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Economic sanctions may take many forms and may be applied unilaterally or multilaterally, but like all uses of the economic instrument, they involve the purposive threat or actual granting or withholding of economic indulgences, opportunities, and benefits by one actor or group of actors in order to induce another actor or group of actors to change or adjust an internal or external policy. The external policy that has been targeted may be the withdrawal of the target from territory it has seized or illegally occupied, as, for example, South Africa's long occupation of Namibia; a change in an internal policy, for example patterns of human rights violations in China; or even the replacement of the elite in the target State, for example Peron in Argentina after the Second World War or Saddam in Iraq at the moment.

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