In recent decades, large Western economies increasingly have used sanctions — such as the thousands imposed on Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February — to avoid military action when diplomacy does not deter behavior the international community considers unacceptable. Proponents say sanctions, which include withdrawing trade, financial or diplomatic relations, are a vital foreign policy tool. Opponents, including some in the Global South, say sanctions do not always achieve their objectives, rarely result in regime change and can adversely affect vulnerable citizens. To avoid society-wide suffering due to leaders' transgressions, Western countries increasingly use so-called smart sanctions, which have targeted and reined in some rogue actors. Experts disagree on whether the United States, which imposes more sanctions than any other country, is helping establish ...

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