— Washington has taken a carrot and stick approach to retain leverage and reinforce good business practices. Also, they're technically hard to undo. Sanctions are governed by six federal laws and a series of executive orders, often with overlapping provisions. There are also functional bans which require specific benchmarks to be met before certain strictures are eased such as ending the use of child soldiers before arms sales are allowed.
Did sanctions work?
— The jury is out. Advocates point to change in Myanmar as evidence that sanctions encouraged reform. But a large chorus of critics says domestic factors rather than sanctions — which had little effect for two decades — are the real reason for Myanmar's spring. Critics also say sanctions have been too blunt, hurting the corrupt elite less than the common man.