Monday, September 26, 2011

Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far

A West African Proverb (according to Roosevelt)- well implemented in the US.

It has always been fascinating to outsiders that America’s favorite past-time is watching men wielding big sticks as they hit a very small ball…precisely meant to infiltrate the opposite team and destruct them as the man runs for a home-run. Yes, baseball is a rather dull game, made exciting by the beer, peanuts, hotdogs, and the chant of “Take me out to the ball game”.

A big stick…meant to make a ball go far. But enough of baseball.

Roosevelt made the big stick theory popular off course. However, over the years, this theory, has been the making of American policy, specifically, foreign policy. _Until recently when Obama took power, the general principle for American rather narrow glorified exceptionalism, was to talk of democracy while simultaneously employing regimes that destroyed societies. Double-standard- basic operating procedures US Policy- it is not just a recent phenomenon.

Roosevelt would be the one to say:

“A just war is in the long run far better for a man’s soul than the most prosperous peace”

-then he will go on to be known best for his extension of the Monroe doctrine as he believed that he had the right to intervene to "stabilize" the economic affairs of small states in the Caribbean and Central America- None of these countries thanked him kindly.

He would be quoted saying “Peace is generally good in itself, but it is never the highest good unless it comes as the handmaiden of righteousness; and it becomes a very evil thing if it serves merely as a mask for cowardice and sloth, or as an instrument to further the ends of despotism or anarchy”

-the truth however is that to epitomize on his big stick theory, the Roosevelt Corollary an explicit or maybe even implicit threat to the very states that supposedly were to be protected, as the government muscled to obtain concessions and privileges for American corporations.

He would again be quoted saying, “I abhor unjust war. I abhor injustice and bullying by the strong at the expense of the weak, whether among nations or individuals, I abhor violence and bloodshed. But it takes strength to put a stop to abhorrent things”-

- and to that, we only have to think of the canal diplomacy. I am sure Nicaragua and Panama are thankful for that. Right?

The big stick theory- or rather, the whole idea of the “man with the big stick” is an ideology that can only be implemented once- and the US has gotten the license already, and did a few test-runs on that. The concern is that, the rest of the world is trying to follow suit. The whole idea of Realpolitik and the Machiavelli ideals fall short of humanity. There is a reason why Machiavellianism is closely related to narcissism and