about soft power” – a guest post at Monkey Cage, a blog run by the Washington Post – April 15, 2014 – http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/04/15/what-putin-gets-about-soft-power/)
Much of the commentary on Russia’s recent annexation of the Crimea has focused on Russia’s hard power—its geo-political designs in the so-called near abroad, ostensible security vulnerabilities to NATO’s eastward expansion, strategic objectives, and military capabilities. These questions are not moot and have a strong sense of urgency for leaders in Ukraine, Moldova, or even Kazakhstan nervously pondering Russia’s next moves. Yet an excessive focus on the hard aspects of Russia’s power risks obscuring the Kremlin’s skillful manipulation of soft powera factor perhaps equally important in accounting for the swiftness of “operation Crimea” as the shady men in balaclavas appearing on the peninsula’s shores. The concept of soft power has in fact gained substantial traction in recent years in Russia’s foreign policy circles, most recently finding its way into the country’s official 2013 Foreign Policy Concept. The Kremlin ideologues’ peculiar interpretation of soft power dismayed Joseph Nye, who developed and popularized the concept. According to Nye, Moscow, like Beijing, did not understand soft power, which is the power to attract and co-opt, rather than coerce or financially induce others to do what you want. In particular, he questioned Russia’s political values; problematized the perceived legitimacy of its foreign policy; and highlighted that society, and not the government is the main instrument of a country’s soft power. Yet, over the last few years, Putin has shown himself to be a significantly more artful player in the “smart power” game, skillfully combining elements of both soft and hard power in pursuing his foreign policy objectives. Russia’s steep learning curve in manipulating soft power has important policy implications. Soft power, as Nye reminds us, is about attraction. Underestimating the true magnitude of Russia’s attraction to a variety of constituencies and audiences risks further miscalculations of Russia’s intentions by Western policy makers. One reason for the relative neglect of Putin’s brand of authoritarian soft power is the earlier assumption by many observers—including by one of the authors of this piece—of a teleological process of a gradual diffusion of democracy and associated values among post-communist nations. A growing number of observers of post-communist politics are now reconciling themselves to the reality that some states may be not only “impervious” fortresses against particular external influences, but could become western democracy “resister states,” or even active agents in their own right diffusing their own ideas and understandings as to the structuring, functions, and values of political institutions, the economy, and society. One example of such non-democratic value projection is the Kremlin ideologues’ concept of “sovereign democracy” whereby states are free to develop their own understandings of democracy, ostensibly suited to the particularities of their historical paths, culture, and tradition. Ivan Krastev maintains that this notion “embodies Putin’s Russian nostalgia for the power of ideological attraction enjoyed by the Soviet Union. . . It embodies Russia’s ideological ambition to be ‘the other Europe’ – an alternative to the European Union.These ambitions and alternatives are not forward-looking; rather, they derive from the continued hold of Soviet-era symbols among segments of post-Soviet populations. As evidence, note the many monuments to Lenin that continue to dot post-Soviet provincial towns; Soviet-era cultural and linguistic ties binding the former Soviet republics to Russia. At the center of Russia’s strategy to exert influence in its neighborhood and promote a worldview consistent with Russia’s national interest is state control over popular media outlets and the accessibility of Russian state television channels to Russian-speaking viewers abroad. Russia’s state-controlled television channels reportedly enjoy greater popularity in Belarus and Moldova than those countries’ domestic TV outlets. Nevertheless, it would be inaccurate to portray Russia’s projection of its soft power solely in top-down terms. “If not by tanks then by banks?” reads the title of a paper by a perceptive scholar of Russia’s soft power in the post-Soviet states. Russia’s large economy, fueled by petro-dollars, is highly attractive to the tens of thousands of migrants from resource poor economies in Central Asia, and indeed for those from countries in the Western part of the post-Soviet region like Moldova. The same types of societal “linkages” that arguably facilitate the spread of democracy can have the opposite effect of diffusing authoritarian values when the more economically, culturally, or socially attractive state happens to be Putin’s Russia. Russia’s soft power thus rests on a peculiar blend of state-promoted ideology of national exclusivity, manipulation of symbols and nostalgia for the halcyon days of the Soviet past, Russia’s genuine economic and political attractiveness for migrants escaping far more ghastly political and economic environments, and Russian-state media whipped up frenzy about an ostensible threat to the Russian ethnos. Underpinning soft power in foreign policy, Nye argues, are legitimacy and moral authorityresources arguably lacking in Russia’s arsenal of attractions and ostensibly found in abundance in the West. Yet, if there was one issue on which Putin would see eye to eye with many an astute observer of European or American politics, it would be the perception of the fragile and besieged nature of the Western liberal democratic order at home and of the questionable legitimacy of Western states’ policies abroad. “What’s gone wrong with democracy?” quips the cover feature of a recent issue of the Economist magazine. The extent of the demise of the West is of course a matter of debate, yet the Kremlin readily capitalizes on this sentiment to beat the drums of the superiority of his alternative vision of domestic and global order. The underlying premise in the Russian Foreign Policy Concept of 2013 is the perception of the West as a source of instability and danger in the international system—be it through causing economic and financial crises; intervening in regional crises without a UN mandate; or meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign states in the name of democracy promotion. Joseph Nye has argued that Russia has had to resort to hard power, including military force, partly because of the weakness of its soft power. Yet, given the resonance of the Kremlin’s message—of the decay of the liberal world order, the West’s double standards in the application of international law, and its ostensibly weakening moral authority—among a variety of domestic and external audiences, Putin’s “hard power” could perversely amplify Russia’s soft power. The West should be less worried about the distorted view of reality of one man in the Kremlin, and more about the hold of the messages that he has succeeded in promoting, distorting, or amplifying among the many in the society at home and indeed abroad.
(Note to students: “The Kremlin” – as it appears in this evidence – is referring to the government of the Russia…. “Operation Crimea” – in this context – is referring to the Russian aggression to seize control of territory recognized – by most – as belonging to Ukraine. Crimea is a peninsula in Eastern Europe. As of the time of this writing, Crimea is occupied by Russia. However, most countries do not recognize the Russian occupation as legal, and classify Crimea as Ukrainian territory.)


If that expansionism takes hold, US-Russia confrontation becomes inevitable by 2015.



Goodrich ‘11

(Laura – Senior Eurasia Analyst for Stratfor and is a specialist in the former Soviet states. Ms. Goodrich lived in Russia during the Yeltsin-Putin transition. There, she worked as a professor at Tomsk University. She holds degrees in Russian language; Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian studies; Slavic literature and religious studies from both Tomsk Polytechnical University and the University of Texas. “A New Russian Empire: What Exactly Is Putin Planning?” – Economy Watch – November 7th – fhttp://www.economywatch.com/economy-business-and-finance-news/a-new-russian-empire-what-exactly-is-putin-planning.08-11.html?page=full)



Over the past six years, Russia has pushed back to some degree against Western influence in most of its former Soviet states. One reason for this success is that the United States has been preoccupied with other issues, mostly in the Middle East and South Asia. Moreover, Washington has held the misconception that Russia will not formally attempt to re-create a kind of empire. But, as has been seen throughout history, it must. Putin announced in September that he would seek to return to the Russian presidency in 2012, and he has started laying out his goals for his new reign. He said Russia would formalize its relationship with former Soviet states by creating a Eurasia Union (EuU); other former Soviet states proposed the concept nearly a decade ago, but Russia is now in a position in which it can begin implementing it. Russia will begin this new iteration of a Russian empire by creating a union with former Soviet states based on Moscow’s current associations, such as the Customs Union, the Union State and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. This will allow the EuU to strategically encompass both the economic and security spheres. The forthcoming EuU is not a re-creation of the Soviet Union. Putin understands the inherent vulnerabilities Russia would face in bearing the economic and strategic burden of taking care of so many people across nearly 9 million square miles. This was one of the Soviet Union’s greatest weaknesses: trying to control so much directly. Instead, Putin is creating a union in which Moscow would influence foreign policy and security but would not be responsible for most of the inner workings of each country. Russia simply does not have the means to support such an intensive strategy. Moscow does not feel the need to sort through Kyrgyz political theater or support Ukraine’s economy to control those countries. The Kremlin intends to have the EuU fully formed by 2015, when Russia believes the United States will return its focus to Eurasia. Washington is wrapping up its commitments to Iraq this year and intends to end combat operations and greatly reduce forces in Afghanistan, so by 2015, the United States will have military and diplomatic attention to spare. This is also the same time period in which the US ballistic missile defense installations in Central Europe will break ground. To Russia, this amounts to a US and pro-US front in Central Europe forming on the former Soviet (and future EuU) borders. It is the creation of a new version of the Russian empire, combined with the US consolidation of influence on that empire’s periphery that most likely will spark new hostilities between Moscow and Washington.
(Note to students: The “Eurasia Union” – also called “EuU”, “EaEU”, or “EaU” – is an idea the Putin has pushed and hopes to complete by Jan 1st, 2015. The goal is to create an economic union – similar to the European Union – that would include Russia and “Former Soviet States”… Some argue that the goal is not purely an economic Eurasian Union. This is fairly significant and recent development. On May 29th, 2014, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia signed-on to the idea – although details are still tentative. Russia is interested in an even-larger union.)


New tensions in that region increase miscalculation risk. Nuclear escalation ensues.



Thompson – April 28th

2014 – Dr. Loren Thompson – Prior to holding his present position, Thompson was Deputy Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and taught graduate-level courses in strategy, technology and media affairs at Georgetown. He also taught at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He holds doctoral and masters degrees in government from Georgetown University and a bachelor of science degree in political science from Northeastern University. Thompson now focus on the strategic, economic and business implications of defense spending as the chief operating officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute and Chief Executive Officer of Source Associates. He is also a contributor author for Forbes Magazine – “Four Ways The Ukraine Crisis Could Escalate To Use Of Nuclear Weapons” – Forbes – April 28th, 2014 http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2014/04/24/four-ways-the-ukraine-crisis-could-escalate-to-use-of-nuclear-weapons/



Although the Obama Administration is responding cautiously to Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s province of Crimea in March, its credibility is on the line with regional allies and Russian leader Vladimir Putin has not been helpful in defusing the fears of his neighbors. Having fomented revolt in eastern Ukraine, Moscow now says it might be forced to come to the aid of ethnic Russians there (it has massed 40,000 troops on the other side of the border, in what was first called an exercise). Meanwhile, the U.S. has increased its own military presence in the neighborhood, reiterating security guarantees to local members of NATO. So little by little, tensions are ratcheting up. One facet of the regional military balance that bears watching is the presence of so-called nonstrategic nuclear weapons on both sides. Once called tactical nuclear weapons, these missiles, bombs and other devices were bought during the Cold War to compensate for any shortfalls in conventional firepower during a conflict. According to Amy Woolf of the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. has about 200 such weapons in Europe, some of which are available for use by local allies in a war. Woolf says Russia has about 2,000 nonstrategic nuclear warheads in its active arsenal — many of them within striking distance of Ukraine — and that successive revisions of Russian military strategy appear “to place a greater reliance on nuclear weapons” to balance the U.S. advantage in high-tech conventional weapons. A 2011 study by the respected RAND Corporation came to much the same conclusion, stating that Russian doctrine explicitly recognizes the possibility of using nuclear weapons in response to conventional aggression. Not only does Moscow see nuclear use as a potential escalatory option in a regional war, but it also envisions using nuclear weapons to de-escalate a conflict. This isn’t just Russian saber-rattling. The U.S. and its NATO partners too envision the possibility of nuclear use in a European war. The Obama Administration had the opportunity to back away from such thinking in a 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, and instead decided it would retain forward-deployed nuclear weapons in Europe under a doctrine known as extended deterrence. Eastern European nations that joined NATO after the Soviet collapse have been especially supportive of having U.S. nuclear weapons nearby. So improbable though it may seem, doctrine and capabilities exist on both sides that could lead to nuclear use in a confrontation over Ukraine. Here are four ways that what started out as a local crisis could turn into something much worse. Bad intelligence. As the U.S. has stumbled from one military mis-adventure to another over the last several decades, it has become clear that Washington isn’t very good at interpreting intelligence. Even when vital information is available, it gets filtered by preconceptions and bureaucratic processes so that the wrong conclusions are drawn. Similar problems exist in Moscow. For instance, the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 arose partly from Soviet leader Khrushchev’s assessment that President Kennedy was weaker than he turned out to be, and the U.S. Navy nearly provoked use of a nuclear torpedo by a Russian submarine during the blockade because it misjudged the enemy’s likely reaction to being threatened. It is easy to imagine similar misjudgments in Ukraine, which Washington and Moscow approach from very different perspectives. Any sizable deployment of U.S. forces in the region could provoke Russian escalation. Defective signaling. When tensions are high, rival leaders often seek to send signals about their intentions as a way of shaping outcomes. But the meaning of such signals can easily be confused by the need of leaders to address multiple audiences at the same time, and by the different frames of reference each side is applying. Even the process of translation can change the apparent meaning of messages in subtle ways. So when Russian foreign minister Lavrov spoke this week (in English) about the possible need to come to the aid of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, Washington had to guess whether he was stating the public rationale for an invasion, sending a warning signal to Kiev about its internal counter-terror campaign, or trying to accomplish some other purpose. Misinterpretation of such signals can become a reciprocal process that sends both sides up the “ladder of escalation” quickly, to a point where nuclear use seems like the logical next step. Looming defeat. If military confrontation between Russia and NATO gave way to conventional conflict, one side or the other would eventually face defeat. Russia has a distinct numerical advantage in the area around Ukraine, but its military consists mainly of conscripts and is poorly equipped compared with Western counterparts. Whichever side found itself losing would have to weigh the drawbacks of losing against those of escalating to the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Moscow would have to contemplate the possibility of a permanent enemy presence near its heartland, while Washington might face the collapse of NATO, its most important alliance. In such circumstances, the use of “only” one or two tactical nuclear warheads to avert an outcome with such far-reaching consequences might seem reasonable — especially given the existence of relevant capabilities and supportive doctrine on both sides. Command breakdown. Strategic nuclear weapons like intercontinental ballistic missiles are tightly controlled by senior military leaders in Russia and America, making their unauthorized or accidental use nearly impossible. That is less the case with nonstrategic nuclear weapons, which at some point in the course of an escalatory process need to be released to the control of local commanders if they are to have military utility. U.S. policy even envisions letting allies deliver tactical warheads against enemy targets. Moscow probably doesn’t trust its allies to that degree, but with more tactical nuclear weapons in more locations, there is a greater likelihood that local Russian commanders might have the latitude to initiate nuclear use in the chaos of battle. Russian doctrine endorses nuclear-weapons use in response to conventional aggression threatening the homeland, and obstacles to local initiative often break down once hostilities commence. When you consider all the processes working to degrade restraint in wartime — poor intelligence, garbled communication, battlefield setbacks, command attenuation, and a host of other influences — it seems reasonable to consider that a military confrontation between NATO and Russia might in some manner escalate out of control, even to the point of using nuclear weapons. And because Ukraine is so close to the Russian heartland (about 250 miles from Moscow) there’s no telling what might happen once the nuclear “firebreak” is crossed. All this terminology — firebreaks, ladders of escalation, extended deterrence — was devised during the Cold War to deal with potential warfighting scenarios in Europe. So if there is a renewed possibility of tensions leading to war over Ukraine (or some other former Soviet possession), perhaps the time has come to revive such thinking.




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