|Teddy Roosevelt's Big Stick Policy|
The widespread use of 'speak softly and carry a big stick' began with American president Theodore Roosevelt. In a letter to Henry L. Sprague, on January 26th 1900, he wrote:"Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."Roosevelt claims the phrase to be of West African origin.
Obama has based his whole foreign policy on Roosevelt’s dictum. With Syria and the use of chemical weapons in defiance of the international treaty against such use, Obama was very careful to fashion a negotiation stance based on a tightly focused objective: remove the weapons, by force if necessary.
He as within days of formally launching an attack on selected chemical weapons and related sites within Syria, when a remark by Kerry set off an alternative solution.
Putin, of Russia, read Obama’s statements and gave them the weight they deserved: the man was serious, and the man was going to use force.
Then things speeded up:
Optimism created by the actions on chemical weapons seemed to spill over into the efforts aimed at bringing the Syrian conflict to a peaceful end. The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said he was now hoping to convene a peace conference in Geneva by mid-November.
The pace reflected a dizzying rush of diplomacy that seemed unthinkable just a few weeks ago, when the Obama administration was threatening Mr. Assad with missile strikes in response to an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus that left more than 1,400 people dead, including more than 400 children.
Now Iran, having heard Obama, and realized that this man means what he says, has come to the table to try to negotiate a solution to the Iranian nuclear weapons issue. This pre-emptive strike by Iran is based on their assessment that Obama is following Roosevelt’s Big Stick doctrine, and will prevent, by force, an Iranian nuclear weapon.
However, as with Syria, Obama as been careful in framing the issue. His assurance that the stance against an Iranian nuclear weapons is not part of a regime change policy, and his seeming acceptance of the right of Iran to enrich uranium in order to generate power though nuclear plants, are the two breakthrough messages that seem to have worked – so far – with Iran’s regime.