January 2015: Topic Strategy

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

It is important to consider where you locate your arguments temporally – and therefore to know the breath of UN peacekeeping mission.

One option is to situate your arguments around current missions, such as in South Sudan. I’d begin by looking at the UN’s 2014 Year in Review.

Present missions are salient in people’s minds and have the persuasive power of urgency – the need for offensive operations is a current need, which can carry weight in the round.

However, focusing on present missions means there will be less critical analysis of the UN’s missions and actions as well as a lack of data that has been published on what has occurred.

The second option is to situate your arguments around past missions (prior Year in Review reports), such as during the Rwandan civil war. These missions are also salient because your judge will likely have lived through that time period or heard of it because it was a major world event.

These missions will have much more criticism and academic analysis available for your argumentation – a major benefit. The detriment, however, is that older missions may not be as fresh in the judge’s mind and need greater background detail in your case (and throughout the round).

The third option is to combine both new and old missions – which I think is your best bet. You should select your examples based upon what supports your argument and what is relatable to the judge in combination.

No matter what peacekeeping mission you choose as examples, make sure you ask yourself:

WHY? – Have I provided the judge enough background information to understand why the UN sent peacekeepers to this place and what the UN’s goals were?

WHO? – Who else was involved in the conflict/mission?

MORE? – Are there other similar missions I can compare to my key examples to bolster my argument?

WHAT? – What is the present state of the UN mission or where are we now if it has ended?

HOW? – How would offensive operations changed the UN’s success? Did others engage in offensive operations? If so, how did those result?



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