Resolved: Economic Sanctions ought not be used to achieve foreign policy objectives.
Debate Rounds (3)
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, ought is "used to indicate duty or correctness." Note that duties are not necessarily moral considerations. (1)
The duties of nations are politically rather than ethically grounded because it only makes sense to attribute moral agency to actors capable of choosing rationally between two courses of action, whereas nations behave as they do only through the aggregation of multiple individual's choices. Additionally, since value-laden statements have no empirical referents and moral rules cannot be objectively justified, shared agreement �€" whether explicitly or implicitly through the establishment of a political community �€" is a prerequisite for the assignment of duties and obligations.
Moral rules are only binding under conditions of reciprocity. While violence may generally be immoral, we accept self-defense because the attacker has disregarded the moral agency of the victim. Similarly, international politics is a self-help world. Because there is no central global authority to create and enforce rules for the behavior of nations, the sole obligation of states is to exploit whatever opportunities are available to secure their survival and thereby uphold their commitment to secure the rights of citizens.
Consequently, my standard is the principle that states ought to take whatever actions necessary to promote their security.
My position can be understood as two compatible but distinct negations of the resolution:
The first is a strict reading of the principle: because states must maximize their relative power while adapting to the flux and flow of the global community, no option �€" including the use of economic sanctions �€" ought to be off the table in their pursuit of foreign policy objectives. In short, there is nothing that governments ought not to do and no tool they ought not to use.
The second formulation follows the first with a minor addition: economic sanctions are oftentimes an effective way for states to pursue hegemony.
Norrin M. Ripsman writes,
"Their optimism is bolstered by high profile cases of apparent sanctions success, such as Western sanctions against the South African apartheid regime. Moreover, as David A. Baldwin argues, sanctions can achieve important political objectives�€"such as deterring third parties from taking unwelcome actions�€"even if they fail to achieve their stated purposes "(2)
Even if, in the worst case, sanctions prove ineffective most of the time, it is often worth it for states to implement them because they have an extremely low cost and can become "carrots" to achieve other political goals. Sanctions require little or no troop deployment and minimal resource expenditure, making them a valuable option for powers on the brink of being overstretched. Additionally, sanctions are key to power projection even if they don't meet explicit goals.
Originality is crutch in this activity.
I know you guys like to steal crap for your own little debates (as this has happened to me before), but please guys: Be Original. Plus, it's more fun when the arguments are your own.
- Protagoras is back (again)
1) "Ought." Def. The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989. Print.
2) Nov 2006 Pol. Sci. Dept. Concordia, Ridgeway Ctr, "FALSE DICHOTOMIES: WHY ECONOMICS IS HIGH POLITICS" http://se1.isn.ch......? serviceID=47
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- Protagoras of Abdera™
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Vote Placed by Protagoras 6 years ago
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