The scholarly debate concerning economic sanctions has focused primarily on whether sanctions succeed in achieving the foreign policy goals for which they are employed. In other words, do they or do they not work? More recent scholarship has explored the role sanctions have played in altering internal aspects of sanctioned states, such as abuses of human rights by government officials. This thesis attempts to contribute to the economic sanctions literature by investigating the way states perceive sanctions. I argue that states targeted by economic sanctions may view sanctions as acts of hostility and a precursor to military action against the targeted state. I contend sanctions can trigger responses from targeted states that are intended to bolster their deterrent capacity in the face of a military confrontation that it perceives is signaled through sanctions. Using South Africa under the Apartheid regime and post-revolutionary Iran as case studies, I find evidence that sanctions contribute to actions by sanctioned states that were unintended and, ultimately, counterproductive to the goals of the sanctioning state(s).