Resolved: Placing political conditions on humanitarian aid to foreign countries is unjust.There's a lot to consider, from the meaning of "political conditions" (are we talking about free elections, regime change, partisan bickering, or all of the above?) to the standard for justice. The word "foreign" invites analysis of international and domestic legal frameworks for aid, but without a specified agent of action, should we focus on US aid efforts, throw the EU in the mix, consider the UN the focus, or debate abstract principles? Is there a difference in the interests of state actors and private agencies?
Of course, you can expect much of the debate to boil down to frameworks. For instance, my immediate inclination is to take a Kantian stance, arguing that using humanitarian aid as political leverage treats suffering citizens of other countries as mere means to an end. Consequentialism may point us in entirely different directions, though, especially since humanitarian aid has been diverted by bad actors, fueled corruption and state capture, and isn't necessarily effective in the long run.
A few countries and regions that spring to mind include North Korea, the Sahel, the Central African Republic, Syria, Afghanistan, Palestine, Haiti, and Myanmar. Agencies include USAid, ECHO (the world's largest donor, according to their website), UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, and more. Many more.
These are just a few thoughts at the onset. Watch this space in the coming weeks for links, analysis, and value and criterion pairs, and, as always, feel free to pose ideas and questions in the comments.
1. I take a closer look at potential agents of action in the resolution, and their strategic implications.
2. How should "political conditions" be defined in the resolution?
3. Does humanitarian aid forestall political solutions?
4. A list of value / criterion pairs to get you started, if that's your thing.
5. Two external links you might find useful: Stanford's article on International Distributive Justice, and IEP's on Global Ethics and on Moral Egalitarianism (potentially useful for the Aff).
6. Levinas seems useful for this resolution. Who is Levinas, you ask?
7. I go into a little more depth about political realism.