Death Star Counterplans

I just got back from watching Star Wars: Rogue One and while it is most certainly both a tragic war movie and a Disney movie–the mom is killed before the first scene is over as expected (Corliss, 2014)–it did convince me that the United States should build a Death Star. To be clear, I mean that we should be doing this unilaterally and as a counter-plan to any proposed space-oriented cooperation with China, typically predicated on repealing the Wolf amendment, that would affirm the current policy debate resolution of “The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.

Now any sensible person would say that the United States isn’t about to build a Death Star, such a thought is preposterous! And I get that, and I totally agree. But if we have to take the affirmative plan seriously despite Trump’s behavior already putting us on the brink of a cold war (Luce, 2016) with a country that we still owe a trillion dollars to despite their recent divestment that the affirmative must overcome to be topical (Phillips, 2016), then we must necessarily also seriously consider the benefits of having a Death Star.

With that in mind, we present the counterplan: the United States Federal Government should unilaterally construct a Death Star to establish military dominance of outer space.

A word on feasibility: the USFG already knows how much plan will cost and thus necessarily already has designs adequate enough to pursue this plan. We know this because they cited fiscal responsibility as a reason for rejecting the “We the People” request for a Death Star in 2012 (Shawcross, 2012). But fiscal discipline doesn’t apply to Republican presidents, especially when it comes to military spending (Dayen, 2016) so that’s no longer an excuse to refrain from building a Death Star.

It’s also worth noting that the 34,435 citizens who signed the petition to build the Death Star were undemocratically dismissed by Obama’s rejection of said petition; if we truly care about Democracy and reclaiming our nation from the rule of the minority then we ought to respect the will of the people and build a Death Star. Really, if you consider Trump’s popular loss (Campbell, 2016) an affront to democracy, then you’ll want to build the Death Star to show how serious we are about respecting the will of the people and maintaining the consent of the governed.

But Trump will want to build the Death Star anyway. First, and most obviously, the Republican-controlled legislature tends to like military spending (DeRugy, 2015) and the Death Star likely qualifies as such. It would be a suitable base for Trump’s planned expansion of the army, marines, and air force, all part of a larger goal of being “so big and so strong and so great” that “nobody’s going to mess with us” (Johnson, 2016). And speaking of bases, Trump’s intended military spending increases is basically culturally-acceptable jobs program (Mittelstadt, 2015) to expand the carrying capacity of the military to include more of his voter base (Asoni & Sanandaji, 2013). So this is a politically savvy move for Trump to maintain his base.

This also plays to Trump’s personal strengths. Not only does this look like a construction project so he believes he knows all about it (Schwindt, 2016), but it is also copying and expanding–and expanding bigly–on his associate Newt Gingrich’s earlier promises of a revitalized space program with moon colonies and trips to Mars (Sunseri, 2012). And as far as terrifying things that most Americans wish had been left back in the 1980s, Donald Trump just seems to have a natural affinity for the Death Star, last seen in 1983’s Return of the Jedi before coming back with more violence and cruelty than ever at the end of 2016.

So it’s really quite feasible that the United States would undertake the construction of a Death Star, and almost inevitable as long as Trump is in the White House. But let’s talk about advantages to having our very own Death Star.

The most obvious advantage to building a Death Star is the government spending boosts the economy, but that leaves the counterplan vulnerable to a critique of capitalism–as if the Marxists would ever seize the means of production to construct something with such a focus of vision as a glorious space station capable of destroying entire planets.

No, our first main advantage is absolute military superiority. As Tarkin (1977) observed, “The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station.” So that annihilates the affirmative cards about how a race to space militarization is a bad thing and also gives us all of the advantages of hegemony while promoting states’ rights.

Second, and also quite important–especially with a planet-destroying space station in existence–we’ve solved for human extinction by getting people off of this planet and out into space. And unless/until women’s roles in the military are rolled back, we should expect that women will be stationed on our Death Star, a crucial point that functionally nullifies the extinction impacts that the affirmative will try to read about starting a nuclear war to stop the construction of the super-weapon, or resource over-extraction required by the construction resulting in ecosystem collapse, or military miscalculation resulting in our Death Star being used to blow up Earth. That’s right: if we build the Death Star, we solve for all of these extinction scenarios by virtue of becoming a space-faring species. The affirmative can’t draw that clear of a line with any kind of certainty, and that’s even if they can guarantee Chinese cooperation with their plan which they really can’t anymore.

Skywalker Family Reunion Photograph, 1977
The very image of a caring father and dutiful daughter.

But third, and this advantage really ties it all together, is Trump’s personal motivation in building a Death Star: the Death Star is really all about bringing fathers and daughters together. From the Skywalkers (1977) to the Ersos (2016) we see fathers and daughters coming together because of the Death Star. And if there’s one thing that Donald is particularly keen on, it’s spending more quality time with his daughter Ivanka (Lavender, 2016). So with the goal of spending more time with Ivanka in mind, building a Death Star is a natural choice for Donald Trump. When viewed with that goal, we can even see how this weapon of mass destruction can be cast as a vital tool in the Republican platform of “family values” (Boyer, 2016) which, above and beyond the previously mentioned military affinity, means that Trump will gain political capital from his base for pursuing this project.

Of course, being able to run this counterplan is not just predicated on the affirmative’s pursuit of space cooperation, but also on congress having not yet accepted Donald Trump’s nomination of Darth Vader to lead NASA and get this program off the ground.

So you see, compared with the preposterousness of insisting that we can substantially increase our “economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China” while our government is actively antagonizing Chinese leadership just by waving a fiat wand, the preposterousness of building a Death Star using that same ridiculous game-mechanic methodology is actually very easy to argue for and–rather distressingly–provides a lot of genuine insight into real-world values, policies, and political practices. So if the judge values education (but not fairness; building the ultimate implement of hegemony-enforcement is a clear signal that fairness is not on the table) then they may as well vote to build a Death Star because the affirmative proposals are consistently ignorant of the chilling effects the status quo is feeling in our relations with the People’s Republic of China.