Wednesday, February 13, 2019
As mantras go.............................
Speak softly and carry a big stick was a West African proverb Roosevelt had tried out once, as Vice President, and memorized as a personal mantra. Perhaps the current situation would enable him to test its effectiveness, starting with the soft speech. "If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not save him from trouble, but neither will speaking softly avail, if back of his softness there does not lie strength, power."
-Edmund Morris, Theodore Rex
To put this paragraph in context, it is late 1902, Germany is sending a fleet to extract repayment of over-due loans from bankrupt Venezuela. Roosevelt, opting to enforce the "Monroe Doctrine", suggests, with the US Navy as his backstop, that Germany arbitrate instead. Judging by the absence of a war between Germany and Venezuela in the history books, his mantra was effective.