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"Speak softly and carry a big stick"

teddy2013
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2/2/2013 9:26:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I had promised Adam, also known as "ConservativeAmerican" I would respond to his topic on US foreign policy, "USA Military Defense Budget/Overseas Policy ." This is my humble response.

Sometimes, the best things are said shortly (The Gettysburg Address). Even shorter but no less brilliant was Teddy Roosevelt"s foreign policy which stated simply "Speak softly and carry a big stick".

"Speak softly and carry a big stick". should remain the central theme of American foreign policy.

Speaking softly, says that America should not speak as though we are the only Nation in the world, and we should not unnecessarily speak or act in a bellicose manner (a lesson George W., did not learn). It implies that we should recognize other nations rights to conduct themselves differently then we do. It is not our intrinsic right to spread democracy around the World. I would argue that speaking softly, also implies the need for diplomacy and building relationships over time (ironically illustrated best in recent history by George Herbert Walker Bush).

Carrying a big stick, means that when appropriate the US should bring overwhelming resources to the table. This carrying a big stick, can mean a big stick economically and diplomatically, and as a last resort militarily.

Military force should be a true last resort. It is not lost on me, that the the President"s who have engaged in battle themselves ( ex. Eisenhower) are far more reluctant to send young people off to war, then those who did not serve (George W.). Eisenhower, put it best, "I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity." -Dwight D. Eisenhower

This is why I am happy to have a Secretary of State in Kerry, and hopefully a Defense secretary in Hagell, who understand the complexities and horrors of war. Using force only as a last resort, is not just something we should say, it is something we should practice. None the less there are three instances when use of military force is justified. Recent history shows both examples where this doctrine has been used, and misused.

Military force is justified when,

1. We are under attack- Our initial response to 9/11 in Afghanistan was appropriate. Tragically George W. diverted us unnecessarily into Iraq,

2. To support an ally. Our initial gulf war to push Iraq troops out of Kuwait was appropriate, and the limited scope of this mission, was masterfully handled by the elder Bush. Bush 41, was roundly criticized for not continuing the battle to Baghdad. Bush 41 understood the complexities of Iraq, and that going into Baghdad was not part of our mission, It took 12 years and his sons mistakes to show why he was right.

3. For humanity reasons- It is indeed tragic to see the slaughter in Syria, and the lack of human rights in so many parts of the World, but we must also realize that sometimes we are not able to effect some situations, and in some instances we could make it worse. We must always evaluate each situation on its individual complexities, and measure our response accordingly.

So these are my thoughts. Adam , I assume from your posts, you will agree with me on about half of what I have said. In any event, I am just happy that with all the references to a big stick, that I got through this post, with no bad penis jokes, Lol.