Punishing its enemies economically, when stopping short of armed force, has long been a favoured American way of achieving foreign policy goals.

Sanctions have been around for decades, but came to the fore after the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001.

They are now again present when diplomacy doesn't work. President Donald Trump has been imposing them more widely and more frequently.

The latest was over Turkey's detention of US pastor Andrew Brunson, which has triggered one of the most serious rifts with a NATO ally in recent years.

Those being targeted by the US are hitting back with their own sanctions, some on the same level and scale.

The list of countries affected is long. But do the sanctions serve any purpose? And who gets hurt the most?

Presenter: Hoda Abdel-Hamid

Guests:

Richard Weitz - director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute

Mohammad Marandi - head of North American studies graduate programme at the University of Tehran

Christopher Preble - vice president for defence and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute

Source: Al Jazeera News