Speak bigly and carry a big stick. The crisis in Iran.


Fars News Agency via Wikimedia Commons

Collin Smith, Opinion Editor

U.S. foreign policy oftentimes can seem incredibly complicated with a hard to define end goal. This is due to the nature of foreign policy itself, not only are there multiple interests of many different parties but also they take place in contexts entirely unique from one’s we have experienced. At the end of the day, however, U.S. foreign has two specific goals: protect and promote U.S. interests in the most effective and safe way possible, and the promotion of freedom and protection of human rights. Many doubt America’s role in the promotion of freedom and protection of human rights, but they fail to realize the responsibility that comes with being the world’s superpower. This does not mean that it is America’s sole responsibility to police the world, but rather in certain clearly defined situations it becomes imperative for the U.S. to act.

The saying of Teddy Roosevelt “Speak softly and carry a big stick” comes to mind whenever I think about U.S. foreign policy. This saying is a simple and oftentimes wise way to go about foreign policy. The Obama administration had a somewhat different take on foreign policy following the “Say nothing, and carry no stick” policy. This was seen throughout his presidency, from the Ukrainian conflict with Russia, the red line in the sand with Syria, the Benghazi situation in Libya, and to the Iranian nuclear appeasement deal.

In light of the recent Iranian protests, neither of these two sayings make the right foreign policy. Recent protests in Iran are mostly due to their oppressive theocracy not fulfilling promises regarding standard of living after the nuclear deal. They are also due to the oppressive nature of the regime — women’s rights, gay rights etc. are all routinely suppressed and denied. In response to these protests, the regime has taken drastic measures like killing peaceful protesters and shutting off the internet, only further denying basic rights of freedom of speech and life.

There are many ideas floating around on what the U.S. needs to do in regards to the Iranian situation. The New York Times published the articleHow Can Trump Help Iran’s Protesters? Be Quiet.” Even many on the right believe doing nothing is best option. No matter how well intentioned this idea may be, whether or not the reasoning is based around “making sure the Iranian voice is on display” or that we don’t get involved in something we shouldn’t, the core idea of inaction is wrong. Sometimes, neither speaking softly nor doing nothing are the right answer, sometimes one must “speak bigly and carry a big stick.”

U.S. support for the Iranian people is a necessity in this time, not since 2009 green revolution has there been this level of support against the imams, the reign Khalmeni, and the presidency of the once touted as moderate Rouhani. It must be noted that many of those protesting support secular reforms and are against Iranian supported terrorist efforts, this is not a movement reminiscent of the Arab Spring. We did nothing in 2009 and the people of Iran suffered, action must be taken now or the protesters will once again be crushed by the regime.