The Instigator
skookie5
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
ToastOfDestiny
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

Economic Sanctions ought not be used to achieve Foreign Policy Objectives

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/18/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 878 times Debate No: 11782
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (2)

 

skookie5

Pro

NOTE: This is my first debate on this website but only SERIOUS debaters please who fully understand LD (Lincoln Douglas) style value-based debate.

It is because economic sanctions do not properly preserve justice, I urge an affirmation of today's resolution; "Resolved, Economic sanctions ought not be used to achieve foreign policy objectives." To clarify this round, I offer the following definitions:
Economic sanctions: the imposition of international economic boycotts and embargoes.
Achieve: to gain with effort.
Foreign Policy Objectives: the objectives of the diplomatic and economic policy of a nation or group of nations in its interactions with other nations.
My value for this debate will be justice, defined as rendering unto each their due. Each individual in a justified society ought to be ensured a fair way of living and a healthy life, and thus, my value criterion is preservation of life. It is a belief in the inherent value of each individual from which we derive a need for abolishing economic sanctions that do not provide for the preservation of life and the provision for the pursuit of individual happiness and ultimately do not respect life. Thus, when we undermine a respect for human life, it becomes increasingly likely that rights violations will run rampant and individuals will not be rendered their due.
The affirmative's first contention is that the people carrying out the sanctions should target elites, or individuals with the most power or money over simply embargoing a whole country, as elites are often the cause of the difficulty of achieving foreign policy objectives- not the nonviolent and noncombatant citizens of a country. As stated by The Council on Foreign Relations, "In the great majority of cases, sanctions should target elites, [while they have been targeting] the populace at large. Iraqis are not our enemy. Nor are Cubans. We can be imaginative in targeting elites. We can single out individuals and agencies that give offense or outrage. We can devise civil and criminal punishments so that their persons and property are at risk whenever they travel or do business in a civilized world. This reminds that economic sanctions are inherently bad as they don't target the problem and instead target the nation as a whole. To add, According to the BBC, "Economic sanctions have contributed to a spike in infant mortality rates, a fallen literacy rate, starvation and is best defined as genocide." Ultimately, economic sanctions do not uphold the preservation of life if so many of the innocent are killed and therefore cannot uphold justice. We need alternatives such as diplomacy, which I will later discuss, that better uphold preservation of life and better target the problem itself, namely the elites, not nation at large. The rationale behind using sanctions is also flawed when we consider that we have other ways to target the noncombatants as well, and not the populace, while still being effective.
The affirmative's second contention is that the facts show these economic sanctions simply do not work enough to justify use. There is a long list of failed sanctions, the US embargo against Cuba being one. According to The CATO Institute, "The objective of the U.S. policy toward Cuba is how best to undermine the Castro regime and hasten the island's day of liberation. For almost half a century, the U.S. government has tried to isolate Cuba economically. The embargo had a national security rationale before 1991, but all that changed with the fall of Soviet communism. More than a decade after losing billions in economic aid from its former sponsor, Cuba is poor and dysfunctional and poses NO threat to American or regional security." Another example of failure is Poland, which didn't democratize from sanctions, and instead only with from withdraw of the Brezhnev Doctrine. I could continuously quote times they haven't worked, which is 5% of the time, according to Robert Pape's reevaluation of HSE's findings. But these examples are showing that the reasoning behind implementing economic sanctions is flawed, as they simply do not achieve foreign policy objectives in the large majority of cases. They are, in fact, worse for the countries involved, and we cannot justify our actions, as they simply do not work. Cuba still poses no threat to the US's citizen's after or before this sanction and Castro is still leading a communist country. But this terrible situation could have been prevented if we had used a better alternative such as using diplomacy through the UN as a medium, which over the centuries has worked many times to justify its use according to The Official United Nations Website. Diplomacy prevents the need for these sanctions, and also gives us peaceful, nonviolent resolves to achieve foreign policy objective. Furthermore, it solves the problem much quicker and better preserves life for the world as a whole. (In the end, we can't justify sanctions as they kill and fail to preserve life and much more often than not, fail to achieve foreign policy objectives.)
The affirmative's third contention is that economic sanctions cut off trade-, which can lead to many unprecedented and unintended problems with multiple nations. Countries over thousands of years, have all required trade to ensure life is preserved by providing goods and the growth of their nations. But when we cut off the means of a country to trade, we severely cut down the lifeblood of the nation. This may be what we want with these economic sanctions, so you may wonder why this is so detrimental. It is because of the slippery slope precedent that follows this. If one country is embargoed, that obviously can hurt trade with other countries, so multiple countries suffer as a result, and economic sanctions backfire and hurt those that are not only innocent, but should not be involved with the sanctions. As stated by The Finance Market, "The importance of international trade cannot be ignored. It has contributed immensely to the all sided development of a nation. It has brought about political, social and economic upliftment of countries. International trade, in a majority of the countries have contributed significantly to the gross domestic product or the GDP. It has served as a platform for "globalization". This further illustrates that we cannot use economic sanctions as they would hurt trade, which is incredibly important for multiple nations, and the welfare of its citizens lives, as well as making sure their due is ensured. It doesn't just affect them; it affects the country's the nation trades with, and those around them. In the end, the sanction impacts more innocent than just the target nation, and we see these actions being unjustified as we would be limiting globalization on an unintended scale and in the end not achieve foreign policy objectives, and therefore we cannot further the human race's progression when items, ideas and information not being shared. (We then see that cutting off trade is an unjust action that has led to lack of preservation of life, as it cuts vital resources needed for nation to survive).
It is for these reasons I strongly urge an affirmative vote.
ToastOfDestiny

Con

I negate; I offer the following definition:

Economic Sanctions, from the Heritage Foundation: "any restriction imposed by one country (the sender) on international commerce with another country (the target) in order to persuade the target country's government to change a policy." Kofi Annan expands this definition to include "targeted sanctions which prevent the travel, or freeze the foreign bank accounts, of individuals or classes of individuals."

It is important to prefer this definition because it provides the most up-to-date view as to what sanctions are. The aff's definition is very much the 20th century model of the sanction, and I should not be bound to debate the policies of the past when we are debating what ought to happen in the future.

My value is Governmental Legitimacy. The resolution ultimately poses a question about state actors and their duty within the context of economic sanctions. Because a state actor must always act legitimately or reap physical and moral harm, this is the best value for this round. The criterion will be Preservation of Human Life, because as Dr. Robert Britt writes:

"A nation is only legitimate insofar as it recognizes the ultimate value of the human life. When faced with decisions in which a government must act and either choice can lead to the loss of human life, a government ought act to halt genocide and autocratic regime's stranglehold on populations, as loss of life in the act of freedom is ultimately valued more than that sacrificed through tacit consent"

C1: Sanctions Succeed
Economic sanctions are a remarkable took when wielded properly. Governments constantly refine them to become more streamlined and effective. The latest wave of smart sanctions exemplifies such an advance.

Salim al-Sanat Governor of the Bank of Indonesia provides an example, "The international community's sanction on banks that allow terrorist accounts forced other banks to take action to ensure that the accounts of terrorists were frozen and funds relocated to be inaccessible. Before the use of sanctions many banks were reluctant to freeze such accounts, but sanction[s] convinced [them] to [freeze] terror groups out of 900 million dollars in the Bank of Indonesia alone."

This analysis is furthered by empirical data. After applying 115 different sanction policies through a rigorous statistical calculation, Shagabutdinova and Berejikian (07) conlude that:

"[Smart] sanctions increase the probability of the best outcome by 23 percent for policy result. Similarly pure sanctions reduce the probability of the worst outcome for concession by 29 percent result."�� Their data further shows that these targeted sanctions have a failure rate of only 13%.

C2: Removing Sanctions Leaves the Only Recourse as War
Lauren et al. describe the system of international relations on three levels: negotiations, coercive diplomacy, and military action. A country's first recourse is negotiation. However, it is often the case in crisis situations that negotiations fail because of the incompatibility of viewpoints. When such events transpire, a country has two choices: place a sanction, or escalate to troop movement and warfare.

The use of sanctions only became prominent after WWII because of the multilateral nature of the global economy. Sanctions provided the world with an alternative methodology with which to pursue peace, and we finally moved beyond a black and white world of negotiations versus warfare. At the point that we cannot sanction, countries have two choices: send a strongly worded letter and watch atrocities unfold, or engage in full-out warfare.

Forced warfare is an incredibly blunt tool that relies on one country's ability to physically bludgeon another into submission. Both sides suffer great casualties, and one only has to look to history to see the immense human and financial cost of warfare.

Tacit consent to atrocities leads to just as destructive outcomes. Joseph Semelin writes "large-scale massacres cannot occur without genocidal states benefiting from the passiveness, of other states. Lack of intervention at the international level that leaves the way free for genocidal operators. When public opinion commits itself implicitly to the process of violence then the descent into massacre increases in probability. This can only be compensated for by the external intervention of an international public opinion."

---

Regarding the affirmative case, we see that all the offense is related to the economic sanctions of the past, and I will agree that sanctions have failed before. But we must remember that there is no single diplomatic tool that has a 100% success rate. In fact, by the aff arguments, we ought not go to war due to the human cost, leaving the only tool as negotiation!

Our values are fairly similar; a legitimate government is just, and justice creates a legitimate government. Thus, we should be looking at who impacts through the criterion of preservation of life more effectively

Let's take a moment and cross-apply my opponent's arguments historically. Before the 16th century, war was a horrible method of achieving objectives - it led to the huge massacre of civilians and mass lootings, stripping a country of its wealth. It was really only in the 16th century, when soldiers took the fighting out of the towns and cities and into neighboring fields, and accepted the difference between military and civilians that things became more humane.

Similarly, diplomacy was a complete failure until the 1815 Congress of Vienna, when nations finally understood the principle of compromise.

Sanctions have been around for less than a century, and are evolving at a much faster rate than either diplomacy or warfare - it would be a mistake for us to discard them.

You can look to my 2nd contention to see that without sanctions in the diplomatic toolbox, we can either stand by and let atrocities occur or go to war and harm civilians. When you affirm, you guarantee an increase in the number of innocent deaths by tying government hands.

You can turn the affirmative first contention - I can target governments and individuals with smart sanctions, and I will elaborate in the second rebuttal. Sanctions that cause increases in mortality were those placed on foods and medicines - mistakes the Neg does not have to repeat. Sure, old sanctions target the entire nation, but criticizing sanctions based on old sanctions is like criticizing medicine based on bleeding done in the 1700s.

Diplomacy is a wonderful tool and ought to be the first choice, but again, I can list hundreds of situations in which it has not worked. A choice few: Iraq, North Korea, the Khmer Rogue, and WWII. The list is even longer than the sanctions which have not succeeded. The fact is, diplomacy fails when countries are not open to making compromises. Sanctions can soften up a dictatorial regime or terrorist organizations to the point that diplomacy can work.

You can apply his analysis "we need alternatives...that [preserve life] and...target elites" to strengthen the above turn - sanctions meet this specific criterion of saving lives and targeting elites.

The Aff cites Cuba and Iraq as examples of failed sanctions, and I agree that sanctions did not achieve their objectives there. However, I am not bound to advocate that countries always use sanctions in every case, but that they retain the ability to use them.

The third contention is again dealing with comprehensive sanctions. This is not true of modern sanctions however. By freezing bank accounts and stopping the trade of luxury goods like iPods and sports cars, they can effectively hit the elites.

Finally, the 5% rate that the Affirmative offers is flawed - I unfortunately cannot cite the card this round due to space, but can post it in the comments section if desired.
Debate Round No. 1
skookie5

Pro

skookie5 forfeited this round.
ToastOfDestiny

Con

I would like to start by thanking skookie for giving me the chance to dust off my old sanctions cases and get back into the debate mindset before nationals - I apologize for skimping on opening and closing courtesies last round, but my case and rebuttals ran right up to character limit.

This round will be somewhat of an anomaly; skookie is at a debate tournament and thus unable to post an argument this round. He posted about this in advance, so the above forfeit should not be counted against him when you attribute conduct points while voting. We will resume debate next round and conclude debate in Round 4. Neither of us will post any sort of arguments in Round 5. Basically, the debate will follow this map:

R1: Constructives
R2: Filler
R3: Rebuttals
R4: Closing
R5: Nothing

Because there are no arguments in this round and my arguments ran right up to the character limits last round, I will simply be sourcing my arguments from round one. Most of them were paraphrased from evidence whose qualifications I could not post previously. I have run this by skookie, and he is fine with it.

With that, four sources:

First, when I refer to "Lauren et al.", I am referring to the book 'Force and Statecraft', a study on international relations and diplomacy over time. See: http://www.us.oup.com... . The authors hold various history and international relationship professorships at various universities.

I stated that smart sanctions are a recent development, the result of the rapid evolutions of sanctions. I was referring to these two pieces of evidence.

Jeremy Torranz '06 (I'm trying to find the source article so I can provide credentials)

Economic sanctions have only been used in the past 60 years as a serious part of foreign policy. [O]nly in the past decade [have] economic sanctions begun integrating all that we have learned into a new generation of sanction protocolgranted that in the past economic sanctions have caused harm to innocent civilians, the economic sanctions levied in the current generation have shown little effect on innocent populations, while still having a high rate of success. To criticize economic sanctions due to failures in the 1960's-90's is much like criticizing medicine today for the practice of bleeding in the 1700's. We know now that food sanction ultimately lead to death, whereas financial and luxury good sanctions are effective at mobilizing the rich against the government in question with little harm to the population at large."

and

Professor Lopez from Syracuse University '07
"Sanctions techniques have become increasingly effective. This trend can be attributed to a number of mutually reinforcing realities. First, policymakers from the United States and the international community now recognize those factors in sanctions formulation and implementation that lead to success. Second, the development of "smart sanctions" provide greater versatility while limiting humanitarian damage. Third, the success of sanctions necessitates a coordinated strategy that balances sanctions and incentives as complementary tools designed to pressure and encourage delinquent states into changing their behavior."

Finally, regarding percentages:

John Hovi at the University of Oslo explains that

"Percentage statistics of the success rates of economic sanctions are highly misleading as the leading research on sanctions misconstrues the evidence by including sanctions that were meant to be symbolic or show the citizenry that the country is taking a stand against the evil of another government. When sanctions that were intended to merely take a stand and were levied with little expectation of success are removed from the formula, the percentage of success rises to over 52%, with an additional 30% being at least partially effective at reaching a foreign policy goal."

You'll notice that this 82% combined rate agrees well with Shagabutdinova and Berejikian's 13% failure rate.

Those were the three cards I was unable to cite in the previous round, and I hope that they've made the negative ground in this debate a bit clearer.

With that, it's back to skookie.
Debate Round No. 2
skookie5

Pro

skookie5 forfeited this round.
ToastOfDestiny

Con

I haven't received word from skookie about the above forfeit, so I will reinforce some of the impacts I brought up in R1.

The entire negative case and rebuttal have been dropped, so those arguments can be extended through the flow. The analysis I provide in this round concerns links into the value criteria of preservation of life.

1) Aff link to VC of Preservation of Life
You can look at the analysis under my second contention, which shows you that affirming ultimately leads to the loss of far more life by limiting the diplomatic toolboxes of nations to war or diplomacy.

Semelin '07 showed that for dictators to commit genocides or massacres, they have to believe that they can get away with it. When countries are unable to go to war, they are forced to rely on just diplomacy. Let's face the facts - receiving an angry letter signed by the world really will not stop genocidal operators. It will only succeed if the nation in question is willing to open up and discuss the issue.

The Britt card under my criterion shows us that the best way for a nation to value life is to actively protect it, and affirming severely limits the capability of the world to do so. When the only active step a nation can take to stop dictatorial regimes is war we see a vast increase in deaths because war, ipso facto, involves governments sending soldiers into war, some of whom will die, and many of whom will cause collateral damage.

2) Sanctions will constantly self-correct
Lopez '07 provides the warrant, Shagabutdinova and Berejikian provide the model, and Hovi provides the empirics. Sanctions, much like any tactic, will always improve as nations learn exactly what factors make them successful and what factors contribute to failure. Over time we have learned that inconsistent application (Burma - we sanctioned a few mines and a pineapple juice company...) or targeting necessities (Iraq - food and medicine) are incredibly inefficient methods that can have tremendous human cost. We have also learned that sanctions of banks, luxuries, and travel can be incredibly effective at pressuring the elites.

Lopez tells us that we are constantly learning from our mistakes and successes. Shagabutdinova and Berejikian performed a logit-ordered regression to examine the correlation between the implementation of smart sanctions and and predict that they are far more effective than traditional sanctions. Hovi confirmed this correlation with an analysis of sanctions policies that have actually been implemented.

Thus, negating allows us to further hone our sanctions capabilities and increase our ability to preserve life.

Remember, the negative burden is to show that countries ought to have the ability to use sanctions, not that they are compelled to levy them at every given opportunity.
Debate Round No. 3
skookie5

Pro

skookie5 forfeited this round.
ToastOfDestiny

Con

See above.
Debate Round No. 4
skookie5

Pro

skookie5 forfeited this round.
ToastOfDestiny

Con

Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by skookie5 4 years ago
skookie5
To be completely honest, I have been swamped with school work so if I end up writing another argument....I will.
Posted by skookie5 4 years ago
skookie5
If you wouldnt mind putting that disclamer in this round, it would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
Posted by ToastOfDestiny 4 years ago
ToastOfDestiny
Sure. I'll post the cards that I was paraphrasing but won't bring out any new arguments. We can just pick up in Rounds 3 and 4.
Posted by skookie5 4 years ago
skookie5
Just so you know, I have a debate tournament so I may or may not have to forfit this round, in which case could you possibly concede as we prviously planned (just a bit earlier-will debate into later round I guess), I'll leave a disclamer, and we can debate in later rides when I will have time this weekend?
Posted by ToastOfDestiny 4 years ago
ToastOfDestiny
No problem. In that case, here's the card I would have posted:

John Hovi at the University of Oslo explains percentage

"Percentage statistics of the success rates of economic sanctions are highly misleading as the leading research on sanctions misconstrues the evidence by including sanctions that were meant to be symbolic or show the citizenry that the country is taking a stand against the evil of another government. When sanctions that were intended to merely take a stand and were levied with little expectation of success are removed from the formula, the percentage of success rises to over 52%, with an additional 30% being at least partially effective at reaching a foreign policy goal."
Posted by skookie5 4 years ago
skookie5
If it is okay with you, I hadn't realized I set it to 5 rounds. If you don't mind conceding either 4 or 4 and 5 I will do exactly the same after leaving a disclamer (don't have too much extra time :) Thanks
Posted by ToastOfDestiny 4 years ago
ToastOfDestiny
I basically have some cards that I'm paraphrasing right now - I'll cite them in full next round. Thanks =).
Posted by skookie5 4 years ago
skookie5
Technically no but as long as they are relevant to previous points that's fine.
Posted by ToastOfDestiny 4 years ago
ToastOfDestiny
Can we bring up some new arguments in the second rebuttal? We have 5 rounds, and I'm kinda pressed for space.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Whitesamari 4 years ago
Whitesamari
skookie5ToastOfDestinyTied
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Vote Placed by ToastOfDestiny 4 years ago
ToastOfDestiny
skookie5ToastOfDestinyTied
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