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.

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