January 2015: Questions behind the resolution

Resolved: United Nations peacekeepers should have the power to engage in offensive operations.

Often, the most important yet overlooked part of preparing a topic is – analyzing the resolution. We quickly jump into research, reading articles, and forming arguments. However, it is both strategic and smart to figure out what the resolution is and what the resolution is not asking.

This resolution is not about….

UN peacekeeping using offensive operations in any one instance.

Corruption within UN peacekeeping.

Success or failure of peacekeeping missions.

Can UN peacekeepers engage in offensive operations?

Is the UN capable of allowing peacekeepers to engage in offensive operations (legally, financially, or otherwise)?

However, these areas of critique can background your arguments and strengthen your persuasive appeal to the judge. BUT THEY WILL NOT WIN THE DEBATE!

The resolution is about…

Should the UN have this power? “Should” being it ought to? has the duty to? it would be correct to?

“power” meaning have offensive operations as an option on the table – not a requirement nor a guaranteed tool?

would this benefit the UN peacekeeping mission success?

would this benefit the people affected by these missions?

would this benefit other nations involved in these conflicts?

would this set a dangerous precedent?

would this  the UN a blank check during peacekeeping?

would it undermine the UN’s efficacy, mission, and/or position in global conflicts and disputes?

Is there something different about peacekeeping that needs to be separated from offensive operations?


Remember, the best resolutional analysis draws contrast between the PRO and the CON. Use these questions to compare the world of both sides and be able to clearly distinguish how one is different from the other.

Don’t get sucked in to the arguments that don’t matter – make sure you stay on top of the questions the resolution actually asks.


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