Debate Topics

The major collegiate policy debate organizations share a common, year-long debate resolution on a question of public concern. Previous resolutions have discussed U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East, domestic energy policy, the desirability of constraining presidential war powers, and the need to extend protections under the Civil Rights Act.

This year's topic addresses the issue of whether the United States should reconsider its international obligations in a rapidly changing world. The resolution’s exact wording is:

Resolved: The United States Federal Government should reduce its alliance commitments with Japan, the Republic of Korea, North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states, and/or the Republic of the Philippines, by at least substantially limiting the conditions under which its defense pact can be activated. 

Debates on this resolution will cover a wide variety of issues relating to core foreign policy controversies, including how the US should respond to China’s increasing power and influence and whether the transatlantic alliance continues to serve America’s national interests. Gopher debaters began their research on this topic in May 2020, and team members will generate thousands of pages of argument briefs on these and other related issues through the end of the competitive season in April 2021.