Lincoln - Douglas Debate


Affirmative Case Introduction- "We must use every tool of

diplomacy and law we have available, while maintaining

both the capacity and the resolve to defend freedom. We

must have the vision to explore new avenues when familiar

ones seem closed. And we must go forward with a will as

great as our goal – to build a practical peace that will

endure through the remaining years of this century and far

into the next.” Because I believe so strongly in the words of

U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, when she

spoke at the Stimson Center Event, June 10, 1998, that I

ask you to affirm today’s resolution, “Resolved: The use of

economic sanctions to achieve U.S. Foreign Policy goals is

moral.” Before I go on, I feel it necessary to define some

key phrases in this resolution: ? Economic sanctions- the

deliberate, government inspired withdrawal, or threat of

withdrawal, of customary trade or financial relations.

"Customary" does not mean "contractual"; it simply means

levels of trade and financial activity that would probably

have occurred in the absence of sanctions. ? To achieve- to

fulfill ? U.S. Foreign Policy goals- to encompass changes

expressly sought by the sender state in the political

behavior of the target state. ? Moral- capable of right and

wrong action or of being governed by a sense of right;

subject to the law of duty. I ask you to affirm this resolution

in order to achieve my all-important value premise of

societal welfare. To make my position clear, I will define

societal welfare as the United States government’s duty to

act in the nation’s best interest. This also refers to what the

majority of the citizens want. To achieve societal welfare, I

shall utilize the criterion of national security. I will define

national security as the government’s obligation to protect

its citizens. It is in this way that the United States

government must proceed to achieve its greatest goal of

societal welfare by exercising the security of our nation.

Now on to the core of the affirmative case: My first

contention in this debate is that sanctions aim to modify

behavior, not punish. Sanctions do not exist to ostracize or

punish, but rather they encourage a change of policy that

leads to compliance with standards of international law.

One of our goals is to change or destabilize the target’s

government, which means to change its policies that involve

human rights, terrorism, and nuclear nonproliferation.

Others are to disrupt a relatively minor military adventure

and to change the policies of the target in a major way,

such as, to surrender a territory. Our goals are NOT to go

to war or mobilize armed forces. These tools are clearly

intended to change the target’s behavior, but NOT through

economic means. As written by Kimberly Ann Elliot of the

Washington Institute for International Economics:

Economic Sanctions Reconsidered, second edition, and

1998: Sanctions also serve important domestic political

purposes in addition to sometimes changing the behavior of

foreign states. The desire to be seen acting forcefully, but

not to precipitate bloodshed, can easily overshadow

specific foreign policy goals. Indeed, domestic political

goals increasingly appear to be the motivating force behind

the imposition of many recent sanctions. Nevertheless, in

judging the success of sanctions, we confine our

examination to changes in the policies, capabilities, or

government of the target country…For instance, the

success rate (of sanctions) involving destabilization

succeeded in 52 percent of the cases. We establish societal

welfare by means of economic sanctions because they are

aimed at only modifying the behavior of the target country,

not punishing them. My second contention is that affirming

this resolution best protects societal welfare. Sub-point A:

It is not only, what our nation needs; it is also what our

nation wants. It is in the nation’s best interest to put

economic sanctions on offending countries, rather than

using a strategy of isolation or going into war. Through

isolation, we would be implying to citizens of other

countries that we do not want to involve ourselves, even

when the citizens are suffering because of their adulterated

government… War is also not the best solution, because

there is a possibility of the extermination of 6 billion

people… The negative must weigh the consequences and

realize that economic sanctions are a more peaceful

strategy than war… It is still our intent to do well with

sanctions, even if our goals are not achieved. As one of the

greatest philosophers Immanuel Kant once stated: “Nothing

can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it,

which can be called good without qualification, except a

Good Will.” Sub-point B: America does not support the

foreign policy of stopping trade