The Instigator
LB628
Pro (for)
Winning
49 Points
The Contender
pcmbrown
Con (against)
Losing
42 Points

The United States should normalize relations with Cuba.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/3/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,090 times Debate No: 8520
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (13)

 

LB628

Pro

This is the Public forum debate topic for NFL nationals, and as I am currently prepping for that tournament, just wanted to test my affirmative case. So, without further ado.

From the Princeton Wordnet, normalize is defined as "to become normal or return to its normal state"

Contention 1- Normalizing relations with Cuba is beneficial to the United States
There are two reasons why normal relations are beneficial to the U.S. First, normalizing relations with Cuba opens a new market for U.S goods. In 2000, Congress opened Cuba for a low amount of trade, specifically in farm products and medical supplies. The Cato Institute explains the result "Since 2000, total sales of farm products to Cuba have increased from virtually zero to $380 million last year. From dead last in U.S. farm export markets, Cuba ranked 25th last year out of 228 countries in total purchases of U.S. farm products. Cuba is now the fifth largest export market in Latin America for U.S. farm exports". Additionally, the American Farm Bureau estimates that Cuba could eventually become a $1 billion agricultural export market for products of U.S. farmers and ranchers. The embargo stifles another $250 million in potential annual exports of fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides and tractors. According to a study by the U.S. International Trade Commission, the embargo costs American firms a total of $700 million to $1.2 billion per year. Clearly, there is a huge market for the United States in Cuba, and we would be foolish to ignore it.
The second reason for normalizing relations with Cuba is that trade with Cuba will push Cuba to allow further freedoms, and reduce human rights abuses there. From the Cato Institute's Policy Recommendations to the 108th Congress, "As long as Castro can point to the United States as an external enemy, he will be successful in barring dissent, justifying control over the economy and the flow of information, and stirring up nationalist and anti-U.S. sentiments in Cuba." The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations agrees "In hindsight, the U.S. embargo has not served a national security agenda since Cuba ceased to be an effective threat to the security of the United States. In the immediate post-Cold War era, the cost of maintaining this policy was negligible in comparison to the domestic political benefit derived from satisfying Cuban-American groups in the United States. The USG justified the embargo policy as an incentive or inducement for negotiations with the Cuban government, the rationale being that the U.S. would lift the embargo, or parts of it, in response to reform on human rights and democracy. This narrow approach, however, has not furthered progress in human rights or democracy in Cuba and has come at the expense of other direct and regional strategic U.S. Interests." In essence, maintaining an embargo on Cuba simply prolongs human rights abuses, which is harmful to U.S interests.

Contention 2-Normalizing relations with Cuba improves Latin American relations.
The majority of Latin American countries that are opposed to the United States are stand ideologically behind Cuba. Normalizing relations with Cuba would undermine their position. The Senate Committee for Foreign Relations explains "Reform of U.S.-Cuban relations would also benefit our regional relations. Certain Latin American leaders, whose political appeal depends on the propagation of an array of anti-Washington grievances, would lose momentum as a centerpiece of these grievances is removed. More significantly, Latin Americans would view U.S. engagement with Cuba as a demonstration that the United States understands their perspectives on the history of U.S. policy in the region and no longer insists that all of Latin America must share U.S. hostility to a 50-year-old regime. The resulting improvement of the United States' image in the region would facilitate the advancement of U.S. Interests.". As such, normalizing relations with Cuba improves our position with Latin America, and is beneficial to U.S interests.
pcmbrown

Con

"normal"-conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern-M.W.

1. The United States consistently follows a pattern of sanctions against nations with which it harbors strong political disagreements, e.g. China, Burma, and Iran. Therefore, sanctions against Cuba are in line with this policy, and hence, "normal."

As my opponent favors normalization, I propose the abnormal cessation of economic and diplomatic sanctions against Cuba. My opponents two contentions defend my own argument. Thus, the United States ought to make an exception in its foreign policy in order to generate both economic benefit, and improved Latin-American relations.

Thanks for posting.
Debate Round No. 1
LB628

Pro

Thanks for accepting the debate. I hope it will be a good one.

My opponents sole argument seems to consist of a definitional argument, stating that "normal" relations with countries such as Cuba are the current relations. However, there are several flaws here. The first is that normalize is a verb. As such, the resolution inherently implies that something is being changed from the status quo. Therefore, the pro cannot be supporting the status quo, because the resolution advocates changing it.

Second, he argues that we have sanctions against other countries with similar systems to Cuba. His first example is China. We have no embargo against China. China is one of our biggest trading partners. We do have an embargo against Iran. We do have restrictions on trade with Burma. However I would like to point out that we do not have embargoes or sanctions on Venezuela, Russia, or several other countries with poor human rights records. As such, embargoes can hardly be considered "normal". Furthermore, the United States is one of the only countries in the world which refuses to trade with Cuba. So, this is neither "normal" U.S behavior, nor "normal" world behavior.

Since my opponent has ignored the fact that there is a verb in the resolution, and further loses that an embargo is normal behavior at all, while providing no rebuttal of my primary case, Pro is clearly winning.
pcmbrown

Con

The resolution, given the manner in which my opponent has defined it, indeed suggests the status quo. The Pro is free to advocate whatever position they desire, however, a defense of the status quo, as my opponent's case constitutes, necessarily defaults to a Con vote, as the status quo is Con ground. Given the definitions, the resolution my opponent has presented leaves him in defense of the status quo.

China: I never stated that the United States had placed a blanket embargo upon China, to do so would be economic suicide. However, the United States has imposed sanctions, placing restrictions upon military trade with China. Note that embargoes are a form of sanction, thus, United States policy in regards to sanctions can be largely applied to that in regards to embargoes.

Venezuela: True, we currently have no sanctions against Venezuela. However, we have historically imposed sanctions in response to human rights abuses. http://www.venezuelanalysis.com...

Russia: The United States has imposed sanctions upon Russia in the past. http://www.rferl.org...

Sanctions are indeed normal in regards to nations such as Cuba. We are discussing whether or not the sanctions upon Cuba mesh with United States foreign policy. Clearly, they do. Hence, my opponent espouses the status quo, and his contentions support my case.
Debate Round No. 2
LB628

Pro

First off, my opponent admits that he is defending the current sanctions on Cuba. "as the status quo is Con ground"

My opponent has completely ignored my analysis of the fact that normalize is a verb. The impact of that, is of course, that the Pro is advocating action, and cannot be advocating the status quo. This means I am winning the debate off of this point alone, as it has gone uncontested, and means an analysis of U.S foreign policy is irrelevant. The analysis is irrelevant because making the analysis assumes that it is possible for the Pro to be advocating inaction. It is not.

However, I will go on to refute the foreign policy analysis anyways.

He argues that there are restrictions on trade with China, specifically with military trade. However, I would not be surprised if there were not limits on all military trade. After all, us exporting weapons might not be the best thing for our security.

Next he argues that we have historically had sanctions based on human rights issues. But this is irrelevant. Our current sanctions on countries do not cover all nations which have major human rights abuses. So this policy is inconsistent, and cannot be used as a basis for normal.

And finally, my point about other nations trading with Cuba has been ignored. If the entirety of Europe considers Cuba an acceptable trading partner, then there is no reason for the U.S not to do so.

In conclusion, the Pro is clearly winning this debate. My opponent has conceded that the Pro side is inherently advocating some form of actions, which means in cannot stand in support of the status quo. As such, he has no arguments left standing. But even ignoring that, I have shown that the U.S does not have a consistent enough foreign policy to label sanctions on countries with human rights abuses "normal", and the point that the rest of the world is fine trading with Cuba has been ignored. There is only one possible choice here.
pcmbrown

Con

First off, my opponent admits that he is defending the current sanctions on Cuba. 'as the status quo is Con ground'"
You are free to defend Con ground. However, if you choose to do so, as you have, the status quo is upheld, and the vote goes to Con.

"My opponent has completely ignored my analysis of the fact that normalize is a verb. The impact of that, is of course, that the Pro is advocating action, and cannot be advocating the status quo." The Pro does not inherently advocate action, verb or no. The manner in which my opponent has phrased the resolution leads it to propose that U.S. relations with Cuba ought to achieve a normal state. As this is already the case, the resolution is grammatically confusing. However, its wording signifies that my opponent's stance is in support of the status quo.

"He argues that there are restrictions on trade with China, specifically with military trade. However, I would not be surprised if there were not limits on all military trade. After all, us exporting weapons might not be the best thing for our security." True, the U.S. has some blanket restrictions on military trade. However, we have further restricted military trade with China through the use of sanctions. http://www.cfr.org...

"Next he argues that we have historically had sanctions based on human rights issues. But this is irrelevant. Our current sanctions on countries do not cover all nations which have major human rights abuses. So this policy is inconsistent, and cannot be used as a basis for normal." The United States relaxes sanctions when nations improve their human rights policy. As Cuba has not done this to our satisfaction, continued sanctions are indeed "normal".

"And finally, my point about other nations trading with Cuba has been ignored. If the entirety of Europe considers Cuba an acceptable trading partner, then there is no reason for the U.S not to do so." "Normal" means to follow a pattern, and the pattern in question is that of U.S. foreign policy. Thus, other nations are irrelevant.

My opponent is still in defense of the status quo, and yet has presented only arguments which support Con.
Debate Round No. 3
LB628

Pro

"You are free to defend Con ground. However, if you choose to do so, as you have, the status quo is upheld, and the vote goes to Con."
Except for the fact that you have yet to show that I am defending Con ground.

"The Pro does not inherently advocate action, verb or no. The manner in which my opponent has phrased the resolution leads it to propose that U.S. relations with Cuba ought to achieve a normal state. As this is already the case, the resolution is grammatically confusing. However, its wording signifies that my opponent's stance is in support of the status quo."

Why does it not inherently advocate action? Verbs indicate action is occurring. Normalize is a verb. As such, if action is occurring, and normalization is that action, then "normal" must be different than the status quo. Given that the Pro is arguing for normalization, and that what is normal is different than the status quo, Pro is not defending Con ground.

So, I am still winning this point. My opponent has not provided a reason why the pro does not advocate action. He simply states it as fact. This is not an adequate rebuttal of my point. Pro wins off of this point alone, because it shows that "normal" must be different from the status quo.

But, I will still rebut the remainder of the arguments.

"The United States relaxes sanctions when nations improve their human rights policy. As Cuba has not done this to our satisfaction, continued sanctions are indeed "normal"."

True. Except of course, the fact that sometimes the U.S imposes no sanctions whatsoever when nations are human rights abusers. So, the policy is still inconsistent.

"Normal" means to follow a pattern, and the pattern in question is that of U.S. foreign policy. Thus, other nations are irrelevant."

My opponent gives no reason or explanation as to why the pattern we must look to is that of U.S foreign policy. While that is certainly a relevant pattern to look at, it is not exclusionary. When determining its foreign economic policy, the U.S must consider that of other nations. Otherwise, we get completely ineffective policies, like the embargo on Cuba. So, the foreign policies of other nations are just as valid for determining normal, as the foreign policies of the U.S.

In conclusion, my opponent has never adequate shown how I am supporting the status quo, nor has he shown that that "normal" is the status quo. He has provided no basis for his claims otherwise, simply stating that I am.
There is only one possible choice in this round.
Pro.
pcmbrown

Con

1. Per my opponents definitions, the resolution proposes that United States relations with Cuba ought to become "normal". Thus, my opponent supports whatever may be considered "normal", whether or not that necessitates action. The wording of the resolution, coupled with the definitions, is far more significant than the presence of a verb. Note that, if my opponent supports the status quo, your vote defaults to Con.

2. "True. Except of course, the fact that sometimes the U.S imposes no sanctions whatsoever when nations are human rights abusers. So, the policy is still inconsistent." This point is totally incoherent and unwarranted. It stands that the United States typically sanctions those nations which have policy similar to Cuba's. Thus, sanctions against Cuba fit a "normal" pattern.

"My opponent gives no reason or explanation as to why the pattern we must look to is that of U.S foreign policy. While that is certainly a relevant pattern to look at, it is not exclusionary. When determining its foreign economic policy, the U.S must consider that of other nations. Otherwise, we get completely ineffective policies, like the embargo on Cuba. So, the foreign policies of other nations are just as valid for determining normal, as the foreign policies of the U.S."
Foreign policy varies throughout the world, and the reasoning behind these policies varies as well. There is no established pattern. However, U.S. foreign policy forms a distinct pattern, which suggests that sanctions against Cuba are, in fact, "normal".

3. My opponent's stance reflects the current state of relations with Cuba. As he is Pro, and is supporting the status quo, the vote automatically defaults to Con, as the status quo is Con ground. Further, his two points support my side of the argument, that the U.S. ought to "abnormally" cease the embargo against Cuba. Therefore, vote Con on the grounds that the cessation of said embargo would economically benefit the U.S., as well as improving relations with Latin-American nations.

Thanks for the debate, and thanks for reading.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Justinisthecrazy 5 years ago
Justinisthecrazy
its cool and thats hilarious I love public forum over definiton wars lol
Posted by chekt 5 years ago
chekt
I love how you turned a debate about lifting the embargo on Cuba into a debate about the definition of the word "normalize".
Posted by pcmbrown 5 years ago
pcmbrown
o, srry dude :( i didnt read the comments
Posted by Justinisthecrazy 5 years ago
Justinisthecrazy
darn that brown i was ready to post :(
Posted by Justinisthecrazy 5 years ago
Justinisthecrazy
I am going to definition rape you in a about 6 hours
Posted by I-am-a-panda 5 years ago
I-am-a-panda
*Coughcommiecough*
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Gmoney
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Steven123
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alto2osu
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