Topicality will likely be a common strategy against plan affs. Similar to the fossil fuels topic, one point of contestation will be over the word ‘eliminate.’ Against affs that advocate states only get rid of part of their nuclear arsenals, debaters will likely argue that these affs are not topical because ‘eliminate’ denotes getting rid of something entirely. When debating affs that only mandate one state gets rid of its nuclear arsenals, debaters can argue that because the word ‘states’ is plural, topical affs must defend that multiple states eliminate their nuclear arsenals. Similarly, against affs that fiat multiple states eliminate their nuclear arsenals (but not that all states eliminate their nuclear arsenals), some debaters may make claims about why plans are bad and why affirmatives should defend the entire resolution.
There is also a lot of critical ground on this topic. Against affirmatives that argue only certain ‘dangerous’ states such as North Korea, India, or Pakistan, eliminate their nuclear weapons, people may read colonialism kritiks, which argue that the framing of certain countries as deserving and responsible enough to possess nuclear weapons in opposition to the framing of other countries as undeserving and dangerous is colonialist and mirrors the self-serving, Western-centric logic of many colonial/western leaders and scholars. Some debaters may also read criticisms of the aff’s focus on incremental reform as a solution to violence because simply getting rid of one type of weapon will not change the militaristic nature of the international order.
In terms of policy strategies, one popular route will be simply to argue that nuclear weapons make the world a safer place. Some people argue that nuclear weapons decrease the likelihood that countries engage in conflict of any kind by acting as a meaningful deterrent. People may also read hegemony disadvantages, which address the important role of nuclear weapons in maintaining US hegemony because despite the fact that there may be some ways in which the US lags behind other countries militarily (i.e. the number of people enrolled in the military), it is still able to maintain military supremacy through advanced nuclear technology. Thus, eliminating nuclear weapons would undermine US military supremacy by providing an advantage to China, which has the most active military personnel in the world. These disads could also be coupled with advantage counterplans that take precautions to make nuclear weapons safer or decrease the number of nuclear weapons. Another option is to read a PIC (plan inclusive counterplan) against AFFs that defend the entirety of the resolution. These strategies must have a reason for why specific countries need nuclear weapons.
In terms of fem affs, one option is to argue that nuclear weapons are symbolic of militaristic masculinity because they’re connoted with strength, aggression, and dominance. Thus, many feminist international relations scholars argue for nuclear disarmament as an important tool to building a better, less patriarchical world.
For debaters who want to read feminist criticisms on the negative, they will likely have to criticize the representations of affirmatives as opposed to the plans itself. Many of the generic kritik arguments described above can also be applied to a feminism kritik. Additionally, debaters may criticize the representation of war as a singular event that can be prevented by a specific policy and instead advocate for a more inclusive view of war that considers things like structural violence as an ongoing wars against marginalized populations.