The Instigator
Con (against)
12 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Economic Sanctions ought not be used to acheive Foriegn Policy Objectives

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/5/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,625 times Debate No: 10712
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




I want this to be in LD Style. If you don't know LD please don't accept this debate. Also please plan on finishing the debate.

Since in LD the Affirmative speaks first, my opponent will post first. This also keeps the regular speeches intact giving the Aff 3 speeches and the Neg 2. However I ask the third Aff to make the 3rd speech much like a real 2AR.


The affirmative's advocacy is that the United States Federal Government ought not use economic sanctions against Iran to achieve its foreign policy objectives. Parametricizing is legitimate because
1) The consequence that results from the use of sanctions varies from scenario to scenario. For example, the effects of sanctions against Canada would be very different than those against Iraq. It is impossible to make generalizing statements about sanctions because sanction require us to evaluate the circumstances of the situation, like the levels of trade, economic health of the target, cost of sanctions, and the international assistance available etc.
Thus, a context must be specified in order to have a proper discussion about the resolution. The context I am specifying is completely predictable:
a) the majority of sanctions are enforced by the US. Kimberly Elliot notes:"Of 104 sanctions episodes the United States was a key player in two-thirds. In 80 percent of U.S.-imposed sanctions, the policy was pursued with no more than minor cooperation"
b) One of the most hotly debated political issues right now is whether the US ought to use sanctions against Iran. Any debater who has done topic prep has read that the US has sanctioned Iran and is having discussions to increase previous sanctions, hence this is the most predictable contextualization.

2) Accept all reasonable affirmative interpretation because the negative starts out the round with longer rebuttal times and the ability to adapt to the ac, so even if my interpretation is not the best, the negative can compensate.
Because ought is a question of desirability, the phrase ought not implies that the affirmative's burden is to show that economic sanctions against Iran are not a desirable way to achieve the US's foreign policy objectives.
My thesis is that it wouldn't be desirable for the US to use economic sanctions against Iran.
Contention 1: It wouldn't be desirable to use a policy that doesn't work, because then the foreign policy objective wouldn't be achieved. For example, we don't use remotes to turn on the shower because remotes aren't capable of doing that.

1) Iran's oil industry will keep sanctions from being effective. Arshin Adib-Moghaddam explains: the comprehensive sanctions regime enforced by the United States has made it harder to do business in Iran; for the average Iranian who is dependent on the banking system and does not have the capital to move beyond the national confines by establishing, subsidiaries overseas, which is exactly what larger Iranian companies are doing to circumvent the sanctions. Moreover, the Iranian state does not seem to find it difficult to strike multibillion dollar deals. In the past year alone, Iran has signed a contract worth more than €1,5 billion with China's national petroleum and petrochemical companies. China's Sinopec has a €1.3 billion deal to upgrade Iran's Arak refinery and other deals worth over €35billion"

Even if the US imposes sanctions that are multilateral, it won't be effective because Iran's oil industry is too strong. Therefore, solvency evidence read by the negative must explain how economic sanctions will deal with Iran's oil industry, because otherwise sanctions won't work.
Ted Carpenter provides an additional warrant for why sanctions in Iran won't work.
"The chances of successfully isolating Iran are remote. Both Russia and China have dragged their feet about tougher measures against Tehran, and the existing sanctions system leaks badly. Moreover, Iran is a midsize power with considerable clout in its region."
Because of Iran's political connections and geographical location, sanctions won't work.

Contention 2: Nuclear proliferation by Iran is inevitable, and economic sanctions will put the US in danger once Iran finally does go nuclear. Ted Carpenter writes: "Washington's strategy is likely to prove just effective enough to cause [Iran] economic problems, thereby irrevocably antagonizing [Iran] and creating even greater incentives for dangerous behavior. it seems increasingly unlikely that Tehran will be dissuaded from pursuing nuclear ambitions. Short of launching military strikes to take out their programs — a step that could easily trigger full-scale wars in the Persian Gulf— the global nuclear weapons club will probably have [a] new members within the next few years. do we really want a situation in which we have no formal relations with [a] two nuclear-armed power? Such a strategy would be extremely dangerous. Working to isolate [Iran] would exacerbate tensions and increase the possibility of a fatal miscalculation. Tehran [is] also aware that Washington has previously tried to use the isolation strategy against other "breakout" nuclear powers, without much success. The United States and its allies sought to use sanctions to get India and Pakistan to reverse course following their nuclear tests and the deployment of arsenals in the late 1990s. It is likely that despite issuing threats and waging ineffective campaigns to impose sanctions against Iran, the United States and the rest of the international community will ultimately have to accept reality and come to terms with the newest members of the global nuclear-weapons club. Trying to isolate nuclear powers, even obnoxious and unpredictable ones like Iran is a futile and potentially dangerous approach. A better strategy is to hold our noses and attempt to establish a reasonably normal diplomatic and economic relationship with such countries."

Thus, sanctions won't prevent Iran from going nuclear, but will increase the likelihood of retaliation once Iran is nuclear. Furthermore, while the US imposes sanctions that don't work and are counterproductive, America is losing business. Brian Earley writes: Sanctions against Iran have forced American oil companies either to do their business elsewhere or give up their trade to foreign firms. It is not a coincidence that after Halliburton was scathingly rebuked by Congress for business dealings with Iran through its Dubai-based subsidiary that the company moved its entire headquarters to Dubai in 2007.
Halliburton moved because it was more profitable for it to do business in Dubai than it was to for it to stay in the United States. When the US government prevents its companies from doing their business profitably, how can we expect them not to leave?
In a capitalist society, profits keep companies afloat."

American sanctions cost American jobs; getting ridding of them will help US's struggling economy without costing us taxpayer dollars. Thus, affirming would also be desirable to the USFG because the US can better protect its citizens.
Contention 3: Even if sanctions do achieve the US's foreign policy objective, that would not be enough for a negative ballot as the negative would still need to show that achieving the US's foreign policy objectives against Iran is desirable. It wouldn't be desirable to achieve the US's foreign policy objectives if achieving those objectives will have disastrous consequences.

If sanctions work, that would be a bad thing because Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons is key to preventing a regional nuclear conflict. Thomas P.M. Barnett writes: "The history here is stunningly clear: Get a nuke and you'll never suffer attack from a fellow great power — not even a superpower. read your history: With the exceptions of our allies in Britain and France, the U.S. has looked down upon every rising power to ever get the bomb as constituting a loose canon capable of all manner of nefarious acts and strategic stupidity. And yet we're the only one that's ever pulled the trigger.

Thus, the chances of nuclear war are higher in the negative world because only one nation in the middle east, i.e. Israel, will have nukes.
Debate Round No. 1



I negate
I value Morality. Morality is implicit in the resolution since it is the only way to evaluate the topic, as it is a question of moral obligation.
Morality is the framework for decision making of an individual as well as society. The logical corollary of this is that the Justification for actions comes from within the actor's framework for decision-making. Given the lack of specificity in the resolution, we must look towards commonalities, which shape all frameworks, rights become relitive between different cultures and so basing our decisions on the pursuit of certain rights does not shape a universal framework. However all frameworks respect inherent value in human life, in that it is the basis from which all other values stem.
Thus the standard is maximizing the protection of human life.

I will clarify some framework issues before I begin

Second, the negative burden is not to prove that economic sanctions should be used, but rather the sole negative burden is to prove that sanctions are an acceptable foreign policy tool. Because of this I don't need to defend examples of failed sanctions as legitimate, because even the best tool can occasionally break.

The Sole contention of the negative case is that Economic Sanctions are key to preventing Iranian non-proliferation.

In an age of nuclear proliferation, whichever side minimizes the odds of nuclear detonation should win. Minimizing the risk of nuclear proliferation to unstable nations drastically reduces the likelihood of a nuclear war. Thus the impact of preventing Iranian Nuclear proliferation is enormous. Sanctions have been and still are the key to preventing this kind of dangerous proliferation
Silvan Shalom, 08
The decision to impose severe sanctions will have a strong, hard impact. Iran is already feeling the pinch of economic pressure. … These decisions, which exert an economic stranglehold, already have caused considerable agitation in the Iranian business community, many of whose members fear that the international sword is now resting on their neck. … Undoubtedly, the sanctions are working… Nevertheless, the alternatives are clear. The military option is problematic, complex and fraught with dangers. Certainly, the report published by the American intelligence community has tied … hands and seriously narrowed his prospects of ordering an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities….. Global resoluteness and tightening sanctions against Tehran will force it to capitulate as well, and to abandon its ambitious program to develop a nuclear bomb.
We can't just stand by and put the lives of millions of people at stake based on the assumption nuclear weapons won't be used. Prevention of this possibility is the MOST important issue in the arena of international relations. Affirming means a withdrawal of pressure on Iran to end its nuclear program, this type of appeasement will allow Iran to develop nuclear capabilities. Thus the loss of sanctions outweighs every other impact in this round.
AND, Iran will use Nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad can't be deterred.

Colin Rubenstein 07,
Some argue that as the Soviet Union was Iran with nuclear weapons would not employ them there's a key difference. Ahmadinejad is driven by a vision of a world-ending messiah figure, whose reappearance can be brought forward by an apocalyptic event. This is not a man who should be in a position to influence the deployment of nuclear weapons


A. Interp. The Aff must defend the whole resolution
B. Ground. The Aff attempts to parametricize the resolution
C. Standards
1. Ground
The Aff is co-opting my ground by denying me reciprocal access to burdens and impact scenarios. HE can affirm by proving one instance leaving me to defend that same scenario and thus forcing me to debate on the affirmatives terms and nothing else. Reciprocity is key to fairness because debate is a competitive activity that requires both Aff and Neg have the ability to win.
D. Voter. Fairness is a voter because the ballot makes debate a competitive activity and anything that precludes an objective evaluation of the round ought to be put down. Only voting on direct abuse creates an incentive for bad debate. If debaters know they can just kick the argument and get out of the link to theory they will continue to utilize abusive strategies for the positive time trade-off on theory. Merely rejecting the argument is not enough.
1. There is no time skew. The Neg may have longer rebuttals but the Aff has more of them. The Ability to speak first and last offsets the time skew.

1. Pressure is working – sanctions are draining Iranian banks of currency
Con Coughlin, 07,
Iran's banks are on the brink of collapse and its manufacturing industries facing severe shortages as sanctions bite", a confidential report submitted to the Iranian parliament said that continued economic isolation was having dire consequences. The sanctions are designed to increase pressure on Teheran to reach a compromise with the UN over its nuclear enrichment programme. The country's banking industry is suffering from a boycott by European, Japanese and American banks, The biggest banks will not conduct any transactions with any Iranian clients, meaning that businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to find hard currency. "There is no doubt that the Iranian regime is now paying the price in economic terms of its defiance of the international community," "The sanctions are having a deeply negative effect on the Iranian economy and there is the prospect of more to come." several opposition politicians openly criticised the government for its handling of the sanctions and the intransigent position it has adopted over negotiations with the UN.

HIMES 1997
As the remaining superpower, the United States can consider military intervention without great risk, yet in the absence of a clear threat to the nation most Americans are increasingly unwilling to support military intervention. Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia, each in its own way, illustrates the general uneasiness most U.S. citizens feel about sending troops abroad. Add to this sense of caution the desire of many people to support alternatives to armed conflict, among which is economic sanctions. Economic sanctions are essentially efforts to influence a country's behavior by imposing economic penalties. They can take a variety of forms: imposing embargoes, barring financial transactions, freezing economic assets held abroad, and curtailing trade and foreign aid.

2. Iranian proliferation leads to major wars as a result of rapid proliferation, rising oil prices, terrorist attacks, and lost American hegemony
Sokolski, 05
With a nuclear weapons option acting as a deterrent to U.S. and allied action against it, Iran would likely lend greater support to terrorists operating against Israel, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Europe, and the U.S. The objective would be to reduce American support for U.S. involvement in the Middle East, for Israel, and for actions against Iran , and to elevate Iran as an equal to the U.S. An additional aim of Iran's support for terrorism would be to keep other nations from backing U.S. policies, including . military presence in the Middle East. , they would undermine U.S. and allied efforts to foster moderate rule in the Middle East, set into play a series of international competitions that could ultimately result in major wars.

3. Israel wont go on the offensive. They know that they have neighbors that are all hostile and they will use nuclear weapons as a deterrent only. Iran currently has no nuclear weapons and there has been no detonation. This means that the Aff impact here is fatally non-unique.

Look to the analysis I gave about Iran being politically unstable. Furthermore look at the negative impacts caused


goldstandardanarchist forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Um... Maybe we can finish this next round?


I am so so so sorry. I had a travel tournament this weekend and I completely forgot about this. Please give me the loss here.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by cjl 6 years ago
Aff... the resolution does not specify the US. The advocasy of the aff is that e.s. ought not be used to acheive foriegn policy objectives.
Posted by Metz 6 years ago
Fairness is a voter. I outline why winning theory is sufficient to win. The Shell is Run Dispo. (I can kick it unless you put a turn on it)
Posted by goldstandardanarchist 6 years ago
Quick question: If you win T, do you win the round? Can you kick T at any time?
Posted by Metz 6 years ago
Likud MK, 2-10-2008, "No need to wait for Russia or China," Haaretz,

Executive Director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, 11-18-2007 "We're MAD if we do not rein in Iran", Fairfax Digital,

Staff Writer, 12-10-20"Sanctions strain Iran's economy, officials say", Telegraph (UK),


Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center¸ June-July 2005, "Defusing Iran's Bomb", PolicyReview,
Posted by goldstandardanarchist 6 years ago
Economic Sanctions Reconsidered, 2d ed. (Washington D.C.: Institute for International Economics, 1990), ed. Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Jeffrey J. Schott, and Kimberly Ann Elliott
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam. 2008. "The Futility of Sanctioning Tehran: ‘Isolated Iran', Myth or Reality?" Published by SOAS Research Online. January 15, 2008. Google. JEK.
Nuclear Realities
by Ted Galen Carpenter
Author: Bryan Early, Research Fellow, The Dubai Initiative
10 Reasons Why Sanctions on Iran Won't Work
October 1st, 2009
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Vote Placed by goldstandardanarchist 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by cjl 6 years ago
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