SPEAK SOFTLY, AND CARRY A BIG STICK

By  Bill Outlaw

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt established a new foreign policy approach with these words: “Speak softly, and carry a big stick.” At the crux of his foreign policy was a thinly-veiled threat. Roosevelt believed that, in light of the country’s recent military successes, it was unnecessary to use force to achieve foreign policy goals, so long as the military could threaten force. The heart of Roosevelt’s new foreign policy approach had its beginning in the original Monroe Doctrine, which warned

 

European nations of the consequences if they interfered in the Caribbean. President Roosevelt took this a step further, stating that the United States would use military force “as an international police power” to correct any “chronic wrongdoing” by any Latin American nation that might threaten stability in the region.

 

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