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Does the West still value human rights in light of its dismissal of Khashoggi's death? Show more Show less

The West used to be the loudest voice advocating for human rights. But Western governments' evasive stances on the horrifying death of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi government dissident, suggest this is no longer the case. In the light of huge economic links and political turbulence, are human rights still valued in western civilization?

Not exactly, Western governments' positions on honouring human rights are selective Show more Show less

The West would not honour human rights consistently if facing the risk of upsetting economic allies.
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The West compromises human rights in other countries for economic gains

Western nations increasingly dispute the importance of civil rights versus economic gains. There are countries that suffer from violence against the weak and helpless. Yet, because of trade agreements, western countries don't want to risk breaking ties with those countries.
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Context

Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian journalist who caused controversy due to his criticism of the Saudi Arabian government and its leaders King Salman and Prince Mohammad bin Salman. In September 2017, Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia in a self-imposed exile to escape any harm because of his criticism. In October 2018, he went to Istanbul but was never seen again. The Saudi Arabian government tried to hide his death, but they revealed later that he was murdered and dismembered. America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) identified Prince Mohammad bin Salman as the one who ordered his death. Because of Khashoggi’s ties to America and activism, American Congress wanted to hold Saudi Arabia accountable. But because of the economic agreements between both countries, President Donald Trump dismissed the report that Prince Mohammad bin Salman killed Khashoggi and kept ties with Saudi Arabia. America, and other western countries, are known as the front runner for human rights, financial growth, and patriotism. However, there cases like Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination where human rights are compromised.

The Argument

Human rights have evolved over centuries in the West. Slavery was abolished, women gained rights to vote, and homosexual marriage was legalized. But even with all these accomplishments, there’s still a long way to go. The west is very cautious about supporting human rights in other countries. One example of allowing violations of human rights is economics. Countries make business choices to benefit their people. This includes making trade alliances with different countries. China makes up of 14.2% of trading with the U.S. which is the same as Canada.[1] Going to war with a country that provides a bulk of traded goods would be a risky move. Without that source of financial stability, the country would collapse. Instead, valuable resources and possibly human life become expendable. Therefore, the sacrifice of going above and beyond for human rights in other countries is too much.

Counter arguments

Human rights have been established for a reason. People are suffering all around the world because they aren’t treated as proper human beings. In some countries, women are treated as property. In other countries, the government hoards wealth for themselves while the civilians are poor. Economic gain is not related to the rights of people. The economy is just a reflection of how well a country is doing financially. The numbers are formed by the people of the country. Without enough wealth in the civilian population, the economy would be horrible. Human lives shouldn’t be sacrificed for economic gain. It’s immoral and unnecessary. The oppressed need someone who cares. The West should not choose to turn a blind eye.

Framing

Premises

[P1] Western countries compromise human rights because of trade agreements between countries. [P2] Western countries shouldn’t sacrifice economic health for other countries.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Western countries should consider human rights above trade relationships. [Rejecting P2] Western countries shouldn’t be selfish and think of other people’s lives other than their economics.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/highlights/toppartners.html

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 30 Jun 2020 at 18:03 UTC