America’s modern addiction to the big stick

Source: Responsible Statecraft
by Monica Duffy Toft

“The United States has always ‘suffered’ from exceptionalism in its foreign policy, but for much of its nearly 300-year history, that exceptionalism led to a foreign policy of distance keeping; a sense that the United States should lead by example, intervening by means of armed force except as a last resort. This sense was aptly summed up in Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’ aphorism. … America appears to have become addicted to the over-use of the stick, and the under-use of leadership by example, trade and aid, and diplomacy. The results — as illustrated by the 2002 and 2003 U.S. military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan respectively — have been disappointing at best, and generally left the U.S. worse off.” (06/21/22)