If you ask someone what the 2016-17 debate topic is, they will say the topic is “China.” They are right that the topic area is China, and since China is a country of one billion plus people that is becoming a leading global power and the US engages China in many different ways on a daily basis, China as a topic area is a fascinating one for debate.
But the resolution more carefully focuses the question to whether or not the United States should significantly increase its “diplomatic and/or economic engagement” of China. Directing the Affirmative to such engagement approaches substantially limits the topic, both substantively and strategically.
In this essay, I will review what it means to engage China through economic and/or diplomatic means, review the major issues for potential engagement, and discuss strategic considerations for both the Affirmative and the Negative.
Since the phrase “diplomatic and/or economic engagement” will establish both Affirmative ground and Negative strategy, I will start with a discussion of the phrase. I will then move into a discussion of core issues to engage over, discuss key disadvantages, and then move into a strategy discussion that is focused around strong Negative counterplans and using topicality to box the Affirmative in. I will conclude with a discussion of kritiks and a few final thoughts.