Resolved: Economic sanctions ought not be used to achieve foreign policy objectives
Debate Rounds (3)
Definitions: To begin my case, I must define certain terms. First off, ‘economic sanctions' are define as "government mandated limitations and domestic penalties applied by one or more countries on customary trade or financial relations among nations." Secondly, ‘achieve' is defined as "to bring to a successful end". Because the successful achievement of an objective is only possible through an efficient strategy and economic sanctions are not as such, the resolution must be affirmed.
C1. Although the purpose of any purported diplomatic action is to achieve certain objectives, economic sanctions fail miserably at this criterion.
S1. Because of the callousness of sanctions, millions of those affected have suffered greatly. Joy Gordon says:
"As Walzer notes, siege is the oldest form of war waged against both soldiers and civilians. In siege, noncombatants are not only exposed, but in fact are more likely to be killed than combatants, given that the goal of siege "is surrender, not by defeat of the enemy army, but by the fearful spectacle of the civilian dead." Thus, siege warfare has the quality of actually inverting the principle of discrimination. Siege operates by restricting the economy of the entire community, creating shortages of food, water, and fuel. Those who are least able to survive the ensuing hunger, illness, and cold are the very young, the elderly, and those who are sick or injured. Thus the direct consequence of siege is that harm is done to those who are least able to defend themselves, who present the least military threat, who have the least input into policy or military decisions, and who are most vulnerable to hunger, cold, and illness." These sanctions, which support the suffering of the young and the elderly, are indefensible and thus obviously to be thrown out.
S2. As history has shown multitudes of times, inhabitants of a country have an innate tendency to group closer in a nationalistic sense when threatened. Joy Gordon says:
"The most extensive study of sanctions episodes in this century estimates that sanctions are "a factor" in achieving the target state's compliance about one-third of the time. But even this figure has been challenged as far too optimistic. The typical response of a people in the face of sanctions is in fact to "rally 'round the flag," and support the leadership in the face of foreign coercion. That response has characterized sanctions situations from Italian support for Mussolini in the face of the League of Nations' boycott and Serbian support of Slobodan Milosevic, to the U.S. response to the Arab oil boycott of the 1970s."
As you can see, the only effect of applying sanctions will have the opposite effect than intended: the people, rather than taking down the opposing regime or leader, will only more forcefully support them, thus making our efforts worse than useless.
C2. Because of the utter inefficiency of and harm done by economic sanctions, they ought not be used for the accomplishment of most if not all foreign policy objectives, thus affirming the resolution.
S1. In terms of the resolution, it is asked if economic sanctions "ought" to be used to accomplish a certain action. The word "ought," in addition to the oft-used meaning relating to morality, can also be put forward the concept that if an object or ideal is unable to or less efficient at accomplishing a particular objectives For example, one would not use a handsaw in order to cut down a tree; one would use a chainsaw. In addition, one would use a flashlight to light up a dark room, and not a fish. Similarly, the term "ought" is based on the efficiency of any particular action; if one purported action is more cost-effective than another, it "ought" to be used, thus fulfilling the resolution. In addition, the negative must show how economic sanctions are better and thus must be used as opposed to any possible alternate course of action. As the negative cannot possibly supply every possible scenario's cons, it is limited only to the defending of the one indefensible position of sanctions.
C3. As the resolution is specifically searching for a viable method of achieving diplomatic objectives, any action that is in itself more efficient than economic sanctions should be used, thus negating the resolution.
S1. The primary issue with the use of sanctions is their indiscriminate nature in the area of unintentional suffering directed at those least able to afford it. However, as a better alternative to the general, malevolent sanctions mentioned in the resolution, better "smart sanctions" exist which, although they may seem similar to the topic being debated, in reality have very little relation to the former. William H. Kaempfer says:
"In the same way, if sufficient intelligence existed on the sources of wealth of specific politically important individuals in a target nation, measures could be carefully aimed to reduce that wealth. Such sanctions are commonly referred to as "smart sanctions." The individuals singled out by smart sanctions could be either major political operatives behind the objectionable policy or their key supporters. In either event, the role of smart sanctions is to identify those responsible and to increase the cost to them of engaging in that behavior found to be objectionable in the sanctioning countries. An example would be the freezing of assets owned abroad by members of the target elite, of which more below.
S2. Secondly, there is always the chance that diplomatic talks will produce fruit. This is especially the case if there are independent warring factions in the sanctioned country; in this situation, the US could offer aid to a faction which holds shared goals in order to jointly take down the present administration. In addition, direct talks with the leaders of the opposing government could have a good chance of being fruitful. For example, talks with North Korea in 2004, at least until the advent of its failed satellite attempt in 2009, offered a great opportunity to achieve normal relations and so freeze its nuclear weapons production.
S3. A final possible route to take, in the extremely unlikely event of all others mentioned failing, would be, although somewhat more objectionable than mentioned before, a militaristic act of diplomacy. In essence, the threat of military invasion is used as a bargaining chip against a regime that would otherwise ignore any efforts to bring it down. Even if primary threats did not always work, the follow through would always be likely; however, the primary target of any such venture would be the elite ruler who the army is being mobilized against. Any obstructionist civilians could be dealt with infinitely more gently than they would otherwise in an economic sanction scenario. The effort would, in effect, a humanitarian war. The only objective would be to remove the opposition quickly and lethally, thus making a quick and successful strike against the heart of the opposition as well as minimizing collateral damage and so winning the minds of the oppressed citizens, as well as other prominent nations.
Due to the evidence presented, there is no possible rational choice but to affirm the resolution.
By negating today's resolution, I support a practice that is instrumental in the prevention of widespread violations of international law and human rights. Morality is the value to be considered in today's debate. Morality is the foundation on which all of society is built. Because we are judging the practical and moral implications of sanctions, we ought to use consequentialism as the value criterion in today's debate. Using the value criterion of consequentialism, I will show that the outcomes produced by sanctions make them moral.
For clarity I would like to present the following definitions:
Morality is defined by Stanford's Encyclopedia of Philosophy as "a code of conduct put forth by society." As sanctions involve many different nations, the standard of morality to be used in this case would be of an established international entity such as the United Nations.
Consequentialism is defined as "the view that the moral rightness of an act depends on the foreseeable consequences."
Contention I: Sanctions prevent mass violations of international law and human rights.
Subpoint A: Libya stopped terrorism and weapons programs as a result of UN sanctions. According to Orde Kittrie, professor of law, discussing THE IRAN SANCTIONS ENABLING ACT OF 2009 on March 12, "UN Security Council sanctions also induced Libya's government, a regime that had become synonymous with international terrorism, to forsake terrorism and relinquish its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs. Libya ceased its support for terrorism following the Security Council's imposition on it of strong sanctions in 1992 and 1993 in exchange for removal of the Security Council sanctions."
Subpoint B: Sanctions prevent widespread violations of human rights under suppressive regimes. The sanctions Guatemala was threatened with led to the removal of President Jorge Serrano, who, according to Ana Arana of the Sun Sentinel on June 27, 1993, "dissolved [the Guatemalan] Congress and announced he would rule by decree. President Clinton and the European Economic Community threatened to impose economic sanctions. The implications were ominous for Guatemala`s economy...A dozen or so businessmen gathered in the headquarters of CACIF, the Confederation of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial and Financial Associations forced Serrano to resign within days." Thus a leader intent on turning Guatemala into a dictatorship was stopped by sanctions.
Contention II: The cost of not sanctioning in many cases is far greater than the cost of sanctioning.
Subpoint A: Sanctions are needed to stop staunch enemies from acquiring weapons harmful to world peace.
According to Kittrie in the same article, "The international community has learned in recent years that strong sanctions can stop both illicit nuclear weapons programs and terrorism. For example, it was discovered in the wake of the U.S. occupation of Iraq that strong U.N. Security Council sanctions had destroyed Iraq's nuclear weapons program and succeeded in preventing Saddam Hussein from restarting it between the Gulf War in 1991 and the coalition occupation of Iraq in 2003." By sanctioning Iraq, we were able to stop a dangerous foe from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
When faced with a determined enemy, there can be no alternative besides sanctioning them in order to preserve the security of the world. We did not trade with Nazi Germany while fighting them in World War II. We did not trade with the hostile Soviet Union during the Cold War. Why would we want to aid the military development of our staunch enemies by trading them valuable resources? In these cases, sanctioning countries we are at war at or could potentially be in a war with is not only moral; it's downright necessary.
Subpoint B: Carefully targeted sanctions minimize the impact of sanctions on the lives of innocent civilians. According to Choksy in the August 4, 2009 issue of Foreign Policy, "If international action is directed specifically against high-ranking Iranian individuals and corporations causing internal repression and external strife, rather than the Iranian people as a whole, those sanctions will send an unmistakable, tangible, message that the world seeks to be just and fair. Moreover, such action will further mitigate and possibly eliminate the threat posed by Iran's leaders and institutions against their people and the West."
For these reasons I urge a negative vote in today's debate.
Onto my opponent's case:
My opponent's value is "efficiency and benevolence of any purported action in the area of foreign policy." I would like to observe that my opponent's two values conflict one another. Something that is efficient is not always benevolent and vice versa. For example, it may be efficient for governments simply to send in a squad of assassins to take care of a hostile leader, but it would not be benevolent to do so. For this reason, morality is the value on which the debate should be judged.
Secondly, if you don't buy that my oppooent's values are contradictory, they in fact support the negative advocacy better. In the cases I have previously shown, sanctions were solely responsible for the removal of the totalitarian Serrano from his office in Guatemala. They stopped Iraq from acquiring nukes. They turned Libya from terrorism. All of those benefits provided by sanctions provided the "ability...to accomplish stated objectives in addition to the total happiness and prosperity produced in the outcome." Because the maximum prosperity for the world in terms of stopping weapons proliferation, terrorism, and totalitarianism was achieved on the negative, I satisfy the my opponent's value better.
S1. My opponent states that because sanctions fail to discriminate between civilians and soldiers, they don't fulfill his value. However, it is the negative position that some collateral damage is unavoidable: in war, civilians can be killed when factories are bombed; however, that doesn't make the bombing of the factories immoral. Sanctions, while they may cause some harm to the civilian population, have overall greater benefits already discussed, justifying the harms.
S2. My opponent cites how sanctions failed because of rallying around the flag for Slobodan Milosevic; however, according to Peterson Institute for International Economics in "Case Studies in Sanctions and Terrorism
", the sanctions against Serbia were actually effective in the "destabilization of Milosevic."
C2: I agree that "ought" can be used to express efficiency; however, I disagree that the negative must compare sanctions to every other possible alternate course of action. This places an unreasonable burden of proof on the negative as it is impossible to go back in time and try a different method, and so that assertion must be dropped. The affirmative must be held accountable to prove the existence of any possible alternatives to sanctions.
S1: My opponent discusses "smart sanctions" and how they could be an alternative to sanctions; however, I would argue that smart sanctions are economic sanctions. There is nothing in my opponent's definition of sanctions that rules out providing exemptions to those not involved with illicit activities.
S2. My opponent presents diplomacy as an alternative; however, he gives no instance where it actually worked (in fact he gave an instance where it failed). Furthermore, against hostile nations diplomacy is simply not a viable course of action.
S3. My opponent presents war as an option; however, as I discussed in my case, there can be no war without sanctions: we wouldn't continue trading with a country that we are battling with, would we?
I urge a negative vote in today's debate.
I will begin with my opponent's case and then reinforce my own.
My opponent says that morality is a direct link to the philosophy of consequentialism; however, he has not provided a link from the resolution to his view of morality. Though it may be simply semantics, I have shown how morality is not the sole link to the resolution, and so my opponent's value is incomplete. In addition, the philosophy of consequentialism is at fault- though we would not call an accidental and unforeseeable car crash that killed a child necessarily "immoral", the fact remains that it is still an undesirable outcome, and so my policy of a combined value of morality and fulfillment of purpose stand for the round.
For his first contention, my opponent has said that sanctions "prevent mass violations of international law and human rights." However, as I have earlier expressed, sanctions actually do more potential harm to the human rights of those they were originally designed to protect! In addition, my opponent has offered the example of Libya as a support to his case. However, this is a faulty example, as I will now show.
Jeffrey Schott says, "Note, however, that in recent years the use of economic sanctions has increasingly become a "way station" to the use of military force. Ineffective sanctions have led to US military intervention in Panama, Haiti, Somalia, and Iraq (and the use of US air power against Libya and in the Balkans)—either to reinforce the US response or to forceably compel foreign governments to change their policies." The ineffectuality of the sanctions led to an increased view of the sanctions as futile, and so the real solution used was the application of military force, and not, as my opponent claims, economic sanctions.
Next, my opponent claims that sanctions prevent human rights violations when aimed against oppressive regimes. However, it is difficult to see how is able to come to this conclusion; the evidence that I have presented shows that in the vast majority of times, the oppressed citizens actually unite under their dictator, provided they have a common enemy, i.e., the creator of the sanction. In addition, my opponent's example of Guatemala, there was no actual application of the sanctions, merely the threat. Simon Cox says, "One lesson of the scholarly literature is that by the time sanctions are imposed, they have probably already failed. If a country is ever going to fold, it will do so when sanctions are threatened, rather than waiting for the punishment actually to fall on its head." My opponent's point in this case is to be dismissed in that the threat of an action is indubitably not the same as the application of such, and so his own example supports my case! A threat is defined as "an act of coercion wherein a negative consequence is proposed to elicit response." The true purpose of any threat is obviously to attempt to force the opposing party to give in before the application of the punishments; continuing in that vein, the application and continued usage of such cause, I have in fact already expressed, the rallying of the inhabitants of the sanctioned country against the imposer. Additionally, such behavior could easily be simple example of threat posturing, which is "behavior that emphasizes one's aggressive potential." Put simply, the threat of such an action is only a sign of how far the sender is willing to go, and not necessarily a direct cause of fear relating to the sanction itself.
My opponent's second contention says that the possible risks of not using sanctions are higher than the risk taken when sanctions are put into use. However, as I will show, this is blatantly false. The usage of alternative routes is far less risky, with an additional bonus of a potentially higher payoff. For example, Leon T. Hadar says, referring to sanctions placed on Burma, says "As an alternative to the failed policy of sanctions, the United States should allow U.S. companies to freely trade with and invest in Burma. A pro-business approach would more effectively promote political, civil, and economic freedom around the world." In addition, the usage of a diplomatic route would strengthen relations with the country in question, thus surpassing my opponent's maintaining that sanctions are the best route. In addition, as I have shown, sanctions are both inefficient and inhumane. I would like to point out to my opponent that he has provided no evidence that sanctions are not indeed exactly what I have shown them to be. A few examples of moderate success do not a winning case make. I would ask that my opponent supplies his own counter-evidence before standing by his own mistaken decisions.
My opponent says that, "When faced with a determined enemy, there can be no alternative besides sanctioning them in order to preserve the security of the world." However, this is only true up to a point. Sanctions will not work when used upon extremist nations such as former Nazi Germany or modern Afghanistan or Iran. In the case of religious or philosophical extremism, both economic and diplomatic solutions are futile, leaving only military solution. Though my opponent maintains that the cessation of trade during times of war is an example of sanctions, this definition is faulty. As I have earlier supplied, the definition of economic sanctions is "government mandated limitations and domestic penalties applied by one or more countries on customary trade or financial relations among nations." Note that there is no mention of war in the definition, there is only the mention that sanctions are specifically used to achieve goals when used as penalties; cessation of trade during a military incursion is a necessity, and thus not an example of an intended sanction.
Finally, my opponent says that sanctions actually minimize the impact upon innocents; however, this is a laughable concept. As I have shown, sanctions actually do more, potentially at least, harm upon civilians rather than diplomatic or militaristic solutions, the latter of which only provides regrettable collateral damage upon civilians, unlike sanctions which view such as the primary intent of persuasion. Next, the only additional damages visited upon civilians, whether economical or political, are simply the results of increased efforts of the administration in power. Because of the obvious proponents of such harm, any animosity felt by the people will usually fall on the target government itself.
On to my opponent's rebuttal:
My opponent says that my values are contradictory. However, he has failed in his interpretation of my values: my usage of the words benevolence and efficiency relate to the impact on a national and international basis. If a cruel dictator is assassinated, the overall benevolence is measured in the positive impact visited upon those previously oppressed by the despot. In addition, if, as my opponent has presumably supplied, the entire problem is solved by the assassination, then the overall efficiency is extremely high. Thus, my opponent has refuted his own objections.
My opponent answers to my first contention that civilians are also killed in war; however, this is strictly collateral, while sanctions visit ruin to everyone in the country and not only those in war zones.
To my second contention, my opponent says that sanctions were actually effective against Serbia; however, he does not dispute that the sanctions caused increased unity against the sender. His only contention is that sanctions were "effective", not, however, that they played a pivotal role.
Finally, smart sanctions are indeed different than normal ones; they are specially aimed in order to minimize extra damages.
Due to these reasons, the resolution must be affirmed in today's debate.
My opponent then attacks my opponent of consequentialism by putting forth a car crash as an example where consequentialism cannot be applied correctly. However, look again to my definition of consequentialism. It can only be based off of the "forseeable consequences." In the case of the car crash, my opponent himself admitted it as unforseeable, so there is no discrepancy between consequentialism and morality in this case.
Against my first contention my opponent asserts that the potential harm to human rights overcomes the benefits. However, the benefits provided by sanctions are simply too important to justify not using. A citizen of a country in the future would not want his city nuked because sanctions were not used in the past due to potential harms that simply pale in comparison. Nuclear war would kill far more people than any sanction; my opponent has not weighed this.
My opponent's source does not state that sanctions were not effective in Libya, only that they were used in conjunction with US air power; thus, his analysis is faulty.
On my next point, my opponent states that I have failed to prove sanctions prevent human rights violations because it was the threat of sanctions that worked, not sanctions themselves. However, threatening sanctions can only be effective if in fact sanctions are utilized. In order for the hammer to be taken seriously, it must be brought down every now and then. Thus we see that the cases were the threat of sanctions working should be put under the benefits of sanctions.
Against my second contention, my opponent states that a pro-business could have worked in Burma. Besides the dubious fact that there was no practical evidence to back this up, only an assertion, there is a further problem: If diplomacy works - great. If war works - great. They don't all have to be bad to make sanctions the best choice in certain situations. For example, we would use a screwdriver to put in a nail; we would use a hammer. We wouldn't use a hammer to put in a screw; we would use a screwdriver. Each method of achieving foreign policy can be effective without making the others not effective. Each method has its use: in the case of sanctions I have shown that they prevent human rights violations, nuclear proliferation, and terrorism. These are not a few examples of moderate success; they are significant. The burden of proof showing that diplomacy/war is better than sanctions as a general principle lies on my opponent and has not been met.
In response to subpoint B, my opponent states that sanctions will not work when placed upon Afghanistan or Iran. This may be true, but that does not make sanctions "futile." By trading with Afghanistan and Iran, all we do is help out an implacable enemy develop militarily. If we don't trade with Afghanistan and Iran, we keep such power out of their hands. Even if their policies remain unchanged, their ability to carry them out has been lowered. Thus any country we are at war with or could be at war with must be sanctioned.
Using my opponent's definition of sanctions thus must be applied to countries we are at war with, despite his claims to the contrary. We stopped trading with Germany during WWII. This was a "government mandated limitiation and domestic penalty...on customary trade." Our goverment mandated the limitation on customary trade to penalize Germany.
Finally, my opponent states the notion that sanctions minimize impact upon innocents is laughable. However, I've shown throughout my case that not sanctioning has clear ramifications on innocents. Allowing nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and totalitarianism is a far worse offense than causing starvation through sanctions.
On to my opponent's case:
If, as my opponent says, benevolence and efficiency are related to the impact on a national basis, then the situation I have presented still shows how the two values may be at odds with one another. I never stated that it was a cruel dictator - I stated that it was a leader hostile to the country carrying out the assassination. To the nation carrying out the assassination, it was an extremely efficient thing to do. To the rest of the world except the nation and its allies, it was not a benevolent action. My opponent's failure to specify the agent of action and the viewpoint from which benevolence and efficiency are judged allows for such contradictions.
My opponent's defense of his first contention is based on the idea that targeted sanctions are not sanctions and thus humanitarian impact cannot be minimized; this will be addressed later.
Furthermore, whether civilians are being endangered in war zones or throughout the country is not relevant to the overall point made. Whether 1000 civilians were killed in a bombing of a war zone or 1000 starved to death throughout the country is of no overall significance to either consequentialism or happiness/prosperity caused.
On Serbia, my oppponent states that the sanctions were only "effective", not that they played a pivotal role. However, my source, the Peterson Institute for International Economics, judges this "effectiveness" with two factors:
"Index value of 1: Failed outcome
Index value of 2: Unclear but possibly positive outcome
Index value of 3: Positive outcome, meaning the sender's goals were partly realized
Index value of 4: Successful outcome meaning that the sender's goals were largely or entirely realized
Index value of 1: Net negative contribution to the outcome
Index value of 2: Little or no contribution to the outcome
Index value of 3: Substantial contribution to the outcome
Index value of 4: Decisive contribution to the outcome
The two elements are multiplied to obtain the success index, scaled from 1 to 16. A success score of 9 or higher is characterized as a successful outcome." The Serbian sanctions were classified a twelve, meaning that they had at very least a "substantial contribution to the outcome."
On my attack on his third contention, my opponent simply states that "smart sanctions are indeed different than nomral ones; they are specially aimed in order to minimize extra damages." This, however, in no way disqualifies smart sanctions from counting as economic sanctions, "government mandated limitations and domestic penalties applied by one or more countries on customary trade or financial relations among nations."
jetbey forfeited this round.
It was a pleasure debating you. I'd appreciate people telling me what they thought about the debate. Thanks.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Kachow 7 years ago
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