‘Case of the Week’ 5 (NCFCA): Repeal Article 41

Important Disclaimer: We pretty much just throw these together over the weekend, and don’t put a lot of work into them. Case of the Week cases are not subject to the same editorial process and stringent quality standards as the COG 2012 sourcebook, and are frequently contributed by non-COG authors. You may find material and sources in these cases that would not appear in the sourcebook. That said, we hope these cases will be useful to you; enjoy!

About the Author: Justin Burchfiel was a semifinalist (4th Place) at the 2012 NCFCA National Championship in St. Paul, Minnesota.

1AC: Repeal the UNSC’s Sanction Power

By Justin Burchfiel

“The question, ‘Do economic sanctions work?’ has been perhaps the most fundamental inquiry in the literature debating the effectiveness of sanctions, and the conventional wisdom appears to be that sanctions are ineffective and failed policy instruments in the vast majority of cases.”

This quote from Dr. Adrian Ang sums up the Affirmative stance in today’s round; that the time has come to update the United Nations to reflect the realities of today’s world, and is why we stand Resolved: That the United Nations should be significantly reformed or abolished.

Before we begin, we need to make sure we’re all on the same page, so we’ll start with:

Observation 1: Definitions

United Nations – An international organization of independent states that was formed in 1945 to promote peace and international cooperation and security – World English Dictionary, ©2009

Reform – To improve by alteration or correction of abuses – World English Dictionary, ©2009

Sanction – Action by one or more states toward another state calculated to force it to comply with legal obligations. – Dictionary.com Unabridged (Based on Random House Dictionary)

Now that we know what we’re talking about, let’s take a look at the current system in:

Observation 2: Inherency

1. Security Council has the power to recommend sanctions

The United Nations Charter, Article 41, http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter7.shtml

“The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.”

2. Sanctions typically fail

Dr. Sven Kuhn Von Burgsdorff (PhD in political science, professor of international relations and diplomacy at Hawaii Pacific University), Intercultural Human Rights Law Review, 2009, “The Cuban Embargo and Human Rights: The Effectiveness of Economic Sanctions: The Case of Cuba”

Economic sanctions have become a common tool of coercion in the 1980s and 1990s, with 67 sanctions alone in the last decade of the 20th century, up from 40 in the decade before. The most representative empirical studies on the effectiveness of sanctions as compared to their intended policy objectives conclude that sanctions fail in 65% to 95% of all cases studied. Financial sanctions seem to have a higher success rate (41%) than trade sanctions (25%).  This can partly be explained by the fact that some financial sanctions fall under the category of ‘targeted measures.’ However, once deployed outside comprehensive embargoes, targeted sanctions could only account for a 25% success rate. ”

In the current system, the United Nations can and does use sanctions in order to accomplish its goals, and sanctions have typically been a failure. But more than just being ineffective, they also create a significant problem, as we’ll see in:

Observation 3: Harms

1. Sanctions worsen the problem

Reed M. Wood (PhD candidate in political science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), International Studies Quarterly, 2008, “‘A Hand upon the Throat of the Nation’: Economic Sanctions and State Repression, 1976–2001”

While intended as a nonviolent foreign policy alternative to military intervention, sanctions have often worsened humanitarian and human rights conditions in the target country. This article examines the relationship between economic sanctions and state-sponsored repression of human rights. Drawing on both the public choice and institutional constraints literature, I argue that the imposition of economic sanctions negatively impacts human rights conditions in the target state by encouraging incumbents to increase repression. Specifically, sanctions threaten the stability of target incumbents, leading them to augment their level of repression in an effort to stabilize the regime, protect core supporters, minimize the threat posed by potential challengers, and suppress popular dissent. The empirical results support this theory. These findings provide further evidence that sanctions impose political, social, and physical hardship on civilian populations.

Let’s look at another quote on the same point, from…

Dr. Sven Kuhn Von Burgsdorff (PhD in political science, professor of international relations and diplomacy at Hawaii Pacific University), Intercultural Human Rights Law Review, 2009, “The Cuban Embargo and Human Rights: The Effectiveness of Economic Sanctions: The Case of Cuba”

“These findings confirm that sanctions create new capabilities and incentives within the target that lead the regime to restrict the democratic freedoms of citizens in order to preserve its hold on power. Specifically, economic coercion creates new capabilities for the regime by: (1) reducing available resources within the target which subsequently make the regime’s remaining resources more valuable; and (2) generating new incentives for the state to restrict democratic freedoms. In particular, they provide encouraging signals to domestic opposition groups to be more active thereby giving the leadership a stronger reason to repress and make targeted elites less conciliatory toward the sender as a result of the domestic cost of conceding to foreign economic pressure for political reform.”

2. Sanctions harm the people

Reed M. Wood (PhD candidate in political science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), International Studies Quarterly, 2008, “‘A Hand upon the Throat of the Nation’: Economic Sanctions and State Repression, 1976–2001”

Economic sanctions are a common tool of foreign policy and have been increasingly employed by Western states to coerce recalcitrant leaders into improving human rights conditions, adopting or restoring democratic institutions, or respecting the rule of law within their borders. Yet sanctions often fail to achieve these goals (Hufbauer, Schott, and Elliott 1990a; Pape 1997; Weiss 1999). Moreover, sanctions frequently impose significant economic and social costs on civilians (Cortright and Lopez 2000, 2002; Weiss 1999; Weiss et al. 1997). They may also contribute to adverse changes in the domestic political climate and policy decisions of the target state (Drury and Li 2006; Kaempfer, Lowenberg, and Mertens 2004; Li and Drury 2004).”

Let’s look at a specific example, that of Iraq:

Naomi Koppel (reporter for the Associated Press), “U.N. Report: Sanctions Ineffective”, Global Policy Forum, 2000, http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/170/41899.html

“Economic sanctions aimed at changing government policy are usually ineffective and often illegal under international law, according to a U.N.-commissioned report released Tuesday. “The theory behind economic sanctions is that economic pressure on civilians will translate into pressure on the government for change. This theory is bankrupt both legally and practically,” said the report by Belgian law professor Marc Bossuyt. The worst case is Iraq, where 10 years of U.N. sanctions driven by the United States and Great Britain has led to “a humanitarian disaster comparable to the worst catastrophes of the past decades,” Bossuyt said in his report for the U.N. Subcommission on Human Rights. Bossuyt said the Security Council’s decision to continue sanctions while knowing they caused an untold number of Iraqis to die was “unequivocally illegal” under international humanitarian law.”

It is because sanctions cause such a serious problem that the affirmative team offers the following plan:

Observation 4: Plan

Timeline – Day after an affirmative ballot

Agency and Enforcement – United Nations

Mandate – The United Nations shall repeal Article 41 of the U.N. Charter.

Funding – None necessary

Conclusion

Sanctions aren’t just ineffective. They are also extremely harmful – they worsen the target problem and, by doing so, harm innocent people. This is not a useful tool that we can allow to remain in the hands of the United Nations. Instead, it is a measure that creates more problems than it solves, and should be abolished, and that is why we urge you to vote Affirmative.

Backup: Repeal Article 41

Inherency: Sanctions Don’t Work

Scholars Agree: Sanctions Don’t Work

Dr. Sven Kuhn Von Burgsdorff (PhD in political science, professor of international relations and diplomacy at Hawaii Pacific University), Intercultural Human Rights Law Review, 2009, “The Cuban Embargo and Human Rights: The Effectiveness of Economic Sanctions: The Case of Cuba”

“To sum up, scholarship on the effectiveness of sanctions agrees that first, economic sanctions more often than not fail to fulfill their objectives, especially if the matter of contention revolved around fundamental political conflicts, and that second, neither classic economic sanctions nor aid conditionality had a tangible impact on human rights improvements and better democratic governance.”

Harms: Negative Effects

Example: Iran

Nasser Saghafi Ameri (Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic Research), “Iran Sanctions: A Bad Policy”, Institute for Strategic Research Journals, May 1, 2010, http://www.isrjournals.ir/en/essay/182-iran-sanctions-a-bad-policy.html

It was quite clear from the beginning that these sanctions would not succeed in stopping Iran’s nuclear program. Knowing this, some were considering it merely as an effort to bring back Iran to the negotiating table; while, others aimed to use new sanctions as a prelude to military action against Iran. The third group sees a nuclear Iran as an inevitable outcome of the present process, and the sanctions as part of a larger policy of ‘ Iran containment’, a la Soviet era. In all, what was missed is that the new sanctions, especially supplementary sanctions by the US and its allies, are bad for the US, for the EU, and also for the region while the US plans to pull back its troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Furthermore, in the long run Iran sanctions that prevent investment in Iranian oil sector may have adverse effects on the future international oil markets.

Iran Sanctions Could Increase Middle East Instability

Nasser Saghafi Ameri (Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic Research), “Iran Sanctions: A Bad Policy”, Institute for Strategic Research Journals, May 1, 2010, http://www.isrjournals.ir/en/essay/182-iran-sanctions-a-bad-policy.html

“The sanctions on Iran will have also implications for peace and security of the region surrounding Iran. With three of Iran’s neighboring countries; Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq that are engulfed with instability, daily terrorist attacks, and internal strife; the soothing role of Iran for diminishing the tensions and restoration of stability in this crisis ridden region could be hampered by the new sanctions.”

Sanctions Inherently Harm Innocent People

David R. Henderson (Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution), “Why Economic Sanctions Don’t Work”, Hoover Institution, October 30, 1998, http://www.hoover.org/publications/hooverdigest/article/7311

When governments impose sanctions, the officials implementing the policy want to harm the dictator or bad guy heading the other country’s government. That’s the goal. What they do to achieve it is intentionally harm many innocent people in those countries by cutting them off—if the sanctions are effective—from food, medicine, and other goods that they need or value. The sanctions almost always work in a limited sense: they impose some harm on innocent people in the target country. But that’s not the goal. Nor is the goal to cut off the dictator from food, medicine, et cetera. You can be sure that Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro are not hurting for antibiotics or high-quality food.”

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