gunboat diplomacy


Definition of gunboat diplomacy

: diplomacy backed by the use or threat of military force

Examples of gunboat diplomacy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The result is that Mr. Erdoğan is the latest exemplar of the effectiveness of gunboat diplomacy, even as traditional military players withdraw from the field. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, "How Turkey’s use of military power furthers Erdoğan’s ambitions," 16 Nov. 2020 In the 18th century, imperial Britain was able to practice gunboat diplomacy across Africa and the Indian subcontinent, taking direct administrative control of vast swaths of the world. Parag Khanna, Quartz, "Everyone has moved past the US-China trade war—except the US and China," 16 Dec. 2019 Whether this was a way of proving his commitment or a less-than-subtle suggestion of gunboat diplomacy, the ploy worked. Yoni Wilkenfeld, Quartz, "From tea to iPhones, US-China trade tensions span centuries," 6 Nov. 2019 The only alternative would be a world where all states are truly on an equal footing, and that went out the window with gunboat diplomacy, with systematic looting of the developing world through debt, with colonization, with the slave trade itself. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Is This the Most Crowded Island in the World? (And Why That Question Matters)," 20 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gunboat diplomacy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gunboat diplomacy

1927, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of gunboat diplomacy was in 1927

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Last Updated

28 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gunboat diplomacy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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