What does it mean to "pose a military threat?"
That's a question I mulled over this past weekend, as I listened to affirmatives and negatives try to parse the complexities of the nuclear weapons resolution.
There's no easy, or good, answer, for either side.
1. In one view, "pose a threat" and "threaten" are semantically distinct. To threaten is to demonstrate intent to harm. The locus of agency is the person or entity making the threat.
To "pose," in the context of "posing a threat," (or its semantic cousin "posing a risk") is to come to one's attention. The locus of agency is the person or entity who feels threatened.
2. This would make "pose a threat" a more subjective concept. It would be up to the threatened to show why, say, France poses a military threat, even if France hasn't made an express warning or action against a particular nation.
3. But an affirmative might say that this reading of the resolution takes away too much Aff ground. If, as many seem to be assuming, "pose" means to "present," the locus of agency returns to the threatener. "Pose a military threat" and "militarily threaten" would mean the same thing.
So, as I see it, Affs want a narrow view of "pose a military threat," or else they are stuck defending military force in response to another nation's mere possession of a military.
What does "prevent the acquisition of" imply, if anything?
An affirmative could also narrow the resolution by arguing that "prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons" implies that the nations in question are not already armed with nukes. Two reasons:
1. The word "prevent." As Webster's notes, "prevent implies taking advance measures against something possible or probable." If a nation already possesses nukes, prevention is too late; nuclear weapon acquisition is already "actual," instead of "possible" or "probable."
2. The ever-shrinking Affirmative ground. Saying that the resolution encompasses nations that already possess nuclear weapons gives the Neg too many angles of attack in a resolution already heavily Neg-weighted, because of the ridiculous number of words and phrases that require Aff definition.
Your thoughts and comments, as always, are welcome.