What is a Disadvantage?

A disadvantage is a negative position that demonstrates the negative consequences of adopting the affirmative plan (e.g. the disadvantages of the plan).  The negative tries to demonstrate that their is a greater negative impact (harm) to adopting the affirmative case than the advantages that the affirmative claims in 1AC.  


How do you structure a Disadvantage?

Most negative teams run Disad shells, a three card summary of their argument for the disadvantage, in 1NC.  In the 2NC, the negative answers the affirmative arguments to the DA, and then expands on the argument if it is necessary and if there is time.  Here is how the shell is structured.

Disad Shell

Subpoint A -- Link

This piece of evidence explains why the affirmative causes the disadvantage to occur.  

Subpoint B -- Brink or Threshold

This piece of evidence shows why the disadvantage is likely to happen in the near future or that the affirmative case will push the forces that are driving the disadvantage over the threshold.

Subpoint C -- Impact

This piece of evidence shows how much damage the disadvantage will cause (e.g. the impact).  Typical impacts are nuclear war, environmental damage, economic problems, etc.  Your impacts do not have to be this dramatic, but if the affirmative is running a case with big impacts, you will need to run disadvantages with similar impacts to counter their advantages.


How do you answer a Disadvantage?

The best way to answer a disadvantage is to turn it.  There are two types of turns, link turns and impact turns.

Link turns show that instead of causing the disadvantage to occur, the affirmative prevents it from occurring.  If you can link turn the disad, it becomes an advantage to the affirmative case and another reason to vote for the affirmative.

Example:  The negative claims that your case will cause a terrorist attack against the United States (Terrorism DA), if you read evidence that shows your case prevents terrorist attacks, you have link turned the disad.  The disad then becomes another advantage to the affirmative case.

Impact turns show that what the negative claims is bad is actually good.  Again, if you can show that the affirmative case causes a good thing to occur, the disad becomes a reason to vote for the affirmative.

Example:  The negative claims that your case will cause proliferation.  You can impact turn the disad by showing that increased proliferation is good because it prevents war.

** Important Note **

Never run link turns and impact turns together.  If you do, you then show that you are preventing (Link turn) a good thing from happening (Impact turn).  This is called a double turn, and it makes the disad very strong because you have wasted your only constructive speech and have shown that by adopting the affirmative plan, you prevent a good thing (e.g. preventing war through prolif from occurring).

If you don't have evidence to read against the disadvantage, here are some generic arguments to use.

  1. no link - the affirmative does not cause the disad to occur.
  2. no brink - there is no evidence that the impact is about to occur.
  3. no impact - there is no negative consequence for the disad
  4. no threshold - no evidence that the affirmative is the trigger for the bad thing to happen
  5. non-unique - there are many other things that will cause the disad to occur
  6. empirically denied - other policies like the affirmative have been implimented and the disad has not occurred


Disadvantages for this topic!!!


Capitalism DA

)  US Uses Foreign Policy To Export Capitalism

Wittkopf & McCormick, 1999

The political culture of the United States -- the basic needs, values, beliefs and self-images widely shared by Americans about their political system -- stands out as a primary societal source of American foreign policy.  Minimally, those beliefs find expression in the kinds of values and policies institutions American policymakers have sought to export to others throughout much of its history.  Included is a preference for democracy, capitalism, and the values of the American liberal tradition

[Eugene Wittkopf - Prof Poli Sci, LSU & James McCormick - Prof. Poli Sci, Iowa State, The Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy, Roman & Littlefield Publishers, 1999, p. xvi]

)  US Power To Implement Foreign Policy Decreasing

Haass, 1999

Moreover, US superiority will not last.  As power diffuses around the world, America's position relative to others will inevitably erode.  

[Richard Haass - Prof. of Foreign Policy Studies, What to do with American Primacy, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 78, No. 3, 1999, p. 37]

)  The Expansion Of Capitalism Risks Environmental Devastation and Nuclear War

Sweezy and Magdoff, 1980

... along with them and the continued expansion of capitalism come the potential destruction of the biosphere, the exhaustion of the earth's natural resources and the ever growing threat of nuclear disaster.  What we are now facing is quite literally a race between revolution to save the world and the perpetuation of a bankrupt capitalism that will destroy the world.

[Sweezy & Magdoff, Monthly Review, May, 1980, p.8]

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Terrorism DA

)  Increased US Foreign Policy Activity Makes US A Target For Weapons of Mass Destruction Attack

Betts, 1998

Ever since the Munich agreement and Pearl Harbor, with only a brief interruption during the decade after the Tet offensive, there has been a consensus that if Americans did not draw their defense perimeter far forward and confront foreign troubles in their early stages, those troubles would come to them at home.  But because the United states is now the only superpower and weapons of mass destruction have become more accessible, American intervention in troubled areas is not so much a way to fend off such threats as it is what stirs them up.

[Richard K. Betts - Prof Poli Sci, Columbia U, The New Threat of Mass Destruction, Foreign Affairs, Jan/Feb 1998, p. 40]

)  Threat of Terrorists Using WMD Against US Is Increasing

Cordesman, 2001

The possibility that terrorists may use chemical or biological materials may increase over the next decade, according to intelligence agencies.  According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), interest among non-state actors, including terrorists, in biological and chemical materials is real and growing and the number of potential perpetrators is increasing.

[Anthony Cordesman - Strategy Chair at Center for Strategic & Int'l Studies, Defending America: Asymmetric and Terrorists Attacks with Biological Weapons, CSIS publication, February 12, p. 1]

)  Each Terrorist Incident Could Kill 100,000 People

Schweitzer, 1998

During the fall of 1997, millions of Americans wee alerted to the easy access to the Russian nuclear warehouse.  The release of the fictionalized film The Peacemaker, featuring, theft of a Russian nuclear warhead that could be carried in a backpack, coincided with televised statements by Russian general-turned-politician Alexander Lebed that Russia could not account for 100 nuclear suitcase bombs assembled during the Soviet era.  The filmmakers claimed their movie was based in large part on a nonfiction book devoted to exposing poorly guarded nuclear weapons in Russia.  Lebed contended that each missing sabotage suitcase could destroy a population of 100,000 or more.  These bombs were left behind in the Baltic countries, the Caucasus and the Ukraine when the Soviet army pulled back from these areas a few years ago.

[Glenn Schweitzer - Dir. Nat'l Academy of Sciences, SuperTerrorism: Assassins, Mobsters, and WMD, Plenum Trade Publishers, p. 54-5]

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Hegemony DA

)  US Foreign Policy Is Hegemonic

Wills, 1999

Foreign policy leadership has become an ambiguous phrase.  It once meant leading the American people in the formation and execution of national policy.  But some now use it to state a less obvious idea: the United States leading other nations in the international arena.  Why should other nations follow US leaders rather than their own?  Leadership involves some common stake between the leader and the lead, some basis for agreement on goals to be sought and prices to be paid.  The more recent meaning of foreign policy leadership has thrust itself to the fore of America's claim to be leader of the free world.

[Garry Wills - author on For Policy, Bully of the Free World, Foreign Affairs, Mar/April 1999, p. 50]

)  US Is Becoming Increasingly Isolationist

Huntington, 1999

On issue after issue, the United States has found itself increasingly alone, with one or a few partners, opposing most of the rest of the world's states and peoples.  These issues include U.N. dues; sanctions against Cuba, Iran, Iraq, and Libya; the land mines treaty; global warming; an international war crimes tribunal; the Middle East; the use of force against Iraq and Yugoslavia; and the targeting of 35 countries with new economic sanctions between 1993 and 1996.  On these and other issues, much of the international community is on one side and the United States is on the other.  The circle of governments who see their international interests coinciding with American interests is shrinking.

[Samuel Huntington - Prof Intl Affairs, Harvard U, The Lonely Superpower, Foreign Affairs, vol 78, no 2, p. 41-2]

)  Decreased US Hegemony Will Decrease The Risk Of War

Huntington, 1999

In the multipolar world of the 21st century, the major powers will inevitably complete, clash, and coalesce with each other in various permutations and combinations.  Such a world, however, will lack the tension and conflict between the superpower and the major regional powers that are defining characteristics of a uni-multipolar world.  For that reason, the United States could find life a a major power in a multipolar world less demanding, less contentious, and more rewarding than it was as the world's only superpower.

[Samuel Huntington - Prof Intl Affairs, Harvard U, The Lonely Superpower, Foreign Affairs, vol 78, no 2, p. 41-2]

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Elites DA

)  US Foreign Policy Run By Elites

Wittkopf & McCormick, 1999

Historically, American leaders have been able to define the parameters of American involvement in the world and to count on public support for their choices.  Especially important was the so-called Establishment consisting of (largely male) leaders drawn from the corporate and financial world and later supplemented by faculty members from the nation's elite universities.  With roots in the early twentieth century, the Establishment was a major force defining key elements of American foreign policy prior to World War II an in the decades of Cold War conflict that followed.  Its role is consistent with the elitist model of foreign-policy making, which says that public policy is little more than an expression of elites' preferences -- and the interests underlying them.

[Eugene Wittkopf - Prof Poli Sci, LSU & James McCormick - Prof. Poli Sci, Iowa State, The Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy, Roman & Littlefield Publishers, 1999, p. xviii]

)  US Is Losing Its Power To Implement Foreign Policy

Haass, 1999

Moreover, U.S. superiority will not last.  As power diffuses around the world, America's position relative to others will inevitably erode.  It may not seem this way at a moment when the American economy is in full bloom and many countries around the world are sclerotic, but the long-term trend is unmistakable.

[Richard Haass - Prof. of Foreign Policy Studies, What to do with American Primacy, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 78, No. 3, 1999, p. 37-8]

)  Elites Create Terror And Tyranny

Chomsky, 1979

The development model applied by the partners/LDC elitist governments and multinational corporations is so blatantly exploitative that it has required terror and the threat of terror to assure the required passivity.

[Noam Chomsky - Prof MIT, Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, p. 11]

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Bush Credibility DA


)  Foreign Policy Success Gives President Power To Push His Agenda


Hastedt & Eksterowicz, 1999


Presidents have discovered that the periodic use of force in areas held to be traditionally vital to American national security interests such as the Caribbean, the Middle East and Europe provides them with a potent lever to manage and influence their standing with the American people.  Heightened levels of public support provide presidents with "a form of political currency that is vital to both the political survival and substantive effectiveness" of their administrations.  Thus, when events are properly orchestrated, the inhibiting effect of congressional reforms, changed public attitudes toward war, and economic weakness often disappear for the moment.


[Glenn Hastedt&Anthony Eksterowicz-Profs Poli Sci James Madison, The Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy, Ed: Wittkopf&McCormick, Roman & Littlefield Pubs, 1999, p. 138]


)  Bush Unwillingness To Participate In International Bioweapons Protocol Will Cause It To Fail


Sunshine Project Press Release, May 11, 2001


Previous US positions were problematic and diluted the proposed Protocol's strengths; but according to the Sunshine Project's Edward Hammond, "at least the Americans were engaged and hope could be held out that they would ratify." The new US position is very different. Says Hammond "The US knows that countries will be hesitant to open their biotechnology facilities to mandatory inspections if the US doesn't agree to do the same. So the US hopes that silence is all that is necessary to kill the protocol."


[Tell-Tale Silence Indicates US Block of the Bioweapons Protocol, http://www.sunshine-project.org/, The Sunshine Project Press Release, 11 May 2001]


  )  Bush’s Approval Rating On Foreign Policy Is Lowest Since Taking Office

 Reuters, June 20, 2001

Some 44 percent felt the U.S. president was not respected by foreign leaders. "Ratings on Mr. Bush's handling of foreign policy and the environment are also down, half of Americans are uneasy about his ability to deal with an international crisis, and a plurality says the leaders of other countries do not respect him," the pollsters said in a comment accompanying the survey.

[Reuters News Service, Poll: Bush's Approval Rating Slips, Problems Appear, June 20, 2001]

)  US Failure To Sign International Bioweapons Treaty Will Cause Bioweapons Proliferation

Sunshine Project Press Release, May 11, 2001

Instead of triumph, 2001 may be the year the verification agreement falls apart. Failure would signal that major powers are no longer in agreement against biological weapons. "This could well be the beginning of the end of the global ban on bioweapons" says Jan van Aken of the Sunshine Project. "Failure might re-ignite some countries' interest in weapons of mass destruction."


[Tell-Tale Silence Indicates US Block of the Bioweapons Protocol, http://www.sunshine-project.org/, The Sunshine Project Press Release, 11 May 2001]


 )  Will See A Bioterrorist Attack Against The US Within Three Years

 Zilinskas, 1999

 It is highly probable that biological attacks by terrorists or criminals utilizing foodborne and waterborne pathogens or toxic chemicals will occur in the next five years.  Events such as these likely will take place with increasing frequency in the years ahead for two main reasons; unprotected, unmonitored salad bars and other food displays have become ubiquitous throughout the U.S. and the number of persons with at least a modicum of training in microbiology is ever increasing (although the population constituted by microbiologists probably is no more or less dishonest or unethical than other populations of professionals, a small proportion of it should be assumed to be willing to lend or sell its skills for terrorist or criminal purposes.


[Raymond Zilinskas - Senior Scientist-in-Residence for the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Project at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, CNS Reports, ASSESSING THE THREAT OF BIOTERRORISM: Congressional Testimony, October 20, 1999]


 )  Bioweapons Are A Greater Threat Than Nuclear or Chemical Weapons

The Independent, 1999

Anthrax is not the only threat. More worrisome, smallpox and bubonic plague have been weaponised. Some health officials even fear that hemorrhagic fevers that have no vaccines and no cure, such as Ebola and Marburg may someday be used for terror. Bio weapons are easy to carry and conceal. Days or even weeks may pass before their use is apparent. Pound for pound, they are deadlier than chemical or even nuclear weapons.

[The Independent,Bio-Terror Haunts People After Nuclear Test Ban, July 28, 1999]


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Two War Strategy DA


)  Weapons of Mass Destruction Is Justification For Two War Strategy


Aldinger, June 21, 2001

Rumsfeld again stressed the need to develop a defense against a growing missile threat from "rogue states" such as North Korea and Iraq and other threats ranging from quiet submarines to cyber-warfare and "terrorism, including the use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons."   Bush has vowed to modernize the cumbersome Cold War U.S. military for the 21st century. Recent published reports have speculated that the two-war strategy could be abandoned because U.S. forces were stretched too thinly around the world on peacekeeping and other noncombat missions. Rumsfeld said the ability to fight and win two virtually simultaneous major conflicts at once was a good idea when it was formulated during the 1991 Gulf War at a time when war on the Korean peninsula was also a prospect.

[Charles Aldinger-Staff Writer, Reuters, June 21, 2001]


)  Rumsfeld Fighting The Elimination of Two-War Strategy


Aldinger, June 21, 2001


"Suggestions that the 'two nearly-simultaneous major theater wars' approach has been scrapped are not correct," he said, but noted that continuing to construct the 1.4 million-member U.S. armed forces to prepare for two such conflicts might no longer be necessary. 


[Charles Aldinger-Staff Writer, Reuters, June 21, 2001]


)  Two War Structure Makes The US Less Prepared To Fight War


O'Hanlon, 2001


This commission [National Defense Panel] believes that the "two major theatre wars" yardstick for sizing the US forces is not producing the capabilities needed for the varied and complex contingencies now occurring and likely to increase in the years ahead.


[Michael O'Hanlon-Sr. Fellow At Brookings Inst., Prudent or Paranoid? The Pentagon's Two-War Plans, Survival, v 43, n 1, Spring 2001, p. 40]  

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Nuclear Terrorism DA



)  Bunker Busters Necessary To Destroy Bin Laden’s Nuclear Arsenal


Grey, 2001


Any debate inside the corridors of power about using tactical nukes will be heightened by the intelligence buzz surrounding bin Laden's possible ownership of Russian nuclear "suitcase" bombs purchased from Chechen mafia.  Those weapons are said to be hidden in deep caves and fortified tunnels in remote regions of Afghanistan.


[William Grey-Staff Writer, Nuke ‘Em From On High, Wired Magazine, 10/8/01]



) Terrorist Are Planning Another Attack Against The US


International Herald Tribue, Oct. 6, 2001


The new information is worrisome enough that officials at the White House, the Justice Department and the State Department have huddled in recent days to figure out the best way to communicate their concern to the public, a source with knowledge of those discussions said. The concern about another attack is based on intelligence from sources in England, Germany, Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to a source familiar with what congressional intelligence committees have been told. Egyptian, Somali and Pakistani elements of Mr. bin Laden's network are thought to be involved. Members of the intelligence committees declined to comment on the briefings they had received, which are classified. But their public comments, and remarks by Attorney General John Ashcroft on Sunday, highlight the danger the United States continues to face.



) Bin Laden Is A Nuclear Terrorist Threat


Campbell, Oct. 4, 2001


Intelligence officers in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakstan have warned the US that Osama bin Laden has been buying nuclear weapons from the Russian mafia, it was reported today.

The Russian foreign ministry has rebutted a story in the Washington Times that the Russian criminal underground is supplying Bin Laden with the means to build weapons of mass destruction.

Richard Butler, former United Nations weapons inspector, said in a TV interview yesterday: "A nuclear terrorist threat from Bin Laden, by way of the Russian criminal underground, is a reality.


[Jeremy Campbell-Staff Writer, News And City, ‘Bin Laden Bought Nuclear Weapons, 10/4/01]

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Russian Nationalism

Russia is on the brink of nationalism

THE HINDU '00 (Dmitry Shlapentokh, May 24, 2000) p. lexis

WHILE OBSERVING the rise of Mr. Vladimir Putin, some observers expressed the fear that the ex-KGB man would install a harsh nationalistic regime in Russia, making the country a dangerous rival for the West. Nationalistic and anti-Semitic statements made by the elite and the brutal war in Chechnya seemed to provide an additional rationale for seeing Russia on the threshold of such a transformation.

B)Link: US international gains spoil Russia’s efforts, causing a revival of r’ationalism.

Robert Freedman, Political Scientist, 1997 (The Foreign Policy of the Russia Federation, p.11)

The lesson for the West, as Marantz points out, is that the international environment can be a critical factor in the formulation of Russian foreign policy. Western states must be careful to craft policies that are not construed by Russia as potentially threatening to their national security or as snubbing Russia’s international status as a major player in world affairs. This could play into the hands of nationalist forces in Russia and drastically alter Russian foreign policy by helping to strengthen the influence that these forces have in the formulation of such policy.

C)Impact: Russian Nationalism will cause mass rearmament

Franz Schurmann. Pacific News Service. March 9, 1999. http://www.pacificnews.org/jinn/stories/predictions/990309-russia.html

"The new political direction will be what Russians call "red-brown." "Red" refers to the old Communist system which is still substantially in place in Russia. That means expanded roles for the state at all levels. "Brown" means Russian nationalism --- some Russians say it means "fascism." A major new practical direction will be revitalization of the old Soviet/Russian military-industrial complex. That means re-armament."

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