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The Contender
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Sanction is not an effective tool for resolving international conflicts.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/28/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,253 times Debate No: 58238
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
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Rules: 1. Don't use abusive words.
Rule: 2. Constructive argument is needed.
Rule: 3. Present logical arguments..


Sure they are. At least over the longer term. I can give you many examples:

#1 - Napoleon and his Continental System - unable to invade England, Napoleon went with economic warfare. England however did not stay silent on the matter, and actively blockaded European ports, preventing them from garnering commerce from their far flung colonies. At some point, one or the other was going to induce enough pain that one side would break. That side was France, when Russia broke away, desiring trade. That forced Napoleon to invade Russia to restore the economic warfare, and obliterated France's military potential. England's 'sanction' prevention of trade with colonial supplies, even as Britain garnered those resources from its colonies, broke the stalemate and lead to the end of Napoleon.

Sanctions worked, and had a discernible effect on both sides when employed in conflict.

#2 - WWI - Sanctions were a major consideration in the resolution of WWI. The blockade of Germany reduced Germany to near starvation levels, and, as the war was attritional, arguably had a massive effect on the ability of Imperial Germany to sustain its war effort.

#3 - the Cold War. This was resolved precisely because of sanctions. The two blocks did not trade, and the economic engines were thus stressed to sustain the empire. With Russia holding down Eastern Europe, pushing into Afghanistan proved too much and the economic ability to sustain its empire crushed under the weight required to support it. Russia was defeated. The alternate solution? The invasion of Russia was never really a viable option. Sanctions produced the same end result that a MUCH more expensive invasion would have produced. Containment (Sanctions) worked.

#4 - Burma. Long term sanctions eventually brought about massive political change, with the military junta releasing Aung San Suu Kyi. The state has itself noted the effectiveness of sanctions and are using them against their Rohinga minority. Like any tool, they can be used for good an bad measure.

#5 - Iran. Its not military force that has brought Iran to the negotiating table in seriousness, its economic sanction that has hobbled their economy. They sought and continue to seek, relief from crippling economic sanctions. They are working.

#6 - Russia. Russia could just grab Eastern Ukraine. The threat of sanctions alone has had implications for Russia, involving Capitol flight, higher borrowing costs, and economic contraction. The threat of genuine sanctions targeting larger aspects of the Russian economy have caused them to reconsider the costs, and they are now ... if not helping, at least no longer actively undermining the process. It may still fly out of control, but we no longer have Russia deliberately fanning the flames precisely because their economic leverage has been threatened.

#7 - China is using sanctions very effectively. Its blocking of rare earth mineral exports (as sanction) was a shot across the bow. They routinely manipulate trade issues to force concessions out of the neighbors. They are usually more successful than not.

#8 - The use of National policy is generally thought through the DIME analogy, Diplomatic, Information/Intelligence, Military, and Economic. The last portion there is aimed directly at harnessing the power of economic might and advantage. It is a powerful tool against many of our enemies, we can freeze them out of International Finance, block the movement of money and fund raising, etc. That makes things MUCH harder for our adversaries and its why we use it. When we combine it with intelligence? When we force the movement of money into restricted paths, we can follow it - and we do. That allows us to then use diplomatic (heh, put that dude in jail) or military (Al Qaeda meet drone) to eliminate the issue.

Sanctions are often effective over longer periods. They hobble our adversaries, which is one of the main reasons, for example, that North Korea is not nearly as aggressive today as it was when it was unbridled with financial and military resources flowing in from Russia. It is now dependant upon China, and China uses that economic influence with North Korea routinely. North Korea is bellicose, but its a far cry from the 1970's brush war that swept the DMZ.

Simply put sanctions work. And they often work very well when they are combined with the other instruments of state power. Its not a panacea though, sanctions, particularly without enforcement, are not effective. But there are obvious cases that properly enforced sanctions have produced results and done so with far greater results than other options. DO you think invading Iran would have brought them to the negotiating table? Or would we have another Iraq on our hands? A bloody mess spinning out of control?

Simply put, sanction work - especially when part of an overall state effort in which economic pressure is brought to bear and coupled with a reasonable way out of the resulting economic drought.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting.
I do start by definition of terms and present my arguments.In subsequent rounds, I will start my rebutals.
sanc""tion - /"0"4saNG(k)SH"0"5n/
1. a threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule.
2. official permission or approval for an action.
1. give official permission or approval for (an action).
2. impose a sanction or penalty on.
ef""fec""tive - /i"0"4fektiv/
1. successful in producing a desired or intended result.
2. fulfilling a specified function in fact, though not formally acknowledged as such.
International lawis the set of rules generally regarded and accepted as binding in relations between states and between nations. [ 1 ] [ 2 ]It serves as a framework for the practice of stable and organized international relations.

Now, based on the definitions which I have, it can be clearly seen that the motion is based on one angle which is: how effective is sanction? It is left for my adversary to prove that sanction is effective while I will be rebutting his argument. But based on his opening speech, he has just succeeded in giving examples of sanctions been placed on some countries. I am still waiting for him to present an argument and logical arguments to show that sanction is effective. The examples which he presented, is quite okay but has not proven that sanction is effective.

I am saying that sanction is not effective based on the fact that the countries that place this sanctions re actually the big five of united nations which includes: U.S.A, france, china, japan, partly north korea. And the probability that this big five will place sanction in an effective way is not there. Let me ask, if japan should violate international laws, how can u.S.A place sanction on them since they are one of the big five?. Why is it that other nations won't contribute to the sanctions? My adversary should address these questions in his next argument. I will continue my presentation in my next round.


There are two main contentions from Con here, IMHO. The first is how sanctions can be successful, and the second is how it can be successful against major economic powers: specifically Japan.

The first contention boils down to a simple reality: Consensus and Enforcement. No sanction is going to be effective if violating it is inconsequential. A perfect example of this is Cuba. The US embargo of Cuba has certainly had effects on Cuba, notably to impoverish the Island Nation but it has not lead to any real political change in Cuba. The reason? Because other major political and economic entities continue to trade with Cuba. The EU still operates there, many South American Nations overtly trade with Cuba. Even US goods are shipped through third countries, Cuba. So long as that is the case, Cuba will continue to limp along. Sanctions in this case are a failure because they lack the two things required to make sanctions work, consensus and enforcement.

This contrasts very sharply with sanction that have worked. The sanction levelled against Iran were brought before the UN Security Council, where major economic blocks imposed severely restricting economic penalties on Iran. The oil embargo from the US and the EU hurt, forcing Iran in 'discounted' deal with China and India - essentially bribing them to take the oil if you will. The barring of Iran from international monetary institutions made even those transactions difficult. Companies that violate these restrictions are being actively policed and punished and the effect on Iran has been a significant economic contraction. And it has had the desired political effects. Iran is at the negotiating table and talking seriously about its nuclear program. That brings a third aspect of successful sanctions, they must leave the sanctioned a clear way out of the approbation and punishment. With Iran, its leaving a program in place with enough safeguard to prevent a nuclear weapon from being developed - which would ensure that Saudi Arabia developed their own nuclear weapon in response. Its not a reality that anyone wants in or outside the Middle East. Sanctions are clearly doing much better than the alternative did in Iraq.

In short, sanctions work when they are build from consensus, are robustly enforced, and leave the sanctioned Nation a clear way out of the penalties. They often work very well in fact.

The second point here is sanctioning a major economic power. Believe it or not this can work to. Take for example the previously mentioned Chinese restrictions on rare earth metals. This is aimed directly at Japan. The electronic industry is incredibly important to the Japanese bottom line. When China decided to flex its muscles about the East China Sea, rare earth metal restriction went along - many of which also are required in Hybrid vehicles (Toyota). That meant Japan, and the US/EU, had to take China to the WTO to get a ruling. And that takes years.

In the meantime, no one is telling a rising China that they cannot keep aggravating Japan over the Senkaku Islands or the East China Sea. China very effectively sees its economic strength and is quite willing to create monopolies and then use them to extract political leverage. It does so routinely, even with other major economic powers. The fear of running afoul of this has already lead to a far greater degree of caution in the US over issues such as the arming of Taiwan. Simply put, sanctions are used very effectively by China to extract political concessions and to prevent political action against it by its economic rivals.

A second example would be Russia. They created Gazprom and have been using the gas as a means of extracting leverage over Western Europe for years. hat was seen in Georgia, and its been the barb that has held former Soviet States not in NATO to stay in a Russian Customs Union. The threat of turning off the gas and causing a huge spike in European prices has been enough to mollify political concerns. That is, until the Ukraine crisis erupted, and the manner in which Russia, rather brutishly and unadroitly, held Ukraine hostage with explicit economic threats. It certainly got the attention of Ukraine, and the outright bullying seems to have set off a civil war that Russia is now struggling to put back in the proverbial bag. This unadroit use of sanctions left Russia exposed to sanctions in retaliation. If turning off gas will cause pain in Europe, the inability to export gas will cause an equal amount of pain in Russia. Worse, Europe is aware of the advantage Russian gas monopoly has, and they are now fully aware of how rapacious the use of that power will be in a dispute. Europe is seeking diversify. Worse for Russia, as with Iran, is the threat of targeted sanctions against the financial sector which would cascade through the economic system - possibly leading to a full economic collapse. As Russia sought to extract advantage from its economic strength, when pushed to hard, other threatened sanctions that would remove that strength entirely. Russia backed down. Sanctions, just the threat, was enough to garner a more compliant Russia with an interest in maintaining security.

Russia is aware itself of its vulnerability and is seeking to eliminate that vulnerability. If Europe cuts off the gas, Russia has no market. Ergo, it has been attempting to open a deal with China, and succeeded. This should, on paper, allow Russia to simply switch gas exports to China if Europe gets cold feet.

As you can see, China is itself very much aware of this vulnerability. The concessions it extracted from Russia are immense, including opening a second oil field further to the east to supply the industry while the fields that supply Europe required a second deal, one very advantageous to China, to facilitate a switch - a very expensive option at that.

Simply put, Nations are becoming increasingly aware of their interdependence. Monopolies are created as Nations seek competitive advantages, and when needed even the most economically powerful Nations will not hesitate to use that power against one another. Sanctions, particularly when a Nation understands their economic strengths and weaknesses, can be a powerful tool to extract concessions. With the rising interconnections of the world, sanctions can have real and immediate impact. If you want to see how they are used effectively, look no further than China.

Simply put, sanctions are becoming more powerful and effective in the globalized world, and their use is likely to expand rather than contract. The reality is, they work.
Debate Round No. 2


judeifeanyi forfeited this round.


No response in Round - returned to Pro because of technical issues.
Debate Round No. 3


In round four, I will do my rebutals.
To start with, I never said that sanction doesn't work, what am saying is this: it is not effective'
My argument is this, that sanction is not an effective tool in resolving international conflicts which means, I will be giving ways to make it effective or I will suggest a new tool that will replace sanction.
Now like I said in my previous round about the big five countries at the united nation(un), it is practically impossible for sanction to attain its full cost if there is no collectivity of embassy's ideas in different countries of the world. Now when the big five which we all believe to be the most cordinated, and efficient states makes decision, other country won't challenge them even though such decisions are affecting lives of citizens.
DECISION MAKING' At the united nation, all country have their embassies which means everybody participates in the look and cranny decisions, but what am saying is this, let the power not rest on this big five who will inturn claim to be the most powerful nation. That you are the most powerful does not mean your country is corruption free. The most annoying thing there is this, U.S.A once sanction Iran and iraq for importing tools and other facilities for the creation of nuclear weapons, now reason for the sanction was asked and they replied that iran and iraq are building weapons of war. But the same u.S.A, are studying how to create bomb in their universities and thesame u.S.A,explored the space in other to get equipments for the creation of atomic and nuclear weapons. Now let me ask my adversary, what is it meant for? Is it not for thesame war? Why is it that u.S.A were not sanctioned?.

Promotion of trade: talking about economic buoyancy of states. Some states that have been sanctioned due to one reason or the other has confessed that it is blessing in disguise why? Because they if a country is sanctioned not to trade, it means that they will now depend on locally made products which means they are encouraging locally made products. And the probability that the sanction will restrict them from exporting their trade is not quaranted. So sanction does exist but it is not effective.

Let me further talk about Nigeria's sanction in the year 1998 by the united nation, as lead by united state of America. Jesse jackson came to Nigeria in other to act as an investigating body to actually see the then military dictator Sani Abacha. In his investigations he reported that their is denial of fair trail, denial of human rights and corruption. Now Nigeria was given military sanction and economic sanction not to eXPORT or import goods but that sanction never worked. It was that same year, that Nigeria's G.D.P gross domestic product increaded thereby making the Net national income to increase. Inversely, the economy rose and it encouraged utilization of domestic products. This illustration shows that it is not effective even though it does exist.


To begin with, lets define effective: successful in producing a desired or intended result.

As we see in previous rounds, sanctions have been successful in MANY cases. The areas that are necessary for effective (i.e.. Successful) are: consensus and enforcement.

My opponent steps wide of the mark with the UN. The UN Security Council, the big five, plus ten rotating members, have the ability to generate the required consensus needed to generate effective sanctions. If the 15 member council agrees, then there is very little chance that the general assembly will then fail to enact the resolution. Currently, the five members of the UN Security Council make up four of the largest economic blocks in the world, the USA, China, Russia, and the EU (Britain and France - giving the EU undue influence perhaps?) That really only leaves India and Japan outside effective economic domination, and even that is on the low end. The exclusion of countries from these markets in general does have a devastating effect. The exclusion of targeted products, like preventing the sale of a countries automobiles in the markets controlled by the Security Council would alone effectively doom most auto companies.

That is, provided, that consensus in enactment is followed by real enforcement of the sanctions. An example of just how powerful that can be, is again, Iran. Barred ONLY from the EU and the USA, excluded from the monopolistic financial system, Iran's economy went into virtual free fall, with hyper-inflation twice raising its head and forcing the state into severely restrictive monetary policy. And Iran has come to the negotiating table seriously as a result. If sanction are effective, then Iran would be one example of them working, and containment being another against the USSR. This is especially so when placed against the only other effective tool against the Nations: open warfare. Iraq and Afghanistan should have taught us that this is expensive, bloody, messy, and the Clausewitizan dynamics at play lead to unpredictable results as best. The wholesale removal of an enemy against the applying pressure to force a concession? The better path here is easy.

Con also list Nigeria of a failed policy of sanction, and he is correct. It did fail. It failed because there is was little or no actual consensus about punishing the Nigerian Government as it handles what can only be called a delicate situation. The rise of Boko Haram in the every same region that the previous insurgency in the 1960's sprung from is the reality of the difficulty of taming the corrupt country under some semblance of honest government. Sanctions were not perceived as an effective tool to use against Nigeria, and so they became the rattled sabre and nothing more. The trail and ability to defend was the reality that the sanctions lacked both consensus and enforcement. Nigeria was able to continue apace. That stands in remarkable difference to the Apartheid era sanctions that went into place on South Africa and eventually helped South Africa achieve a transition to representative government - yet another success story.

Simply put, sanctions work and they often work very well if we have the patience and persistence to let them have their effects and couple them with a wise policy of conciliatory concession that allows Nations an honorable way to rejoining the market based economy to the benefit of both leader and people.

We must also bear in mind the alternative. In cons example of Nigeria, the alternative to sanctions was once again a UN lead invasion. Given the reality of foreign occupation in Africa (colonialism ended for a reason), there is little reason to thing it would have been any different that interventions in Somalia, Rhodesia, Angola, The Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Algeria, etc. These are expensive, devastating, bloody, and the collapse of governance has often exacerbated the very problems that armed intervention was meant to solve.

Sanction, simply put, are not always quick, but they work and they work a hell of a lot better than the alternative.
Debate Round No. 4


I have been cornered at a wall indefinately parallel to my very unruffled impacable person by my opponent on this motion.

REBUTTALLS: 1. SANCTION IS SLOW BUT IT WORKS: MY adversary rightly pointed two contradicting words here. 1.Slow 2.Works. Now when something is slow but it works, it actually means that it is not effective not to talk of efficient. Now take computer system for example, if your internet browser is slow, when you want to download a movie, will you say it is effective? Far from it, sanction is not effective because it doesn't get to its targets. South Africa was sanctioned and yet, south Africa was chained in the midst of Apartheid till currently that they got their independence after their resources have been milked by their colonial masters.

2.EXCLUSION DOES NOT HAVE DEVASTATING EFFECTS: NOW my adversary also pointed this out. Don't you know that exclusion of some countries in the united nations means discrimination? Or how do you expect other countries to obey international laws when they are been excluded from the united nations?.

IRAN COMING TO NEGOTIATION TABLE: 3. My adversary said, that Iran came to negotiation table. Now is it not the same iran that is terrorising other relative close nations? Why is it that united state have decided to intervene?.

NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT NOT PUNISHED WITH CONSENSUS: 5.I wonder what my opponent meant. But no matter how you coin it, sanction never worked. Since based on definition, effective is getting to targeted something. Why is it that sanction placed on Nigeria never got its full effects.


2.MY ADVERSARY KEEP GIVING EXAMPLES OF SANCTIONS. Not knowing that diplomatic and military sanctions have failed in all ramification.

3.My adversary have failed to address the over killing issue which is: how sanction have helped to solve international conflicts.


SOLUTIONS: 1.All nations should involve in decision making of united nation.

2. The big five should be removed. And all nations should involve in it.

3. There should be proper investigation before sanction is placed. If this is followed, sanction will be effective but for now, it is not.


My opponent, to be blunt, fails. He also makes factual errors.

#1 - Being slow does not mean its ineffective. The proverbial tortoise and the hare applies here. It is a process of ratcheting up pressure slowly to produce an effect - in deliberation over issues in which there are two sides. The decision about how much pressure to apply is a political decision. It should be noted that the imposition of full sanctions, an outright embargo, is considered at act of war precisely because it has such a devastating effect on a country and its people. It effective enough that it produces noticeable effects, and can be some immediately damaging that its considered an act of war. Any case that these do not actually work has simply not been presented at all.

#2 - Exclusion most certainly does have devastating effects. The Embargo of Cuba, for example, has left them driving cars made in the 1950's. The attendant monetary restrictions and fiscal realities have left the entire Island impoverished.

Iran - Iran and the US have points of cooperation and friction. We have collaborated over issues like Afghanistan, and are on the SAME side in Iraq - both with a desire to stabilize the fledgling Iraqi government against ISIS. Placing diplomacy into a zero sum area in which our adversary must be demonized and painted as terrorists would be the unhelpful aspect here. It largely prevents the very reality of diplomacy that leads to solutions rather than another generation of indemnity and animosity. Sanctions have brought the Iranians to the table - demonizing them does not make it different.

Nigeria - Nigeria not punished is because the consensus needed to generate and establish the sanctions was lacking. That sanctions are not a panacea does not mean they are not effective, or that they could not be if applying correctly. Sanctions can be little more than a sop to the situation, in which politicians are seen to do 'something' for a domestic audience while acknowledging the complexities of a situation and allow trade as usual. In that, they also serve a purpose, 'something' rather than nothing.

Simply put, the numerous examples of successful sanctions have simply been ignored by Con. Declaring that the effectiveness has not been proved is an appeal to emotion and little more.

#3 - Con states that sanctions have failed, while deliberately ignoring that they have worked - simply declaring them failures in 'all ramifications'. If something achieves desired effects, its successful. 'All ramifications', with no specificity, is simply avoiding success.

#4 "Over killing" - has been addressed many times. Sanctions can be everything from political theater to a full scale embargo and the initiation of hostilities. Several nations, notably China, use them with great aplomb and targeting of issues to great effect while doing no damage to the overall economic framework. 'Overkill' is not even an issue.

The reality is that political systems rest upon a basis of power. Sanctions allow pressure to brought against that basis of power which can rise from a little to a lot. The idea that 'sanctions' are just a blunt instrument that ONLY targets the people is a fundamental misunderstanding of sanctions.

#5 - The burden of proof goes to both sides, and Con completely failed to demonstrate, at any point, why sanctions in general fail. B simply shifting the burden of proof at the end to an adversary, he has committed a logical fallacy. Because you cannot prove sanction work every time, they never work.

As we can clearly see in the evidence, they do work, and they often work far better than the alternative: war. The embrace of fallacious reasoning and the avoidance of alternative policy and their obvious 'overkill' dooms Con's case.

#6 - My opponent fundamentally fails to understand how the UN works, and indeed sanctions in general.

a. A court case: Consensus between member Nations precisely because investigations and intelligence are conveyed to member states the detail what is happening. Evidence drives the process. A desire to sanction must pass the 15 member, not 5 member (five are permanent members with VETO power not sole power) Security Council, and then it goes to the General Assembly for a vote. Any Nation can vote no. The reality is that the consensus needed to pass the Security Council likely also exists in the General Assembly. If not? Then the sanctions fail. My opponent is asking for something that is already in place.

b. The UN is not the only body that sanctions. There are other organizations like NATO, etc that do as well. Individual Nations can also unilaterally impose sanctions, and these are particularly effective is the Nation doing so has a monopoly on the sanctioned items or services. Sanctions are instruments of state policy, and when consensus is needed for a broad range, then the UN is one forum to do so.

Simply put, sanctions work. The provide a level of power that its alternative does not. Sanctions can be light to heavy, and can be ratcheted up and down with some effect on the resolution process. The alternative? Full scale war cannot be ratcheted down. Once joined, it is bloody, reckless, expensive, and rather than solve the political issue that it was meant to solve, all manner of unintended consequences arise - many of which may be worse than the original issues.

As a country with a massive economy, to not use the subtle aspects of sanctions because we have declared them 'ineffective' in defiance of odds is reckless. The only thing such an action does is turn every problem into a nail than can only be solved by a hammer. We have alternatives, and should not be goaded into violence rather than clear headed use of influence and power to achieve equitable solutions rather than demonizing and smashing our enemies indefinitely.

Simply put, Sanctions work more often than not, and they usually work quite a bit better than alternatives.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by LogicalLunatic 3 years ago
I hate to say it, but Neutral deserved to win this.
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