‘Big Stick’ Ideology Becoming Irrelevant in Light of Peace Science
by Patrick T. Hiller
“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far” was a trademark description of Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy. To no surprise the recent electoral season turned politicians into stick-carrying hunters, only now it doesn’t seem necessary to speak softly.
In political and even in broader public discourse we are discussing strategies of war when talking about peace. Strength can only be conveyed through military might. Presidential candidate Romney’s ideas for a “peaceful planet” require us to be strong, to have a strong military, second to none in the world with its terrific soldiers and extraordinary technology and intelligence and to have growing influence in the world. Similarly, President Obama states that America remains the one indispensable nation, that the world needs a strong America, that military spending has gone up every single year he’s been in office, and that the United States spends more on its military than the next 10 countries combined. In fact, the research of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute proves that our spending is more than the next 15 countries combined — not that it matters. Without overemphasizing the presidential debates, my point should be clear. (more…)