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Resolved: The European Union should join the Belt and Road Initiative.

Resolved: The European Union should join the Belt and Road Initiative.

This is sort of an interesting topic. It’s also one I think is important for students to learn about because the Belt and Road Initiative is something that will significantly impact global development in the not so distant future. So let’s talk about it.

Definitions

Belt and Road Initiative – This is really the only important term in the resolution that merits definition. This initiative is a large infrastructure project which hopes to link basically all parts of the world. It is an effort to create land and sea routes from China, Southeast Asia, through the Middle East and Europe, all the way into the United States, effectively linking the entire globe. China has proposed it as a project to unite and connect the world, increasing global exchange and trust. Others see it as a ploy for China to implement a stranglehold on the global markets by creating a trade network dependent upon China for it’s operation. An important note for this resolution is that some countries like Italy and Greece have already signed on and agreed to cooperate with the initiative. Another important thing to note is that “signing on” to the initiative is really a meaningless gesture. Each infrastructure project within the initiative still requires its own negotiations and approvals. And like the Paris climate agreement, for example, countries are still free to reject anything they don’t see as fit, or even just not abide by the agreement, after signing on to it.

The framework of your case will depend on addressing the question of how we determine with the European Union should do. What should be the primary factors it considers when making a decision? Once you determine that, you can apply that to the question of the resolution to determine if the EU should join the Belt and Road Initiative.

Case Positions

Pro

  1. Global Exchange – Whether or not China intends to use the initiative as a way to increase its global influence, which it undoubtedly does, this proposal is an excellent way to increase global unity and exchange. These were central reasons for the founding of the EU to begin with, and the benefits are clear. The initiative will help the EU continue its mission, and because China is providing a significant amount of the financial backing, it will be at a relatively low cost. Also, some members of the EU have already signed on, so everyone might as well get on board.
  2. Economic Benefit – Robust infrastructure that fills in global gaps that exist today will help improve economic efficiency across the globe. The primary motivating factor behind the EU was economics. Countries joined to increase their economic strength and resources, and the exchange that came with it was just an added bonus. This is an opportunity for the EU to expand that economic mission to the rest of the world.

Con

  1. Moral Precedent – The EU exists to promote and encourage certain political and moral ideologies like distributive justice, democratic representation, etc… All EU countries have similar political systems, and certain countries like Turkey have been excluded because they are not ideologically similar. China has a history of continuing economic development regardless of political or moral considerations of right and wrong, as is demonstrated by its propensity of working with authoritarian regimes that Western democracies don’t work with. Signing on to China’s initiative would signal that the EU is more concerned about economic gain than about things like promoting human rights. It would allow China to spread its power and authoritarian regimes to have access to unprecedented resources.
  2. Security Risk – The first goal of any governmental body, like the EU, is to provide for the security of its people. China’s initiative poses a tremendous security risk. Increasing infrastructure links to rogue states and parts of the world that are home to radical groups and ideologies affords new opportunity for these dangerous ideologies to spread. It gives new avenues for terrorist to utilize. Not only that, China has a history of hacking and other technological warfare. The initiative would likely exacerbate those types of incidents, posing a significant security risk.

Alright, that’s it for now. I hope that helps get you started. Good luck! And don’t forget to visit the Debate Academy if you’re looking for private coaching.

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