The Instigator
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The Contender
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Economic sanctions ought not be used to achieve foreign policy objectives.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/10/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 851 times Debate No: 10788
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




Here is the case. Lets do this LD style, IE extension OK

Davidsson defines economic sanctions as macro--‐economic measures aimed at the entire economy of a target state

Legal Boundaries to UN [Economic] Sanctions The International J. of Human Rights (UK), Winter 2003, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp.1--‐50
Webster defines Ought: to be bound in duty or by moral obligation
West's encyclopedia of American law defines Human rights as: The basic rights and freedoms, to which all humans are entitled, often held to include the right to life and liberty.
Foreign policy objectives: Human rights
Cohen explains:
Human rights have always played a role in foreign policy throughout American history
because this country was founded on a constitution and bill of rights that proclaimed
freedom and individual liberties....Jimmy
Carter declared human rights to be a "central concern" of foreign policy.…under international law, the
United States had a legal right and responsibility to promote human rights...No member of the United Nations
could claim that mistreatment of its own citizens was solely its own business.
Cohen. Foreign Service Institute, 2008

Justice: Giving each their due
The value is justice. This is the paramount consideration in the round because
1 Unjust actions harm society, because they are detrimental to the welfare of the populace, and thus justice is essential to achieving societal welfare and all other values.
2 The resolution is in the context of government action, and governments must be just, or they should not be allowed to take actions that impact a lot of people.
3 The point of sanctions is to better the quality of the people's lives, so if they become more unjust that would be counter- productive.
4 Justice protects the people from the government and therefore ought to be regarded as a supreme code at all times. Without justice, the government does not have to give each their due, and thus can promote human rights violations. Justice protects the people from such violations of their rights.

The value criterion is protecting innocents. This achieves justice because
1 Without protecting innocents, we treat citizens as means to an end, which is unjust. We must give each due rights to protection and life to solve for human rights.
2 Punishing those who are not guilty is unjust.
3 Because we are trying to achieve foreign policy objectives, defined as human rights we must protect the innocent who are being denied these rights. Because it is the duty of all nations to protect those innocents, we must consider protecting them first.
4 Protecting innocents makes our policies more internationally attractive.

Contention 1: Sanctions violate human rights of innocents and are counter intuitive.
(A) Sanctions violate human rights of innocents. This means that sanctions cannot achieve foreign policy objectives since they undermine human rights. We are not acting justly if innocents are harmed, and if they are deprived of their rights. In Iraq over 500,000 children died before the age of 5 according to UNICEF, and we therefore deprived those children of the right to live. Sanctions are unjust, because the innocent are being punished for acts that they did not commit and immoral because they harm civilians. Because the purpose of sanctions is to achieve human rights, then we are undermining foreign policy objectives, because we cannot achieve them if innocents are suffering.
Rieff gives the example of sanctions imposed on Iraq:
Iraq's devastation is not primarily the result of American bombing during the war or of the looting that followed it, but of the economic crisis that befell the country before the first shot was fired… Those who died had not themselves developed weapons of mass destruction or invaded Kuwait. Rather, they were the cannon fodder for Hussein's war and the victims of his repression…Meanwhile, at the General Assembly, governments of a majority of the countries in the developing world were actively denouncing sanctions as wantonly brutal -- as a policy that in effect punished the Iraqi people in the cruelest possible manner without weakening Saddam Hussein's grip on power in the slightest… Khaled Afra, phrased it this way: 'Saddam was a criminal, the biggest. But sanctions were also criminal. There was a huge amount of victims due to illness. You see, sanctions really killed our dreams -- not my personal dreams only, but those of my Iraqi people, all of us.'

(b) Sanctions are hypocritical, because they cause more violations of human rights, where they are meant to punish abuses of human rights.
Howlett explains
Amy Howlett, "Getting ‘Smart': Crafting Economic Sanctions That Respect All Human Rights",
Fordham Law Review, Volume 73, 2004.
The United States has imposed economic sanctions to punish violations of civil and political
human rights abroad with increasing frequency in recent years. n7 ... where
economic sanctions cause severe human suffering, they jeopardize
rights of civilians living inside the sanctioned country by, for example, destroying jobs,
contributing to poor health conditions, and increasing hunger and poverty. n10 Thus, the same sanctions
that are imposed to end human rights violations are causing human rights
Therefore economic sanctions undermine the purpose that they were imposed upon in the first place, because they punish innocents by depriving them of rights. This is unjust, because everyone is due human rights, and punishing innocents is unjust, because they are not due punishment. In imposing sanctions we use the people as means to an end, because the purpose of sanctions is to achieve human rights by eliminating unjust governments. This use of innocents to get to the government is immoral, because the citizens are being used as means to get to their government.

2 Economic sanctions further empower corrupt governments.
Not only do sanctions in themselves harm innocents, but they are of assistance to the targeted regime, allowing them to further repress the people. This promotes further violations of human rights, and is counterproductive because when sanctions are meant to harm the government, they further empower it.
Durry writes:
Sanctions generally harm the socio-economic and political status of average civilians, while
political elites remain insulated from coercion ...
sanctions create new capabilities and incentives within the target that lead the regime to restrict
the freedoms of citizens in order to preserve its hold on power…
Economic sanctions inadvertently reinforce the targeted regime's political power because
the leadership itself can escape the cost of the sanctions, while simultaneously enhancing their
support from key social and political groups and disproportionately weakening average citizens.
Although economic coercion aims to restrict political elite's access to scarce economic and
military resources, the leaders more often than not can mitigate the negative effect of economic
coercion by controlling the allocation of the increasing scarce resources within the society as
well as using transnational black markets and illegal smuggling... A regime can maintain a certain level of access to goods and hard currency
through illegal arms sales, drug smuggling, and money laundering... Kim Jong-Il's elaborate illegal activities allow the North
Korean elite to flourish not just survive.
Not only can the leadership mitigate the economic harm for itself, but it can also redirect
resources to or from domestic political groups. The leadership decides which groups—such as
the military and police—thrive and which groups—such as an opposition party—suffer. Thus,
the leaders can pay off their political supporters, and those pay-offs are more valuable because
the sanctions have made


I thank my opponent posting her case. I will first cross-examine my opponent, present my case, and then refute hers.

1) Does the United States have an obligation to protect those who are not its citizens?
If yes, why?

I reject my opponents definition of an economic sanction on the grounds that macroeconomic measures do not fully encompass the extent of economic sanctions, and the definition is therefore incomplete. I instead offer Huffbauer and Schott's definition: "the deliberate government- inspired withdrawal, or threat of withdrawal, of 'customary' trade or financial relations ("

I accept my opponent's definitions of "ought" and "human rights."

I reject my opponent's narrow definition of foreign policy objectives as having only to do with human rights. Foreign policy objectives may be related to achieving human rights, but also encompasses national security, among other topics. I offer the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia's definition: "General objectives that guide the activities and relationships of one state in its interactions with other states. The development of foreign policy is influenced by domestic considerations, the policies or behaviour of other states, or plans to advance specific geopolitical designs."

Observation 1: My opponent must show that economic sanctions or the threat therein may not be used at all to achieve foreign policy objectives. In other words, any economic sanction should not, under any circumstances, be part of a country's foreign policy toolkit. I must show that in certain cases, economic sanctions may be used.

Value: Justice, as per Socrates--giving each his or her due. Justice is the basis of any moral, social, or political framework, and applies to all human interactions and is therefore the fundamental value in this debate.

Criterion: Preserving natural rights of citizens--natural rights are those to life, liberty, and property. Natural rights are important in that without them, humans have no worth.

C1: Well-planned and designed economic sanctions with clearly defined objectives offer a more targeted and less costly alternative to war and have a greater impact than diplomatic talks alone. They therefore provide a less involved middle ground between diplomacy and military force.

A. North Korea
Diplomatic talks with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il over that country's development of nuclear weapons had been stalled for eighteen months when, in 2007, US officials froze select Banco Delta Asia accounts in Macao. This selective blocking of financial transactions brought North Korea back to the negotiating table. This is but a small step towards a nonproliferation agreement, but the restarting of talks caused by the narrow application of economic sanctions marks an improvement over the previous stalemate. The US government therefore satisfies the value of justice in that it used economic sanctions as a means to restart talks that would assure the lives and liberty of its citizens.

B. Iran
In February of 2007, the US Government enacted a trade ban against three Iranian companies known to be direct suppliers of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, a government agency known to be building weapons of mass destruction—that is, a nuclear bomb. Such an action resulted in no deaths on either side, but effectively blocked major sources of materials for Iran's nuclear energy program. By denying Iran the resources it needs to build a WMD, the US renders its citizens and the citizens of other nations safer from the threat of a nuclear bomb, thus upholding their natural rights and satisfying the value of justice.

My Opponent's Case:

I have already addressed the definitions above.

Our values are essentially the same; justice has therefore been adopted as the value for this round.

My criterion of protecting natural rights encompasses her criterion of protecting the innocent. Protection of innocents is part of protecting life, liberty, and property, therefore the preservation of natural rights is the value of the round.

C1: I concur that the poor usage of sanctions can lead to the human rights abuses that my opponent cites. However, these abuses were the result of blanket economic sanctions, which are not the targeted economic sanctions that I advocate.

C2: Once again, the examples cited by my opponent only apply to large-scale, unfocused economic sanctions. It is true that this injudicious use of sanctions causes harm. The example cited here of North Korea has furthermore been directly refuted by my second card. Nevertheless, both contentions are moot as my opponent never addressed targeted economic sanctions.

My opponent also fails to offer any alternative method by which natural rights may be achieved. In the absence of any plan of action, now that the imposition of sanctions has been "removed," one may assume that my opponent will do nothing. How will refusing to act to rectify any situation protect innocents or natural rights? It will not. Inaction will either exacerbate the issue at hand or signal complicity, neither which protects the V/VC. Alternately, war will not satisfy the value of justice either--killing citizens to initiate change is hardly just.

My opponent has failed to address any of the point in my case. In addition, her case has been shown to be contradictory as she never provides a method by which she may ensure natural rights. Her case fails to prove definitively that all economic sanctions must not be used under any circumstances, whereas I have shown that economic sanctions have a time and place in which they may be used. For this reason, I urge you to vote Neg
Debate Round No. 1


Y_U_K_I forfeited this round.


My opponent has forfeited the round and her account is registered as no longer active. In the absence of any material to refute and any possibility of refutation in the next round on the part of my opponent, I rest my case. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


Y_U_K_I forfeited this round.


Extend all of my arguments, as my opponent has forfeited, and vote con. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Y_U_K_I 6 years ago
I wasn't talking about forfeiting. That is useless, because the case is still there. I was wondering about getting it off the site period. I have seen forfeited rounds and it does nothing. It is cool. Lets do this. My case has changed a lot anyways. I have another one on cosmopolitanism anyhow.
Posted by tochter_aus_elysium 6 years ago
I'm not sure how to cancel a debate that's already in progress--I mean, I can forfeit this round, but...neh. I have no idea.
Posted by Y_U_K_I 6 years ago
Is there a way to cancel a debate and take away my case? This case stealing thing might be an issue for me as well, and thus as much as I would love to debate you, but I am scarred someone will steal my case, and that idea annoys me far too much.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Koopin 6 years ago
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