Instigator / Con
1646
rating
59
debates
66.1%
won
Topic

Resolved: The European Union should, as a joint policy, discourage its member states from joining the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative

Status
Debating

Waiting for the contender's second argument.

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Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Politics
Time for argument
Two weeks
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
10,000
Contender / Pro
1505
rating
2
debates
50.0%
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Description
~ 702 / 5,000

DEFINITIONS:
"Joint policy" - If the resolution is affirmed, the EU will publicly declare its position. Member states will be discouraged from joining the BRI and encouraged to withdraw if they are already partaking in it.
STRUCTURE:
R1- Constructive arguments
R2-3- Fluid attack/defense. No set structure here.

RULESET:
1. No new arguments made in final round
2. No trolling
3. You must follow the debate structure
4. No plagiarism (you are allowed to self-plagiarize from past arguments)
5. Must follow debate definitions.

RULESET PENALTY:
If the ruleset is broken, the penalty will be the loss of a conduct point. By accepting the debate, the contender accepts the RULESET and the RULESET PENALTY.

Round 1
Con
CONSTRUCTIVE
 
EU = European Union
BRI = Belt and Road Initiative
 
1. International Standing
 
The BRI on the surface seems nothing more than selfish gain, but reality has shown different results. A Professor of history explains in NY Times that BRI enforces China's claim to be a friendly international leader. He asserts that China is beginning to uphold the ideals of prosperity and harmony: "China is also now loudly speaking the language of international development; it has announced that it is stepping up to be a global good citizen concerned about the economic well-being of its neighbors" [1]. As they are put under scrutiny by allies and enemies alike, continuing the BRI would enforce stricter requirements on the environment, economy, and other ideals. Because BRI is currently under economic troubles, EU joining would bring it back under stability, preventing it from falling and putting another leverage to control China under democratic principles. The geographical closeness of BRI and Europe also allows the EU to join easily with very little cost, which helps my point.
 
Next, China has only helped the countries, rather than economically harming them, demonstrating my claim of altruism. As Fortune.com notes, "Finance Secretary of the Philippines Carlos Dominguez publicly stated that debts owed to China account for only 0.65% of the country’s total debt. And Dr. Karunasena, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Beijing, dismissed the idea of “debt-trap diplomacy.” [2] Indeed, nearly no country has been stuck in a debt trap due to the BRI. They have benefited for the most part, with China upgrading the transportation of Kenya as an example. 
 
2. BRI's Economic Influence
 
Though building the BRI itself may not seem to have big impacts, the results will be tremendous. The speed of trade will be increased by a significant amount. World Bank's blogs admit, "Aggregate results suggest that BRI infrastructure improvements could increase total trade among BRI economies by 4.1 percent. Countries such as Uzbekistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Oman and Maldives benefit the most after improvements in trading times, with an increase in their exports above 9 percent" [3]. Of course, these are big numbers. Even Iran alone is 105 million dollars in exports alone [4], not to mention that this amount is multiplied greatly by each additional country benefitted. If this wasn't enough, improving the roads and railways will also greatly reduce trade costs. As Voxeu explains, "implementing all BRI transport infrastructure projects will reduce aggregate trade costs for the BRI economies by 2.8% on average with the rest of the world, and by 3.5% with other BRI economies" [5]. The large trade reductions overall would be worth the cost of the BRI, exceeding it by billions in the long run.
 
And on the bigger picture, the global boost of a trade by 6.5% will lift 32 million people out of poverty. [10] This massive number must be outweighed.
 
3. Energy Infrastructure
 
The BRI is not only a trading project, it is also an energy-related project. Cornell from the Atlantic Council explains that at least 200 million jobs would be created from the project due to the surge of electricity grids [6]. Not only so, but the project will also be environmentally conservative, with "President Xi propos[ing] to establish “a global energy network” to meet global power demand “with clean and green sources." [6]. Adding on the EU will allow the operation to be controlled by multiple countries, enforcing new technology that would save our ecosystems and our people alike. This is especially important in the area where China is building the BRI. As they proceed towards Europe, they will also assist developing countries. As a result, "in poor rural environments, the expansion of power grids is also important for addressing energy access, with its multiplier effects on development and the provision of information and communications technology (ICT) services for economic connectivity" [6]. 
 
4. Internet Access
 
As of now, still, 41% of the world has no access to the internet, despite it being the pillar of information and connection -- perhaps even an essential right. [7] But BRI will fix this by allowing the building of 5G internet through rail lines. As wired explains, "each of the many trans-Eurasian rail lines that are part of this mammoth project will be accompanied by fiber-optic cables carrying impossibly huge amounts of data across thousands of miles without delay". The impact is significant: a vast proportion of countries would have access to this internet. Doctors and researchers alike could instantly access information and quickly upload files to work together and improve other areas of science. Not only so, the internet innately boosts the productivity and connectivity of people.
 
As Brookings Institute found, "a 10 percent increase in Internet penetration in a foreign country is associated with a 1.7 percent increase in exports and a 1.1 percent increase in imports" [8]. And the investment in the internet will empower the countries to export and import, even more, fueling a cycle of an economic boost. The logic behind this makes sense too. Trading must be conducted with processes and controls. The transaction will be expedited with the addition of the internet. AmericanExpress explains, "With 5G IoT and blockchain, a digital bill of lading could automatically transfer to the buyer when a ship reaches port, with the seller automatically receiving the purchase price" [9].
 
With the EU joining in on China with the boost of the internet, there is no doubt that the greatest invention of the last century will significantly change developing countries' progress.
 
5. Public Health
 
One researcher supports that the BRI will greatly help the public health sector, boosting the developing countries in terms of medical care. "China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) offers immense opportunities for partnership and collective actions involving multiple countries to combat globalization-linked infectious and/or chronic diseases, emerging pandemics, and outbreaks of potential threats to both laboratory information management systems and health information management. " [10] Indeed, the researchers note that connecting the trade routes inherently allows the transportation to be more easily managed, enhancing the prowess of my trade argument. The display of outreach against the Ebola outbreak proves that China's engagement that prevents diseases will save even more lives. So let's repeat: Not only do we save people from starving to death, but they also are prevented from getting fatal diseases and being untreated in time. The EU joining in tandem could even better help bring vaccines and solutions to people in Europe, providing fierce resistance against COVID. 
 
So. Remember that tens to hundreds of thousands of lives are on the line when you are reading Con's case.
 
Next, Pro might try saying that even given all of these data with supporting the countries' economies, this is not enough. But people want out of their poor economic situation. As another expert notes, "existing data set showed the positive responses of local Pakistani citizens toward CPEC projects. The findings of this study will help government officials and the representatives of the CPEC understand the attitudes of the host community and their cooperation for the development of CPEC projects." [11] This links back to the connection between international pressure and cooperation. If China is doing poorly then the other countries may prevent funds or progress any time. China is not the master here. It is only one of the guiding forces to boost forward the citizens' ideals. And in terms of democracy and freedom, what could be more important than what the people desire as a whole? Is it not beneficial to release citizens of their economic despair?
 
6. Logic
 
China's BRI will soon fall apart if we do not do anything. So China is encouraged to make the new Silk Road mutually beneficial. You can have your road and eat your environment cake, too. As another expert's plan lays out, the green energy plan will enforce the environment on the next level. [12] As of now, the European nations on their own have difficulty working together to establish such a framework like this. But the EU is more credible and more powerful. They may have China spread the ideals of environmental importance, which in the long run can make *all* infrastructure plans work out. If we allow China to just fall apart, we encourage countries to be separated and do what they will. Instead of supporting them to do the right thing at a small power sacrifice, we separate our potential cooperation and have a problem. Just how will Europe enforce the joint policy discouragement? What will happen to current joined member states?
 
We assume that China is incredibly selfish such that they will not listen. But we have not even tried to unite together against them. Who knows if the EU will further fall apart as China tries to draw in extra people. The current condition is morally ambiguous since China has no environmental standard, yet economically boosts the developing countries. More European countries will join and it is too hard to stop them. We must join as a whole to enforce the environment's importance before this drags on and brings more harm.

Conclusion:
 
- China is about to lose its BRI plan without the EU's help, so the EU may add additional pressure and enforce the international promises made. 
- BRI will help gain billions in revenue worldwide and prevent poverty
- BRI will encourage energy in developing areas and also establish a green energy standard
- BRI will bring internet to hundreds of thousands of developing areas, furthering their boost out of poverty

With that, I bring the floor to Pro.
Pro
Short-forms:

Eco: Economy
Env: Environment(al)
Infra: Infrastructure
QOL: Quality of Life
DNs: Developing Nations
For-Aid: Foreign-Aid

All citations in comment #6

I would like to thank my opponent for opening up the debate. Before I begin, I would like us all to take note of the fact my opponent introduced 6 arguments in his first speech. This is clear shotgunning, and while I mean no personal disrespect to my opponent, I ask readers to appropriately adjust how you weigh the round 1 speeches due to this scummy tactic, especially with a 10k character count.

Rebuttals:

There are problems in con’s speech that I will be referencing by number from this list:
  1. Claims of altruism are juxtaposed by clear evidence of what China stands to gain by con’s own admission.

  2. Many points regarding how the BRI can help improve QOL or the eco of a nation are greatly diminished by the fact the EU is composed of almost entirely wealthy nations and the BRI focuses almost entirely on DNs.

  3. There is no good reason to believe that the EU can pressure China by joining the BRI as the entire idea is that it’s China giving For-Aid through money, infra projects, etc… While China does stand to gain as well and it’s also predatory as I will prove, the claim that nations somehow gain instead of lose negotiating power (which is one of the things China hopes to gain from the BRI) when receiving For-Aid is self-evidently ridiculous.

  4. The EU isn’t going to be directly helping other nations by joining the BRI. For example, with the claim that the EU joining would help expand access to the internet, the EU isn’t going to be helping in that endeavor, and if they wanted to, they’d be better off just helping directly instead of funnelling the money through one of the most corrupt countries on Earth[1]. The resolution in no way implies the EU would expand or aid the BRI.

  5. Claims of how the BRI can help the world are either flagrantly untrue, not applicable for the EU, or are mitigated significantly by the moral necessity to curb the influence of a nation that has no protections for LGBTQ people[2], harvests the organs of prisoners[3], is a totalitarian dictatorship that suppresses all dissent[4] and engages in unprecedented mass-surveillance[5], and puts muslims into concentration camps[6].

  6. Even if a claim somehow evades all 5 of these problems, it is still negated by the fact the resolution states that the EU should discourage member states from joining, nothing more. These claims rely on the assumption that countries from the EU would join and China would want them to join, which is pure speculation especially when considering the rise of nationalism in poorer eastern European countries that could most use the BRI and the fact Europe is most aligned with the USA and a main goal of the BRI is to extend Chinese influence. This is worsened by con’s own admission that the BRI needs the EU’s help to survive and that the BRI is undergoing financial troubles.

“"…  [China] has announced that it is stepping up to be a global good citizen concerned about the economic well-being of its neighbors" [1]. They are put under scrutiny by allies and enemies alike, continuing the BRI would enforce stricter requirements on the env, eco, etc.... [The] BRI is under economic troubles, [the] EU joining would bring back stability, prevent it from falling and [gain] leverage to control China under democratic principles. The geographical closeness of BRI and the EU also allows the EU to join easily with little cost, which helps my point.

China has only helped the countries, rather than economically harming them, demonstrating altruismSri Lanka’s ambassador to Beijing dismissed the idea of “debt-trap diplomacy.” [2]”

Aren’t China and Europe on two different sides of the world? 

Con has given no reason, not a single one, to suspect that the EU could stabilize the BRI at all, much less could do so just by joining it (worsened by problem #6), and hasn’t proven that it somehow still stands to gain anything after ‘stabilizing’ its ‘economic troubles.’

Problem #1: China can not simultaneously operate on their own self-interest and out of the goodness of their own heart. It’s one or the other.

Problem #3: Zero reason to suspect EU member states would gain negotiating power from joining the BRI and receiving aid when it would self-evidently cause them to lose said power.

“The speed of trade will be increasedthis amount is multiplied greatly by each additional countryImproving the roads and railways will also greatly reduce trade costs The large trade reductions overall would be worth the cost of the BRI, exceeding it by billions in the long run.

On the bigger picture, the boost of trade will lift 32 million people out of poverty. [10] This massive number must be outweighed.

Problem #2: The EU is much less impoverished than most BRI nations where said 32 million figure comes from, as the majority are DNs. The number for the EU (which is lower due to problem #6) is but a fraction of a fraction of 32 million. It is completely ‘outweighed’ by problem #5 and the millions suffering human rights abuses.

Problem #5: This goes against the moral obligation to curb Chinese influence.

Problem #6: Operates on the assumption that all member states would join. The fewer states that join, the less benefit from the BRI.

at least 200 million jobs would be created from the project due to the surge of electricity gridswith clean and green sources.“

Problem #2: The EU has some of the (relatively) greenest energy infra on Earth[7] and is far from needing help on getting consistent power to its citizens in the first place. Again, the 200 million figure comes almost entirely from developing countries who do need said help. We are trusting the country with the most carbon emissions on Earth[8] to develop green energy in foreign countries when they can’t do it for themselves?

41% of the world has no internet[7][The] BRI will fix this by building 5G through rail lines.

With the EU joining in on China with the boost of the internet, there is no doubt that the greatest invention of the last century will significantly change developing countries' progress.”

We’re now discussing the EU themselves helping developing countries… by receiving For-Aid (problem #4)? This is  a non-sequitur.

Moreover, con’s own explanation defeats his argument, as 5G has a notoriously low range[9]. Building 5G by rail lines will just give 5G to rail lines. A city needs many spread-out 5G transmitters, not just a few going down a line. This is blatantly false.

“Not only do we save people from starving to death, but they also are prevented from getting fatal diseases and being untreated in time. The EU joining in tandem could even better help bring vaccines and solutions to people in Europe, providing fierce resistance against COVID.”

See problem #2 and #4. The EU probably has some of the best health infra on Earth, and con is, again, citing claims about developing countries with orders of magnitude worse GDP and infra to talk about the EU. EU member states won’t be (non-negligibly) helping other nations simply by joining the BRI. It is utter nonsense to say that the BRI would significantly lower the amount of people starving to death in the EU.

All benefits that con mentions are things that every EU member state already has at the same level the BRI has elevated other nations to at minimum. Problem #5 and #6 negate the value of this point (if there is any) and flip it to show the imperative to curb Chinese influence.

“If we allow China to just fall apart, we encourage countries to be separated and do what they will China's BRI will soon fall apart if we do not do anything.”

So why should we join it? Why would we want to join something so fragile, and why would we EVER want to stabilize it as con implies??? The resolution in no way says that the EU should help other countries or the BRI, and because the BRI is literally just a system of For-Aid and infra projects, we have not a single reason to believe the EU could help simply by virtue of joining. If China needs the EU’s help to stay together, then why the hell should the EU try and drain money from China? It just doesn’t make sense.

“The green energy plan will enforce the env on the next level.”

I’m just going to point to what con says in literally the same paragraph:

“The current condition is morally ambiguous since China has no env standard”

You want the EU to trust a country with no env standard to enforce an env standard upon other countries? This would make sense if pro could give a single reason that the EU could influence China or the BRI, which it can’t, because For-Aid doesn’t give the one receiving it more negotiating power as I have said. These two quotes are almost contradictory.

“Just how will Europe enforce the joint policy discouragement? What will happen to current joined member states?”

I’ll respond with a question: If the EU can’t stop its member states from joining the BRI and they don’t withdraw after joining,

Then what’s the point in the resolution?

If it serves any function in discouragement, then you’ve answered your own question: that’s all the function it needs to serve for the resolution to pass. What happens to states already in the BRI is speculation and beyond this debate entirely.

Constructive Arguments:

I have 700 characters left, so I will make my argument short and build it on what I said in my rebuttals. I will expand upon this and add 1-2 more in my next speech.

Argument #1: Chinese Influence

The BRI is a power grab from China to gain influence on the global sphere and sway nations to join its side. Even were we to accept the benefits of the BRI that con claims, China self-evidently has a despicable government (as problem #5 mentions) that should be prevented from gaining power and sustaining its regime at all costs. It is the moral obligation of all countries to not become dependent on nations who would be better off destroyed and rebuilt from the ground up.
Round 2
Con
Thanks Nyxified.

Now Pro may have accused me of using too many arguments (perhaps in a way similar to gish gallop), but they must tell why this is going overboard. In addition, her own argument is very complex and difficult to grasp as a whole. She may have focused on refuting each argument on its own merit, but she doesn't really create an overarching view that solidifies why the Counter plan of Joint Opposition is better than the alternative.

Pro may attempt to clarify what her argument is in further rounds, but it seems to me her core argument surrounds the following assumptions:
1. China's policies are detrimental, and BRI is one of them (or allows them to further their original policies), therefore there is a moral obligation to oppose
2. China's BRI is minimally beneficial, therefore EU shouldn't assist them .
3. EU holds minimal power over influencing China

The problem therein 1 is that she clumps together BRI and jumps the gun to automatically assume it is horrible. What exactly makes BRI policy similar to violation of human rights, harvesting organs, or being a dictatorship? Nothing. Pro states that EU's support of the BRI implies that it is also supporting the inhumane acts that China is executing. Yet that would be like saying we should not help a Man on Parole doing community service because he steals and murders people. You see how BRI can be separated from China's other immoral acts. 

Pro builds her entire case around how the EU will benefit from the BRI, yet hasn't considered that my case focuses heavily on the developing nations part of the world. For that, a vast amount of her arguments are inconsequential. I am arguing that all of the help with energy, internet, economy, etc. Because this is the goal with regards to poor countries. Pro hasn't tackled these benefits in the least, and instead tries to make out EU as a selfish organization that only cares about itself. Of course, if EU must curb the violation of human rights, Pro's arguments are self-contradictory. 

Next, Pro says that "self evidently" it seems to be ridiculous that joining China will reduce the power of EU countries and EU itself. I do not see how this is self-evident. Perhaps Pro missed my counter plan, that the EU will *join* as a whole, rather than having the risk of individual EU countries join (which would admittedly be weak as the status quo).

As previously explained, because China is so reliant on something else to stabilize the foundation of BRI, it seems rational for it to enter a social contract. By following the environment standards set by EU, in exchange for receiving support, China would have to follow EU's rules. Due to the economic pressure, it seems more logical to me that China will basically have to help enforce EU standards instead of the other way around. Pro says the numbers are incredibly small compared to what EU actually has, but is silent on what EU is *gaining* every year.

As a counter example, China Daily notes, "In the near term, cooperation with China may help boost Italy's economy, improve Italian people's livelihoods, and stabilize the eurozone's financial situation, which will enable Rome to reduce its public debt ratio and staggering financial deficit.

In the long run, deepening collaboration under the BRI framework may expand the export of Italy's agricultural and food products, technologies, medicines, tourism, cultural and other products to China and other regions. "

Remember that Pro's only "cost" seems to be "morality of associating oneself with China", which is extremely difficult to judge. Yes, Europe would prefer not to be associated with allies of a "country that disrespects human rights". But at the same time, they cannot do anything to stop the madness currently, so it is nearly as terrible of a presentation. "EU is a country that can't uphold the respect of human rights" is the status quo no matter what we do. Unless Pro demonstrates that Stopping BRI will be significant step to improving human rights, I do not see how relevant her argument is.

Because Pro spent a lot of time repeating and discussing the same points, I will focus on re-consolidating on how they failed to refute my arguments

1. International Standing
Pro spent a lot of times empty-handedly basically saying, EU can't help, or won't help, and that even if you help China, you'll only deteriorate EU due to being associated with anti-human rights. Yet Pro hasn't handled the NY times Professor talking about China making amends through this policy. Neither has she pointed out that China has not violated the human rights of the countries controlled. Therefore it seems highly unlikely that BRI is an extension of China's inhumane acts. Pro contradicts her position by admitting EU holds a ton of money and power (in telling us BRI won't benefit EU significantly). Yet if EU is this powerful that BRI is a smidge of its budget, then even using a "small amount" (relative to EU) would greatly change the economic power related to BRI. Therefore this point is still standing.

2, 3, 4. Economic and Technological Benefits
Pro attempts to single handedly wave this away by attributing to how much China will help EU, yet the numbers are definitely there. The notable percent of exports are hard to achieve by other means, and the introduction of jobs is always a boon to economy. I don't see the problem with "small proportion", as she has not yet suggested a counter plan that would generate more revenue or benefits. Therefore, a net benefit is a net benefit, and Con side is winning here.

5. Public Health
Pro completely ignores that lives will be saved, perhaps equal or even outweighing the suffering that China has caused. I request that voters view the medical stand point especially heavily, since I'd say lives outweigh financial value alone. Even if Pro argues "a million lives is nothing compared to the EU total population", you can tell that this is a great stretch. Saving a million lives, regardless of total population, is a magnificent benefit to the world. You can't red herring it up to comparing to how many lives are saved in general, or how many lives the EU already saves. With this comparison clearly absurd, now voters see why Pro's argument falls apart. As far as we're concerned, all it would take is a general consensus as cost to agree to lead the BRI as a major force. Even a "small proportion of the EU budget" would be a win for Con, all other things considered.

6. Logic
Pro chooses to tackle the idea that BRI is unstable, missing out on my crucial point that China's logical choice is to follow EU standards, should EU choose to join. My point here is that European countries greedily are drawn to China one by one. So instead of being separate, EU should follow suit and join as a whole. That way, the whole organization may cooperate together and think of tactics to continue pressuring China.
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