Dec 16, 2009

alternatives to economic sanctions

Concerning the January/February LD resolution, since the affirmative is charged with claiming that economic sanctions ought not be used, if economic sanctions, then what?

War and other military tactics are, of course, available, but costly. Their advantages: they can be effective in stopping tyrants, and, at least in the modern era, they are normally aimed at military targets, whereas sanctions can be intended to harm civilians. (But see "smart sanctions" for the rebuttal to the latter point.) Their disadvantages: civilians will still suffer or perish; failure is riskier; war is much more costly; the risk of a widening conflict is greater. (I'm sure there are other arguments, too.)

How about non-economic sanctions? Robert P. O'Quinn of the Heritage Foundation details some of the options:
In contrast to economic sanctions, which are intended to penalize a target country financially, non-economic sanctions are aimed at denying legitimacy or prestige. Although the following list is not exhaustive, non-economic sanctions include:

* Canceling ministerial and summit meetings with a target country;

* Denying a target country's government officials visas to enter the sender country;

* Withdrawing a sender country's ambassador or otherwise downgrading diplomatic and military contacts with a target country;

* Blocking a target country from joining international organizations;

* Opposing a target country's bid to host highly visible international events, such as the Olympics;

* Withholding foreign aid; and

* Instructing a sender country's directors to vote against new loans to a target country at the World Bank or other international financial institutions.
Arguably, the last two have an economic impact and thus the Negative might try to claim them as economic sanctions.

The rest of O'Quinn's article is well worth a read; he defines terms important to the debate, deconstructs the oft-cited South Africa example, and points out arguments against sanctions' constitutionality. The only weakness of the article is its date: at a decade old, the arguments might be the same, but the evidence has changed, in utility, scope, and relevance.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looking at this, it seems that none of these non-economic sanctions would really have an effect. America boycotted the Olympics in 1980, and it didn't get us anywhere, and things like denying visas aren't likely to have any substantial effect. Also, like you said, the foreign aid and such could arguably be considered economic sanctions.

Aaron said...

Sports embargos are particularly effective against countries which take pride in their sports. The sport embargo on South Africa was particularly felt by Afrikaners. An embargo on Iranian wrestling team, or barring North Korea from the olympics resonates with the populace.

John Jackson said...

Hey Guys, i was wondering if any one had quotes for aff and neg?... also i wanted input on education as an aff value?? you would argue that economic sanctions could take away the pursuit of knowledge? Thank you for any feed back.

Rick Johnson said...

what about Hobbe's Theory of International Anarchy as neg criterion? argue that we are not morally obligated to help or care for citizens of another country because we didn't sign a social contract with them?

Unbeliever said...

Why do we have to find an alternative to economic sanctions for the aff? The resolution is talking about sanctions being used to achieve FOREIGN policy objectives. Simply run a plan on the affirmative that, while economic sanctions are good, they should be enforced by an international organization like the UN as a DOMESTIC policy objective.

Jim Anderson said...

Unbeliever, that's an interesting idea. In what sense does the UN have "domestic" agenda or objectives?

Anonymous said...

well the UN includes many countries and in a sense domestic would mean the countries within the UN

Anonymous said...

Could u say something about the Iraq war? Like how Bush used military tactics in Iraq

Jim Anderson said...

Anonymous #1, that seems to strain the common definition of "domestic," which has traditionally referred to something within a home, or within a particular country. Unless you can either provide a reputable counterdefinition, or can argue that the UN is a country--and neither seems easy to do--that line of argument, while thought-provoking, is probably a nonstarter.

Anonymous #2, you certainly can... but for what purpose?

India said...

To John Jackson: I think I saw your another post of yours--sorry if people seem to be ignoring you! Here are a couple of quotes (pick from context):

Daniel Griswold, director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, says, “Even if sanctions inflict some pain on the target country, they typically fail because of the nature of regimes most likely to become targets of sanctions…. Governments that systematically deprive citizens of basic human rights typically intervene in daily economic life, resulting in underdeveloped and relatively closed economies. Such nations are the least sensitive to economic pressure.”

(This one is touchy, because a pope said it) Pope John Paul II declared, from his historic Cuba visit in 1998, that sanctions are “always deplorable, because they hurt the most needy.”

And finally, Richard Holbrooke, a UN ambassador under President Clinton, said, “The concept of sanctions is not just still valid; it’s necessary. What else fills the gap between pounding your breast and indulging in empty rhetoric and going to war besides economic sanctions?”

India said...

So, with Unbeliever's type take, does the resolution mean unilateral, not multilateral, sanctions? It's easier to go Aff on one country using them, but could you only take that from "foreign policy" in the resolution? My definition of that actually says it's one nation's policy.

I was also wondering about "smart sanctions"--have we made any? Are there studies on them? And how would I refute the point, on Aff, that studies are incomplete because they don't take into account economic sanction THREATS?

Anonymous said...

How would one go about setting up an alternatives case? Like, Im not sure how to do that with a V/VC. (I would actually like to do it for the vaccine resolution)

Anonymous said...

This is slightly off topic, but I was wondering if one could run a neg argument about "threat stage" sanctions if you are clear that threatening to use economic sanctions is using them because that is a method of "achieving a result".

Gild said...

There are alternatives, yes, but ARE THEY EFFECTIVE? (relative to e. sanctions?)

Robert said...

Do alternatives ever really matter since the resolution does state we're debating whether or not economic sanctions be used as foreign policy objectives? It seems like the debate is centered around whether they should be a moral option or not rather than if there could be better options...

Matt said...

you Could do this

Run an AC that is capitalism good and sanctions hurt global capitalism.

Then read a card that says "cap inevitable" which should let you fiat global Cap.

Then argue that Free-Market is your alt. There is lots of liturature of how opening the markets solves HR problems. And then Also global econ interdependence solves war.
AND BAM!!! Beef up Cap Good frontlines and you have a solid case.
Also if your oing to run this expand your ability to decipher Zizek. HE WILL BE RUN AGAINST YOU. and should be too..

I hate cap, but alot of people are obviously fans of it.

Brian said...

Would economic incentives by a viable alternative? Also, in my previous debates. Alternatives were the vital point between losing and winning. Are there any alternatives with successful results? Thanks

Jim Anderson said...

Brian, economic incentives are indeed an alternative. How I'd respond to them, as the Neg:

1. They're sanctions in another form--penalizing the sender nation rather than the target. (That aid money has to come from somewhere.)

2. If they were offered in response to "bad behavior," they could encourage nations to behave badly. (They'd be a form of "perverse incentives.")

As to the second question, I'd suggest looking into the literature about pacifism, direct action, nonviolent revolution, etc. I'll have a post up shortly about private over public actors--corporations and individuals instead of governments--having an increasingly influential role in international relations.