Skip to main content
University of Texas at Austin
University Interscholastic League Logo
University Interscholastic League Logo

Speech & Debate
Contact Info

Speech & Debate Director:
Jana Riggins

Email:
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Department Phone:
512-471-5883

Department Fax:
512-232-1499

State Champions

2019-20 CX Debate Topic

2019-2020 NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL POLICY DEBATE TOPIC

 

ARMS SALES

 

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reduce Direct Commercial Sales and/or Foreign Military Sales of arms from the United States.

 

In the movie Iron Man, upon his triumphant return to the United States, arms dealer Tony Stark reflects upon the world his products helped shape:

 

“I saw young Americans killed by the very weapons I created to defend them and protect them. And I saw that I had become part of a system that is comfortable with zero-accountability…I had my eyes opened. I came to realize that I had more to offer this world than just making things that blow up. And that is why, effective immediately, I am shutting down the weapons manufacturing division of Stark Industries.”

 

Just as Tony Stark faced his day of reckoning, the United States is on the verge of facing a similar fate. President Trump is actively increasing the number of arms contracts offered and authorized by the United States.  One must ask whether arms sales make us safer and strengthen our economy, or create blowback which increases terrorism or fuels conflicts in a variety of regions across the globe.  Direct Commercial Sales affirmatives would limit the number or type of sales by American companies to foreign militaries.  These affirmatives could prohibit the sale of drone technology, reduce small arms sold to nations like Saudi Arabia which are used to perpetrate human rights abuses, or strengthen export controls to prevent future resale of our technology.  Foreign Military Sales affirmatives would reduce sales by the Departments of State or Defense to foreign militaries.  These affirmatives could prohibit sales of F-35s to Israel which are used for bombing raids, prevent Japanese acquisition of Tomahawk missiles which would provoke China or North Korea, or prevent sales to Qatar which may give US munitions to terrorist organizations. Affirmatives addressing either type of sales could net advantages such as: Terrorism, proliferation, human rights credibility, hegemony, and increasing stability in the world’s most volatile regions.  Negative teams will have access to alliance-based disadvantages highlighting the need for arms sales to create commonly equipped militaries, defending arms sales as a credible deterrent to prevent conflicts, acknowledging the economic impact of reducing the role of one of the largest economic sectors, or arguing countries like Russia or China would fill in and negate solvency.  The only constant element of President Trump’s foreign policy is to increase arms sold by the United States, which makes the literature base broad and accessible. We have not embraced the opportunity to debate arms sales since 1983, and the time to rekindle this debate is now.