uni·​lat·​er·​al·​ism ˌyü-ni-ˈla-t(ə-)rə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce unilateralism (audio)
: a policy of taking unilateral action (as in international affairs) regardless of outside support or reciprocity
also : advocacy of such a policy
unilateralist noun or adjective

Examples of unilateralism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web American unilateralism was tolerated in a unipolar world. Fareed Zakaria, Foreign Affairs, 12 Dec. 2023 Trump’s approach to the rest of the world was a strange form of assertive unilateralism, an approach that explicitly disavowed the concept of global leadership while flexing American power, especially military might. Blaise Malley, The New Republic, 5 Oct. 2023 Self-serving unilateralism will be challenging to sell to allies and is predictably starting to backfire. Ben Harburg, Fortune, 18 Sep. 2023 Multilateralism is far preferable to unilateralism, but narrow multilateralism is far more promising than universal or broad forms of collective action that rarely succeed; witness, for example, the course of climate-change diplomacy and trade. Richard Haass, Foreign Affairs, 6 Sep. 2022 As Center for a New American Security CEO Richard Fontaine, no fan of the current administration, wrote recently in Foreign Affairs, Mr. Trump’s unilateralism and questioning of core international institutions like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization did not just spread disorder. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, 12 Oct. 2020 Protectionism and unilateralism can protect no one. Jamey Keaten, ajc, 17 Jan. 2022 Only new legislation can cure presidential unilateralism and that is not in the offing. WSJ, 11 Nov. 2021 Voters repeatedly cite terrorism, China, and nuclear proliferation as the most significant threats to the United States and are quite comfortable with American unilateralism and a strong American military. Gabriel Scheinmann, National Review, 5 Sep. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unilateralism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unilateralism was in 1926

Dictionary Entries Near unilateralism

Cite this Entry

“Unilateralism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unilateralism. Accessed 23 May. 2024.

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