Month: May 2008

Extemp Questions for the Week of May 28th-June 2nd, 2008

1. Did China respond effectively to its recent earthquake?

2. Would Bobby Jindal be a good vice-presidential pick for McCain?

3. Should Venezuela be labeled as a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. State Department?

4. Why are India-Pakistan negotations over Kashmir getting nowhere?

5. Will the California Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage help the Republican Party in the 2008 elections?

6. Why has violence against immigrants increased in South Africa?

7. Would a new Afghan government increase the chances of stability in the country?

8. What grade does the recent U.S. farm bill deserve?

9. Should race and culture be used in evaluating adoptions?

10. Who won the most from the recent political agreement in Lebanon?

Topic Brief: Iranian Nuclear Controversy


Since the dropping of two nuclear weapons on Japan, and the subsequent Soviet push to develop nuclear weapon, the countries who have nuclear capabilities has been one of the foremost concerns of the international community.  So when Iran started enriching uranium, the international community got a little bit worried.  When Iran refused to cooperate with the IAEA – they got a little bit angry.  However, three UN sanctions later, little has changed with the IAEA condemning the lack of Iranian cooperation on March 27th of this year.  Since a country (Iran) that has promised to destroy another that already has nuclear weapons (Israel) may or may not be developing nuclear weapon is kind of a big deal. Oh, and because confirmation of such a nuclear program could justify Israeli/US attacks on Iran, let’s take a look at what is going on and what that means for the world.

Extemp Questions for the Week of May 21st-27th, 2008

1. Should the U.S. talk to Iran without preconditions?

2. Has the media been too harsh on Hillary Clinton?

3. Should Bush veto the new GI bill?

4. Why is drug violence so hard to stop in Mexico?

5. Is microfinance ethical?

6. Will Ma Ying-jeou be able to successfully smooth over relations between Taiwan and China?

7. Does the defection of Nelly Moreno show that Colombia’s government is winning its civil war with rebel groups?

8. Has the GOP’s outreach to black voters failed?

9. Why is inflation becoming a serious concern for Latin American economies?

10. Is an oil price of $200 a barrel by summer a realistic possibility?

Extemp Questions for the Week of May 14th-20th, 2008

1. Should the Labour Party ditch Gordon Brown?

2. How much longer should Hillary stay in the Democratic race?

3. Is enough being done to stave off a famine in North Korea?

4. Should polar bears be put on threatened species list?

5. Is the GOP headed for a massive defeat in this year’s midterm elections?

6. Should Thailand’s constitution be changed?

7. Would a suspension of the gasoline tax really benefit U.S. consumers at the pump?

8. How should the West deal with the political situation in Russia?

9. Is a proxy war imminent between Chad and Sudan?

10. Should the next U.S. president distance the United States from Israel?

Topic Brief: Bolivian Autonomy


While it has long been famous for having two capital cites (La Paz and Sucre) or being partial home to Lake Titicaca – the highest navigable body of water in the world – Bolivia has recently decided that it needed to spice things up a bit.  The country named after the leader of independence movements throughout Latin America elected a strong socialist leader – who is a long time advocate of the production of coca.  However, it seems that Evo Morales’ pro-socialist and indigenous brand of politics has angered many of the wealthy elite.  Four provinces – mostly populated by wealthy Bolivians of European descent – have planned votes to demand greater regional autonomy.  When the first vote, in Santa Cruz, was a resounding victory for the pro-autonomy movement, Morales responded by pushing for a national recall vote of him and the governors of all nine provides (departments) to prove how beloved he is, and how much the average people love local government.  Further complicating things is the fact that Morales is the number one disciple of Hugo Chavez, placing Bolivia in the middle of an international spat between the Latin left and the US.  Since we have a series of elections that could rip a country apart, remove a democratically elected president, and alter the ideological balance of the western hemisphere, let’s take a look at Bolivia.

Extemp Questions for the Week of May 7th-13th, 2008

1. Is a new new-facist movement being built in Europe?

2. Have the worst parts of the credit crisis passed by?

3. Should Brazil be given a permanent seat on the UN Security Council?

4. Is the peace accord between northern and southern Sudan unraveling?

5. If you were John McCain’s campaign manager, what would be your election strategy while the Democrats are still engaging in their nomination battle?

6. Will Santa Cruz’s vote for more autonomy weaken Morales?

7. Should Tsvangirai agree to a run off?

8. Will the Supreme Court’s upholding of Indiana’s voter ID law hurt the Democratic Party in November?

9. What can be done to help Indian Ocean countries deal with natural disasters?

10. Has America won the “war on meth”?

Topic Brief: China’s Economic Growth


With over 30 years of solid economic growth, China is an anomaly in the economic world.  However, it seems that the odd mixture of communism and free markets that has resulted from the Great Leap Forward may have finally come to fruition as China’s economy is making the transition from producer of cheep goods to all around economic superpower.  As China moves into cars, electronics and coercive economic foreign policy, it has become clear that China’s economic clout is something for the world–and especially the US–to watch.  As such, this brief will examine the fourth largest economy in the world, and look at some of the impacts of this rising power.

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