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Resolved: The United States is justified in intervening in the internal political processes of other countries to attempt to stop human rights abuses.
The trend of poorly worded resolutions continues. This one leaves an unending void for abuse and sketchy definitions. That being said, it’s what we have to work with, so let’s get to it.
Justified – Justified means that there is good reason to do something. This good reason can either be something like a moral obligation which is more important than any other consideration, or it can simply mean that the positive outcomes outweigh the negative outcomes. This will be the hinge of you case. You must determine what it means for a government’s action to be justified. This is where your value structure will come from.
Intervening in the internal political processes of other countries – Here’s where the vacuum for abuse appears. With the way the resolution is currently worded, the affirmative needs to defend all actions which can interfere with the internal political processes of other countries. This includes military invasion, nuclear strike, assassinations, embargoes, election engineering, and essentially all other things. If you’re on the affirmative, I recommend dealing with this using an observation. Just say that you’re arguing for the principle of intervention, not necessarily any particular action. The actual form of the intervention will depend on the particular situation. Some situations may call for negotiations, while others may call for military invasion. What you’re essentially saying is, if the situation calls for a particular type of intervention, then the U.S. is justified in carrying it out.
Human rights abuses – Don’t try to get complicated with this part of the resolution. We all know what human rights abuses are, and there are plenty of historical examples to draw upon. People will try to make the affirmative defend absurd things like high taxes as part of human rights abuses. Don’t fall for it, and just call them out on their shenanigans.
Attempt – This word is important because people will try to abuse it to say that the affirmative doesn’t need to consider the outcome of the intervention because it’s just an attempt. It’s irrelevant whether or not it succeeds. While this may be technically true, you should pay attention to the affirmative’s case. They will likely be arguing a consequentialist position. This means that they must consider the likely outcome in the calculation of whether or not to invade.
Alright, with those definitions set, let’s talk about case positions.
1. Just War Theory – Just war theory dictates that cases of human rights abuses merit intervention by those who have the ability to do so. Because just war provides us justification for the most dramatic for of intervention, military invasion, it necessarily provides justification for all other forms of intervention. Therefore, the United States in justified in these interventions.
2. Self Interest – Human rights abuses occurring across the world are a threat to the United States. Regimes which carry out human rights crimes also often promote anti-U.S. sentiment and action. If these regimes and political processes are stopped, the U.S. will not only be helping those whose rights are being violated, but it will also be helping itself.
3. Moral Obligation – Peter Singer contends that if we are in a position to help somebody without sacrificing anything of comparable value to us, then we are morally obligated to do so. The scale of human rights violations occurring across the world puts the United States in this position. Because the U.S. is in a position to end these human rights abuses, it is incumbent upon it do so.
1. Governmental Legitimacy – While human rights abuses may be terrible, the U.S. is not justified in unilateral action. In order to remain legitimate, and preserve the legitimacy of international contract, the U.S. must go through the United Nations in order to conduct any intervention. Unilateral action violates international convenants which preserve governmental legitimacy.
2. Likelihood of Success – One of the key elements of Just War Theory is that an intervention must have a reasonable chance of success. History demonstrates that political interventions of any form are not likely to succeed. They often end up causing more damage than they prevent. Because the reasonable chance of success condition isn’t met, the U.S. has no justification for conducting these interventions.
3. Self – Determination – Every peoples has the right to self determination. When the U.S. intervenes, it inevitably violates that right by imposing ideas and rules on a people who have not elected to have those rules put upon them. The only way a country can truly attain stability is if the people decide their own fate. The U.S. needs to stay out of the business of other countries to preserve the rights of global citizens.