U.S. and allied officials have been in discussions for months about how to impose economic penalties on Tehran to discourage it from continuing with a uranium enrichment program that the West believes is aimed at developing a nuclear bomb.This points to a potential Negative line of argument against Affirmatives who base their advocacy on the harms of broad sanctions. (In fact, much of the literature against sanctions assumes broadly-imposed penalties--a fact that might be quite important to raise in CX.) How I've seen it done:
But as the Iranian government's crackdown has taken a growing toll on the opposition movement, officials are increasingly concerned that broad sanctions harming ordinary citizens would appear harsh to the outside world and would risk alienating parts of the population with which the West seeks to establish common cause.
The discussions are now aimed at making the sanctions "as narrow as they can be," said a senior State Department official who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the talks.
1. The Aff's harms are based on wide-ranging, broad sanctions.
2. 21st century sanctions, however, are targeted and narrow.
3. Thus the primary reason to deny the use of sanctions is obsolete.
The problem, though, is that narrow sanctions have a much lower chance of success (and, it could be argued, less valuable as a deterrent), not only because they are narrower, but because of a critical lack of information. Going back to the Iran example:
Ray Takeyh, who was an administration advisor on Iran earlier this year, agreed that it was now desirable to make the sanctions as "discriminating and selective as possible."This is not an in principle objection, however; is there another line of attack?
But Takeyh said that doing so would be difficult because the world has so little information on the inner workings of the Iranian economy that it is difficult to calculate the social effects of any economic sanction.
Targeting "surgically... may just not be possible," he said. "And if it isn't, you might want to rethink how you do it and whether you want to do it at all."
One way is to argue that since the resolution doesn't specify "targeted" sanctions, that the Negative must defend broad sanctions as well, or otherwise they're "conditionally negating," adding words to the resolution and ignoring the general principle. After all, nothing limits the use of broad sanctions in the Neg world--especially if they're seen as a moral (or less immoral) alternative to war. (Usually it's the Aff who's accused of "conditional affirmation"--but this is one of those "ought not" resolutions where the Neg is really affirming the morality of sanctions.)
Another line of argument for the Neg is the "toolbox" argument: that the Affirmative would remove critical tools, including targeted sanctions, from the government's disposal. This would lead to a second dilemma, this time for the Affirmative: without the carrot and stick of economic sanctions, the government is left with a feather of noneconomic sanctions and the bloody spike of war.