Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.
— Theodore Roosevelt
Roosevelt used the expression to encapsulate his foreign policy of negotiating peacefully, whilst parading the power of his country’s military. Including sending a ‘Great White Fleet’ around the globe.
I can no longer recall when I first heard this. Yet, in all that time I have know it as “Speak softly, but carry a big stick”. Which has an entirely different meaning. And one I rather prefer, so take your pick.
Image: Naval historical file photo of the Great White Fleet. In 1907, Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States, sent a portion of the Atlantic fleet on a world tour to test naval readiness, establish global presence and generate international goodwill. U.S. Navy photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons