"The US currently has 24 different sanctions programmes covering countries such as Côte d'Ivoire, Belarus and Syria, and companies involved in "conflict" diamonds. But as recently as the 1990s, support for them seemed to be waning."
There are many reasons why the 1956 Suez Canal crisis was a pivotal moment in modern history. It symbolised the twilight of British imperial power, demonstrated the new force of Arab nationalism and created a rare breach between the governments of the US and Israel.
The Suez crisis was also a solitary example where sanctions have persuaded a government to withdraw its army from territory it had seized. When US President Dwight Eisenhower threatened to block crucial international loans to the UK, precipitating a run on the pound, the British, French and Israelis decided to pull out of the Suez Canal area that they had seized from Egypt.
After Russian troops moved into Crimea last month, the US and European governments warned that Russia would face tough international sanctions. The Obama administration has talked about "isolating" Russia from parts of the global economy, both as a punishment for the annexation of Crimea and as a warning about further military adventurism.