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The Contender
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The USFG Should Substantially Increase Its Exploration of Earths Oceans

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/26/2015 Category: Economics
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 525 times Debate No: 83077
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (22)
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Good morning ladies, gentleman, and honorable judge. My name is Forever 23 and I will be presenting the First Affirmative case for today"s debate. As the resolve states, the United States Federal government should substantially increase its development and/or exploration, in a non-militaristic manner, of the world"s oceans. Before I begin it is imperative for me to define a few key terms as stated by the Merriam Webster"s Online Dictionary:

`79; United States Federal Government- a federal republic mainly in North America consisting of 50 states and the District of Columbia

`79; Substantially- large in amount, size or number

`79; Increase- to become larger or greater in size, amount, number etc.

`79; Development- the act or process of growing or causing something to grow or become larger or more advanced

`79; Oceans- a very large expanse of sea, in particular, each of the main areas into which the sea is divided geographically.

And finally:

`79; Non-militaristic- of or not related the military

Fellow audience. What if I were to tell you that the United our most advanced security and technological frameworks, that their potential absence from the marketplace could pose a detrimental threat to US national security so severe, that it could have catastrophic consequences due to their insufficiency.

And what if those rare resources were, in fact, almost solely in the hands of the country's fiercest global economic competitor who held a monopoly over them?

Well ladies and gentlemen this is no longer a "what if" game. It"s reality.

An article by Jeff Nesbit, a senior communications official in the White House, claims in an article published by US News that "Despite years of concern in the U.S. and around the world, China still controls a monopoly on Rare Earth Elements (REEs) that are critical to a number of advanced defense systems, mobile devices and emerging green technologies. And the situation isn't likely to change any time soon."

What are rare earth elements? These are the 17 rare elements ranging from Neodymium (used in strong magnets) and Europium (used in red lasers). Doc Hastings, a US representative from Washington, said in 2013: "In fact, life as we know it in the 21st century could not be possible without minerals. There would be no computers, no blackberries or iPhones. There would be no MRI, CAT scan, or X-ray machines. There would be no wind turbines or solar panels" Rare Earth Elements, a special subset of strategic and critical minerals, are core components for these products of the 21st century." They are a small industry, with a total net global worth of $3 billion dollars. However, these elements are vital to most modern technologies, and the net global worth of the technologies in which these are used in is over a trillion dollars.

Prior to a decade ago, the United States had no problems with Rare Earth Elements. However, The United States gradually transitioned to the cheaper imports of China, and now it imports 100% of the American demand for rare earth elements. Normally, this would not be a major problem. According to Gal Luft, the Director for the Analysis of Global Security, China produced 97 percent of the world"s rare earths.The rest of the world relied on China for it"s abundant supply; why wouldn"t the US do the same?

However, China decided to stem the flow of REEs out of China in 2010 and to keep them mostly to themselves. The world was stupefied by this blockade; China was the largest supplier at 97%, and there was no legitimate substitute. China placed heavy export limits and heavy tariffs (ranging from 30% to 70%, depending on resource) on REEs coming out of China, but placed no tariffs on finished goods. Neodymium for example, had an export limit (and serious export taxes) slapped on it, but FeNdB magnets, made from neodymium could be exported without limits or taxes. (Tim Worstall,, 2013) According to the Congressional Research Service, these restrictions have cost the United States a huge sum of money. The United States spent $1,530,000,000 on rare earth elements in 2012, and it spent $2,310,000,000 on them in 2014. The amount of Rare Earth Elements imported did not increase. In other words, China"s restrictions are becoming too costly for the United States to burden. Gal Luft goes on to state that "its fast economic growth requires that more of its metals production remain at home for domestic use". China is well aware of the strength it possesses: Deng Xiaoping, leader of the Chinese after the fall of Mao Zedong, publicly stated that "The Middle East has oil, China has rare earths". More impressively, this was in 1992 when the demand and usage was only a fraction of what it is now. They saw this coming.

America struggled to overcome this issue. An example is the Mountain Pass mine in California that was reopened in an attempt to reclaim REEs for domestic use. The Royal Gazette (April 1,2014) states otherwise: "Experts assumed that this North American mine alone could supply up to 43,000 metric tons at its' productivity peak. However, numerous health concerns contributed to the decline of efficiency of the mine. A total of 27 shafts were closed out of 32 due to cave ins, health related concerns (such as asbestos), and lack of return of investment."

The article goes on to mention Professor Schnidman, an engineering professor from UCLA, stating the issues with land-based mines: "Land based mines are in danger of mineral depletion. 62% of the land mines in the United States are currently depleted. In addition, there is an insufficient amount of land available for future mining endeavors. Furthermore, there are many different risks that are associated with mining underground, such as cave-ins, poisonous gas, and asbestos. Meanwhile, ocean based drilling is far more profitable and feasible since there is less possibility of risk and a larger amount of untouched underwater resources."

Clearly, land-based mines have too many problems with them to fulfill our needs. China continues to maintain its strong monopoly with no solution in sight. The affirmative team refuses to stand by idly as the technological dreams of the United States are slowly crumbling. The United States today is the preponderant economic superpower with the highest GDP in the world, and, with the independence generated by the domestic acquisition of REE,we as the Affirmative Team intend to keep it that way. For this purpose, we propose to create an Arctic Offshore Mining Committee that will in turn subsidize a company called Freedom Minerals that will excavate the vital Rare Earth Elements off the coast of Alaska. The logistics of the plan will be further elucidated in the 2nd affirmative.

Thank you.


I'll post citations in the comments

Greetings, judges. This is the negative's first constructive, and the base reasons for why you vote negative on this debate.
First, Topicality
It was previously established that the resolution of this debate would be "Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially increase its non-military development and/or exploration of the earth's oeans." They are not topical to this resolution for a few reasons:
We define development as "utilization of a resource".That's Daniel Owen of 2003 They do not meet this interpretation because their plan doesn't develop "ocean resources". This is a voter issue for 2 reasons:
Ground---resource-focus provides a stable and predictable direction for the topic and creates a balanced set of arguments for each side---depth of literature on oil, gas, and renewables is strong and creates high-quality debatesLimits---other interpretations make all ocean activity topical---explodes research burdens and makes preparation impossible
“Exploration” must include data collection. That's Nortquist of 2007.
Aff doesn’t---voting issue for functional limits---there are few exclusive definitions of “exploration” or “development”---requiring at least one central activity provides stable ground that functionally limits out tiny Affs that can’t beat a PIC out of data---limits are key to manageable research, preparation, and clash

We define "its" as it appears in the resolution to refer to the USFG as it stands and is possessive. That's Updegrave of 1991. They do not meet this interpretation because the affirmative does not use the USFG as its actor, they specify no other actor than the Arctic Offshore Mining Committee. This is a voter issue for 3 reasons:
1. Limits---allowing effectual reductions explodes the topic. Any action can potentially result in less exploration/development. Limits are key to depth of preparation and clash. 2. Ground---our interpretation is key to establish a stable mechanism of legal prohibition that guarantees core ground based on topic direction. They allow the Aff to defend completely different processes that dodge core DAs and rob the best counterplan ground.3. Effects—the plan itself doesn’t explore, it gets other organizations to do it. That can potentially explode the topic
Next, a Critique of Capitalism
We are at a crossroads – capitalism’s cumulative impact across Earth’s biological realms has created a metabolic rift. Critical interrogation of capitalist ocean policy is necessary for historical materialist praxis. That's Rebecca Clausen and Brent Clark of 2005. The affirmative does a few things that problematizes capitalism's impact on Earth:

First, their approach to rare earth metals as a commodity inherently is embedded in the logic of capitalism. That's Exner, Lauk, and Zittel of 2014.

Fear of economic crisis will always be exploited to prevent radical social change. These fears are not objective, but make sense only if we take for granted the logic of capitalism. That's Zizek in 1997.

Attempts to cure recession have led to continued crisis – further attempts to remedy economic meltdown will lead to never ending wars. That's Zizek in 9.

Fourth, The aff's f
aith in the state as an agent of social change draws on a concept of civil society that serves to further capitalism. That's Meikisens-Wood in 95.

Only when we break away from the state can we have a successful revolution. That;s Negri in 2009.

Capitalism’s exploitation of labor and resources will collapse modern civilization—radical redistribution of resources is necessary to avert mass violence. That's Ahmed of 2014. Lastly, Voting negative rejects their mechanistic market approach to ecology in favor of revolutionizing social relations for sustainable socialist praxis. That's Foster of 2008.
Thus, our alternative is to vote negative in order to endorse a strategy of revolutionizing social relations for sustainable socialist praxis.

The Case
First, their representation of economy is all hype-- there is no impact to economic decline. That's Drezner of 2012.

Second, there is no correlation between US involvement in anything and international stability. That's Fettweis, 11

Finally, While it’s true that China has a hegemony over “rare earth minerals”, it’s all hype—China’s “heg” means nothing as a) it’s unsustainable, b) rare earth metals are not rare. This takes out their call to solvency. That's Wortsall 10.

Open for Cross-X.

Debate Round No. 1


Good morning, ladies, gentlemen, fellow debater, and honorable judges. My name is Forever 23 and I will be presenting

the second affirmative for todays debate. before we begin the second affirmative, I would like to clarify several things that

have come up previously.

As I have emphasized numerous times in the first affirmative, the United States is in a vulnerable situation right now. The

problem? Rare Earth elements. Or rather, the lack of rare earth elements. China has a monopoly on them, and United

States efforts to mine for them on land have been futile. Because of this, my plan will focus on the Arctic Offshore Federal

Committee. This committee will further subsidize a company called Freedom Minerals that will specialize in underwater

excavation of REEs.

Freedom Minerals will hire navigators, captain, excavators, mechanics, repairmen and communications personnel. In

addition, they are giving AOC all the resources they excavate in exchange for funding.

The committee will have a pristine facility in the aptly named Point Hope, Alaska, for the purpose of storing all the

resources excavated and coordinating the fleet of ships. In addition, this center will also contain a repair yard that will do

the maintenance on the ships of the fleet.

There will be a fleet of 10 naval ships that will serve as excavators of the company. May I note "naval" as to "relating to the

sea". These ships will be equipped with state of the art ice-breaking technology, and they are fully equipped for operation

in the Arctic environment. Each ship will hold a crew of 600 personnel, ranging from mechanics to navigators. In addition,

the repair yard will have 1000 repair men and our center will have 2000 personnel. In total, there will be 9000 people

working on our project.

So what do we expect from this plan? We will be extracting a total of 50000 metric tons of REEs per years from the

nautical area around Alaska. A study by the Alaska Miners Association found that 20000 nautical miles surrounding

Alaska, there is a total of 600000 tons of rare earth elements ranging from neodymium to yttrium. We will prioritize selling

them to US based companies, since this plan is based around the United States need. The cost of elements will be the

average market price, but we estimate from current trends that we will earn 665 million dollars from selling them to US

based companies. The United States uses roughly 30000 thousand metric tons of REEs per year (according to the

Department of Energy), so this operation will completely satisfy the domestic thirst for rare earth elements. In additions,

we will have roughly 20000 metric tons of REE to sell to other nations. That will give us another 411 million dollars. In total,

we earn 1106000000 dollars through the transactions of the resources.

The elements will be extracted using state of the art technology, the solvent desferrioxamine- B. The German scientists

that created diluter claim that they were able to extract at least 80% of rare earth elements from ferromanganese noodles

by refining their ore- leaching method. This process is completely environmentally friendly because it only involves non-

toxic, biodegradable diluter. Then, metals are extracted using Seafloor Mining Tool that is attached to an individual tube

by a ship. Thus, the extraction of the substances has already been tested and proven successful.

We will fund this plan by drawing money from the Ocean Exploration 2014 Funding Opportunity. The total fund is 3 billion

dollars, but ours shall only utilize 2 billion. This fund was created by the Department of Commerce under the

Discretionary Environment Science and Technology category. This grant is renewable every year, and our plan fits

perfectly into the description. In addition, the plan also generate 1106000000 dollars because we sell our resources to

companies. The USA spent 2310000000 on REEs in 2014 according to Congressional Research center and our plan is in

fact cheaper. This is, once again, yet another benefit of our plan. This plan requires very little start up time; it only needs 1

years to set up the center and organize the fleet.

Ladies and gentlemen. China has a vice grip on rare earth elements market, and we simply cannot stand by idly as they

sap our country of its technological strength. China had signaled its reluctance to comply with America, and they leave us

no choice but to mine underwater. Its times for the resurgence of the United States as a world power. It is time the United

States to grown independent of China in the REEs sector, and its time to mine. Thank you and I hope you side with the

affirmative team.


At the end of this relatively short debate, here are three reasons why you sign the neg ballot:
1) They have conceded they are untopical
It was previously established that the over-arching resolution was the following: "Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially increase its non-military development and/or exploration of the earth's oceans." (I can post a screenshot of that establishment in comments). In my first speech I outlined three interpretations of this baseline resoution, and reasons why the aff not meeting those interpretations matter. By the second speech, the only thing we see the case doing is extending on her case and elaborating it, in the hopes that the judges would vote aff on the presumption "case outweighs" (which I remind the judges a) she did not make this argument, b) I will actually address it in the Capitalism Critique). By doing this, she concedes all the problems I discussed in the Topicality debate, making them true and active in this debate. Since there's no point debating an affirmative that won't meet a previously-met resolution that was decided upon by both teams,this is an indepedent reason to sign neg, irregardless of whatever else happens in this debate.
2) They have not answered the Capitalism Critique
First, an overview
Our alternative is to vote negative in order to endorse a strategy of revolutionizing social relations for sustainable socialist praxis. Capitalism has both an ECONOMY and ECOLOGY of domination and exploitation. Only pragmatic solutions addressing both these things can properly resolve human needs without adversely interacting with nature. THE TRANSITION TO SOCIALISM AND AN ECOLOGICAL SOCIETY ARE ONE—that’s Foster 2008. Voting negative ties the ballot and our ethical orientation towards pragmatic movements happening at the periphery in places like Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, and Bolivia which are moving toward this revolutionary praxis, BUT such movements MUST be mirrored in the advanced capitalist world or else they will be crushed by the larger system.
Next, the Line-by-Line
While the affirmative has made no active answer against the Capitalism Critique, she has extended case far enough and deeply enough to the extent that I must answer accordingly lest some judges make that a voter since I would have nothing else on my page other than "they dropped it, we win."

First, the critique outweighs. What makes the critique a bigger deal to you than the case will on the ballot is that it reaches a far-greater implication-- i.e. magnitude-- than the case. The aff squabbles about lack of US heg? Cool, how about extinction of the entire human race through drasticallly unhealthy resource abuse for production of commodity and/or nuclear war over the Arctic because of-- wait for it-- commodity? Yeah, I thought so. The drastic-ness of the critique's terminal impact fudges a possible timeframe argument some of you judges might have. Sure, the aff will happen sooner. But think about it- it comes and goes. No nuclear war, life goes on. But the inherent ugliness of capitalism has not been changed in any shape or form, it still goes on. That means even if the aff has faster timeframe, its impacts go away with time, leaving room for Capitalism's final and fatal impact. Lastly, if any of you are thinking "oh, this critique cannot possibly happen, it's way too big", allow me to counter that for you. This is because the Internal Link that my critique describes is already in motion-- the aff's plan to go up to the Alaska and savagely breaking up the land to take those "REMS", without a care for how it will play out; it plays in motion through describing this new "REMS" in terms of new monies that the USFG would get, only to further the system of capitalism we are hit with today. To get a full scope of the impact, imagine every single capitalist country in the world doing what the USFG is. Mining up the environment and ultimately poisoning it more and more, raising up the stakes for global superiority until countries finally say "ALRIGHT, THAT'S ENOUGH!" and brawl it out through thermonuclear war. In other words, what makes the critique more probable is that it serves as a deeper story into the problems of capitalism, while the affirmative serves as that quick peek that does nothing other than to further those same problems.

Next, a role of the ballot.
Interp: The judge is an intellectual deciding between competing political strategies – the aff is a defense of market-based policy making
Their interpretation is incoherent – “we get the plan” begs the question of how the aff should be evaluated – they only get their impacts insofar as they justify their political strategy
We solve all their fairness claims – we don’t wish away the 1AC, they just have to justify it
And we impact turn their education –policy-making education means nothing in the absence of understanding the ideological dimensions of that education—crusading without understanding the problems results in serial policy failure since we can never properly address the problem
Policy focus bad—it’s incredibly foolish to assume policy making is the only force for change in the world.

Ultimately, the question of what side gets more education should be decided not on the future consequences of the two, but what we, as the actual debaters—and students—get out of this round; this is because the act of learning something (ie. Education) comes from actually experiencing it, in this case debating. Too often policy debate has consisted of students contesting impacts, impacts they’ve heard of only because of policy debate, and impacts they’d forget once they leave policy debate for the real world. While this is education for the debate season, this kind of education won’t help in the long run. The Capitalism kritik truly outweighs more in education in the long run. Arguments like this one seek to undermine the very thinking/causes that in of itself cause these policies to occur, in this case the exploitative nature of capitalism. It forces debaters to really think about their world, and how they can change it.

Finally, a reason to vote negative if you're so biased against anything other than policy that you've ignored the critique up to now
There's still Topicality to vote up, and the case doesn't do anything to help the US other than give it more money (expendable money), and ultimately will cause its destruction (since it links to the critique). Only by embracing the critique can we net-help the USFG, by averting its destruction.
3) While Cross-X implied that the aff was going to provide answers to the pieces of evidence I cited on the case debate (I gave citations earlier in comments), the aff did not.
While the aff did indeed extend her case and make it less vague for lay judges, she did not address the underlying questions of her case that I brought up in my previous speech. For instance, I brought up evidence that criticized the entire notion of China's hegemony on R.E.M's, that it was inherently unstable (see my first speech). All she has done was to reiterate what the plan will try to do to counter this "problem", thus leaving it uncontested. With this in mind, consider the affirmaive as it stands it right now. The USFG might not be able to control R.E.M.S, but China won't either, because its control is unstable. OK, so? Both countries are equally problematized economically. There's no need to waste money to force out limited -value R.E.M.s from Alaska. This takes out the reason why we should do the aff, and else is a reason to independently vote neg on presumption.

Hence, at the end of it all, I have shown how the aff is a bad idea (the critique), and how it can't do anything (the case debate). All in all, I urge the judges to vote neg.
Debate Round No. 2


Forever23 forfeited this round.


asi14 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 10 months ago
>Reported vote: Vane01// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Pro (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: Pros speech was stronger. Con attempted to attack the topicality and the attack was a failure. In addition, the critique of capitalism was very irrelevant so I as a judge did not count that. Plus, pros speeches and plan were stronger and were not at all tackled by con.

[*Reason for removal*] The voter confuses who presented the topicalities, invalidates them and the critique for unknown reasons, and fails to explain which arguments he found persuasive from Pro's case. The voter has to assess specific arguments given by both sides and explain why those arguments did or did not sway them.
Posted by asi14 10 months ago
sorry for not responding in time, last time I checked it looked like the debate was broken so I ignored it
Posted by asi14 11 months ago
I also realize that that was only round 2, so a lot of the rhetoric can be applied to my future round 3.
Posted by asi14 11 months ago
I also realize that that was only round 2, so a lot of the rhetoric can be applied to my future round 3.
Posted by asi14 11 months ago
Here's the establishment of the resolution:
Posted by asi14 11 months ago
True. Also, what's the "L"?
Posted by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 11 months ago
You can't request that only policy judges vote on this round. It was never specified in the first round that this was a policy debate, and as far as I know it isn't one. Make more coherent arguments or you'll be indanger of taking the L.
Posted by asi14 11 months ago
Oh, sorry about not answering! I was very busy. I'll forfeit my cross-x.
Posted by Forever23 11 months ago
1. So can you summarize the flaws of my plan in one or two sentences?
2. Do you actually know what the topic is?
3. You said that my debate is not topical, however do you not see the development part?
4. Do you not agree that according to Meriam Webster Online Dictionary, to develop could mean to possess?
5. If Chinas control over REEs is so unsustainable, why have they been keeping lead for the last few decades?
6.You were saying that REEs are no important. Do you not agree that many prominent technologies are made using REEs?
Posted by asi14 11 months ago
I'd also request that only real-life policy debate judges partake in the judging of this round, thanks!
No votes have been placed for this debate.